FORT GEORGE MEADE, Maryland –
With the rapidly evolving landscape of the cyber domain occurring in real time, U.S. Cyber Command recognizes the value and role industry partners play in providing support to the Command, which is why the Command hosted a classified Industry Day event on June 14.
The event included over 100 companies whose technical experts were briefed by USCYBERCOM’s Directorate leaders about their needs for advanced cyber capabilities.
“What we are trying to acquire are capabilities that will make us successful today, while trying to posture to be successful in the future,” explained Michael Clark, director of Acquisitions and Technology. “The way this Command will be successful is if we can level the scope and scale of the capabilities that industry can deliver.”
Due to its high security classification, Industry Day was open to only cleared industry partners and companies from Five Eye nations. The USCYBERCOM presenters focused on “Technical Challenge Problems” and future command requirements to help industry partners better align resources to meet the Command’s strategic mission requirements. These include technology (hardware and software), technical personnel (with skillsets relevant to national defense), studies and analysis, modeling and simulation, and other unique capabilities that could impact future missions.
“These are solutions that we can implement today to enhance the cyber warfighter now,” said Quentin McCoy, Head of Contracting Activity. “We’re not just thinking about what we can use now; we also want emerging technology that we can adapt to our mission needs or initial ideas that we can shape for future mission capabilities.”
Industry Day isn’t just about reaching large, established cyber companies, it is also about connecting with smaller, resourceful, tech companies and academia who are driving innovative cyber solutions. Once these companies learn of the Command’s requirements, they will be better-equipped to provide solutions and prototypes in the future.
“We present these tech challenges as a way to continue dialogue and give industry another avenue to talk with USCYBERCOM,” said Clark. “No individual organization, alone, has all the capabilities it needs to be successful; it’s only through our partnerships with industry, academia, international allies and partners, and government agencies that we can meet all the capabilities we need for the Command’s missions.”
To reach the broadest scope of those involved in cyber activities who can bring something to the table, USCYBERCOM is taking a holistic approach to acquisition and technology, Clark added.
This includes connecting with industry, university-affiliated organizations, national laboratories and cleared foreign partners to position the Command to identify solutions and opportunities, and to grow into a military, service-like, acquisition program, McCoy stated.
Adapting and adopting this way of thinking provides USCYBERCOM with a time horizon, allowing for research and analysis that identifies what is needed for future conflicts, and soliciting ideas for unidentified problems. None of this is possible without two-way communication and robust, professional partnerships like the one the Command has with the Armed Force Communications and Electronics Association.
“We were honored to partner with U.S. Cyber Command to host their Industry Day, where industry, academia and military joins forces to protect our national security and critical infrastructures,” said Bob Mullen, President, Central Maryland Chapter, AFCEA. “AFCEA promotes communication and information exchanges between government and industry to strengthen the public/private partnership and we look forward to supporting future collaboration efforts between U.S. Cyber Command and industry.”
Defending the cyber domain is a team-oriented challenge and Industry Day allows USCYBERCOM to widen its aperture to engage in a broader discussion, answer questions from industry, and refine our acquisition processes.
Next up, the Command intends to host an unclassified procurement forum so industry and academic partners may attend and it can continue building relationships.
All of these efforts advance USCYBERCOM’s and Clark’s goal of “getting those who are in the cyber fight every day, what’s needed for success now, and in the future.”