“Hack the Pentagon” is modeled after similar competitions known as “bug bounties” conducted by big US companies, including United Continental Holdings to discover gaps in the security of their networks.
Such programmes allow cyber experts to find and identify problems before malicious hackers can exploit them, saving money and time in the event of breaches.
“I am confident that this innovative initiative will strengthen our digital defenses and ultimately enhance our national security,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter said.
The initiative is being led by the Pentagon’s Defence Digital Service (DDS), which was set up last November to bring experts from the US technology industry into the military for short stints.
The Pentagon has long tested its own networks using internal “red teams,” but this initiative would open the department’s vast network of computers to cyber challenges from across industry and academia.