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SIGNAL Online Exclusives

Cyber Grand Challenge Aims to Create Computing Revolution

December 11, 2013
By Henry S. Kenyon

New details are available on the Cyber Grand Challenge, a contest designed to push the boundaries of software development with the goal of creating programs that can analyze, diagnose and repair flaws they detect in computer networks.

Software Tool Trains First Responders to Deal with Complex, Dynamic Situations

December 4, 2013
By Henry S. Kenyon

First responders across the nation may soon be using a virtual training technology that allows multiple types of personnel, such as firefighters, police and paramedics, to train together. The prototype system is currently undergoing live tests with first responders to further refine the program before it is released to federal and state agencies some time in 2014.

DISA to Roll Out Unclassified and Classified Mobile Capabilities, App Store

November 26, 2013
By Jim Sweeney

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) expects to have its Defense Department Mobile Unclassified Capability (DMUC) ready for initial operational capability in the first quarter of fiscal year 2014. Dr. Jennifer Carter, DISA’s component acquisition executive, said she expects 100,000 users in fiscal 2014 and “well beyond” that number after 2014. The DMUC will support multiple devices and carriers, she noted.

Speaking at the Mobile Technologies Symposium of the AFCEA Washington, D.C., Chapter, Carter also said the initial operational capability of the Defense Department Mobile Classified Capability (DMCC) is expected to roll out in the second quarter of fiscal year 2014. Currently, DISA has more than 200 users in a classified device pilot, she reported.

Defense mobile users also will have an app store available soon, likely in the second quarter of fiscal 2014. Carter said that DISA is working with the services on an app vetting process with the goal of not duplicating the approval process.

The agency has made progress in mobility programs in the past year, Carter noted, adding that it now supports 80,000 devices.

DISA also is looking at its options for Common Access Card enablement for mobile devices. Carter said this is an area where the agency needs more ideas and solutions from industry. The Defense Department requires solutions that simplify authentication and are user friendly while at the same time being secure and affordable. Carter added that DISA wants to streamline the review process for apps, hardware and operating systems.

Developmental UUVs Offer Offense, Defense From Anywhere

November 25, 2013
By Rita Boland

The U.S. Navy is expanding its autonomous subsurface fleet with the introduction of a platform designed for persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance as well as offensive capabilities.

Threat Grows for Cyber-Physical Systems

November 21, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

The critical infrastructure must address cyberthreats in a manner different from that of conventional information technology systems.

Homeland Security Department Seeks Software Assurance Marketplace Participants

November 14, 2013
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is seeking participants for the Software Assurance Marketplace (SWAMP), which is expected to open to beta users in January. The ultimate goal for the marketplace is to help protect the nation’s critical infrastructure by improving software used for essential functions.

Sequestration Hits Today’s Readiness and Tomorrow’s Modernization

November 7, 2013
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. military’s readiness to fight and its ability to purchase major weapon systems for the future are both threatened by strict budget caps established under sequestration, the Joint Chiefs warned during a November 7 hearing with the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services.

NGEN GAO Contract Challenge Hurts Implementation

November 6, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

The delay in implementing the U.S. Navy’s Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN) caused by the contract challenge to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has affected more than just the transition time frame. The network transition will cost more for the Navy because of lost funding opportunities.

DARPA Kicks Off Cyber Grand Challenge

November 5, 2013
By Henry S. Kenyon

A new government-run competition seeks to advance the boundaries of computer network analysis and defense by developing autonomous cyberdefense capabilities, which combine the speed and scale of automation with reasoning abilities that exceed what human experts can do.

These are the goals of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA’s) Cyber Grand Challenge (CGC), which according to agency officials, is the first-ever tournament for fully automated network defense systems. Building on its experience running robotics grand challenges, which greatly advanced the ability of autonomous ground vehicles, DARPA’s new event will have teams of competitors developing automated systems. These smart programs will go head-to-head against one another in real time on a network to evaluate software, test for vulnerabilities, create security patches and deploy to protect computers. To win the $2 million cash prize, teams must combine the capabilities of security software with leading-edge program analysis research, DARPA officials said.

Network computer defense currently is the realm of software specialists who can sift through code to identify weaknesses and back doors. This bespoke analysis is done by hand, making it time consuming, and it cannot be scaled effectively for volume or speed to meet changing threats. While some semi-automated software exists to help analysts, DARPA officials note that there is a need to conduct the analysis and repair parts of network defense in near real time.

This is one of the major goals of the CGC, which is not looking for incremental improvements to existing systems but for new leaps in technical capability. According to DARPA, the CGC program will push competitors to invent and develop truly autonomous cyberdefense technologies.

GAO Dismisses Protest of NGEN Contract

October 31, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has dismissed the protest of the U.S. Navy's Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN). As a result, the original winner of the $3.5 billion contract—a consortium headed by HP—officially has won the competition.

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