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ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala...Anniston Army Depot recently passed the Department of Defense’s Command Cyber Readiness Inspection for 2020 with an excellent rating. The CCRI, mandatory every three years, focuses on evaluating the installation’s compliance with DOD security orders and directives, assessing network vulnerabilities, physical and traditional security and user education and awareness.

The inspection measures the installation's compliance with the U.S. Cyber Command and Joint Force Headquarters Department of Defense Information Network, which are necessary to direct actions for responding to emerging threats and attack methods.

Some of the contributing factors are culture, which examines and looks for indications that the command leadership is fully engaged in the cybersecurity program, capability which looks at the depot’s alignment with the Regional Cyber Center-Conus as our computer cyber security service provider and conduct which examines information assurance training, configuration management processes, and vulnerability processes.

Depot commander, Col. Marvin Walker, made the announcement during last month’s staff meeting. “This is one of the best scores yet and we are thankful for the proficiency of the Directorate of Information Management staff and supporting organizations,” he said.

“An inspection of this magnitude takes precedence and so much goes on behind the scene to ensure the installation is ready,” said Bill McDuffie, the Director of Information Management.

While the Directorate of Information Management takes the lead, the inspection is an installation inspection of the Commander’s Cybersecurity/Computer Network Defense posture.

“Teamwork, partnering and communicating are key elements,” he said.  “Teamwork embodies and really necessitates the successful collaboration and communication through the command staff, directors, office chiefs, and tenant organizations. Their cooperation ensured this inspection was a top priority for our organization.”

According to McDuffie, each DOIM administrator was responsible for implementing all security controls and creating documentation for their systems. Additionally, personnel briefed twice per week starting over six-months ago in preparation for the November inspection, while providing progress reports for their area.  The DOIM cybersecurity division coordinated with server administrators, desktop administrators, and network administrators to make certain all technology areas were as compliant as possible. Cybersecurity ran scans and reported results to system administrators. Exception documentations were written, as required, to address controls that could not be implemented.

Preparation also resulted in a two-week black out period, which placed a halt on some normal daily operations, to include placing freezes on network changes, stops on imaging electronic devices and other non-critical information management requests.

McDuffie was quick to point out the inspection was not about any one person. “The real measure is reflected in the depot’s dedication and teamwork, which came together with a common goal of achieving excellence,” he said.

The workforce will always be a critical part of the installation's cyber security posture. While firewalls and vulnerability scanners assist in protecting our networks, it’s an educated workforce that’s key to combating social engineering and related threats, McDuffie added.

Employees can help by:

o   Removing and securing your Common Access Card when not at your computer

o   Rebooting your computer daily and leaving it ‘powered’ on at the end of the day

o   Log in the NIPR and SIPR computer system monthly.

o   Log in and remain connected NIPR and SIPR computers to the network for a minimum of eight hours twice weekly.

o   Complete your Cyber Awareness training annually and update the Assurance User Agreement. [This training is continually updated to illustrate the latest trends and methods being employed against us by our adversaries. The threat actors are consistently targeting U.S. installations using a variety of nefarious mechanisms (e.g. phishing emails, social networks, and click bait).]