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NEWS | May 21, 2024

U.S. Cyber Command, DARPA Advance Partnership with New Agreement

Following the creation of the Constellation pilot program launched in 2022 by U.S. Cyber Command and DARPA, the organizations recently signed a new binding agreement establishing the joint governance structure, roles, responsibilities, and budgeting goals to enable future planning.

Under the Constellation program, DARPA and Cyber Command are creating an expedited pathway for delivering cyber technologies from the laboratory to the cyber battlefield. The program encompasses a user-directed, incremental, and iterative pipeline to accelerate the creation, proving, adoption, and delivery of new cyberspace capabilities into the command’s software ecosystem. DARPA research and development projects are chosen by the command and executed via the Orion Consortium, which consists of DARPA performers and Cyber Command developers working collaboratively to deliver capabilities.

“We’re talking about the rapid expansion of the art of the possible by partnering directly with the people persistently pushing the technological beyond its limits, conversely informing and challenging those advancements through an operational lens to maximize the balance between the art and science of cyber in support of national security,” said Lieutenant General William J. Hartman, deputy commander of Cyber Command, during his keynote address at the 2024 RSA Conference. “Through Constellation, we are taking the most promising technology from across the DARPA portfolio and developing critical capabilities under focused projects to accelerate direct delivery capability to the warfighter.”

Constellation was established in October 2022 and formally tasked in FY23 NDAA § 1509(f) in December 2022. Since its creation, multiple projects have begun further development and iteration through the Orion Consortium, and two additional projects are pending award.  

Of note, the first pilot project delivered its operational prototype after six months, which featured initial capabilities greatly exceeding its predecessor and starting a groundbreaking pathway for evolutions and integrations planned for the remaining two and half years of the project.

The Constellation program offers businesses and academics at the forefront of developing cutting-edge cyber-related technologies a unique opportunity to contribute to national security. Such organizations are encouraged to propose solutions via DARPA solicitations, which can be found on DARPA’s Opportunities page. Resources via DARPAConnect are also available to organizations that haven’t worked with the agency through events, educational opportunities, online instructional modules, workshops, mentorship programs, and an online community.

“Continuous delivery of robust S&T cyber capabilities requires a pipeline model that mitigates research risk and creates necessary connections between end users and research teams,” said Dr. Kathleen Fisher, Information Innovation Office director. “You can be on the cutting edge of technology development by participating in DARPA-funded efforts, many of which ultimately help shape and provide the technologies necessary for national security.”