For many years, our national security leaders have wanted to advance the cybersecurity mission on a more proactive level.  The challenge has been developing the right innovations, as well as combating an often rogue and faceless enemy.

The U.S. Air Force is seeking to change all of this by developing proactive cyber defenses that are truly innovative. These programs include self-healing software and deceptive capabilities that could fool cyber attackers.

The Air Force Research Lab is launching a new initiative to increase situational awareness and assess potential impacts of attacks, as well as implement a deterrence- and effects-based defense methodology. This includes research in trusted hardware and software, mission awareness, and recovery techniques.

Here are the five research areas that the Air Force is investigating, according to this Defense News article.

  1. The development of mathematical specifications that would be able to prove how secure a hardware and software product is, as well as proactive technologies to mitigate threats.
  2. The procurement of systems that could find their own vulnerabilities and regenerate lost services and data.
  3. The service wants tools that, similar to normal military operations, could provide cyber deception capabilities to trick and manipulate cyber attackers.
  4. In addition to deception, the Air Force is also looking to develop maneuverability in the cyber realm, defending DOD networks by adding complexity and uncertainty for would-be attackers.
  5. The Air Force is looking to find preemptive defense approaches to protect vulnerable embedded systems.

By developing bold programs that advance our nation’s proactive cybersecurity efforts, we are naming the Air Force Research Lab as this week’s “GovTransformer.”  Stay tuned for our ongoing coverage of other federal executives and their agencies that are truly transforming how they support mission goals through the most effective use of IT.