Risk
4/26/2013
08:54 AM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
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
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
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.
VINAY
50%
50%
VINAY,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/26/2013 | 4:01:06 PM
re: DARPA: New Threats Demand New Technologies
FREEDOM TIBET ...
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.
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading Must Reads - September 25, 2014
Dark Reading's new Must Reads is a compendium of our best recent coverage of identity and access management. Learn about access control in the age of HTML5, how to improve authentication, why Active Directory is dead, and more.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2012-5485
Published: 2014-09-30
registerConfiglet.py in Plone before 4.2.3 and 4.3 before beta 1 allows remote attackers to execute Python code via unspecified vectors, related to the admin interface.

CVE-2012-5486
Published: 2014-09-30
ZPublisher.HTTPRequest._scrubHeader in Zope 2 before 2.13.19, as used in Plone before 4.3 beta 1, allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary HTTP headers via a linefeed (LF) character.

CVE-2012-5487
Published: 2014-09-30
The sandbox whitelisting function (allowmodule.py) in Plone before 4.2.3 and 4.3 before beta 1 allows remote authenticated users with certain privileges to bypass the Python sandbox restriction and execute arbitrary Python code via vectors related to importing.

CVE-2012-5488
Published: 2014-09-30
python_scripts.py in Plone before 4.2.3 and 4.3 before beta 1 allows remote attackers to execute Python code via a crafted URL, related to createObject.

CVE-2012-5489
Published: 2014-09-30
The App.Undo.UndoSupport.get_request_var_or_attr function in Zope before 2.12.21 and 3.13.x before 2.13.11, as used in Plone before 4.2.3 and 4.3 before beta 1, allows remote authenticated users to gain access to restricted attributes via unspecified vectors.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
In our next Dark Reading Radio broadcast, we’ll take a close look at some of the latest research and practices in application security.