New Navy Division Will Help Resource Cyber Initiatives

By Yasmin Tadjdeh

In the face of growing digital threats, the Navy has established a new division within the office of the chief of naval operations to oversee the service’s cyber security efforts.

The unit will build upon the efforts of “Task Force Cyber Awakening,” which was formed last year to remediate vulnerabilities after the service’s networks were hacked in the fall of 2013.

“It’s an active fight against a witty enemy and it’s ongoing every day,” Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Dominance Vice Adm. Ted Brunch told reporters Oct. 1, as the federal government kicked off “cyber security awareness month.”

The Navy Cybersecurity Division was established in September by outgoing Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert.

The staff of about 40 people will have wide-ranging responsibilities, including synchronizing cyber strategy, standards and requirements, and evaluating and prioritizing investments, Navy officials said.

“A big part of that puzzle is making sure we get the standards right … so that we can bake in some of the cyber security” into systems “as opposed to having it bolted on like we have done” in the past, Branch said.

Troy Johnson, the director of the new division, said oversight of compliance with cyber requirements early in the acquisition process would be a key task for his office.

The Navy sees dealing with cyber vulnerabilities as an enduring problem. Branch said the amount of money dedicated to the new group’s work would continue to increase.

“There’s real money in this game so far,” he said. “We spent about $225 million in [fiscal years] ’14 and ’15. That money was largely for remediations” to address network incursions and threats, Branch said. “We have about $300 million programmed in … [fiscal year] ’16, and we expect that number to grow in the out years.”

He said the Navy would reach out to industry as it tries to tackle cyber challenges.

“We are partnering with industry and we’re partnering with academia to try to get to the best solution and the most cost-effective solution, and we will continue to do that,” Branch said. “A lot of times we might not be on the cutting edge at DoD with some of the cyber security technology or even methods … It’s very definitely in our interest to continue those partnerships and continue to expand” them, Branch said.

He expects the new cyber division to have a “big” role in setting and vetting the requirements for the Next Generation Enterprise Network follow-on contracts. The NGEN is expected to provide “secure, net-centric data and services” to Navy and Marine Corps personnel, according to the Navy.

Topics: Cyber, Cybersecurity

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