On page 6 of the Navy’s recent report about its cyber readiness, there is a jaw-dropping confession: “The systems the U.S. relies upon to mobilize, deploy and sustain forces have been extensively targeted by potential adversaries, and compromised to such extent that their reliability is questionable.”
Bill Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, wants that single sentence in the 80-page report to sink in for a second.
“The Navy’s report on their resilience and reliability is that watershed moment not only for the Department of Defense but for all agencies in the federal government, and I would even proffer in the private sector, to have an honest, internal look at their systems, their data, their capabilities and their protection mechanisms and where they have vulnerabilities and how the threats are manifested in their organizations,” Evanina said after speaking at the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) event on supply chain management in Arlington, Virginia, on April 1. “I think all agencies should take a hard look and say, ‘What can we do that is similar to this to look at our own processes and protection models?’”
The Navy report serves as a call to arms around the challenges every agency faces from systems under attack to attempts to steal information from its industrial base.
“The DON’s dependency upon the defense industrial base (DIB) presents another large and lucrative source of exploitation for those looking to diminish U.S. military advantage. Key DIB companies, primes, and their suppliers, have been breached and their IP stolen and exploited,” the report states. “These critical supply chains have been compromised in ways and to an extent yet to be fully understood.”