Military taps NSA for security help

National Security Agency officials will lead the Defense Department's efforts to better protect the military's data and systems, the DOD deputy chief information officer said this week.

DOD officials asked the security agency to develop the military's information assurance policy after completing a 2,000-page document in October to guide the acquisition and use of information assurance technology for the Global Information Grid, the military's web of voice, video and data systems. Agency officials will get the new role after doing a fabulous job writing the "End-to-End Information Assurance Component of the GIG Integrated Architecture" document, said Priscilla Guthrie, deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Networks and Information Integration and deputy CIO. She spoke Dec. 15 during a luncheon sponsored by the Industry Advisory Council, a Washington, D.C., trade group.

"We will make NSA the point for leading information assurance across the department," Guthrie said.

Guthrie said NSA officials will "not build or own everything" in terms of the military's computer security systems and budgets estimated at $2 billion per year. But she said the intelligence agency officials will now oversee policy and get greater responsibility for the delivery and protection of warfighting data.

The announcement coupled with other information assurance ones in recent months aim to strengthen the military's systems and data security as officials evolve the new network-centric warfare doctrine to provide intelligence to warfighters worldwide within seconds to better target and attack smaller, more mobile targets encountered in the war on terrorism. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld established the Joint Task Force for Global Network Operations in June to oversee the operational management and protection of the military's systems and information.

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