Pentagon Joins With GSA to Improve Cybersecurity in Acquisitions

“GSA and the Department of Defense will continue to engage stakeholders to develop a repeatable process to address cyber risks in the development, acquisition, sustainment, and disposal lifecycles for all federal procurements,” Dan Tangherlini said. “GSA and the Department of Defense will continue to engage stakeholders to develop a repeatable process to address cyber risks in the development, acquisition, sustainment, and disposal lifecycles for all federal procurements,” Dan Tangherlini said. Caitlin Fairchild/GovExec.com

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel joined General Services Administration chief Dan Tangherlini on Wednesday to unveil six recommendations for better protecting the government acquisition system from cyberattacks.

The joint report to President Obama complies with a February 2013 executive order and a presidential policy directive to boost cybersecurity governmentwide. The Homeland Security Department together with private sector companies is coordinating that effort.

“The ultimate goal of the recommendations is to strengthen the federal government’s cybersecurity by improving management of the people, processes, and technology affected by the Federal Acquisition System,” said Tangherlini in a statement. “GSA and the Department of Defense will continue to engage stakeholders to develop a repeatable process to address cyber risks in the development, acquisition, sustainment, and disposal lifecycles for all federal procurements.”

The report by an interagency working group notes that “purchasing products and services that have appropriate cybersecurity designed and built in may have a higher up-front cost in some cases, but doing so reduces total cost of ownership by providing risk mitigation and reducing the need to fix vulnerabilities in fielded solutions.”

The six recommended reforms aim to complement existing risk management processes in the 2002 Federal Information Security Management Act and in guidance from the Office of Management and Budget. They would:

  • Institute baseline cybersecurity requirements as a condition of contract award for appropriate acquisitions;
  • Include cybersecurity in acquisition trainings;
  • Develop common cybersecurity definitions for federal acquisitions;
  • Institute a federal acquisition cyber risk management strategy;
  • Include a requirement to purchase from original equipment manufacturers, their authorized resellers, or other trusted sources;
  • Increase government accountability for cyber risk management. 

The Federal Register will publish a request for public comment on the draft plan in February.

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