recommended reading

Pentagon receives ‘overwhelming response’ to Plan X cyber offensive

Defense Department file photo

Officials at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency have decided to postpone briefings and the release of solicitation documents for Plan X, a widely-anticipated funding initiative that will lay the foundation for the government’s push into offensive computer warfare operations.

“Due to an unanticipated and overwhelming response from industry and academia, DARPA has rescheduled the Plan X Proposers’ Day Workshop,” agency officials announced Sept. 5.

Two sessions with researchers and defense contractors—one classified and one non-classified—originally were slated for Sept. 27, but have now been moved to Oct. 15 and 16. “The second day will be a repeat of the first day to accommodate the remaining attendees,” the notice said. The request for proposals, originally scheduled for release at the end of this month, is expected to be published in October instead.

The surge of interest highlights a community emerging around offensive security technology. Plan X is a Pentagon initiative to develop computer architecture that monitors damage in “dynamic, contested, and hostile network environments,” adaptively defends against attacks, and performs “weapon deployment,” contracting documents indicate. The program is not funding malware or tools that hunt down vulnerabilities, but the resulting computer architecture will likely serve as the framework for their deployment.

The Defense Department has been ramping up the rhetoric on how agencies need to learn to protect networks as malware threats grow more sophisticated.

The Pentagon, however, has not provided a clear roadmap on how it intends to procure offensive technology or weighed in on potentially thorny legal issues around the deployment of such tools.

The official request for proposals for Plan X is expected to clarify questions by defense contractors and security researchers who are watching the space closely.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.