Biggest Threat to National Security: March Madness

If you’ve worked IT in the Pentagon or for the military network, in general, you won’t be surprised to hear that security professionals are bracing themselves for one of the biggest national security paradigms they’ll face all year – March Madness.

Bandwidth – or lack of it – has long been a concern in the military. Seen as a finite resource, particularly in combat zones, much care is taken to preserve the ability to expand and contract capabilities to support real warfighting functions. Concern about bandwidth was always viewed as a primary reason for blocking access to social networking sites on military networks (although demand for the communications capabilities they offer has largely trumped bandwidth concerns in recent years). With the military more networked than ever, and Electronic Warfare a key combat multiplier, having quick, unfettered access to bandwidth isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity.

The topic of March Madness and cybersecurity came up at a recent Fort Meade Alliance meeting, where Mark Orndorff, chief information assurance executive for the Defense Information Systems Agency, said the fact that thousands of DoD employees will be looking to stream the final four on their work PCs is a legitimate issue.

We’re going to be conducting military operations at the same time a number of DoD employees are going to want to check in on the games, he said.

It’s not just DoD concerned about the intersection of sports and productivity – private sector companies have fired employees for playing fantasy football in the office and March has long been seen as a key month for productivity loss due to shamming at the office.

So, whether it’s a legitimate security concern or just managers worried about work getting done, March is a prime month for office debauchery. The solution? Perhaps the Department of Defense can mobilize itssmartphone Army, and get every office their own off-the-network tablet PC, to do the streaming.

Do you think your boss would go for that? Probably not, but here’s to a long lunch over at Pentagon City, or your local watering hole.

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