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DARPA Opens the Door to ‘Plan X’ Proposals to Boost Cyberwar Capabilities

DARPA Opens the Door to ‘Plan X’ Proposals

In June, SecurityWeek reported on a plan from the secretive Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which will improve the government’s cyberwar capabilities. As expected, DARPA has said they will hold a meeting next month to solicit ideas.

‘Plan X’ is a five-year $110 million research program, with the goal of creating an advanced map that details the billions of devices connected to the Internet so that military commanders can identify and ultimately disable targets. At the time, speculation led some to think that ‘Plan X’ was a new program to develop Stuxnet-like weapons, but DARPA says that isn’t the case.

While ‘Plan X’ will "support development of fundamental strategies and tactics needed to dominate the cyber battlespace," the agency said, but it will not fund vulnerability analysis or the creation of weapons.

While not open to the public or press, DARPA is inviting those interested (and who have US DOD SECRET clearances or higher) to register for a workshop on September 27, if they feel that they can demo technologies that would be of use to the project. An unclassified session will take place in the morning on the same day.

In addition to the aforementioned goals, DARPA said that they are also interested in developing operating systems and platforms designed to operate “in dynamic, contested, and hostile network environments.”

“This area focuses on building hardened “battle units” that can perform cyberwarfare functions such as battle damage monitoring, communication relay, weapon deployment, and adaptive defense.”

Moreover, the workshop will include more details about ‘Plan X’ itself, as well as a demo of concepts.

Additional details are here [PDF]. 

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Steve Ragan is a security reporter and contributor for SecurityWeek. Prior to joining the journalism world in 2005, he spent 15 years as a freelance IT contractor focused on endpoint security and security training.