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NEWS | Nov. 28, 2022

U.S. Cyber Command, DARPA Initiate Pilot Program

By DARPA and U.S. Cyber Command Public Affairs

The United States Cyber Command (CYBERCOM) and DARPA are kicking off a pilot program aimed at getting new cyber capabilities into the hands of cyber operators faster.

Known as Constellation, the pilot program will enable the flow of new cyber capabilities resulting from high-risk, high-reward cyber science and technology (S&T) research by creating a user-directed, incremental, and iterative pipeline to accelerate the creation, proving, adoption, and delivery of those capabilities into CYBERCOM’s software ecosystem.

“Innovation is core to the command’s strategy, which is why CYBERCOM and DARPA are working more closely than ever to mature emerging tactical and strategic cyber capabilities, and integrate them into operational warfighting platforms,” said Mike Clark, Director of Cyber Acquisition & Technology at U.S. Cyber Command. “Success for Constellation means increasing the speed of transition from DARPA research and development to CYBERCOM for operational use.”

In the research and development community, the “valley of death” is a metaphor commonly used to describe the most difficult phase of transitioning a prototype to an operational capability. Fostering an agile-style pipeline from research to operations becomes essential to addressing the challenges the Department of Defense faces when developing software systems, such as rapidly evolving technology and acceptance and usability for both expert and non-expert providers.

Constellation will provide a framework and create mechanisms to provide virtual and physical infrastructure, people and contracts, sustainment of relationships required to bridge the gap between science and technology, research, development, and operational warfighting capabilities, and feedback to the S&T community regarding evolving cyber threats and mission needs.

“To have the greatest operational and strategic impact, these emergent capabilities must reach operators continuously in short timescales, much shorter than legacy acquisition processes,” said Dr. Kathleen Fisher, director of DARPA’s Information Innovation Office. “We are optimistic about Constellation’s potential to enable long-term sustainment for rapid cyber capability prototyping and integration. Running Constellation projects in parallel with DARPA development can help us reduce risks and transition timelines and overcome the ‘valley of death.’”