Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
States House of Representatives
NOT FOR PUBLICATION
UNTIL RELEASED BY THE SUBCOMMITTEE
Mr. Chairman, Committee Members, and staff: I am Tony Tether,
Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
I am pleased to appear before you today to talk about DARPA's
work to develop secure Defense networks and how that work relates
to the subject of cybersecurity, or what we call information assurance.
Some of you may not
be familiar with DARPA, so let me begin by saying a few words
about who we are and what we do.
Since the time of Sputnik,
DARPA has had a special mission within the Department of Defense
(DoD): maintain the technological superiority of the U.S. military
and prevent technological surprise from harming our national security.
DARPA does this by sponsoring revolutionary, high-payoff research
that bridges the gap between fundamental discoveries and their
Let me tell you a little
bit about how DARPA works.
Imagine a science and
technology (S&T) investment time-line that runs from "Near"
to "Far," indicative of how long it takes for an S&T
investment to be incorporated into an acquisition program. On
the "Near side" of this timeline we have a lot of investment
that represents most of the work of the Service S&T organizations.
This S&T tends to gravitate towards the Near side because
the Services emphasize providing technical capabilities critical
to the mission requirements of today's warfighter. This excellent
work continuously hones U.S. military capabilities. However, it
is typically focused on known systems and problems.
In contrast, out at
the other end of the investment timeline - we'll call this the
"Far side" - there is a much smaller investment that
represents funding fundamental discoveries, where new science,
new ideas, and radical new concepts typically first surface. People
working on the Far side have ideas for entirely new types of devices,
or new ways to put together capabilities from different Services
in a revolutionary manner. But, the people on the Far side have
a difficult, and sometimes impossible time obtaining funding from
the larger, near side investors because of the near side's focus
on current, known, and pressing problems.
DARPA was created to
span the gap between these two groups. DARPA's mission is to find
the promising ideas (and people) out on the Far side and accelerate
those ideas to the Near side as quickly as possible. DARPA emphasizes
what future commanders might want and pursues opportunities for
bringing entirely new core capabilities into the Department.
Hence, DARPA mines
fundamental discoveries - the Far side - and accelerates their
development and lowers their risks until they prove their promise
and can be adopted by the Services. DARPA's work is high-payoff
precisely because it fills the gap between fundamental discoveries
and their military use.
What is surprising
to many people, but entirely in-line with DARPA's mission, is
that only about five percent of DARPA's research is basic research.
Basic research, much of that "Far side" investment,
is primarily supported by organizations like the Office of Naval
Research (ONR), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National
Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Department of Energy (DOE).
Basic research creates
new knowledge and technical capacity, whereas DARPA creates new
capabilities for national security by accelerating that knowledge
and capacity into use. So we count on institutions like ONR, NSF,
NIH, and DOE to provide us with a feedstock of revolutionary technical
concepts that we, at DARPA, can then develop and turn into revolutionary
Through the years,
DARPA has refocused its work in response to evolving national
security threats and technological opportunities, and DARPA's
Strategic Plan describes how we are pursuing our mission today.
One of our eight strategic thrusts is Robust, Self-Forming Networks,
which contains our work in information assurance.
Let me briefly describe
it to you:
DARPA's Strategic Thrust
in Robust, Self-Forming Networks
The Department of Defense
is in the middle of a transformation to what is often termed "network
centric warfare." In simplest terms, network centric warfare
is when military organizations and systems are seamlessly networked
to change the terms of any conflict to favor U.S. and coalition
forces. It will allow the United States and our allies to go beyond
a simple correlation of local forces by providing them better
information and letting them plan and coordinate attacks far more
quickly and effectively than our adversaries can.
However, at the heart
of this concept are survivable, assured, spectrum-agile communications
at both the strategic and tactical levels. The goal of this work
is a high capacity network that degrades softly under attack,
while always providing a critical level of service.
