Serious gaps in military software that make America vulnerable to an enemy who launches a cyberattack are causing Congress to consider a $200 million, three-year effort to close those gaps.
Both House and Senate versions of the allocation under the $612 billion 2016 defense authorization bill are expected to be completed by the end of summer.
But the Senate, fearing military slowness in implementing necessary fixes to the nation's computerized defense, is also considering an additional $75 million to jump start U.S. Cyber Command efforts to upgrade software systems, The Washington Free Beacon reports
The House Armed Services Committee said in a report that it "is concerned that progress on the identification and remediation of cyber vulnerabilities on vital legacy platforms may be lagging.
"Moreover, the committee is concerned that without the direction and funding to immediately address these vulnerabilities, program leaders will continue to focus limited resources on other platform needs," the Free Beacon reported.
Those concerns are based on a 2013 report from the Defense Science Board
, "Resilient Military Systems and the Advanced Cyber Threat," which found that the military's cyber-protection systems are lagging, and added that the Department of Defense (DOD) "is not prepared to defend against this threat."
Further, the report states that the U.S. "cannot be confident that our critical Information Technology (IT) systems will work under attack from a sophisticated and well-resourced opponent utilizing cyber capabilities in combination with all of their military and intelligence capabilities," and that "It will take years for the Department to build an effective response to the cyber threat to include elements of deterrence, mission assurance and offensive cyber capabilities."
The report warns that U.S. "Red Teams" testing military computer systems "using cyber attack tools which can be downloaded from the Internet, are very successful at defeating our systems."
Meanwhile, China has hacked into U.S. defense contractors, obtaining information on defense systems such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which could enable China to "disrupt the aircraft's sophisticated electronics, rendering the jet either ineffective in combat or, more likely, vulnerable to increasingly sophisticated Chinese air defenses," the Free Beacon reports.
It adds, "Chinese military writings have also identified U.S. command and control networks as vulnerable to disruption by cyber strikes and major targets for cyber warfare attacks."
The Defense Science Board report notes that DOD and contractor technology, "built on inherently insecure architectures that are composed of, and increasingly using, foreign parts," already have resulted in "staggering losses of system design information."
In a white paper outlining its future defense plans, China recently included plans for increased development in cyberspace warfare, Bloomberg News reports
The Science Board report calls for development of a "cyber resilient force" which can resist, or quickly recover from, cyberattacks.
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