The Pentagon on Friday invited a slew of government contractors to meet and share classified information on cyber threats going forward, part of an initiative that the department hopes will reduce the risk of intrusions to government systems.
The information sharing model that the Department of Defense is dubbing the Defense Industrial Base (DIB) Cyber Security/Information Assurance (CS/IA) Program will invite private sector firms to share stories and information about hackers attempting to breach their networks and submit themselves to government damage assessments if necessary, according to a Reuters report.
The program has been years in the making. While less than 40 companies were initially involved in the program’s pilot stage, more than 2,000 currently qualify for membership. Companies with specialized security clearances will be admitted on a first-come, first served basis, the report said.
Ashton Carter, the department’s Deputy Secretary of Defense, said the increased sharing of classified information is crucial to keeping the United States secure, according to a press release issued Friday.
“The expansion of voluntary information sharing between the department and the defense industrial base represents an important step forward in our ability to catch up with widespread cyber threats,” said Carter.
The department first formed the program in 2007, yet it wasn’t until 2009 that it was first reported on. Cyber security- and policy experts have complained that the U.S. government and intelligence sector is too secretive with information about evolving threats. The changes to the CS/IA program now allow organizations like the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security to share more information with a more diverse array of private companies. For more on this, head to the Reuters‘ article.