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DoD Requires ‘Culture of Cybersecurity' to Safeguard Networks, Official Says

WASHINGTON, June 22, 2016 — The Defense Department has made significant progress in implementing its cyber strategy, a senior DoD official told members of the House Armed Services Committee today.

The cyber threat from state and non-state actors is constant and growing, Thomas Atkin told legislators. Atkin is the acting assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and global security.

“Our increasingly wired and interconnected world has brought prosperity and economic gain to the United States; however, our dependence on these systems also leaves us vulnerable -- and the cyberthreats are increasing and evolving,” Atkin said.

DoD maintains and employs robust and unique cybercapabilities to defend its networks and the nation, he said.

Yet, that alone is not sufficient, Atkin said. Keeping networks secure, he added, is everyone’s responsibility.

‘Culture of Cybersecurity’

Safeguarding DoD’s computer networks, as well as the homeland “requires a culture of cybersecurity,” Atkin said. “More broadly, preventing cyberattacks against the U.S. homeland requires a whole-of-government, and a whole-of-nation approach.”

DoD works in close cooperation with other federal agencies, allies and the private sector to improve security in the cyber world and to ensure the department retains the capability to operate in the domain at any time, he said.

The department’s strategy calls on DoD to concentrate on three primary missions, Atkin said. The first is to defend DoD networks. The second is to defend the United States against cyberattacks “of significant consequence,” he said. The third mission is to provide full-spectrum cyber options to support contingency plans and military operations.


Deterrence is a crucial part of the overall strategy, Atkin said. DoD, he said, is part of the nation’s defense against cyberattacks.

“The strategy depends on the totality of U.S. actions, to include declaratory policy, overall defensive posture, effective response procedures, indications and warning capabilities and the resiliency of U.S. networks and systems,” he said.

Since Defense Secretary Ash Carter signed DoD’s cyber strategy, the department has made great progress, Atkin said.

“The department is committed to the security and resilience of our networks, and to defending the homeland and U.S. interests from attacks of significant consequence,” he said.

(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)
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