Navy to explore land to sea cyber defense technology in upcoming exercise

An individual tests directional communications equipment during last year’s Advanced Naval Technology Exercise in Camp Lejeune, N.C.

An individual tests directional communications equipment during last year’s Advanced Naval Technology Exercise in Camp Lejeune, N.C. Joe Bullinger/Navy

Proposals are due later this month for the event, which will unfold starting September 6.

A two-week-long cyber exercise set for early September will provide select technology developers with a fresh opportunity to demonstrate their capabilities in a real-time, realistic scenario with military members.

Those interested in applying to take part in that exercise—the Cyberspace Defense in Denied, Degraded and Disconnected Environments (Cyber) Advanced Naval Technology Exercise, or ANTX 2022—are invited to submit prototype proposals to the Naval Information Warfare Center Atlantic’s new commercial solutions opening by March 29. 

“The Department of the Navy wants to turn the ingenuity of everyday Americans into new, viable capabilities,” Greg Hays, NIWC Atlantic’s senior scientific technology manager for rapid prototyping and fleet exercises, said. “By offering low-barrier-of-entry opportunities like CSOs and ANTXs, we can more quickly integrate new technologies into the fleet and win the information war.”

Cyber ANTX will differ from past exercises of its kind in that it will integrate a complex, traditional drill with unique assets available at the National Cyber Range Complex in Charleston, South Carolina.

It marks a coordinated campaign by defense officials to pinpoint technologies and develop tactics to support defensive cyber operations for systems floating out in a body of water—from elsewhere on the shore. Sponsored by the U.S. Fleet Cyber Command, Marine Forces Cyber Command and Naval Information Warfare Systems Command, organizers of this planned exercise will essentially explore technologies using the concept of an ashore team facilitating a cyber-incident response for several ships at once. 

Experts will assess each proposed tool’s operational relevance, based on mission needs.

“Local cyber defenders have an especially challenging job on afloat platforms,” officials wrote in a previously published draft CSO offering for this pursuit. “The high military value of these platforms further aggravates the problem, since combat-critical systems are a known target for advanced persistent threats.”

Depending on initial results, certain participants will have the opportunity to move on to the program’s second phase. That stage will involve 12- to 18-month prototyping and experimentation projects to drive the tools further and may also include “a rapid-fielding option in which mature technologies are sent to operational units,” officials confirmed.

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