by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Pentagon faces “significant” cyber security challenges as the U.S. military becomes reliant on electronic networks and infrastructure to conduct its operations, according to the Defense Department’s inspector general.
The Pentagon inspector general reviewed nearly two-dozen unclassified government reports addressing a “wide range of cyber security weaknesses” in Defense Department systems that were issued in fiscal year 2016, concluding that the department needs to overcome major hurdles in cyber security.
The report comes amid increased concern about cyber attacks from China and Russia.
“Correcting cyber security weaknesses and maintaining adequate cyber security is critical, as the DoD has become increasingly reliant on cyber space to enable its military, intelligence, and business operations to perform the full spectrum of military operations,” the inspector general wrote in the report issued last week. “Although DoD has taken steps to increase cyber security over its systems, networks, and infrastructure, significant challenges remain.”
The redacted report, which offers no new recommendations but synthesizes a number of findings about weaknesses between Aug. 2015 and July 2016, offers a stark look at how the Pentagon has “struggled” to manage information security.
Pentagon leaders still need to address 138 recommendations that the inspector general, individual military branches, and the Government Accountability Office had made as of August 2015 to improve a wide range of cyber security weaknesses in its systems and networks. In fiscal year 2016, government watchdogs made 61 additional recommendations to the Pentagon to correct weaknesses in cyber security.