The Defense Information Systems Agency said that they have successfully completed the Thunderdome prototype. For the past 12 months, DISA has developed and implemented a zero-trust network access architecture. DISA’s prototype is proof that commercial technologies, including Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), Software Defined-Wide Area Networks/Customer Edge Security Stack (CESS) and Application Security Stacks, can improve both security and network performance in an existing enterprise environment.

“China is our pacing threat,” said Lt. Gen. Robert J. Skinner, DISA director and Joint Forces Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Network commander. “China continues to challenge us at every turn. DISA, and JFHQ-DODIN, are working tirelessly to strengthen and sustain a cyber resilience advantage above our adversaries across all the warfighting domains. Thunderdome will help us achieve this advantage by making DOD’s networks more secure and thereby more challenging for threat actors to gain access to DOD systems. And our Thunderdome prototype validates our success.”

Thunderdome’s success is a major milestone and a key step toward meeting the DOD chief information officer’s zero-trust targets.

DISA’s Thunderdome solution also aligns with several federal cybersecurity modernization efforts to include the president’s executive order on improving the nation’s cybersecurity, the DOD’s national defense strategy’s zero-trust, automation and cyber objectives, and DODCIO’s digital modernization strategy.

Additionally, DISA recently began deploying some of the zero-trust technologies used for Thunderdome’s unclassified prototype on its classified network. By doing so, Thunderdome’s tools can apply condition-based access controls to data on DISA’s classified enterprise network, making this network more secure. DISA will seek approval for a production other transaction agreement from the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment to offer Thunderdome, across the department, for at-scale deployment.