Gates said the Defense Department does a "pretty good job" of defending its networks in the .mil world. The areas most at risk are .com and .gov networks.
In 2010, working with the Department of Homeland Security, Gates said a plan was developed to allow the DHS to appoint a deputy director at the National Security Agency. The deputy director would have the ability to order the NSA to protect a private network when under attack from a foreign source. President Barack Obama approved the plan.
But once other agencies and lawmakers learned of the NSA plan, opposition arose and it was never implemented. Business cooperation was needed as well.
This approach was needed, argued Gates.
"Those who are waiting for a domestic agency to be created to protect our domestic networks have a long wait. It's not going to happen. There is not enough money. There is not enough human capital. There's not enough time to build a domestic NSA," he said.
"As with, it seems, everything else, because of the politics of the issue, we're kind of nowhere" in using government resources to protect private networks, he said.
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