The Pentagon official in charge of the military’s cyber unit says the government should create a “secure zone” for federal agencies and critical private sector industries to protect them from attacks, reports The Hill. General Keith Alexander said a network sectioned off from the rest of the Internet is probably inevitable for systems crucial to national security. Alexander said setting up such a network would be technically straightforward, but difficult to sell to the businesses involved. Explaining the measure to the public would also be a challenge, he added. The U.S. Cyber Command chief testified in front of the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday.
Alexander said the Pentagon would likely have to work with the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI to secure the country’s critical infrastructure, 85 percent of which is owned by private companies. He said the agencies may need additional powers to take action during a cyber attack. Several pieces of competing cybersecurity legislation pending in Congress would give them that power, but lawmakers have been unable to settle on which agency should regulate civilian cybersecurity. DHS is currently in charge of protecting civilian networks. Alexander said the Pentagon has no role and added that he isn’t sure if it should operate domestically unless asked for help.