To support this vision,
DARPA is conducting research in areas that include: (1) self-forming
ad hoc networks; (2) high capacity, multiband, multimode communications
systems; (3) ultra-wideband communications; (4) spectrum sharing;
(5) low probability of detection/intercept/exploitation communications;
and, (6) information assurance or cybersecurity.
I could spend pages
describing our efforts in the first five areas. However, our focus
today is cybersecurity, so let me turn to what we are doing to
ensure that those military networks are secure and reliable.
DARPA's Information Assurance Research
What we at DARPA call
"information assurance" (often referred to as "cybersecurity")
is crucial to having the robust, self-forming networks required
to successfully conduct network centric warfare. One must look
no further than the ongoing Iraq War to see that the United States
has been moving toward network-centric warfare.
While people can debate
the extent to which we have achieved network centric warfare,
today's U.S. military forces are unmistakably network-dependent.
Therefore, the very first thing that a sensible adversary would
do to asymmetrically negate the U.S. force is take down our military
networks. For quite some time, we have faced the very difficult
problem of figuring out how to protect our military networks.
DARPA has had information
assurance work going on in some form and by some name for decades.
But, in the early 1990s we started to concentrate in earnest on
the problem of information assurance, with the usual DARPA focus
on solving extremely hard problems. Initially, our emphasis was
to secure hardwired computer networks. DARPA's approach to solving
the problem of information assurance evolved, over time, to a
The first layer that
we worked on in the early 1990's was preventing, or "locking
out" cyber attacks. This resulted in the "firewalls"
that are commonly available in the commercial world today.
In fact, today's commonly available commercial firewalls started
with a DARPA project to protect the World Wide Web at the White
House. The DARPA contractor that did this work published the firewall
source code in the open literature, and from that work grew over
a hundred firewall companies and an entire market for firewall
The second layer in
DARPA's approach to information assurance has been detecting attacks
and limiting their damage. In addition to intrusion detection,
DARPA has more recently demonstrated both hundred-fold reduction
in the false alarm rates that plague current intrusion detection
systems, and the ability to detect new and novel forms of attack
through anomaly based detection. Over the last two years, DARPA
has demonstrated such detection capabilities in the field in major
exercises such as the Navy Fleet Battle Experiment series.
A third pursuit, and
one that DARPA has been increasingly emphasizing, is developing
the ability to operate through cyber attacks. The simple logic
here is that we simply cannot block all attacks, nor can we completely
limit the damage from attacks. So we have to be able to continue
operating while an attack is underway, in spite of the damage
that the attack may inflict.
Let me give you a flavor
of where we are today in some of the information assurance programs
that we are working on at DARPA right now:
- The Cyber Panel
program is working on ways to detect new attacks in real-time,
including previously unknown attacks, predict what damage the
attacks will inflict, and implement effective defenses.
- The Fault Tolerant
Networks program is working on ways to ensure that a network
remains available, even during an attack, while restricting
the network resources available to the attacker. In fact, this
program has resulted in a commercial product, Peakflow,
that is being used to protect against Distributed Denial of
- The Dynamic Coalitions
program is working on methods to quickly set up secure networks
- a critical problem for today's U.S. fighting forces. Some
of this technology is being used in the joint DARPA-Army Future
Combat Systems program, a program that has network centric warfare
as a starting assumption.
- The Organically
Assured and Survivable Information Systems (OASIS) program is
working to provide a
- last line of defense"
by developing ways to enable critical DoD computers (as distinct
from the network level) to operate through a cyber attack, degrade
gracefully if necessary, and allow real-time, controlled trade-offs
between system performance and system security through such
techniques as redundancy and diversity of operating systems.
A prototype military
system to produce Air Tasking Orders for the U.S. Air Force is
also being developed. The system, and the underlying information
assurance technology, will be tested in 2004 by subjecting it
to a sustained cyber attack from a "red team."
