News Release

DoD News Briefing

Thursday, September 17, 1998 - 1:55 p.m.
Presenter: Mr. Kenneth H. Bacon, ASD (PA)


Q: Has there been a decision yet to scrub those military web sites? And could you say how many web sites there are, and the sorts of information that would be removed from them?

A: First of all there has been no decision signed out on the question of web site security. I do not know offhand how many military web sites there are, but there are a lot I can tell you. Hundreds may understate it. But the policy has not been signed out yet by Deputy Secretary Hamre.

Q: Do you have any sense of the kind of information that you're concerned about...

A: Some of it is personal information such as social security numbers, home addresses, telephone numbers, home telephone numbers, things like that. Some of the information would deal with very specific information about the capabilities of weapons, particularly weapons that are being developed through the contracting process, that might come out through the contracting process. A third area would be anything that looked like, that might provide very detailed floor plans of facilities, for instance certain types of facilities.

Those are the types of issues that we're looking at now, and as I said, this is something of concern to the Joint Staff and also to Secretary Cohen and Deputy Secretary Hamre.

We've been looking at a way to balance the convenience of the web sites and to make them helpful and functional without giving away information that might lead to compromises of personal or other types of security.

Q: What can you say about the way in which this problem developed? Was it a lack of oversight and planning in terms of web site technology? Or... Why are we seeing this now?

A: First of all, as I said on Tuesday, we're trying to act before real problems develop. The best problems are ones you head off before they become bad problems. That's what we're attempting to do. We're attempting to make people more conscious of web site security issues. That's really the goal of the policy that's in draft form now.

Q: But in terms of planning or strategizing before web sites were even created...

A: I think that web sites bring out creativity and a desire to disclose information in people. That's what they're designed for and many of the people who have designed these web sites want to make them as sort of full of information as possible.

All we're asking commanders to do, or we will ask commanders to do, is to review the web sites with a couple of basic principles that deal with personal and other types of security, and to make sure that they don't give out information that could compromise our very legitimate security needs.

Q: Were technical requirements for arms, or for weapons development contracts being put on web sites?

A: I listed that as an example of the type of thing we'd be concerned about. I don't want to get into specifics. I don't think it's appropriate to do that right now.

We estimate that there are about one thousand Department of Defense web sites, but there is no central registry of web sites in the Department so we don't have a clear number. Any of you who have logged onto DefenseLink, and I hope all of you have, because it's the window into the public affairs office at the Department of Defense, and the best way to get information quickly and cheaply. Any of you who have logged into that know that you can go from DefenseLink which is the DoD web site into web sites for each of the services, for instance. From there you can go into web sites for a specific unit. Sometimes even specific ships. So there's this sort of multiplication effect where you go into the Navy web site and from there you can go into many other web sites down to carrier battle groups or ships. You can go into web sites for particular units or wings and the Marine Corps, Army, and Air Force.

Then of course many agencies, many defense agencies, also have their own web sites, and many installations. For instance if you wanted to learn the history of Moody Air Force Base, you could find the Moody Air Force Base web site and it would give you a history of the base and tell you who the commander was and the command structure and what units are assigned there. I'm sure you can do this for almost any installation in the military. Moody is one I happen to have explored myself. It's quite an exciting web site. If any of you are interested in the history of Moody Air Force Base, I commend it to you.


Press: Thank you.