Langevin Chairs IETC Briefing on Impact of COVID-19 on Defense IT Systems

Nov 19, 2020 Issues: Armed Services, Cybersecurity

WASHINGTON – Chairman Jim Langevin (D-RI) and the House Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities (IETC), today held a briefing by Department of Defense officials including Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy and Director of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and Commander of the Joint Force Headquarters Department of Defense Information Network (JFHQ-DODIN) Vice Admiral Nancy A. Norton, focusing on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the nation’s information and communications technology. The following statement may be attributed to Congressman Langevin, who chaired the briefing:

“Today, I hosted a briefing on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Department of Defense IT systems. I hosted similar calls this year with Department officials on our chem-bio defense program, biological research, and threat reduction efforts with other countries. We must gather lessons learned from the COVID-19 response as we prepare for the next phase of the pandemic and other bio threats in the future. Tragically, cases have soared in recent weeks, hospitals are filling up, and deaths are rising.

“This brief focused on the vulnerabilities of the Department of Defense’s information and communications technology. This year, the Department has worked to secure information networks and enable teleworking, even with sensitive information. Going forward, we must continue to modernize so that we harness the latest digital technology and, ultimately, never send our servicemembers into a fair fight.

“We must also take this moment to identify how we can better fight through a pandemic. This year, scientists and engineers advanced our bio detection and response capabilities. Scientists also built on defense research from earlier years that accelerated our vaccine production process. We must continue to support American ingenuity and early-stage, basic research. This is how we confront challenges before they become crises.

“As we approach winter, we cannot let our guard down. Nor can we accept defeat in the face of the remaining work that lies ahead. Our country has risen to the occasion before and stared down long odds many times. We will prevail again. By learning from this year, we will be stronger in 2021 against the pandemic. We will be better equipped against future biological threats and other emerging threats in the decades to come.”