Cyber Command sees Plan X as essential to managing cyber missions

The Defense Department needs a mission-critical, command-and-control capability to operate in cyberspace and the closest thing to a workable system is a continuing research effort known as Plan X, says a top CYBERCOM official.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Plan X program, if it comes to fruition, would give CYBERCOM the same kind of C2 capability that currently exists for air operations through the Theater Battle Management Core System, a set of software applications that allows automated management of air battle planning and intelligence operations, said Air Force Maj. Gen. Brett Williams, CYBERCOM's director of operations, in a news story posted on the Defense Department's website. That system operates at the force level and the unit level.
 
Plan X, which got under way in 2012, seeks to create revolutionary technologies for understanding, planning and managing DOD cyber missions in real-time, large-scale and dynamic network environments, the story said.

More than 350 software engineers, cyber researchers and human-machine interface experts attended the initial DARPA workshop.

“The program covers largely uncharted territory as we attempt to formalize cyber mission command and control for the DOD,” DARPA program manager Dan Roelker said recently.

Plan X “is being worked by a group of people who in my view are technology people who have a better understanding of the operational requirement than most anybody else I’ve seen," Williams said in the story. "They’ve taken it from the PowerPoint level to some things where you can see how this would work.”

Cybercom needs such a knowledge-management tool “that allows us to plan and execute in an intuitive way and that doesn’t require everyone who operates in cyber to have a degree in electrical engineering or computer science," Williams said. "We just can’t train everybody to do that.”
 

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