Cyber Defense

Air Force Extends the Development of its Cyber Mission Platform

The Air Force is accelerating development of the Cyber Mission Platform (CMP), the service’s effort to create its first unified platform, “through which cyber tools and weapons can operate, be managed, and delivered,” according to a statement at the time.

The CMP is one of three core capability areas under the Air Force’s Offensive Cyber Product Line (OCPL), according to FY2016 budget documents. The other two capabilities, which are designed to provide timely offensive cyber capabilities to the service, include access assurance programs and the cyber tools themselves. The CMP provides the platform through which these products, which include both hardware and software components, are managed and delivered. All are part of the Air Forces expansion of its cyber capabilities in the past few years. In 2017, the service’s budget request requested funds of more than $29 million for cyber research and development, an increase from just under $8 million the prior year.

Northrop Grumman first received the contract to begin development of the CMP in August 2014 through a General Services Administration Alliant government-wide contract. Earlier this month the company received a $9.4 million, one-year base contract to continue developing the platform. The contract was part of a three-year task order valued at approximately $37 million.

Many of the CMP’s features and its current status remain classified. However, in FY2018 budget documents, programs associated with the CMP included the development of new offensive cyber tools, a secured worldwide information grid, and demonstrations involving these programs. Other budget documents from 2016 stated the fielding and implementation of the program was set to occur in 2020-2021.

Though offensive cyber capabilities are traditionally the domain of U.S. Cyber Command and the National Security Agency, in the past two years the services have examined ways in which they could develop organic capabilities to support offensive missions in their respective domains.

The CMP will fall under the jurisdiction of the 24th Air Force at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. The 24th is the Air Force component of USCYBERCOM and is structured under the Air Force Space Command. In its role, the 24th establishes, defends, and maintains the service’s various networks around the globe.

About the Author

Adin Dobkin is a freelance contributor to Defense Systems.

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