A Pentagon task force to prevent the swiping of American secrets and improve supply chain cybersecurity will include representatives from at least seven agencies and is expected to have a long-term presence, a spokesman for the Department of Defense told Fifth Domain.
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis created a task force Oct. 24 to protect critical technology and prevent data-exfiltration of closely guarded secrets by foreign governments.
“This is not a ‘quick-fix’ task force,” Joseph Buccino, a spokesperson for the Pentagon, told Fifth Domain in an email. “The loss of technology and data critical to our national security is a long-term problem.”
Air Force Maj. Gen. Thomas Murphy will lead the task force. He was previously served as the deputy director of command, control, communications and computers and cybersecurity for the Department’s Joint Staff. He has also served as vice commander of the 24th Air Force and Air Force cyber.
The task force will be staffed by “approximately 25 dedicated members from the Secretaries of the Military Departments, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” and a slew of agencies across the Pentagon that include the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Defense Cyber Crime Center, and Army Counter Intelligence.
The task force will report to Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan.
“Each year, American businesses lose hundreds of billions of dollars while our military superiority is challenged,” Shanahan said in a Nov. 1 statement to reporters. “Together with our partners in industry, we will use every tool at our disposal to end the loss of intellectual property, technology and data critical to our national security.”
The task force’s creation comes after high-profile hacks on defense contractors, according to two current and former Pentagon officials who were briefed on the matter.
“Cybersecurity has not become an ingrained norm in manufacturing, especially in small and medium-sized manufacturers,” read an October report from the Pentagon.
Justin Lynch is the Associate Editor at Fifth Domain. He has written for the New Yorker, the Associated Press, Foreign Policy, the Atlantic, and others. Follow him on Twitter @just1nlynch.