Hagel: Cybersecurity a Top Priority in Defense Department

Wednesday, 30 Jan 2013 11:58 PM

By Matthew Auerbach

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Defending the country from cyberattacks will be a “continued key challenge” that should "involve the full range of tools at the disposal" of the U.S., according to Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel.

Hagel remained vague about what his cybersecurity strategy would be as head of the Defense Department. He said he will carefully consider various cyber challenges facing the department and confer with other military officials and agencies before making any decisions that will affect the country's cybersecurity policy.

The former Nebraska Senator’s comments came in writing as he responded to questions ahead of his confirmation hearing on Thursday before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

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Noting that the Department of Homeland Security takes the lead in the country’s domestic cybersecurity efforts with the Defense Department providing assistance when needed, Hagel will call for a network of various departments within the federal government and outside industry to act in tandem with one another.

“I believe that the defense, homeland security, and law enforcement communities should work together, and with our private sector partners to improve network defenses, share information on cyber threats, and ensure swift response to threats when they manifest themselves,” he said.

Looming budget cuts to the Defense Department will have an impact on the recruitment and training of skilled military and civilian personnel needed for cyber operations at U.S. Cyber Command, Hagel said.

“This is a high priority area for the Department with regard to investment of both resources and management oversight and, if confirmed, I will review these systems and practices,” he said.

So far, it appears the U.S. has successfully deterred major cyberattacks but thwarting those attacks “will be a continued key challenge,” Hagel said.


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