Air Force News

Strategic Command testing cyberwarfare 'early warning system'

Released: 4 Feb 1999

by Navy Journalist 1st Class Michael J. Meridith
United States Strategic Command Public Affairs

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. (AFPN) -- U.S. Strategic Command is preparing to test a next-generation intrusion detection system that could provide early warnings of cyberattacks against the Department of Defense.

The test is part of an $11 million Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration which speeds up the normal acquisition process by allowing warfighters to test prototype technologies.

The first phase of this five-year ACTD, which was tested in September, involved bringing together information from intrusion detection sensors at several different sites during a mock cyberattack. This provided information operations personnel a more complete view of the scope of the cyberattack than was previously available, making defensive planning that much easier.

"This year, we want the system to help analyze that data," explained David Ellis, a senior member of USSTRATCOM's ACTD team. "It will put the pieces together and advise the user of their relative significance. In essence, the system will put everything in one place and tell us if there's a systematic series of attacks."

After this summer's demonstration, the ACTD will undergo an intense development process to prepare it for it's final test in 2000. That demonstration will put into place an automatic reporting mechanism that will pass information about cyberattacks among the 27 participating sites, providing a consolidated defense against cyberattacks.

Ellis said that if this ACTD proves itself, it will become an essential component in DOD's information defense arsenal.

"We need the ability to detect an attack as soon as it occurs," he explained. "And we need to be able to quickly determine the scope of it. Our information systems are so globally interconnected that it's easier for a potential adversary to launch a cyberattack rather than by other conventional methods."


* Department of Defense
* Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.
* U.S. Strategic Command