The US Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) has concluded the Thunderdome prototype project, a zero-trust security model at the enterprise level.

Thunderdome will help to defend and guard the US Department of Defense’s (DoD) systems against sophisticated adversaries by incorporating superior cybersecurity centred around data protection.

It leverages commercial technologies such as Secure Access Service Edge and Software Defined-Wide Area Networks and Application Security Stacks.

The successful completion follows a six-month extension, awarded in July 2022, of DISA’s agreement with Booz Allen Hamilton to implement the Thunderdome prototype.

The additional time allowed a total of 12 months for the testing and implementation phase, noted the agency.

DISA director and Joint Forces Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Network (JFHQ-DODIN) commander lieutenant general Robert Skinner said: “DISA and JFHQ-DODIN are working tirelessly to strengthen and sustain a cyber resilience advantage above our adversaries across all the warfighting domains.

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“Thunderdome will help us achieve this advantage by making the 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.”

In January 2022, Booz Allen Hamilton won the $6.8m zero-trust prototype project from DISA.

During testing, DISA recruited approximately 1,500 test users at three locations to demonstrate and prove the remote and on-premises capabilities of Thunderdome.

The prototype showed increased network performance and security.

DISA deputy director Christopher Barnhurst said: “This is a huge advancement for DISA, and the department, on the zero-trust journey.

“Thunderdome has confirmed its potential by laying a zero-trust technology foundation, but the work doesn’t end there. To truly accomplish the department’s zero-trust goals, DISA’s next steps include changing the culture to implement policies and procedures to make use of zero-trust technologies and approaches in every programme.”

The agency will now work on securing authorisation for at-scale deployment of Thunderdome across the department.