Army Secretary announces hacking initiative in Austin

Army Secretary Eric Fanning speaking at Capital Factory in Austin. (KXAN Photo/Kevin Schwaller)
Army Secretary Eric Fanning speaking at Capital Factory in Austin. (KXAN Photo/Kevin Schwaller)

AUSTIN (KXAN) – The secretary of the Army, Eric Fanning, says the Army wants to work with hackers to find bugs and weaknesses.

He announced a program Friday at Capital Factory called Hack the Army. The concept is to let the hackers legally try specific techniques against the Department of the Army’s websites. They can then get paid for vulnerability reports, with the goal of improving the Army’s security.

“I often said that we need to break down barriers between the Army and some of our nation’s most innovative communities. Here in Austin we are doing just that,” said Fanning. “The Army is reaching out directly to a group of technologists and researchers who trade in figuring out how to break into computer networks they are not supposed to.”

When asked about the recent national election, Secretary Fanning — who is an appointee of President Obama — said the Department of Defense is working on a smooth transition.

“Everybody who is [in the Department of Defense], no matter what they feel about Tuesday, is dedicated to making sure that the new team has what it needs to succeed and that there is not gap or seem at any point during this transition,” said Fanning.

Fanning says, as a member of the outgoing administration, he will soon be resigning.

In September, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter launched a tech outreach office at Capital Factory. The goal for the project is to connect and strengthen the relationship between the Pentagon and the nation’s tech hubs, allowing military establishments to take advantage of cutting-edge technologies that the private sector is developing.

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