US Military Boosts Network Security With New Contracts

Contributor:  Defence IQ Press
Posted:  10/30/2009  10:52:00 AM EDT
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Lockheed Martin has recently been charged with improving network security for the US military as part of a major focus on preventing cyber attacks from Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency awarded the $31 million contract to the technology firm, which will work to protect the confidentiality, integrity and security of military systems.

Preventing Attacks to Network Security

Lockheed Martin will develop new cyber assurance procedures to improve network security, dynamic bandwith allocation and policy-based prioritisation levels, both for individuals and whole units.

"With systems from land, air and space connected to the Global Information Grid, cyber security is vital to every aspect of military operations and new network threats and attacks require revolutionary protection concepts," said John Mengucci, president of Lockheed Martin Information Systems and Global Services-Defense.

The company will develop new router technologies, including strong authentication and self-configuration capabilities, to improve network security, reduce the need for trained personnel and lower overall life-cycle costs for management of the infrastructure.

Lockheed Martin will team up with Anagran, Juniper Networks, LGS Innovations and Microsoft to deliver this enhanced network security, while Stanford University will also support the development efforts.

US Military's Technological Advantage

The contract follows President Barack Obama's announcement in May this year that the US government would be working to improve network security across military and civilian infrastructure.

"Our technological advantage is a key to America's military dominance. But our defence and military networks are under constant attack," Obama said in a speech at the White House.

"Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups have spoken of their desire to unleash a cyber attack on our country—attacks that are harder to detect and harder to defend against.

"Indeed, in today's world, acts of terror could come not only from a few extremists in suicide vests but from a few key strokes on the computer—a weapon of mass disruption," he commented.

Last year, several thousand computers were infected by malware, and although no sensitive information was compromised, troops and defence personnel had to give up their external memory devices and change the way they used their computers.

It was a reminder of the constant threat to network security and the repercussions attacks can have on the US military.

Cyber Security Command

Following on from Obama's announced plans to centralise and prioritise computer and information protection, defense secretary Robert Gates created a new US military command dedicated to cyber and network security.

It is the first authority of its kind to be introduced and will begin operating this month, with the aim of it becoming fully operational by October 2010. Lieutenant General Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency, has been recommended to take on the additional role of commander of the Cyber Command.

Protecting the US military's network security is paramount. Deputy security of defense William Lynn recently emphasised the forces' dependence on modern technology, with its 15,000 networks including around 7 million computers, IT devices, laptops and servers.

"Just like our national dependence, there is simply no exaggerating our military dependence on our information networks," he explained.

"The command and control of our forces, the intelligence and logistics upon which they depend, the weapons technologies we develop and field, they all depend on our computer systems and networks," Lynn added.

"Indeed, our 21st-century military simply cannot function without them."

Defence IQ Press Contributor:   Defence IQ Press

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