Federal Watchdog Approves Pentagon Progress on Scheduled Cybersecurity Improvements

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In a new report from the United States Government Accountability Office, the Department of Defense is effectively working towards securing sensitive networks among a handful of pressing cyber-challenges from adversarial foreign entities who are focused on accessing US intel.

According to the new federal watchdog report, the Department of Defense recorded at least 70 percent compliance in the implementation of four specific protections for controlled, unclassified information, since January.  This could include data connected to things like critical technologies as well as information on the development and operation of various weapons and defense infrastructure improvements.

This is important because internal Pentagon networks store a significant amount of data that is nearly always under threat of potential attack from international competitors. These adversaries can include sometimes hostile countries like China, Iran, Russia, and North Korea.  Of course, the Russian assault on Ukraine continues to pile on new concerns regarding US cybersecurity, with federal US officials and other international political experts warning that Moscow’s malevolent cyber history is not to be taken lightly.

Indeed, any breach of CUI systems in the US, coupled with more widespread dissemination or theft of this information could definitely pose a serious security threat to the United States.

In a memo to congressional committees, released on May 19, the Government Accountability Office wrote “Safeguarding federal computer systems has been a longstanding concern. Underscoring the importance of this issue, we have included cybersecurity on our high-risk list since 1997.”

Published on Thursday, the GAO’s evaluation found that although no department has been fully compliant with implementing CUI cybersecurity requirements, the Pentagon is making decent strides in the right direction.  This GAO report focused on nearly 3,000 CUI systems between May 2021 and May 2022; most of these systems are owned by the various branches of the US military, including the Army, the Air Force, the Marine Corps, the Navy, and even the Defense Health Agency.