CAPITOL HILL The Pentagon is kicking off a new effort to integrate counterintelligence and law enforcement into acquisition, citing a string of successful Chinese hacks that resulted in the theft of defense secrets.
The Pentagon’s deputy secretary for intelligence, Kari Bingen, told lawmakers at the House Armed Services Committee today that the Pentagon can no longer be concerned only with cost, schedule, and performance. “We must establish security as a fourth pillar in defense acquisition,” she said, while making security “a major factor in competitiveness for U.S. government business.”
The plan, dubbed “Deliver Uncompromised,” is looking for ways the Pentagon can work with the defense industry on a case by case basis to toughen security and head off threats, adding security and counterintelligence assets “to augment our collection and analysis capabilities, gain a more comprehensive understanding to threats against our technologies.”
The announcement came days after reports emerged that China had hacked into a U.S. defense contractor, stealing classified information about undersea warfare technologies, including plans to develop a supersonic anti-ship missile for use on U.S. submarines by 2020.
The episode was seemingly referenced by Rep. Adam Smith, who tore into the administration for failing to put together an industrial-base policy to confront Chinese and individuals’ hacking attempts.
“We had a briefing yesterday on a cyber breach, and it was shocking how disorganized, unprepared, and, quite frankly, utterly clueless the branch of the military was that had been breached,” Smith said.
Bingen added that the current security procedures for government contractors are “checklist-based,” and ineffective for a new era of sophisticated penetration by a variety of means. New rules must be “risk-based” and “informed by the threat and the department’s technology protection priorities.”
She acknowledged that the new scrutiny might not be wholly welcome by industry. “It’s probably going to be more uncomfortable for industry, but we need them as a partner to do this if they’re going to be able to deliver uncompromised.”
Another top Pentagon official, appearing alongside Bingen, compared Chinese theft of American technologies, hacking defense contractors, and investing in U.S. technology companies to the illegal Chinese construction of military outposts in the South China Sea.
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