MCLEAN, Va. (June 3, 2015) -- Recognizing that cyber threats demand new approaches to acquisition and requirements, the Army is establishing a holistic effort up front as it addresses emerging challenges and operationalizes the cyber domain.

The Cyberspace Industry and Innovation Day, held on May 28 in McLean, Va., emphasized this collective tactic by bringing in industry and academia to meet with representatives from the Army cyber community to discuss requirements, expected funding profiles, the creation of a Cyber Innovation Challenge, and the possible establishment of a cyber consortium. Presenters also laid out the current cyber environment and emerging cyber gaps.

"In cyberspace you can't build the walls high enough or the moats deep enough," said Ronald Pontius, deputy to the Commanding General U.S. Army Cyber Command (ARCYBER) and Second Army. "It is about how can you be quickly defendable and how do you operate in the cyber domain. The integration of cyberspace into the battle space is incredibly important."

Recognizing the scope of the cyber threat, the Army established cyber as a warfighting domain with the intent to apply these capabilities as part of a combined arms approach in support of unified land operations. Innovative technologies, processes and capabilities are being sought by the Army cyber community, who challenged those in attendance at the industry day to work with them on an acquisition process promoting a rapid response in tackling cyber needs.

The forum combined Army representatives from the operations, acquisition and requirements community including ARCYBER, the Cyber Center of Excellence, the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology [ASA(ALT)], the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), acquisition program executive offices (PEOs) and the Army Contracting Command.

"Most of us know that if the Department of Defense wants to be fast, we can," said Kevin Fahey, executive director System of Systems Engineering and Integration (SoSE&I). "We were fast on the Stryker and we were fast on the MRAP. And what we found with those programs was that it was about aligning the resources, requirements and acquisition communities together."

The Army has identified its cyber gaps through capability based assessments and analysis, with the top two gaps being a commander's situational awareness and defense of the Army's network. Requirements are being drafted to deliver solutions for today's security environment that are also adaptive enough to address changing, emerging and unknown cyber threats.

"These requirements are pertinent to influencing cyberspace operations technology objectives," said Russell Fenton, with the TRADOC Capability Manager Cyber. "They have been driving the projected acquisition of innovative capabilities so we can conduct full range cyberspace operations in support of unified land operations."

A new cyber acquisition approach, which was outlined at the industry day, could be used to bypass traditional acquisition methods. Known as the Army's Section 845 Prototype Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) authority, this acquisition vehicle will access new cyberspace capabilities that build upon, re-use and augment existing cyber technologies.

Presenters also discussed the creation of Cyberspace Operations Consortium as a cross-sector collaboration among industry, academia and government entities that would be organized to break down traditional barriers and holistically address the most critical cyberspace operational challenges.

Through the OTA and consortium, the Army will present Cyber Innovation Challenges as an additional tool to mature requirements and support the testing and evaluation of pilot capabilities.

The first innovation challenge centers on the goal of delivering a prototype of the Defensive Cyber Operations Maneuver Deployable Kits for the newly created Cyber Protection Teams. These fly-away kits interface with the Army's network, allowing CPTs to conduct countermeasures in real-time enabling commanders to take immediate action in the execution of network defense. The Army plans to launch the initial challenge by issuing a call for white papers in early June, followed by vendor demonstrations in August.

The innovation challenge serves as a vendor engagement model supporting the consortium community that will use the framework as a repeatable process in tackling new and emerging cyber requirements.

The industry day was held in cooperation with the Association for Enterprise Information and the National Defense Industrial Association at the MITRE McLean Campus.