Much of what we have
done, particularly for wired systems, has proved useful in both
commercial and military systems. But, our focus is the specific
problems DoD needs solved for network centric warfare.
problems that we are working on go beyond those faced by the commercial
world today. Military networks, more than commercial networks,
involve large-scale, highly distributed, mobile networks-of-networks
that are increasingly wireless, deal with time-critical problems,
and face potential attackers who are extremely dedicated and sophisticated.
Failure in military networks has extreme consequences.
Moreover, network centric
warfare involves networks that must assemble and reassemble on-the-fly
on an ad hoc basis without having a fixed or set infrastructure
in-place. In effect, we must achieve what has been called, "critical
infrastructure protection" without infrastructure.
In the most advanced
cases, these are peer -to-peer or "infrastructure less"
networks. There is no fixed, in-place network equipment - the
whole network architecture is fluid and reassembles dynamically.
It could be that, in the long term, commercial networks will acquire
some of these features, but, for now the Department of Defense
is in the lead in facing these problems.
DARPA is taking a broad-based
view of information assurance. When we think about information
assurance, we include technology such as communications security
and encryption as part of our solution. The threat to military
networks is not simply hackers, but organized and well resourced
nation states that want to eavesdrop on military network traffic,
or interfere with it at precisely the wrong time.
In fact, information
assurance in a world of growing network centric warfare must become
a regular feature of most military programs - in the same sense
that everyone building an airplane must consider materials, not
only material scientists.
A significant and growing
element of DARPA's work in information assurance is classified,
and cannot be discussed in this forum. The future thrust is for
more of these efforts to become classified. Why? Because of our
increasing dependence on networks, their vulnerabilities and techniques
for protecting them become more and more sensitive. Accordingly,
our efforts have become classified.
In the longer term,
I expect that DARPA's strategic thrust in Cognitive Computing
could also lead to important contributions to information assurance.
While I cannot discuss it at length today, our Cognitive Computing
thrust aimed at developing computers and networks that are "self-aware"
- that is, computers that actually know what they're doing and
know what is happening to them.
warfare systems will be able to leverage "self-aware"
capabilities to determine when they are under attack and autonomically
respond, and reconfigure themselves in much the same way as the
human body reacts to an infection. If such systems could be built,
they should be able to do a much better job of protecting themselves
because they will understand that they're being attacked.
I realize that there
has been some concern about DARPA's level of funding in the area
of information assurance. For example, some have expressed the
opinion that our budget for this effort is dropping drastically.
Let me reassure you
that we have a robust program in information assurance, and we
plan to continue this robust program in the coming years. There
are natural variations in our budget, and they are due to several
factors such as when large programs like Fault Tolerant Networks
and OASIS come to an end.
The budget structure does not always capture the great variety
of information assurance work going on, particularly when it is
an integral part of another program, as it is in Future Combat
Systems. And, there are the aforementioned classified programs
that obscure the budget picture.
Thus, while we are
putting more emphasis on military-specific problems, we will continue
to have a robust program that will, in the long term, have a broad,
beneficial impact on the commercial world.
Finally, I understand that a particular interest of the committee
is how we coordinate and disseminate the results of our research
to other Federal agencies and to the commercial world.
Much of our interaction
with industry stems from using companies as performers of our
research, and the strong desire of smaller commercial firms to
commercialize their technology. For instance, in 1999 DARPA foresaw
the threat of Distributed Denial of Service that hit Yahoo and
e-Bay a few years later, and invested accordingly to create the
Fault Tolerant Networks program. Today, the nascent market for
solutions against this threat consists primarily of technologies
that have their roots in DARPA research, technology that can protect
the military, like the example I mentioned earlier.
DARPA also makes efforts
to broadly communicate our results in a more structured way by
sponsoring the DARPA Information Survivability Conference and
Exposition (DISCEX) conferences. The audience at DISCEX is very
broad, and it includes the extended research community, the operational
military, developers of military systems, and the commercial industry
that generates the "off the shelf" systems that comprise
most military information systems.
