Navy forms team to boost shipboard cybersecurity

Outdated software aboard Navy ships can leave systems vulnerable, so the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command has formed a Cyber Readiness Team to tackle the fleet’s cybersecurity issues. SPAWAR announced the formation of the CRT at the C4ISR Symposium last week in San Diego.

Given the importance of the network to any operation these days, cybersecurity is a key component of fleet readiness, and ships undergo regular Cyber Security Inspections. But passing those inspections has been a challenge.

"The majority of the stuff causing ships to fail inspections at an alarming rate is the old systems, or legacy capabilities, out there that aren't secure," Rob Wolborsky, executive director of SPAWAR’s Fleet Readiness Directorate, said during a panel discussion at the symposium, according to a Navy report.

"Many of the afloat systems have not been as successful passing cyber inspections," said Capt. John Robey, FRD program manager. "The afloat is harder because of more variation and differences in configurations. We are focusing our energies this year on helping them pass these inspections."

The CRT, which includes personnel from FRD, program offices and SPAWAR engineering and corporate operations, will work to keep the fleet up to date with requirements and security, drawing on its own expertise as well as that of industry partners, the Navy said.

The Navy hopes it alleviates what has become a recurring problem.

"What we are seeing is our inability to sustain the level of effort required to meet inspection requirements," said another panelist, Capt. David Wirth, director communications and information systems at Commander, Third Fleet. "What the fleet really needs is the ability to sustain a consistent level of readiness. Right now, it's like building a house and working down to the foundation."

The CRT, which the Navy said is a new concept, will try to cut through the bureaucratic layers that hamper both training and readiness. "We need to look at investing money in IT training for our sailors," said Capt. Jose Cisneros, director of communications and information systems at Commander Naval Air Forces. "We don't have the embedded support we need either. We need to take a look at how we are addressing those problems, too."



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