By Linda Rosencrance
OCTOBER 12, 2005
The U.S. Defense Logistics Agency isn't fully protecting its
information systems, according to a report released yesterday by the
Government Accountability Office (GAO) (download PDF) .
The Defense Logistics Agency, or DLA, is responsible for providing
food, fuel, medical supplies, clothing, spare parts for weapon systems
and construction materials to support the country's military forces.
The GAO had been asked to review the effectiveness of its operations
-- including the DLA's information security program -- by members of
the congressional Committee on Armed Services.
According to the report, the DLA has made some progress in
implementing elements of its information security program but needs to
Although the agency has established a central security management
group and appointed a senior information security officer to manage
the program, it has not consistently assessed risks to its systems
from unauthorized access, use, disclosure or destruction of
information, GAO officials said.
In addition, employees responsible for the agency's information
security haven't gotten enough training; annual security testing and
evaluation of management and operational controls haven't been done;
and plans to mitigate known IS deficiencies haven't been completed,
the GAO said.
The weaknesses in the agency's management and oversight of its
security program "place DLA's information and information systems at
risk," the agency concluded. It also said that until the DLA addresses
the weaknesses and implements an agencywide information security
program, it may not be able to protect its information or systems,
according to the report.
The GAO made a number of recommendations, calling on the DLA to:
* Consistently assess risks that could result from the unauthorized
access, use, disclosure or destruction of information and
* Provide training for employees with major responsibilities for
* Make sure that security training plans are updated and maintained;
* Ensure that annual security evaluations include management,
operational and technical controls of every information system in
In a written response to the GAO, Paul Brinkley, deputy undersecretary
of defense, agreed with most of the GAO's recommendations and
described the agency's efforts to address them. Brinkley said the DLA
is working to fully implement an effective agencywide information
security program, including publication of a Department of Defense
manual that gives detailed guidance for training employees responsible
for information security.
Defense Department officials disagreed with other recommendations,
including the need to annually test the effectiveness of security
controls for all systems. According to Brinkley, that recommendation
amounts to annual recertification, and is neither practical nor
The GAO countered that it doesn't expect all information assurance
controls for all systems to be evaluated annually, but to ensure that
DLA's testing efforts include management, operational and technical
controls of every information system in its inventory.
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