NEWS | June 30, 2010

Federal Times clarification - USB policy

By U.S. Strategic Command Public Affairs

Command SealIn response to a recent article, "Lifting social media, USB ban means implementing safety strategy" published on Federal Times dated June 27, 2010, we would like to correct the record.

Dr. Cole wrote: "The U.S. Defense Department's decision to lift the ban on both USB drives and the use of social media will make life easier for DoD personnel while simultaneously raising the bar on what the department must do to protect its network. "

The Department of Defense has not lifted the ban on the use of USBs. The DoD requires a focused approach to secure its information networks given our military's dependence on them. As such, there remain strict limitations on using these devices.

The Communications Tasking Order disseminated Feb 12, 2010 was not a repeal of the previous ban but a return to limited use of removable devices under very specific circumstances and guidelines.

This is not a return to 'business as usual. ' Only government-procured and owned devices are allowed. Personally owned devices continue to be prohibited.

Removable media use is limited to mission-essential operations, and only after strict compliance requirements are met. Use is permitted only in DoD computers that are in compliance with requirements for hardware that allows for safe transfer of data. After extensive testing of mitigation measures, DoD decided to make this technology available again on a strictly controlled basis on DoD computers.

The current USB policy ensures we have proper procedures in place to secure our critical military operational networks.