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Companies serving the Department of Defense (DoD) within the contracting, innovation, and R&D community face unprecedented cybersecurity threats, highlighting the need for strategic planning and clear roadmaps to a stronger cyber posture rooted in zero trust.

Defense companies are a prime target for cyber criminals as they seek technical information and intellectual property (IP) used in the development, manufacture, and maintenance of technologies, applications, and IT systems.

As DoD’s 2023 Cyber Strategy points out, cyberattacks and threats to sensitive technologies and technical information can complicate new technology acquisition. These threats underscore the need to secure proprietary information used in DoD technologies and alleviate rising IT and technology acquisition costs, which hinder digital modernization and transformation.

Roadmapping and strategic planning for scalable cybersecurity solutions not only accelerates overall IT and digital modernization efforts but also improves compliance, cyber threat response times, and software usage rates, saving DoD hundreds of work hours, millions of dollars in cost savings, and reducing instances of fraud, waste, and abuse.

Key 2023 DoD Cyber Strategy Goals

  • Defend the nation
    including protection of defense companies and associated IP
  • Protect the cyber domain with allies and partners
    including building cyber capacity and capability
  • Build enduring advantages in cyberspace
    including development and implementation of new cyber capabilities

Shared responsibility for cybersecurity

The partnerships between defense organizations and industry contractors provide the United States with a technological and strategic advantage. These relationships enable timely information-sharing and contribute to the interoperability of systems within DoD and other government agencies.

Yet this strength can become a vulnerability when cyber attackers target and compromise this network of shared systems, technologies, IP, and information. Addressing this threat must draw on relationships and partnerships to shoulder increasing cybersecurity requirements and capabilities across the defense ecosystem.

Government contractors providing technology integration services and expertise in cybersecurity have a key role to play in this equation.

Ongoing development and implementation of new cyber capabilities

Protecting defense technologies and IP requires a commitment to adopting leading cybersecurity technologies; maintaining compliance with cybersecurity requirements; and perhaps most importantly, understanding this process is continuous.

These challenges will require DoD and its partners to work with technology integrators who can help build mission-driven roadmaps that take into account shared cybersecurity intelligence to address cyber goals. Building these strategic roadmaps begins with identifying DoD and defense company goals and objectives.

The following roadmapping phase involves robust project management by identifying tools, technologies, and capabilities to address those goals based on a variety of factors, including cost, performance, scalability, and compliance requirements.

The final phase before implementation is perhaps the most important: a comprehensive compatibility audit. Here, experts evaluate any potential interoperability issues in the recommended tools and technologies, as well as performance goals aligned with defined security objectives.

Optimizing defense modernization and network transformation

Addressing defense challenges at hand cannot be addressed by a single cyber initiative executed in a vacuum. Rather, it requires an approach to cybersecurity fully integrated with larger overarching efforts to address IT modernization goals.

One key strategy is building cyber capabilities in accordance with zero trust architecture principles in tandem with other IT transformation initiatives. This approach can address many of the goals in DoD’s 2023 Cyber Strategy, such as protecting defense companies and their intellectual property through a comprehensive and robust cybersecurity strategy.

Trusted technology integrators can help DoD and defense companies meet the goals of ZTA as well as address implementation challenges such as organizational culture shift or identifying standards for identity management. Expert technology integrators recognize obstacles both inherent to ZTA as well as those specific to individual agencies and companies and can address them to ensure opportunities for implementing zero trust are part of agencies’ ongoing digital modernization plans.

One key example is incorporating zero trust principles as government systems and applications are moved to the cloud. DoD and defense companies can leverage these migrations to strengthen security for new capabilities and innovations supported by cloud environments. These and other efforts can help optimize DoD’s network communication footprint for agile, efficient management of a reduced attack surface, improved overall security posture, and defense against emerging threats.

Key Considerations for Meeting DoD’s Cyber Strategy Goals

  • Lean into shared cyber responsibility and intelligence through collaboration among DoD, defense companies, and expert technology integrators
  • Understand and embrace the ongoing and continual nature of cybersecurity to set up new initiatives for long-term success and scale
  • Work with experts to build cyber capabilities aligned with zero trust principles
  • Implement cyber roadmaps alongside overall modernization strategies, such as aligning zero trust initiatives with cloud migration efforts
  • Leverage experts with extensive government experience and partnerships with industry-leading cyber vendors to maximize real-time intelligence and attack surface awareness
  • Select experts with mission-driven cybersecurity roadmapping strategies:
    • Phase 1: Identification of cybersecurity goals
    • Phase 2: Comprehensive analysis of available tools and technologies
    • Phase 3: Compatibility check to verify interoperability and alignment of performance with defined objectives

To learn more about Maximus’ defense practice, visit To learn more about Maximus’ approach to cybersecurity, visit