It's a figure that gets thrown around, but the Defense Department's head IT guy thinks it bears repeating: Pentagon systems are inundated with some 700 million emails a month. Guess how many are legit?
Fewer than 100 million, according to DISA Director Lt. Gen. Alan Lynn, who notes that the rest are "spam, malware or known threats — that gives you a good idea of how much work is being done in that space."
Lynn, who spoke April 20 at the AFCEA Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium in Washington, D.C., said the figure gives the public a good idea of what's happening: "It's cyber warfare and it's daily, happening on our networks."
RELATED: Hear Eron Miller, satcom division chief for DISA's Infrastructure Directorate, speak on a panel about the military's approach to rapid provisioning of satellite bandwidth at a special C4ISRNet breakfast event April 27th. Mr. Winston Beauchamp, deputy undersecretary of the Air Force for Space, will keynote. Go here for more information.
To combat the influx of cyber threats, DISA for some time has been "operationalizing" DoD networks, transforming them into what DoD officials say is a true warfighting platform. At the epicenter of the effort is Joint Force Headquarters-DoD Information Networks, or JFHQ-DoDIN. Lynn reported that while not in full operational status yet, JFHQ-DoDIN is in full effect.
"It's important we know the lay of the land so we can maneuver and command and control the space. So JFHQ-DoDIN has been active for 15 months…it's still in the initial phases. But we have had nine named military operations already," Lynn said. "To take it one step further, we have deployed forces just like you deploy in land, sea and air. We are deploying people in cyberspace and moving them to other parts of the globe, and we've done that already in a joint fashion. We've had Air Force teams in Navy cyber [facilities]. We can't afford to wait — the mission is now and it's constant."
What is not moving so fast, though, is the traditional DoD acquisition process, Lynn acknowledged. But he said at DISA they try to maximize opportunities like cooperative research and development agreements, or CRADAs, with industry and academia to try to take advantage of innovation and capitalize as much as possible.
One capability DISA officials are looking at as a possibility is the concept of analytics as a service, through which industry would create technologies that could plug into existing military networks and analytics engines and help better see into the network and identify anomalies, Lynn said.