Our goal in these meetings
is to stimulate scientists, developers, and joint operational
customers with research products, experimental results, and capabilities
emerging from DARPA research to better address the military's
needs for information security. The most recent conference included
over 250 attendees with 60 researchers giving technology demonstrations
and produced two volumes of technical proceedings.
In addition, while
many ideas on information assurance are being exchanged informally
through the professional relationships between researchers and
the U.S. Government officials who sponsor their work, DARPA is
the primary sponsor of the Infosec Research Council (IRC), an
informal coordinating body begun in 1996 that is comprised of
U.S. Government members concerned with funding and conducting
research in information security/information assurance/cyber security.
The IRC members include DARPA, the National Security Agency, the
National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards
and Technology, the Department of Energy, and the Federal Aviation
I should also mention
the collaborations and consultations between NSF and DARPA personnel.
This interaction goes beyond the simple exchange of technical
information that typically characterizes inter-agency information
DARPA and NSF personnel
for example co-fund particular projects where a true synergistic
opportunity exists. NSF's program, "Ultra-High-Capacity Optical
Communications: Challenges in Broadband Optical Access, Materials
Processing, and Manufacturing" has direct participation by
DARPA personnel and a modest level of DARPA funding. NSF personnel
likewise take part in DARPA source selection panels where similar
technical interests can be found.
Research Testbeds Program" is of special interest to DARPA
in that it offers the possibility of making available world-class
network testbeds to DOD contractors and personnel. Network testbed
collaboration meetings are now routinely held by DARPA and NSF
program managers, and I expect that these testbeds will be very
useful as we explore alternative architectures, systems and protocols
for future optical networks; wireless networks based on spectrum
sharing; distributed sensor networks; and networking in highly
dynamic and/or harsh environments. We have also been having discussions
with NSF personnel about our thrust in Cognitive Computing.
The Department of Defense
is steadily increasing its dependence on information systems that
are crucial to our future vision of network centric warfare. I
hope my remarks today have given you a sense of what DARPA is
doing to ensure that those networks perform reliably and that
they remain secure.
I would be happy to answer your questions.
ANTHONY J. TETHER
DEFENSE ADVANCED RESEARCH PROJECTS AGENCY
Dr. Anthony J. Tether
was appointed as Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects
Agency (DARPA) on June 18, 2001. DARPA is the principal Agency
within the Department of Defense for research, development, and
demonstration of concepts, devices, and systems that provide highly
advanced military capabilities. As Director, Dr. Tether is responsible
for management of the Agency's projects for high-payoff, innovative
research and development.
Until his appointment
as Director, DARPA, Dr. Tether held the position of Chief Executive
Officer and President of The Sequoia Group, which he founded in
1996. The Sequoia Group provided program management and strategy
development services to government and industry. From 1994 to
1996, Dr. Tether served as Chief Executive Officer for Dynamics
Technology Inc. From 1992 to 1994, he was Vice President of Science
Applications International Corporation's (SAIC) Advanced Technology
Sector, and then Vice President and General Manager for Range
Systems at SAIC. Prior to this, he spent six years as Vice President
for Technology and Advanced Development at Ford Aerospace Corp.,
which was acquired by Loral Corporation during that period. He
has also held positions in the Department of Defense, serving
as Director of DARPA's Strategic Technology Office in 1982 through
1986, and as Director of the National Intelligence Office in the
Office of the Secretary of Defense from 1978 to 1982. Prior to
entering government service, he served as Executive Vice President
of Systems Control Inc. from 1969 to 1978, where he applied estimation
and control theory to military and commercial problems with particular
concentration on development and specification of algorithms to
perform real-time resource allocation and control.
Dr. Tether has served
on Army and Defense Science Boards and on the Office of National
Drug Control Policy Research and Development Committee. He is
a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
(IEEE) and is listed in several Who's Who publications. In 1986,
he was honored with both the National Intelligence Medal and the
Department of Defense Civilian Meritorious Service Medal.
Dr. Tether received
his Bachelor's of Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic
Institute in 1964, and his Master of Science (1965) and Ph.D.
(1969) in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University.