SPAWAR Officer: US Navy Lacks Tools to Nab Cyber Crooks

Photo: Jared M. King

Detecting cyber threats against the Defense Department networks and deleting them from military systems remains problematic because program managers cannot acquire tools and infrastructure fast enough, says a program manager at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center.

“The adversary reacts in days and hours. Today, we react in years,” Kevin P. McNally told reporters during an industry conference sponsored by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association and the U.S. Naval Institute.

National Defense Magazine reported that McNally aims to quickly deploy new network infrastructure and capabilities to cyber professionals within months,  to provide defensive capabilities on a six-month to a year basis, something he described as  “one of our biggest challenges.”

The Defense Department is notorious for moving at a snail’s pace when it comes to procurement; to purchase a weapons system sometimes takes decades. The acquisition model works for procuring large-scale, high-stakes programs such as aircraft carriers and jet fighters. However, when it comes to cyber warfare, time is of the essence, and “you can’t react fast enough,” McNally said.

What remains the biggest threat to cybersecurity is the unknown attack, and accelerating the acquisitions process will help alleviate the situation, he added.

“We have a long ways to go,” McNally said.

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