Risk
4/26/2013
08:54 AM
50%
50%

DARPA: New Threats Demand New Technologies

Agency shifts focus to layered capabilities and cyber as a tactical weapon, as budget constraints and new threats affect plans.

14 Amazing DARPA Technologies On Tap
14 Amazing DARPA Technologies On Tap
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is adjusting its approach to the development of new defense technologies to reflect the fiscal realities facing federal agencies and evolving nature of national threats.

"Our mission is unchanged -- to prevent and create technological surprise," DARPA director Arati Prabhakar said at a Pentagon briefing in which she presented a new framework for the agency's research and development. However, she added, "it's going to be a very challenging environment for an extended period of time."

The agency's primary strategic objectives are to demonstrate "breakthrough capabilities" for national security, help drive a highly capable U.S. technology base and ensure that DARPA itself delivers on its mission.

[ Perhaps teenagers can develop some of the new technologies that DARPA needs. Read Future Scientists Showcase Inventions At White House. ]

Three factors are driving that mission, according to Prabhakar. One is the emergence of new threats. Rather than addressing risks posed by adversarial countries alone, the military must be prepared to deal with criminal enterprises, terrorist organizations and ill-intentioned individuals, all of which have access to new kinds of weapons, including cyber threats.

A second factor is the rapid pace of technological change, especially in the area of components for military systems. Many tech components are no longer manufactured in the U.S., introducing an added element of risk to the military's systems and networks, Prabhakar said.

The third factor is financial. Sequestration has cut $202 million from DARPA's fiscal 2013 budget of $2.9 billion, resulting in furloughs of employees and an 8% budget cut across programs. Prabhakar cautioned that DARPA's ability to invest in R&D may not return to business as usual.

"There's a critical shift in how society allocates resources to national security," she said. "I'm not talking about sequestration. I'm really talking about fiscal pressures that could shape a different future."

To deal with the complexities of modern warfare, DARPA seeks to develop integrated and layered systems that can continue to give the military a decisive edge. Examples of technologies that could increase in potency when used in this way include "adaptive electronic warfare," manned and unmanned systems, tactical cyber capabilities, and advanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

"Modern warfare may be too complex for a single new capability to deliver sustained superiority across a variety of scenarios," according to the document, titled "Driving Technological Surprise: DARPA's Mission In A Changing World."

The agency's investment strategy is to use advanced, commercially available technologies where possible while encouraging new development at universities, government labs and private sector companies, as well as through its own programs.

Cyber is an area of increased focus. "We all view cyber as a critical threat to our military, and national security more broadly," Prabhakar said. "It's a tool that can be part of our military suite of capabilities."

DARPA's so-called Plan X program is aimed at developing capabilities that will give the U.S. military an advantage in cyber warfare, but there will be no single weapon or capability that does that, Prabhakar said.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Ron Helton
50%
50%
Ron Helton,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/26/2013 | 8:20:04 PM
re: DARPA: New Threats Demand New Technologies
Welcome to George Orwell's 1984.
VINAY
50%
50%
VINAY,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/26/2013 | 4:01:06 PM
re: DARPA: New Threats Demand New Technologies
FREEDOM TIBET ...
Regor Elom
50%
50%
Regor Elom,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/26/2013 | 2:52:25 PM
re: DARPA: New Threats Demand New Technologies
They need to get politicians out of the planning stages and be free to get their jobs done.
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
Security Operations and IT Operations: Finding the Path to Collaboration
A wide gulf has emerged between SOC and NOC teams that's keeping both of them from assuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of IT systems. Here's how experts think it should be bridged.
Flash Poll
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2017-0290
Published: 2017-05-09
NScript in mpengine in Microsoft Malware Protection Engine with Engine Version before 1.1.13704.0, as used in Windows Defender and other products, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (type confusion and application crash) via crafted JavaScript code within ...

CVE-2016-10369
Published: 2017-05-08
unixsocket.c in lxterminal through 0.3.0 insecurely uses /tmp for a socket file, allowing a local user to cause a denial of service (preventing terminal launch), or possibly have other impact (bypassing terminal access control).

CVE-2016-8202
Published: 2017-05-08
A privilege escalation vulnerability in Brocade Fibre Channel SAN products running Brocade Fabric OS (FOS) releases earlier than v7.4.1d and v8.0.1b could allow an authenticated attacker to elevate the privileges of user accounts accessing the system via command line interface. With affected version...

CVE-2016-8209
Published: 2017-05-08
Improper checks for unusual or exceptional conditions in Brocade NetIron 05.8.00 and later releases up to and including 06.1.00, when the Management Module is continuously scanned on port 22, may allow attackers to cause a denial of service (crash and reload) of the management module.

CVE-2017-0890
Published: 2017-05-08
Nextcloud Server before 11.0.3 is vulnerable to an inadequate escaping leading to a XSS vulnerability in the search module. To be exploitable a user has to write or paste malicious content into the search dialogue.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
In past years, security researchers have discovered ways to hack cars, medical devices, automated teller machines, and many other targets. Dark Reading Executive Editor Kelly Jackson Higgins hosts researcher Samy Kamkar and Levi Gundert, vice president of threat intelligence at Recorded Future, to discuss some of 2016's most unusual and creative hacks by white hats, and what these new vulnerabilities might mean for the coming year.