Cyber acquisition vexes industry, government

Emerging technologies that help increase cybersecurity for the United States are hard to buy since these technologies change so quickly, says the head of the U.S. Army Cyber Command.

Emerging technologies that help increase cybersecurity for the United States are hard to acquire since these technologies change so quickly, said Lt. Gen. Edward Cardon, commanding general, U.S. Army Cyber Command.

“The Army has great processes to get things for the department, but when you start to talk about technologies that are transitioning so far, our processes just aren’t good enough to operate at that speed,” he said.

There is widespread recognition that this needs to be addressed, Cardon added.

The good news, he said, is that the Army took steps in the right direction during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and there may be a way forward from there.

What is essential to any progress, however, is partnership with industry. “I think we absolutely have to have a strong, strong partnership with industry; in fact, in many ways, I think industry will lead in this space, and we have to find ways of working together,” Cardon said.

One way that the Army has been working toward this partnership is through the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence, which provides real-world cybersecurity solutions based on commercially available technologies, bringing together experts from industry, government and academia.

The private sector is moving very fast right now, Cardon said, which is part of the challenge as well. “What we’re looking at today is going to be much different in three to five years, being driven by data analytics, advanced computing, wireless and mobile,” he said. “And I’m afraid that if we invest in what we’re looking at today, we won’t be positioned properly [in the future].”

Finally, industry and government need a way to share people in a way that benefits both sides. There is currently no mechanism for a government employee to switch over to a company, and vice versa, Cardon said. This would be helpful in the future for building relationships and sharing expertise, he added.