Air Force Openly Seeking Cyber-Weapons

The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) posted a broad agency announcement [PDF] recently, calling on contractors to submit concept papers detailing technological demonstrations of ‘cyberspace warfare operations’ (CWO) capabilities.

The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) posted a broad agency announcement [PDF] recently, calling on contractors to submit concept papers detailing technological demonstrations of ‘cyberspace warfare operations’ (CWO) capabilities.

The Air Force is looking to obtain CWO capabilities falling into a number of categories including: ‘cyberspace warfare attack’ and ‘cyberspace warfare support.’

The broad agency announcement defines ‘cyberspace warfare attack’ capabilities as those which would give them the ability to “destroy, deny, degrade, disrupt, deceive, corrupt, or usurp the adversaries [sic] ability to use the cyberspace domain for his advantage.”

Cyberspace warfare support capabilities, the document claims, would include actions deployed by operational commanders in order to, intercept, identify, and locate sources of access and vulnerability for threat recognition, targeting, and planning, both immediately and for future operations. This also includes the providing of information required for the immediate decisions involving CWOs and data used to produce intelligence or provide targeting for an electronic attack.

In addition to those listed above, the Air Force is seeking ‘situational awareness capabilities that give an operator near real-time effectiveness feedback in a form that is readily observed by the operator.’ This would address the ‘mapping of networks (both data and voice),’ ‘access to cyberspace domain, information, networks, systems, or devices,’ ‘denial of service on cyberspace resources, current/future operating systems, and network devices,’ and ‘Data manipulation.’

Furthermore, the Air Force is requesting proposals for technologies and concepts for ‘developing capabilities associated with cyberspace warfare attack,’ ‘developing and assessing cyberspace capabilities while disconnected from the operational cyberspace domain,’ ‘developing capabilities to assess and visualize non-kinetic cyberspace domain effects,’ ‘developing capabilities to support rapid implementation of effects-based cyberspace capabilities,’ and ‘employing unique characteristics resulting in the adversary entering conflicts in a degraded state.’

The solicitation provides a rare glimpse at the kind of information warfare systems that the U.S. military uses and is trying to build in the future. The Department of Defense typically does not discuss these kinds of capabilities publicly.

In order to be considered, concept papers must be submitted via registered mail (to ensure their protection) before the end of this year. In cases where submitters believe their concept contains particularly sensitive information, they are urged to contact the AFLCMC’s security officer, Michael Gamble.

This public announcement comes at something of an odd time considering the outrage in Congress and the ensuing investigation launched by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder after the New York Times published an article in which anonymous Obama administration officials were quoted saying that the Stuxnet worm had been a U.S. operation

Back in April, Ilan Berman, the vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council issued a grave warning [PDF] in a statement to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies as well as the Counterterrorism and Intelligence Subcommittee.

“Over the past three years, the Iranian regime has invested heavily in both defensive and offensive capabilities in cyberspace. Equally significant,” Berman warned, “its leaders now increasingly appear to view cyber warfare as a potential avenue of action against the United States.”

Berman’s words, however serious, are fairly unsurprising considering the almost monthly reports describing new and nearly indefensible malware, like Flame and Gauss.

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Discussion

  • Jeffrey Carr on

    I'm disappointed that Kaspersky Labs has moved away from its usual fine job of malware analysis to this silly OpEd piece targeting the U.S. Air Force. As if the Kremlin has no Information Warfare ambitions of its own. 

  • Scryptkeeper on

    Maybe the Krelmin isn't calling for papers.

  • Anonymous on

    It seems to me that CWO is an area where defense is the best offense.  It amazes me how every "sophisticated" cyber weapon I have heard about depends upon some clueless computer user inserting a USB into a system, clicking on a "catchy" email attachment, visiting a dangerous web site, or doing something else to a system that should do a better job of protecting itself.  These are the very same actions that facilitate all malware infections/attacks/exploits.  Sigh...

    RWS

  • condor sector404 on

    So USA do you need a cyber weapon for your war?, no the power is in your head, your eyes and your soul.

     

  • Anonymous on

    Ya know. It's kind of disingenous of them to keep pretending this isn't about anonymous. They REALLY don't like transparency. Geez, shine a flashlight on government corruption and they get all ww3 on ya. No sense of humor. Oh well. I anticipate many lulz as they attempt to convince anon members to attack anon members. I doubt they'll see the irony.

  • Anonymouse on

    "The solicitation provides a rare glimpse at the kind of information warfare systems that the U.S. military uses and is trying to build in the future."

    Personally, I see they still have no clue but are willing to purchase one at very high dollar if you can obfuscate the clue within a bunch of nonsense that reads like a role playing game.

  • Anonymouse on

    "The solicitation provides a rare glimpse at the kind of information warfare systems that the U.S. military uses and is trying to build in the future."

    Personally, I see they still have no clue but are willing to purchase one at very high dollar if you can obfuscate the clue within a bunch of nonsense that reads like a role playing game.

  • Anonymous on

    I would hate to be the author of some effective cyber weaponry after I sold it to the military.  People who have invented new weapons never hear the end of it if they survive the experience.  Sometimes they are not even paid, I have read in the Sixties.

  • An0nym0us on

    Yeah, and so are the militaries of China, Finland, India, Iran, Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Pakistan, and Russia (to name a few). Get Over it.

  • Anonymous on

    Well well well,

     

    As I saw this posting I was thinking of fuzzers, something which can bring a store to a halt, or even deauthenticating the target with your device placed in a bag, where you have the chance to ultilize something like a scanner, to identify targets, or even hi-jack identities, this can be used for good, or for evil. Suppose you were in a supermarked, and a random dude, came out from nowhere with his scanner. All he need is a computer hooked up with a wireless connection to the scanner, and bam after you even not knowing it, all he needs it to just get close to your RFID, and then he get's the identification as he were you.

     

    This can lead into fraud, upon security threats an even worse... Think about it..

     

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