US military increases security in cyber supply chain

on Tuesday, January 8, 2013

US military increases security in cyber supply chainThe U.S. military is enhancing its current level of supply chain security, a policy put in place by the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act. The bill, signed by President Barack Obama on January 2, takes into account a number of security risks the country's military faces as cybercrime becomes more common and has the potential to threaten confidential military information and the security of U.S. citizens.

Because the military uses some outside contractors and manufacturers to develop the tools it uses in its cyber tasks, it must remain vigilant in regard to procurement, and ensure it purchases vital technology from only approved facilities that do not pose a threat to national security. Previous strategies have resulted in counterfeit goods infiltrating the military's supply chain, making proper security and purchasing policies of the utmost importance.

Changes on the way
Software contractors hired by the military will need to employ more stringent tactics to ensure security is considered during project development. Additionally, the new "baseline software assurance policy" will require more in-depth testing and debugging throughout each step of the software creation process. This increased level of testing is aimed to protect vital software programs from becoming infected or hacked by cybercriminals, terrorists or foreign governments.

In recent years the Department of Defense has also voiced concerns about counterfeit gadgets that may be making their way into the military's supply chain. Worry over false parts, altered components and infected devices that would allow hackers access to sensitive government information has led the department to insist on better supply chain management and risk management tactics. By March, the department must publish its standards for evaluating such risk and the possibility of military tools being tampered with at some point during the manufacturing process.

Besides those related to essential software and military gadgets, there may be other changes headed for the country's defense supply chain in the coming months. The military may be required to consolidate its technological contracts, potentially cutting certain contractors out of the process, which could be an effort to find solutions for greater cost savings. Lawmakers hope to see an outline for this process and potential savings plan by April. Not only will the changes it provides serve to enhance security policies, they can also have the potential to provide significant cost reduction strategies.

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