DARPA Advocates Improved Cyber Offense Capabilities

Monday, November 07, 2011

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The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a division of the US Department of Defense, is advocating the development of not only improved cyber defense capabilities, but also advanced cyber offensive option for the US military.

The initiative was disclosed during a recent symposium organized by the government funded research agency. DARPA is known for being on the leading edge of defense development efforts, as the agency's website explains:

"DARPA is the research and development office for the U.S. Department of Defense. DARPA’s mission is to maintain technological superiority of the U.S. military and prevent technological surprise from harming our national security. We also create technological surprise for our adversaries."

The symposium addressed a wide range of information security issues, including strengthening the nation's systems that govern critical infrastructure as well as ensuring that the military has access to reliable networks and communications in the event of a serious conflict.

"Modern warfare will demand the effective use of cyber, kinetic and combined cyber and kinetic means," said DARPA director Regina Dugan, who went on to encourage the development of "more and better options" for the military in an effort to "change the dynamic of cyber defense."

"We are shifting our investments to activities that promise more convergence with the threat and that recognize the needs of the Department of Defense. Malicious cyber attacks are not merely an existential threat to our bits and bytes. They are a real threat to our physical systems, including our military systems," Dugan stated.

Dugan made it clear that it will ultimately be civilian policy makers who will set the parameters for cyber offensive activities by the military, but explained that DARPA "has a special responsibility to explore the outer bounds of such capabilities so that our nation is well prepared for future challenges."

While DARPA will be shifting some resources to the exploration and development of cyber offensive capabilities in an attempt to address the shifting threat landscape, Dugan was adamant that the agency will not be diminishing efforts to create better cyber defenses as well.

"This is not to suggest that we stop doing what we are doing in cyber security. But if we continue only down the current path, we will not converge with the threat," Dugan said.

Source:  http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/07/us-cyber-usa-offensive-idUSTRE7A640520111107

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