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Pentagon Hopes Network Consolidation Will Result in Fewer SysAdmins

by on July 17, 2013

An additional benefit of the DoD’s consolidation of some 15,000 military networks will be the need for fewer systems administrators, at least according to Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey. In a speech to the Brookings Institute on June 27, Dempsey said the coming plan for DoD network consolidation, known as the “Joint Information Environment,” should make military and agency IT less vulnerable to insider threats, by reducing the number of admins who have elevated system rights.

Obviously referring to the Snowden issue, Dempsey said that requiring fewer admins should help mitigate insider threat. Demonstrating the size of the current problem, Pentagon spokesman Air Force Lt. Col. Damien Pickart, said the military has thousands of systems administrators, but he couldn’t provide a precise number.

Dempsey said all nations, including the United States and China, conduct espionage in a variety of domains, including cyber, but China has developed a particular niche of stealing intellectual property.

He said the military has developed a draft of a “Rules of Cyber-Engagement” playbook that describes how the United States should respond to a cyber-attack on the nation’s critical infrastructure. Those steps could include gathering information on the malicious code and the systems under attack and launching an active defense if the attack cannot be repulsed. He said any massive retaliation would require decisions by civilian leaders.

But Dempsey said he opposes private companies launching their own counter-attacks against cyber-assailants “hack-back” attacks, which he felt could be  perceived as hostile acts, and lead to further conflict.

You can read Dempsey’s full speech here.

From → Security

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