Everything you need to know about Army’s cyber strategy

Stephanie Melonicybersecurity, DOD, ArmyBy Stephanie Meloni, consultant

With more than $8 billion requested in cyber-specific funding across the Department of Defense for FY19, cyber is top of mind for DOD leadership. It’s no secret the Army has struggled with protecting and strengthening its networks, and there are numerous modernization programs in the works that fall outside of higher-profile items like WIN-T for the tactical network.

One overarching program that will be vital to the Army’s cyber operations will Defensive Cyber Operations (DCO). This is a relatively new office that was stood up in early 2017 at the Army’s Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems (PEO EIS).

This program has requested over $50 million in procurement funds for FY19, with increases every year through 2023. Here are the some of the major efforts the office is working on:

  • Cyberspace analytics–this effort involves the Army’s Big Data Platform and allows the Army to ingest large volumes of data to identify cyber vulnerabilities and adversaries. This will involve application and data integration, threat and vulnerability assessment and visualization tools.
  • Forensics and malware analysis—the Army is seeking the capability to triage malware incidents so that impacted systems can return to operations quickly. This will require continuous monitoring, malicious event detection and analysis, and of course, malware defense.
  • User activity monitoring—this will be a main component of the Army’s Insider Threat program, which will proactively identify internal risks like data theft and misuse. The Army will be looking for risk management tools, data protection, cyber analytics, and identity and access management.
  • DCO Mission Planning—this application suite supports Cyber Mission Forces with cyber decision-making support and will require threat and vulnerability assessment, application and data integration and configuration management.

These initial programs of record will support the Army’s Cyber Protection Brigades, with more to follow in the coming years.

Cyber programs need to be especially agile, as the threat environment is constantly changing. This office is also an important one when it comes to the Army’s OTA (Other Transactional Authority), as it plans to utilize the C-RAPID (Cyberspace Real-time Acquisition Prototyping Innovation Development) consortium for prototyping cyber solutions.

Right now, the Army is working on finding an independent organization to help oversee the consortium by recommending technologies, providing integration assistance and managing the prototyping process. An award is expected this spring. The Army is going to be focused on prototyping solutions within a 30-day time frame.

Technology companies will want to pay attention to the contract award, as well as the C-RAPID consortium, as the DCO program is where we’ll see a high amount of enterprise cyber spending take place. Note that the Army is going to be focused on cost-effective and “try before you buy” solutions as part of this OTA.

Want to hear about more DOD priorities? Listen to our recent webinar on the department’s cloud strategy for FY18.

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