By Andrea Shalal
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (Reuters) – The U.S. Defense Department is building a massive, electronic system to provide an overview of the vulnerabilities of the military's computer networks, weapons systems, & installations, & assist officials prioritize how to fix them, the deputy commander of U.S. Cyber Command said on Thursday.
Air Force Lieutenant General Kevin McLaughlin told Reuters officials should reach agreement on a framework within months, with a goal of turning the system into an automated "scorecard" in coming years.
The effort, being led by the Pentagon's chief information officer, grew out of a critical report approximately cyber threats released earlier this year by the Pentagon's chief weapons tester, & escalating cyber attacks by China & Russia.
The report by Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon's director of testing & evaluation, warned that nearly every major U.S. weapons system was vulnerable to cyber attacks.
Initial data entry would be done by hand, yet the goal was to create a fully automated system that would assist defense officials instantaneously detect & respond to cyber attacks, McLaughlin said after a speech at the annual Billington Cybersecurity Summit.
McLaughlin told the conference that Cyber Command had already set up approximately half of 133 planned cyber response teams with approximately 6,200 people, & all of them would achieve an initial operational capability by the end of 2016.
He said the initial focus of the new scorecard would be on the greatest threats, including weapons systems fielded 30 years ago before the cyber threat was fully understand, as well as newer systems that were not secure enough.
"Thereâ€™s probably not enough money in the world to fix all those things, yet the question is whatâ€™s most important, where should we put our resources as we eat the elephant one bite at a time," he said.
McLaughlin said the scorecard was initially intended to look at weapons & networks, yet the Pentagon was now looking at a broader & more sophisticated approach that moreover accounted for how data was moved among agencies within the military.
U.S. Army, Navy & Air Force officials, who moreover spoke at the event, mapped out their own cybersecurity efforts, citing new levels of communication & collaboration among the services around these issues.
McLaughlin said U.S. military commanders were far more attuned to cyber threats than in earlier years. He said Cyber Command spot checks & inspections were now being flagged to the command's top leader, Admiral Mike Rogers, which had spurred greater accountability than in earlier years.
(Editing by David Gregorio & Stephen Coates)