A Pentagon expert involved in implementing fifth-generation (5G) wireless technologies for the military explained some of the standards-setting and cybersecurity challenges surrounding the technology during an address at the Billington Cybersecurity Summit on September 8.

Dr. Brian Kelley, 5G Principal Investigator at Joint Base San Antonio (JBSA), talked about issues surrounding 5G standards setting, and in particular how key terms are defined versus how they are actually implemented.

“One of the challenges that we find is when we have formal international bodies defining standards, and then we have a set of government agencies defining policies, the question becomes about how you integrate those together,” said Kelley.

One corollary to that integration, he said, is how zero trust security principles come into play.

“The way how you support zero trust right now – in meeting let’s say, NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) guidelines or DoD (Defense Department) guidelines – isn’t really a standards-based framework,” said Kelley.

“I think if we want security to be baked in and that’s what everyone’s looking for, then we need to take these government policies and standards, and rather than having them” be implemented on an ad hoc basis and on a regional basis, policies instead should stem from worldwide standards, Kelley said.

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Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.