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Homeland Security

CYBERSAFE Team Conducts Initial Pilot at SPAWAR

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS151106-19
Release Date: 11/6/2015 5:04:00 PM

By Tina C. Stillions, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- A multi-disciplined Navy audit team conducted a CYBERSAFE initial pilot at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) during the week of Nov. 2-6.

The week long effort was a two-phased process that included a 'functional audit' of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV), Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (PEO C4I) and SPAWAR to make certain the organizations have identified the right personnel, granted sufficient authority and established through processes to execute the CYBERSAFE program. The second phase of the 'test-drive' was an end-to-end review of each organization's processes to ensure program managers understood and were able to identify, develop and certify CYBERSAFE material solutions, as well as identify and modify in-service programs through material or non-material solutions.

'The purpose of the CYBERSAFE program is to provide maximum reasonable assurance of the survivability and resiliency of critical warfighting information systems and platforms,' said Ed Lazarski, SPAWAR Office of the Chief Engineer and director of Cybersecurity for PEO C4I. 'The joint effort addresses the security controls for a subset of mission-critical Navy systems. The result will be more secure Navy networks.'

CYBERSAFE is modeled after SUBSAFE which is the rigorous submarine safety program begun after the loss of the USS Thresher in 1963. Like the submarine program, CYBERSAFE will harden a critical subset of warfighting components, which could be certain computer systems or parts of the network. CYBERSAFE will apply more stringent requirements to these components before and after fielding to ensure they are secure. CYBERSAFE will also require changes in crew proficiency and culture to implement these requirements.

As a first test case, the audit team used PEO C4I's Automated Digital Network System (ADNS) to walk through the process, which helped them identify how existing procedures, such as the Enterprise Change Request process, can be used to implement new security controls. During the exercise, the team assessed the processes for CYBERSAFE certification to include establishing the CYBERSAFE grade, identifying and implementing security controls, certifying CYBERSAFE and continuously monitoring CYBERSAFE compliance.

'Because of the interconnected nature of today's Navy systems, a new approach is required,' said Lazarski. 'Adversaries are able to exploit weaknesses in any of these systems, including the cyber gaps between them, to access weapons and platforms tasked with network security. In order to ensure comprehensive protection, the Navy needs to protect all the critical systems from the various forms of attack.'

To accomplish that goal, material and software solutions, plus procedural compliance, must be instituted so that cyber incidents are adequately prevented, detected, analyzed, reported, responded to and restored from without abruptly or unexpectedly impacting mission capability, in other words that they are CYBERSAFE.

According to SPAWAR CYBERSAFE Program Director Sudha Vyas, the audit helped determine the level of readiness for the organization, the first of the Navy systems commands to take a program like ADNS and put it through a CYBERSAFE test drive.

'We selected ADNS as the first program to put through the audit process, because we wanted to identify who has a role in execution and what their role would be,' said Vyas. 'The functional audit included leveraging draft policies into auditable attributes in order to demonstrate that the necessary authorities are in place. Although we may not have enough people yet, the test drive showed us that we have enough structure to implement CYBERSAFE.'

The team conducted individual functional audits of OPNAV, SPAWAR and PEO C4I to assess compliance with the draft CYBERSAFE Instruction. During their review, they uncovered no major process deficiencies and determined that all three organizations are positioned to begin execution of the CYBERSAFE program.

'The team was great. At one point, we had 40-50 people in the room working through the various processes,' said Vyas. 'SPAWAR did much of the initial heavy lifting and we found no major deficiencies or roadblocks to prevent implementation and execution of CYBERSAFE.'

As the Navy's Information Dominance systems command, SPAWAR designs, develops and deploys advanced cyber communications and information capabilities. With more than 8,900 active duty military and civil service professionals located around the world and close to the fleet, SPAWAR is at the forefront of research, engineering, acquisition and support services that provide vital decision superiority to our forces at the right time and for the right cost.

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