How the Pentagon’s Private-Sector Cyber Exchanges Will Change the Game in IT

In October of 2015, the Defense Department’s CIO, Terry Halverson, announced that the Pentagon will bring in private sector IT experts in an exchange process that will also send military personnel into the corporate world.

This program is being referred to as the Information Technology Exchange Program (ITEP). It is believed that federal agencies need to bring in private expertise in order and vice-versa in order to share information between the sectors and achieve continuous protection from cyberthreats.

Halverson also said the goal for the Department of Defense officials is to gain a better understanding of the economic aspects of cybersecurity and work with advanced technologies like software-defined networking (SDN). The IT staff will be working with either Halverson’s staff or the CIO staffs at the individual military services, according to Defense Systems.

This will greatly change the modern IT game. Right out of the gate, companies participating in this exchange will need to undergo comprehensive security clearance.

In a Washington Post article, Eric Rosenbach, deputy assistant secretary of defense for cyberpolicy, said, “ ‘You are using special intelligence information derived from somewhere else in the world.’”

The IT staff bound to be a part of this program have a bit of different purpose than they would in the private sector. This affects the selection and hiring process of potential ITEP staffers. Robert Roffey, Cisco’s Director of Advanced Services, recognizes this value for ITEP applicants in an article on the Department of Defense’s website. “ ‘Let’s be honest, the government is completely different…I’m a huge fan of [the notion] that we as professionals are made up as a mosaic of our experiences, and the broader and deeper those experiences, the more dynamic our mosaic is.’”

ITEP will make waves of change in the IT world but it’s no secret how beneficial this new program is for both the defense community and the private enterprise community.