DISA unveils new cybersecurity review

Shutterstock image (by fotogestoeber): virus infection spreading out in a network.

The Defense Information Systems Agency unveiled a cybersecurity review process on May 9 that takes an agile, "outside-in" assessment of the resources and technologies the Department of Defense Information Network (DODIN) needs to defend itself against attack.

DISA calls the effort NSCSAR, short for NIPRNet/SIPRNet Cyber Security Architecture Review.

Pete Dinsmore, DISA's risk technology executive, said the framework looks at all aspects of cybersecurity, from endpoints to the internet.

In a May 9 article on Chips, the Department of the Navy's IT magazine, Dinsmore was quoted as saying, "NSCSAR is trying to answer three questions: Which cybersecurity solution do we need, how much is enough, and where can we take risk?"

DISA is working with the National Security Agency, DOD's CIO office, Cyber Command, combatant commands and other agencies to evolve DODIN's cybersecurity architecture.

Officials plan to compare existing cybersecurity capabilities against a threat framework that details adversaries' tactics and techniques. Those capabilities are evaluated for their effectiveness in mitigating an attack.

"We're taking an adversary perspective," Dinsmore said, "looking at our defenses the way an adversary does and saying, 'Where can we mitigate the adversary, and where are we having difficulties?'" The goal of NSCSAR is to support decision-making related to the budget, portfolio management and DODIN architectural domains.

DISA has already begun implementing NSCSAR as an agile process with "spin cycles" that take a new look at the network every 90 days. Officials completed the first spin in April and has a second spin scheduled for completion on June 30.

"At the end of the day, the budgets available for cybersecurity capabilities are either stagnant or decreasing," Dinsmore said. "And we need to figure out how to best use our dollars."

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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