Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has directed the Department of Defense (DoD) to take immediate action to safeguard unclassified technical information.

In a memo to senior DoD leaders, Hagel ordered the Under Secretary for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics “to improve the protection of unclassified controlled technical information that resides on or passes through defense contractor systems or networks.” Such action, coordinated with the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, and DoD’s Chief Information Officer, will include policy, guidance, rulemaking, and cybersecurity information-sharing activities, according to the memo.

The USD (AT&L) will also “establish a joint analysis capability to access technical information losses and determine consequences of those losses,” Hagel said. This analysis capability, supported by the Military Departments, the Defense intelligence Agency (DIA), the Joint Staff, and the U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), will determine the consequences of the information losses to enable DoD to identify and implement appropriate courses of action.

Hagel also directed the Military Departments to “identify critical acquisition and technology programs requiring higher levels of protection,” and ordered the USD (I) to review the classification guidance for these programs.

Hagel took this action to protect unclassified controlled technical information in response to the increased threat posed by cyber intrusions. “Protection of this data is a high priority for the Department and is critical to preserving the intellectual property and competitive capabilities of our national industrial base,” Hagel explained. DoD also wants to minimize any potential information losses.

A DoD spokesperson said that officials are also proposing to amend the acquisition and contracting regulations to require contractors establish security standards and report cyber intrusions that produce the loss of unclassified technical information.