New chief key to "Defense in Depth"

Several challenges await a former National Security Agency cryptologist who recently became the armed forces' information assurance director.

Robert Lentz last month replaced Dick Schaeffer, who returned to work at NSA, said Susan Hansen, a Pentagon spokeswoman. Lentz now works for Jeffrey Gaynor, the acting principal director for the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for security and information operations.

Because DOD officials claim that rogue states with highly-trained hackers who can take down power grids pose a viable threat, officials such as Lentz and Gaynor are important to national security strategy.

Lentz is the Office of the Secretary of Defense representative to national information assurance forums, and he also handles critical infrastructure protection oversight and OSD's coordination with the national defense infrastructure. He's a key player in the armed service's implementation of its "Defense in Depth" strategy, which calls for multiple layers of defenses to guard Defense Department networks and electronic transmissions.

Three major programs are under Lentz's watch:

Information assurance and PKI are strongly connected in DOD. Armed services officials view PKI as their chief means to ensure that senders of electronic messages are who they say they are and that messages are transmitted and received without being tampered.

The biometrics management office has a difficult task in trying to translate cutting-edge technology—such as sensors that can do retina scans for tactical network identification—into practical systems deployable under reasonable budgets.

During his 25-year NSA career, Lentz has held the chief financial officer position at the NSA Information Assurance Directorate, among other posts.

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