Acquisition

Pentagon releases cyber acquisition guidance

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The Defense Department's acquisition office has released guidance for program managers to better address cybersecurity risk during the acquisition process.

In a memo preceding the guidance, dated Oct. 30, officials said, "Program managers must assume that the system they field, including their external interfaces, will be under cyberattack. To be cost-effective, cybersecurity must be addressed early within acquisition and be thoughtfully integrated with systems engineering, test and evaluation, and other acquisition processes throughout the system life cycle."

The guidance is based on a handful of acquisition policies issued by the Pentagon in the past 20 months. It includes tips for systems security engineering and sample language for requests for proposals, among many other provisions. It also lists a number of underlying principles, including continuously updating data flows throughout a system's life cycle and using an "open-systems approach" to implement security architectures that can counter emerging threats.

Defense officials and outside experts have long spoken of the need to incorporate cybersecurity into acquisitions rather than patch vulnerabilities after the fact. The new guidance is an attempt to do that. Cybersecurity is also front and center in Better Buying Power 3.0, a broader set of DOD guidelines aimed at reforming the acquisition system.

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.


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