US Air Force seeks to enhance its cyberwarfare capabilities

The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center invites concept papers in the area of cyberspace warfare attacks

The U.S. Air Force is openly soliciting technologies that would improve its capability of launching cyberattacks and gathering intelligence during cyberwarfare operations.

"The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center invites concept papers addressing Information operations (IO) capabilities focusing on Cyberspace Warfare Operations (CWO) to be administered by the AFLCMC/HNJG Program Office," the Air Force said in a broad agency announcement (BAA) released Aug. 22. "The AFLCMC/HNJG Program Office is an organization focused on the development and sustainment of Cyberspace Warfare Attack capabilities that directly support Cyberspace Warfare capabilities for the operations Air Force."

According to the announcement, the Air Force is looking for technologies and concepts that can be used in a cyberspace warfare attack to "disrupt, deny, degrade, destroy, or deceive an adversary's ability to use the cyberspace domain to his advantage," as well technologies that could result in "the adversary entering conflicts in a degraded state."

Technologies that can map data and voice networks, provide access to the adversary's information, networks, systems or devices, manipulate data or cause a denial of service of cyberspace resources, current and future operating systems and network devices, are provided as examples of what the Air Force is looking for.

The submission of concept papers is only the first step in a process that will result in contracts totaling up to US$10 million being awarded for the creation of prototypes.

This public solicitation of proposals in the area of cyberattacks is a bit unusual, considering that for the past few years the U.S. government has mostly been talking about developing cyberdefense capabilities.

However, the open discussion about the use of cyberweapons seems to have become a trend in the past few months.

Just two weeks ago, U.S. Marine Corps Lt. General Richard Mills openly admitted to using cyberattacks in Afghanistan in 2010 with great success.

"I can tell you that as a commander in Afghanistan in the year 2010, I was able to use my cyber operations against my adversary with great impact," Mills said during a talk he gave at the TechNet Land Forces East conference in Baltimore on Aug. 15.

"I was able to get inside his nets, infect his command-and-control, and in fact defend myself against his almost constant incursions to get inside my wire, to affect my operations," Mills said.

Mills also revealed that the U.S. Marine Corps is building a dedicated support company of Marines that will increase the availability of intelligence analysts, intelligence collectors and offensive cyberoperations and will be deployed "in the appropriate unit, at the appropriate time, at the appropriate place, so that the forward deployed commander, in the heat of combat, has full access to the cyberdomain."

Last month, National Security Agency Director General Keith B. Alexander, who also heads the U.S. Cyber Command, made a very rare appearance at the Defcon hacker conference where he encouraged hackers to join the NSA and other government agencies.

In June, The New York Times reported that the U.S. and Israel developed the Stuxnet cybersabotage malware as part of a secret operation to set back Iran's nuclear efforts. The report cited unnamed sources from the Obama administration who had knowledge about the project.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Lucian Constantin

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place