Safeguarding Information Technology Vital to DoD

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 18, 2006 – Safeguarding and protecting vital computer-accessed information is the job of everyone working at the Defense Department, a senior DoD official said.

“It’s the responsibility for everyone to be sensitive to the security of their information, their passwords, the use of their (common access) cards to protect the information that they wish to convey or they are receiving from someone,” John G. Grimes, assistant secretary of defense for networks and information integration and DoD’s chief information officer, said.

The Defense Department is constantly under surveillance by potential enemies interested in accessing DoD systems to obtain sensitive information, Grimes said during a Pentagon Channel interview.

Information technology is moving so quickly today that the processes that acquire and field needed information are playing “catch-up,” Grimes said. “It’s still too slow to keep up with the technology change,” Grimes said. “So, that, coupled with protecting the information that’s out there on the network are the two major concerns that I have.”

A major effort is under way with the National Security Agency to introduce new and improved information technology security measures across DoD’s computer networks, Grimes said.

Joint Task Force Global Network Operations works with U.S. Strategic Command to monitor the military’s global information operations network for vulnerabilities, he said. The task force would also work to identify the culprits “if there’s an event that’s happened and someone has penetrated your (computer information) networks,” Grimes said.

Continual evolution of information technology drives the demand for new systems that increase network capabilities, he said. This incessant upgrading involves land-based IT systems as well as satellite delivery networks. “It’s refreshed; it’s upgraded because the technology is changing,” he said.

Maintaining information security is a continuing process, much like the “Check It” campaign that seeks across-the-board improvements in the way the Defense Department conducts its daily business. Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England launched the program July 28.
“If you check things, then what should happen, will happen,” England said at the “Check It” kick-off at the Pentagon. “It’s what we want to do every day in the jobs we do.”