Pentagon shoring up cyber defenses with lots of help from private firms as hacking of systems continues to increase

( Top cyber officials at the Pentagon have finally figured out they don’t have the assets in-house to shore up defenses against cyber attacks so they have turned to the private sector for help, Bloomberg News reported.

As such, the Defense Department has begun sending career personnel on tours with private cybersecurity firms as well as bringing in specialists from those companies so they can learn the skills that will be necessary to defend military networks from hackers, according to the Pentagon’s chief information officer.

“There’s not a time when I’m not being attacked somewhere in the world,” Terry Halvorsen said at an event in Washington recently that was hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.

“We’re looking to industry to help us solve some specific areas.”

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For instance, Halvorsen said, DoD brought in a specialist in computer server routing technology from tech giant Cisco Systems, Inc.

Earlier this year Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Russian hackers had managed to penetrate the Pentagon’s unclassified network, though Halverson would not discuss details surrounding that hack – or details of any other threats, Bloomberg News reported.

“I think Russian hackers are a serious threat,” he said.

As has reported, U.S. cyber security officials have discovered that Russian hackers have burrowed deep into U.S. infrastructure such as power stations and financial networks, according to James Clapper, the U.S. director of National Intelligence, in congressional testimony earlier this year.

“Politically motivated cyber attacks are now a growing reality, and foreign actors are reconnoitering and developing access to U.S. critical infrastructure systems, which might be quickly exploited for disruption if an adversary’s intent became hostile,” Clapper said in prepared remarks for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

In his Sept. 10 testimony, Clapper broke from previous public statements regarding cyber threats. In the past open testimony provided very limited mention of explicit links between nations and cyber attacks, as noted at

Clapper also talked about how Russian cyber warfare specialists are developing the capacity to remotely access U.S. industrial control systems that are utilized to manage vital infrastructure.

“Unknown Russian actors successfully compromised the product supply chains of at least three [industrial control system] vendors so that customers downloaded malicious software designed to facilitate exploitation directly from the vendors’ websites along with legitimate software updates…” Clapper said.

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