US Army Cyber Command Center

A regional conference and Pentagon cyber sleuths bolster security.

Hacking the Pentagon

January 2018, Number 09.01

“Safeguarding against cyber attacks is critical to the defense of any nation. Innovation is key as enemy tactics evolve and technological advances reveal new vulnerabilities. That’s why the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) launched the “Hack the Pentagon” program, a bold initiative to shore up cyber defenses.

Launched in 2016, the program was the first of its kind for the federal government. It empowers individuals to hunt for bugs and vulnerabilities in DOD websites available to the public.

“We know that state-sponsored actors and black-hat hackers want to challenge and exploit our networks,” former U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said at the program’s launch. “What we didn’t fully appreciate before this pilot was how many white-hat hackers there are who want to make a difference, who want to help keep our people and our nation safer.”

Managed by the DOD’s digital service team, about 14,000 “hackers” registered to participate in the pilot program. They agreed to follow certain rules and in return were paid when finding legitimate vulnerabilities on DOD platforms. Websites such as,, (Defense Video Imagery Distribution System) and (My American Forces Network Online) were among those chosen as targets...”

Excerpt from per Concordiam Staff, “Hacking the Pentagon,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues 9, No. 1, 2018: 58-61.

This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.