Pentagon aims high, hits target with DIB cybersecurity strategy – C4ISRNET

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A few weeks ago, the U.S. Department of Defense announced a new cybersecurity strategy for 2024-2027, outlining a comprehensive plan to protect and enhance the cybersecurity of the country’s Defense Industrial Base, of DIB. The strategy integrates with broader national defense and cybersecurity efforts, with a multi-faceted approach.

Here are the four biggest takeaways:

These are realistic, practical goals

Getting into the nuts and bolts, the plan is structured around four main goals: strengthening governance, broadening cybersecurity posture, preserving resiliency, and perhaps the most captivating of them all – boosting collaboration. It is no secret that there is an interdependence between the federal government and tech companies, as both sides depend on the other to drive modernization. We need more of this and on a wider, more frequent scale in order to solve the issues of today and tomorrow, so the acknowledgement and inclusion of collaboration as part of a wide-scope plan is great to see.

Broadly speaking, all of the ideas listed in this plan are right on point to reach larger aspirations, like improving cyber regulations, sharing best practices, modernizing security measures, and cultivating a culture of cyber resilience across the DIB. The concept of setting segmented, specialized objectives as a way to ultimately reach the more daunting goal of a Zero Trust architecture is certainly on display here.

This is a multi-year, multi-step play

In addition to the content itself, the DoD should also be commended for issuing a holistic, multi-year plan that is aligned with the idea that security is a journey, rather than a singular destination. A strategy spanning several years allows for long-term vision and ensures continuity as we look to solve complex, ever-changing cyber challenges.

With threats constantly evolving, we cannot only focus on the immediate future, or specific segments of it. It is critical to encompass all elements of a true Zero Trust architecture, and the DoD is on the right track to reach that summit.

The mission is bigger than compliance

The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) 2.0 has dominated conversations within the federal contracting community for a while now, and rightfully so. However, this freshly-published strategy is a different animal. While the two are undoubtedly related, CMMC is essentially a certification program to show and prove compliance within defined controls, while this strategy is a much broader, tactical plan.

Ultimately, although categorically different, both underscore the importance of protecting U.S. technological advantages and national security by securing the DIB against escalating cyber threats.

The DoD is taking real action

Tucked into Appendix III is a particularly noteworthy aspect of the strategy: a suite of cyber resources, tools, and services being made available to companies in the DIB. This gesture shows that the strategy isn’t just words in a document—it’s a tangible investment in the cybersecurity capacity of the DIB.

It’s widely understood that cybersecurity is a team sport. Giving access to tools, sharing threat intel, and offering hands-on training and assessments are all signs that the DoD is taking on a team-captain role. Now it’s not just about setting high standards and expecting the DIB to figure it out on its own. This collaborative approach represents a significant cultural shift in how the government and private sector work together moving forward.

Obviously, organizations within the DIB work on some of the most sensitive and important projects with respect to national defense, so protecting their data, networks, applications, and systems is of utmost importance.

It’s not time yet to celebrate; but this is a great step in the right direction from the DoD, and I’m eager to see these goals come to fruition over the next three years.

Shannon Vaughn is General Manager at Virtru Federal, a provider of data security services for government.

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