Cyber Defense

Navy makes plans for cyber R&D

The Navy has taken aim at bolstering its cybersecurity posture, not only due to the threat posed by a more connected world, but also in response to past incidents.

According to recently released budget documents, the service is asking for $88 million for research and development associated with cyber resiliency. The funds would go towards specific recommendations from Operation Rolling Tide and Task Force Cyber Awakening, a Navy spokesperson told Defense Systems. 

Operation Rolling Tide was the Navy’s first named cyber operation, in which at least five Naval units were dispatched to defend against an Iranian intrusion to unclassified networks, with attackers seeking to impair command and control capabilities as well as conduct basic reconnaissance to potentially be used at a later date. 

Task Force Cyber Awakening, a result to some degree of the Iranian intrusion,  involves a series of efforts aimed at “gain[ing] a holistic view of cybersecurity risk across the Navy and address the fragmented and uneven efforts across our platforms and systems.”

Other Navy budget documents highlight the Cyber Security Organization, an outgrowth of recommendations from Task Force Cyber Awakening that “demonstrates our continued commitment to prioritizing cyber investments particularly in shipboard and aviation platforms.”   

“Many of these efforts focus on non-recurring engineering (NRE) to establish control points and boundary defense across afloat Hull, Machinery & Electrical, Navigation, and Combat Control Systems as well as similar NRE for control point defense capabilities for Aviation Control Systems,” the spokesperson said of the R&D spending. “The [Department of the Navy’s] Cyber Resiliency efforts are focused on continued operations in a contested cyber environment.” 

The funding for the programs: 

  • Information technology development - $4,650,000
  • Information systems security program - $17,158,000
  • Surface support - $4,665,000
  • Carrier systems development - $3,252,000
  • Ship concept advanced design - $4,818,000
  • Advanced surface machinery systems - $17,137,000
  • Combat system integration - $2,879,000
  • Tactical command system - $212,000
  • Aegis combatant combat system engineering - $19,828,000
  • Space and electronic warfare - $5,482,000
  • Ship self-defense - $7,559,000
  • Depot maintenance - $396,000

In addition to these programs, the Navy said the fiscal 2017 budget adds funding for development of control-point defense capabilities for aviation control systems and cyber situational awareness investment. 

The Navy also submitted a justification for a research and development information assurance program (p. 1035) that, among other things, will develop core technology to improve network infrastructure resistance and resiliency to attacks. 

About the Author

Mark Pomerleau is a former editorial fellow with GCN and Defense Systems.

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