‘Hack This’: U.S. DoD to Pursue Multiple Strategies, Including Cyber Applied Research Program, to Counter Cyber Threats

by Greg Giaquinto, Electronic Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Cyber, electronics

Despite constant efforts to improve cybersecurity, hackers continue to access computer systems, creating serious security issues for governments, businesses, and individuals alike. As part of its expanding efforts to counter cyber threats, the U.S. Department of Defense announced on March 6 that it is launching a new program that will allow select computer security experts, so called white-hat hackers, to try to breach security on DoD public web pages. This effort comes on the heels of President Barack Obama’s February 9 announcement of a Cyber National Action Plan and Congress’ passage of the Cybersecurity Act of 2015; both initiatives aim to strengthen the nation’s cyber defenses.

The DoD has not rested on its laurels in working to reduce the U.S. defense establishment’s vulnerability to cyber threats. In May 2011 it published its “DoD Strategy for Operating in Cyberspace,” and in April 2015 updated its cybersecurity plan in “The DoD Cyber Strategy,” which outlines cyber activities and missions the department aims to accomplish over a five-year period. As part of this strategy, the DoD will “accelerate research and development” to build its cyber capabilities.

The DoD’s Cyber Applied Research program is one effort that will reap the benefits of the DoD’s renewed commitment to R&D in the cyber realm.  Forecast International expects this program will receive in excess of $145 million over the next 10 years, with funding rising from an estimated $12 million in 2016 to $19 million in 2025. The program conducts research into both cybersecurity and computer network operations in order to harden key network and computer components, design new resilient cyber infrastructures, increase the U.S. military’s ability to fight and survive cyber attacks, disrupt nation-state-level attack planning and execution, and explore and exploit new ideas in cyber warfare for agile cyber operations and mission assurance.

In 2015, the Cyber Applied Research program developed cyber resiliency techniques that could be applied against attacks on cyber physical systems, and specifically, on hull, mechanical and electrical systems.  In 2016, the program will focus on developing the capability to monitor and autonomously remove malicious code, commands and data.


FI’s eight Electronic Systems Market Intelligence Services cover the full range of defense-related systems and programs in the radar, communications, electro-optical, and electronic warfare markets, presenting a comprehensive market outlook for current equipment as well as new systems being developed as the modern battlefield moves toward a technology-based warfare approach with network-centric capabilities.

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