DARPA INFOSEC Mandate DARPA | EOP | Congress In Wired briefing 01 May 2008, Danger Room reports on the new DARPA Information Security program mandated by Congress and ratified by the President. The UNISCA First Committee INFOSEC Chair briefing to the UN General Assembly is particularly àpropos to the initiative. "The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, was created 50 years ago in response to the Soviets' launch of Sputnik. In less than a year, DARPA put together the infrastructure that guided the American space effort for decades to come. Now, DARPA has been given new marching orders: to help America fight and win battles online.
Under a directive signed by the President – and recently approved by Congress – nearly every arm of the government's security apparatus is starting work on a massive national cybersecurity initiative designed to protect the United States from electronic attack and strike at adversaries online. DARPA's role: to create a cyberwarfare range where all these new forms of electronic combat can be tried out. According to a defense official familiar with the program, "Congress has given DARPA a direct order; that's only happened once before – with the Sputnik program in the '50s."
Danger Room's sister blog, Threat Level, has a good writeup of the cybersecurity initiative, which has been labeled as a Manhattan Project-type effort. In the case of cybersecurity, there is at least talk of big money: about $30 billion dollars. For its part, DARPA's "National Cyber Range" would create a virtual environment where the Defense Department can mock real warfare, both defense and offense.
DARPA today issued an announcement, describing how the range would be a test where the government could conduct unbiased, quantitative and qualitative assessment of information assurance and survivability tools in a representative network environment ; replicate complex, large-scale, heterogeneous networks and users in current and future Department of Defense (DoD) weapon systems and operations ; enable multiple, independent, simultaneous experiments on the same infrastructure ; enable realistic testing of Internet/Global-Information-Grid (GIG) scale research ; develop and deploy revolutionary cyber testing capabilities, and enable the use of the scientific method for rigorous cyber testing.
This is clearly a serious deal for the agency: DARPA Director Tony Tether is a scheduled speaker at the proposers' day workshop scheduled for mid-May, and apparently plans to help handpick the contractors. Tether is known for his close involvement in DARPA contracts. Many of the details surrounding this program will be classified."