Overnight Defense: Calling all hackers

THE TOPLINE: The Pentagon is looking for a few good hackers.

In effort to test its cybersecurity, the Pentagon is taking a page from Silicon Valley's playbook and asking hackers to try to find holes in its security.

The Hill's Kristina Wong and Cory Bennett have the story:

The Defense Department is inviting "vetted hackers" to test its cybersecurity in a new pilot program called "Hack the Pentagon."

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"This innovative project is a demonstration of [Secretary of Defense Ashton] Carter's continued commitment to drive the Pentagon to identify new ways to improve the department's security measures as our interests in cyberspace evolve,' the Pentagon said in a statement Wednesday announcing the initiative.

It's the first 'cyber bug bounty program in the history of the federal government' and is modeled after similar competitions held by the nation's biggest companies, the Pentagon said.

The program was announced during Carter's trip to Silicon Valley. He also announced Wednesday a Defense Innovation Advisory Board to be led by the executive chairman of Google's parent company.

Read more about the board here.

 

DEFENSE HAWKS' DILEMMA: What's a defense hawk to do if Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden slams Trump over golf gif hitting Clinton Trump Jr. declines further Secret Service protection: report Report: Mueller warned Manafort to expect an indictment MORE is elected president?

Some are floating the idea of disobeying him.

The Hill's Scott Wong explains:

Defense hawks on and off Capitol Hill are growing increasingly alarmed at the prospect of Donald Trump as commander in chief.

These mostly Republican hawks say the GOP front-runner's bombastic remarks about torturing terrorists and killing the family members of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters would violate the Geneva Conventions. And Trump's vow to "bomb the s---" out of ISIS-controlled oil fields could have unintended consequences, they say.

Former CIA Director Michael Hayden, a retired four-star general, has suggested that U.S. military commanders could simply ignore a President Trump if he tried to follow through with some of his campaign promises.

Retiring Rep. Scott RigellScott RigellGOP rushes to embrace Trump GOP lawmaker appears in Gary Johnson ad Some in GOP say Trump has gone too far MORE (R-Va.), a Marine Corps Reserve veteran who represents a military-heavy district based in Virginia Beach, penned a scathing letter Tuesday urging fellow Republicans to dump Trump. He warned that the billionaire businessman lacks the "judgment, temperament and character" to be commander in chief.

And Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), an Air Force Reserve pilot who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, vowed he would disobey Trump's orders if they violated the law.

Read more here.

 

WILL OBAMA GIVE GITMO TO CUBA?: The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee is demanding a straightforward answer on whether President Obama plans to return the Guantanamo Bay naval base to Cuba.

The Hill's Kristina Wong has the details:

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) says he is seeking clear assurances that the Guantánamo Bay naval base won't be handed over to Cuba during President Obama's visit there this month.

"I am concerned that the administration may be pursuing secret negotiations over the future of Naval Station Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, as it has acknowledged it did in the pursuit of normalized relations with Havana," Thornberry wrote in letters dated Feb. 29 to Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryBringing the American election experience to Democratic Republic of the Congo Some Dems sizzle, others see their stock fall on road to 2020 The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE and National Security Advisor Susan Rice.

"The Naval Installation at Guantanamo Bay is a strategically-situated deepwater port. It provides an ideal location from which to service, stage, and project U.S. Military Forces, secure the air and maritime approaches to the United States, undertake counternarcotics efforts, and provide disaster relief," Thornberry added.

Republican lawmakers are worried the administration will seek to give back the naval base, which houses a U.S. military detention facility that Obama wishes to shut down. 

Read the rest here.

 

ON TAP FOR TOMORROW:

The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on the Air Force at 9:30 a.m. at Dirksen G50.

The House Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on the Marine Corps's budget request and its readiness at 10:30 a.m. at Rayburn 2118.

The House Appropriations Committee will review the Army's 2017 budget request at 10 a.m. at Capitol H-140.

 

ICYMI:

-- The Hill: House Republican: Obama 'underestimates' Gitmo recidivism

-- The Hill: UN Security Council unanimously approves sanctions on North Korea

-- The Hill: US captures ISIS fighter in Iraq

-- Stars and Stripes: General slams claims that CENTCOM manipulated Iraq, Syria intelligence

-- Defense News: Pentagon official decries Russian flights over US

 

Please send tips and comments to Kristina Wong, kwong@thehill.com, and Rebecca Kheel, rkheel@thehill.com 

Follow us on Twitter: @thehill@kristina_wong@Rebecca_H_K