Air Force planning ahead for cyber future

New RFI seeks input on Cyber Vision 2025

The future of the Air Force in cyberspace may become a little clearer with the service’s Jan. 11 release of a request for information seeking the latest in technological research and development to help navigate the way forward.

“The Air Force is requesting information on revolutionary cyberspace science and technologies that address the challenge of future Air Force cyberspace needs in cyberspace exploitation, defense and operations for potential inclusion in the Air Force Cyber Vision 2025 study,” the RFI stated.

Cyber Vision 2025 is the Air Force’s effort in short-, mid- and long-term planning for creating an integrated, service-wide vision that supports its core missions. The Air Force is looking to the private sector to establish the most cutting-edge cyber capabilities and best practices, according to the RFI.

The study “will analyze current and forecasted capabilities, threats, vulnerabilities, and consequences across core AF missions to identify key [science and technology] gaps and opportunities,” the RFI noted.

The Air Force’s efforts center on “assured cyber advantage across air, space, cyber, [command, control, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance] and mission support,” and the RFI defines each of those dimensions thoroughly. The release also stresses how different the cyber domain is from traditional military domains, particularly in that it is manmade with no geographic boundaries, and that is comprises a range of surfaces including hardware, software, people, information, services and organizations.

To that end, the Air Force is seeking the best of futuristic defenses, hardware and software as well as tactics, techniques and procedures – part of the military’s standard operations.

With the RFI, the Air Force looks to advance its position and capabilities, which currently straddle the line between traditional areas of responsibility – air, space, C2ISR, mission support – and the new cyber domain.

“Many parallels exist between operations in the more traditional domains of air and space and in the emerging domain of cyberspace. As we integrate these capabilities, planning requirements for cyber assets mirror those for traditional ISR and combat assets,” the RFI stated. “Cyberspace is a source of both strength and vulnerability. … The Air Force must have assured, trusted, resilient and affordable communications and networks to effectively and confidently execute its mission to protect and defend this nation.”

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

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