Battlespace Tech

Army's cyber challenge to focus on micro cloud management

The Army’s latest Cyber Innovation Challenge is looking to industry to help develop a holistic way to manage the tactical “micro clouds” used by deployed forces.

The Army is hosting an industry day focused on providing participants greater details for advanced software-based prototype solutions the Army is interested in. It will be hosted at the newly minted Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx), the Defense Department’s new Silicon Valley satellite office intended to encourage collaboration between the military and technology communities.

The innovation challenge aims to identify and deliver a holistic prototype micro cloud management solution for the Army’s core distributed cloud infrastructure for defensive cyber operations the Army hopes. 

The Army's deployable Defensive Cyberspace Operations Infrastructure (DCO-I), a primary focus of previous innovation challenges as well, will support Cyber Protection Teams by providing active maneuver defense on friendly networks when needing to counter threats. 

“The DCO-I is commonly abstracted and controlled hardware suites installed at various echelons across Army garrison networks and tactical formations (Army units), or configured as deployable suites to support cyberspace defensive response teams where prepositioned garrison or tactical assets are not present,” the Army said in a business notice announcing the industry day. These “micro clouds” are the foundation of the DCO Maneuver Baseline, the Army said, providing network connectivity, hardware and cloud virtualization to support the rapid, agile deployment of platforms and tools for defensive cyber operations.

But while the micro clouds provide agile defenses, the Army said it recognizes the need to better manage them as a “vast, dynamic resource pool” in an ever-changing threat environment.

Solutions must also be congruent with basic military command structures as cyber is now considered a domain of war vis-à-vis air, land and sea. 

Previous challenges have sought to close cyber awareness gaps, and awarded contracts for next-generation prototypes to inform specifications prior to fielding decisions. 

According to DIUx, speakers at the industry day on March 31 who will provide technical details and answer proposer questions include Steve Blank, professor, entrepreneur and author; Ron Pontius and Jack Dillon of Army Cyber Command; and Frank Pound of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

About the Author

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

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