Critical Read

Shoring up supply chain security

world map

What: A new report advising governments on how to make their information and communications technology (ICT) supply chains more secure, written by the New America Foundation's Danielle Kriz and published by the Council on Foreign Relations.

Why: Governments that are increasingly reliant on ICT to do business are demanding that vendors get more secure. But some policy proposals for doing so are wrongheaded, Kriz wrote.

Supply chain measures should address clear gaps in policy, work globally, improve the government's ICT procurement practices and boost cyberthreat information sharing with vendors, she said. They should not, however, discriminate against products from a certain country.

The broad nature of the challenge means several U.S. agencies have weighed in on ICT supply chain security, including the Defense Department, the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of Management and Budget.

The report notes a "plethora of worrisome approaches" to securing ICT supply chains that ignored their global nature. For example, in 2013, DOD proposed making vendors use a particular security technology. U.S. laws that require closer scrutiny of ICT products from certain countries are also misguided, Kriz said. The report also faults India and China for protectionist procurement policies.

Kriz argued that country-of-origin requirements hurt ICT security because software development processes can have a greater impact on security than where the product is made.

Verbatim: "Policies mandating certain technologies, standards or practices cannot keep up with threats that evolve constantly and affect each firm uniquely. A check-the-box compliance regime will likely deter firms from responding to risks for fear of violating a regulation, and divert resources from where security is needed and from developing responses to new risks."

Click here to read the full report.

About the Author

Sean Lyngaas is an FCW staff writer covering defense, cybersecurity and intelligence issues. Prior to joining FCW, he was a reporter and editor at Smart Grid Today, where he covered everything from cyber vulnerabilities in the U.S. electric grid to the national energy policies of Britain and Mexico. His reporting on a range of global issues has appeared in publications such as The Atlantic, The Economist, The Washington Diplomat and The Washington Post.

Lyngaas is an active member of the National Press Club, where he served as chairman of the Young Members Committee. He earned his M.A. in international affairs from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and his B.A. in public policy from Duke University.

Click here for previous articles by Lyngaas, or connect with him on Twitter: @snlyngaas.


Featured

  • Contracting
    8 prototypes of the border walls as tweeted by CBP San Diego

    DHS contractors face protests – on the streets

    Tech companies are facing protests internally from workers and externally from activists about doing for government amid controversial policies like "zero tolerance" for illegal immigration.

  • Workforce
    By Mark Van Scyoc Royalty-free stock photo ID: 285175268

    At OPM, Weichert pushes direct hire, pay agent changes

    Margaret Weichert, now acting director of the Office of Personnel Management, is clearing agencies to make direct hires in IT, cyber and other tech fields and is changing pay for specialized occupations.

  • Cloud
    Shutterstock ID ID: 222190471 By wk1003mike

    IBM protests JEDI cloud deal

    As the deadline to submit bids on the Pentagon's $10 billion, 10-year warfighter cloud deal draws near, IBM announced a legal protest.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.