C4iSR: Joint & Common Equipment

DARPA launches CASE for inherent cyber defence

18 April 2017
The software from the HACMS effort was tested on an Unmanned Little Bird. Source: Thales

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is launching a programme aimed at building cyber resiliency into defence programmes at a systems level, following the successful demonstration of a project focused on the software side.

The Cyber Assured Systems Engineering (CASE) project will look at how cyber-security techniques can be applied in a broad, scalable fashion, by making cyber-resiliency a 'non-functional property' at the system level. This means it would be considered an essential component of a system's design from the outset, no matter what its 'functional properties', i.e. the precise role it is designed to carry out.

Cyber-resiliency would become a core attribute of every defence platform and would be placed alongside other non-functional properties, such as reliability, durability, and performance.

The idea is that a system would be able "to execute its function even in the face of cyber attacks", said Raymond Richards, programme manager in DARPA's Information Innovation Office. The agency aims to have the CASE programme up and running by the end of 2017, Richards told Jane's .

CASE would complement the High-Assurance Cyber Military Systems (HACMS) project, which focused more narrowly on the software side: a bottom-up approach, as opposed to CASE's top-down focus, according to Richards. HACMS aimed to develop and demonstrate tools for developing software mathematically proven to be free of large classes of cyber vulnerabilities, with the intended end users being software developers working on military programmes. A number of industry actors were involved in the development of the programme, including Boeing and Galois, a US technology company.

A final demonstration of HACMS took place before an audience of Department of Defense (DoD) figures on April 5, in a facility near Dulles Airport, Richards said. The HACMS team took an unmanned Boeing Little Bird and updated most of its software using HACMS.

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