FORT BELVOIR, Va. (March 7, 2016) -- U.S. Army Cyber Command and Second Army is kicking off new initiatives to help realize the Secretary of Defense's vision for greater collaboration between DOD and Silicon Valley.

Last year, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced that DOD would build bridges with the tech industry to foster innovation and open new pathways to solutions to shared problems. Two ARCYBER efforts are under way to help chart DOD's way ahead by bringing the Army and the tech industry together to find new ways to counter adversaries' malicious use of social media against U.S. interests.

The first of those initiatives is the Silicon Valley Innovation Pilot, which teams ARCYBER experts with their industry counterparts to work on the social media project by developing joint projects through direct interaction and collaboration. Under the program, 10 Army cyber professionals selected from the ARCYBER headquarters, the 780th Military Intelligence Brigade, the Army Cyber Institute, and the Army Cyber Protection Brigade are teamed with 10 Silicon Valley partners.

The second initiative involves participation in the Hacking4Defense program at Stanford University in California. When the program kicks off in April, ARCYBER's problem statement -- countering adversaries' use of social media -- will be one of 20 from the Department of Defense and U.S. intelligence community students can choose to tackle and apply "lean startup principles" to create solutions and prototype products and programs.

The intent is to build collaboration and trust within the tech industry while exposing ARCYBER personnel to alternative approaches to solving complex problems and educating Silicon Valley partners about ARCYBER programs.

These two initiatives are a follow-on to related efforts such as the Army Cyber Innovation Challenge program that uses a flexible acquisition model to allow industry partners to deliver prototype solutions for rapid evaluation. The first challenge concluded in December, resulting in agreements with vendors to provide Deployable Defensive Cyberspace Operations Infrastructure kits to support Army cyber protection teams. This month a second iteration of the program will be launched, aimed at attracting innovative software-based solutions to managing the Army's cloud environment. More information on that program and registration links are available at http://www.diux.mil/events/army-cyber-challenge.html

ARCYBER commander Lt. Gen. Edward C. Cardon told industry representatives at last August's Armed Forces Communications-Electronics Association TechNet conference that the military and the tech sector both recognize the value of the growing partnership between them.

"I think we're pushing on an open door. I think you're going to see information sharing in ways that we haven't' really seen before," the general said.

"The good news is that I think that's happening. So if I look at where we are today and where we'll be a year from now, it will be pretty stunning, and if I look at where we'll be five years from now, that will be simply amazing."

"We're not in this by ourselves. We need academia and industry."

ARCYBER's initiatives build upon the momentum Carter set in motion when he created Defense Innovation Unit-Experimental, or DIUx, in Silicon Valley last year, and later DoD programs such as the Defense Innovation Advisory Board and Defense Digital Service. The board's goal is to help DoD to identify and invent methods to improve processes, while the DDS offers cyber and IT experts an opportunity to work with DOD for one to two years on problems, then remain in government service or leave as they choose.

Last week the secretary returned to Silicon Valley to further those efforts. At a Washington news conference before heading to California he repeated his call for the Pentagon to "innovate and think outside our five-sided box."

"We don't have the luxury of choosing which threat we may face next, but we do have the ability to set the course for how best to prepare for the future," he said.

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ABOUT US: United States Army Cyber Command and Second Army directs and conducts integrated electronic warfare, information and cyberspace operations as authorized, or directed, to ensure freedom of action in and through cyberspace and the information environment, and to deny the same to our adversaries.

Interested in becoming an Army cyber Soldier or civilian employee? Check out the career links at www.arcyber.army.mil