US DoD moves to protect domestic cyber perimeter

US Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates recently confirmed that the DoD was “taking steps” to bring military, industrial and domestic partners under a digital “umbrella” to shield them from cyber attacks.

“There is a huge future threat and there is a considerable current threat [from cyber attacks],” Gates said during a Q&A session quoted by the US Army website.

“That’s just a reality we all face.”

According to Gates, the DoD has already implemented “effective” protection for the “.mil” suffix, and is now working with the defense industrial base to provide a similar system of cyber defense.

“The only [shield] the United States has…against nation states and other potential threats in the cyber world is the National Security Agency (NSA),” he explained.

“You cannot replicate the NSA for domestic affairs. There isn’t enough money, there isn’t enough time, and there isn’t enough human talent.”

However, Gates acknowledged that challenges remained in terms of balancing concerns for privacy and civil liberties, while allowing the NSA certain levels of access to goverment and civilian infrastructure.

“[But] my hope is [that] over time this will lead to better protections for both .gov and .com.

“I think the more we can do this, and the more we can cause industry – particularly on relatively low-technology-risk programs – to share the risk with the government in terms of timeliness and costs, the better off the taxpayers will be. And at the end of the day, I think, the better off business will be.”