Navy rolls out regional cybersecurity centers

New naval regional cybersecurity components will support broader Navy Fleet Cyber Command efforts as the Navy takes on a myriad of network-related challenges.

The Navy is preparing to launch initial operations at four new regional network operation security components that will support the Navy Fleet Cyber Command and help protect naval computer networks, one top Navy official said June 9.

“These [commands] will combine network operations with computer network defense,” and will exploit the adversary, predict future attacks and defend networks, said Rear Adm. Edward Deets III, commander of the Naval Network Warfare Command.

The regional components are estimated to reach initial operating capability around July 1, with full operational capability expected in roughly 18 months, Deets said at the AFCEA Naval IT Day in Vienna, Va.

“It’s critical we take the best of the best and apply it across the world,” he said.

The regional components will be part of Navy efforts to tackle the broader network challenges Deets outlined in his comments, including a complex networking environment that comprises 750,000 users and thousands of networks, servers and devices.

As part of its Cyber Asset Reduction and Security effort, the Navy is working to reduce its network portfolio by 51 percent, and has already cut nearly 1,000 networks, 20,000 servers and more than 32,000 devices, Deets said.

“The fewer number of networks we’re attempting to secure out there, the better,” he said. “We’ve tremendously reduced our vulnerability.”

Deets also said the Navy must improve its ability to define the risks it faces – and how to tackle those risks.

“We’re good at understanding risk and the willingness to mitigate it; we’re good at articulating that there is a risk. But we’re not good at articulating how big of a risk there is, or how much needs to be done to mitigate it,” Deets said. “We have to be able to calculate real risk. Is there risk in social media or instant messaging? How do we get our arms around that?”

But he acknowledged that not every risk can be mitigated and there must be some level of risk acceptance, such as the Navy’s decision to use social networking despite the possible risks it could pose.

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