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New DOD strategy aims to improve contractors’ cybersecurity, resiliency

To protect military contractors from adversary cyber attacks and intrusions, the Defense Department must commit to educating, measuring and driving improvements in the digital security and resiliency of the industrial base, according to new strategic guidance from the Pentagon.

The Defense Industrial Base Cybersecurity Strategy, released Thursday, is intended to steer the department and industry’s response to threats. Signed by Deputy Secretary Kathleen Hicks, it aims to strengthen companies doing business with the Pentagon — including small businesses and subcontractors — against adversaries seeking access to sensitive data, proprietary information and intellectual property of weapon systems and production nodes.

As part of that effort, the Pentagon will work with the defense industrial base (DIB) to enhance their network posture while also providing more cohesive strategic guidance for companies, according to David McKeown, deputy chief information officer for cybersecurity.

“Over the last several years the DIB has made great strides in improving cyber resiliency, security, compliance and understanding the threat landscape,” McKeown told reporters Thursday ahead of the document’s release. “Together through the DIB cybersecurity strategy, we will further advance our goals and improve DIB cybersecurity.”

The document outlines four main goals as well as corresponding objectives that cover activities from fiscal 2024 to 2027. It notes that while many of the efforts listed have either already begun or are part of the Pentagon’s broader approach to industrial base cybersecurity, the strategy will “sharpen the focus, collaboration and integration” of those objectives.

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