DOD to conduct security stand-down

The Defense Department will hold a security stand-down Nov. 29 to focus on information assurance and network security. During the event, military and civilian employees at the major commands, services and agencies will stand down from their duties and devote attention to better protecting DOD data and systems.

Among other measures, they will change their passwords, said Air Force Lt. Gen. Charles Croom, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency and commander of the Joint Task Force for Global Network Operations (JTF-GNO). He spoke last week during a luncheon sponsored by the Washington, D.C., chapter of AFCEA International.

The security stand-down will allow DOD to "get all on the same footing with some processes," said Maj. Gen. Michael Peterson, director of information, services and integration at the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, Chief of Warfighting Integration and Chief Information Officer.

Peterson, who will become the Air Force's top IT official in December, said the stand-down, which he said he believes is the first one ever for security, will emphasize proper practices for scanning systems, sharing information and applying patches. "It's about good network behavior," he said.

Alan Paller, director of research at the SANS Institute, a nonprofit group that monitors computer security, said he did not know about the stand-down.

Strategic Command (Stratcom), the major command that oversees the operation and protection of the military's networks through JTF-GNO, issued the security stand-down order earlier this month. DOD employees will conduct certain activities to strengthen network security, said Tim Madden, a spokesman for the task force. He declined to elaborate.

Croom, who took over at DISA this summer, said outsiders are intruding into DOD networks. "The enemy is among us," he said.

He added that some DOD officials are concerned about the amount of software manufactured overseas and whether it might incorporate malicious code. He said one way to fight the problem is to require companies to assure DOD that their products are safe and for the military to monitor them closely.

Croom said Marine Corps Gen. James Cartwright, Stratcom's commander, told him to start directing actions on the networks. Croom said he has begun taking a proactive role to strengthen network security instead of merely collecting information about and getting status reports on DOD's data systems.

Peterson, who worked at Stratcom last year, said that was always the plan for JTF-GNO. He said the task force can now better direct actions on the military's networks because of a new command structure and relationship with the services and a new multimillion-dollar command center.

Earlier this year, Federal Computer Week reported that Chinese hackers had accessed U.S. military networks and obtained military secrets, including future command and control information. DOD officials are now considering new policy and acquisition initiatives to improve information assurance.

As DOD moves toward network-centric operations, security has become a paramount issue.

The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group