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Paul Bartock, NSA; James Clausen, DoD; and Bill Lord, Air Force receiving the National Cybersecurity Innovation Award, with White House Cyber Coordinator Howard Schmidt, at the National Cybersecurity Innovation Conference in Washington DC. (PRNewsFoto/SANS Institute, Daniel McGarrity)

Paul Bartock, NSA; James Clausen, DoD; and Bill Lord, Air Force receiving the National Cybersecurity Innovation Award, with White House Cyber Coordinator Howard Schmidt, at the National Cybersecurity Innovation Conference in Washington DC. (PRNewsFoto/SANS Institute, Daniel McGarrity)

The Chief Information Officers of the Department of Defense, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, along with the U.S. Central Command and the DoD Joint Consensus Working Group, won the 2011 U.S. National Cybersecurity Innovation Award presented by the SANS Institute.

They were honored for developments in “baking” security into the configurations of computers deployed into warzones. That technique, originally pioneered by the Air Force between 2003 and 2005, was ultimately spread to all DOD computers.

The program resulted in the following benefits:

  • Systems get into the fight faster because the soldiers don’t have to reconfigure the systems after the software is installed.
  • Systems are significantly safer because they are configured — out of the box — to withstand most common attacks.
  • Systems require significantly less system administrator time reducing the load on (and chances of errors by) recruits without a lot of experience.
  • Systems can be patched much more quickly without concern for incompatibilities, so they can respond fast to new threats.
  • Systems with the UGM enable easier interoperability because they share common operating characteristics.