Air Force Space Command claims cyber testing milestone
- By Sean Lyngaas
- Feb 26, 2016
The Air Force Space Command announced that its tool for probing command networks for cyber vulnerabilities is fully operational.
The Cyberspace Vulnerability Assessment/Hunter weapon system detects threats and assesses compliance by combing IT assets such as data and applications. It became fully operational on Feb. 12, the command said in a statement that described the system as the "premier enclave defense platform for prioritized traffic in the Air Force Information Network."
CVA/H consists of a series of platforms, including the Mobile Interceptor Platform and the Deployable Interceptor Platform. The system is at the disposal of the Air Force Cyber Protection Teams that contribute to U.S. Cyber Command. Operators can use CVA/H to hunt on networks for cyberthreats that affect "critical links and nodes in support of theater or functional operations," according to the statement.
The milestone "underscores our commitment to the U.S. Cyber Command Cyber Protection Team mission and to the defense of prioritized cyberspace terrain in the Air Force portion of the Department of Defense Information Network," said Brig. Gen. Stephen Whiting, the command's director of integrated air, space, cyberspace and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations.
In this instance, "weapons system" does not refer to a weapon in the traditional sense but rather is a term for identifying large DOD assets backed by programmatic funding.
On Jan. 7, the Air Force Intranet Control Weapon System became the first fully operational Air Force cyber weapons system, according to the command. In addition, the Cyberspace Defense Analysis Weapon System collects and parses insecure telecommunications data for classified information.
Operationalizing CVA/H is part of a broader Air Force effort to secure its weapons systems. The initiative appears to have a long way to go: Of the $3 billion the command spent last fiscal year on cybersecurity, nothing was dedicated to defending software vulnerabilities in weapons systems.
Sean Lyngaas is an FCW staff writer covering defense, cybersecurity and intelligence issues. Prior to joining FCW, he was a reporter and editor at Smart Grid Today, where he covered everything from cyber vulnerabilities in the U.S. electric grid to the national energy policies of Britain and Mexico. His reporting on a range of global issues has appeared in publications such as The Atlantic, The Economist, The Washington Diplomat and The Washington Post.
Lyngaas is an active member of the National Press Club, where he served as chairman of the Young Members Committee. He earned his M.A. in international affairs from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and his B.A. in public policy from Duke University.
Click here for previous articles by Lyngaas, or connect with him on Twitter: @snlyngaas.