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Defense and Intelligence

DIA to Reinforce Cyber Defenses of Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System

Doug Cossa,

Chief Information

Officer, DIA

DIA to Reinforce Cyber Defenses of Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System

The Defense Intelligence Agency is looking to implement cybersecurity upgrades on the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System as part of an extensive modernization initiative.

JWICS is a government network that stores top-secret and sensitive compartmented information for the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community. It is described by officials as a top-secret super information highway.

According to DIA Chief Information Officer Doug Cossa, upgrades are necessary as some JWICS components are decades old, Breaking Defense reported Wednesday.

The network will be fortified with bulk encryption and zero trust security, Cossa said at a GovCon Wire event.

Zero trust security is becoming a central part of agencies’ cybersecurity strategies amid the increasing need to better secure federal networks. It is one aspect highlighted in President Joe Biden’s May cybersecurity executive order.

In addition to reinforcing the JWICS’ cyber defense, the network modernization effort also includes building in additional network redundancies, bandwidth expansion and incorporation of network self-healing capabilities.

JWICS is one of two aging intelligence systems that the DIA wants to modernize.

The 30-year old Modernized Integrated Database is expected to be replaced by the Machine-assisted Analytic Rapid-repository System by 2025.

MARS is a computing-based system powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning. It is being developed to facilitate automated big data analytics and free up intelligence analysts to perform more complex tasks.

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