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NetPAC: Network Prioritization Analysis Capability
Title: Principal Investigator
Phone: (512) 682-4719
Phone: (512) 682-4716
ABSTRACT: Through constant cyber attacks targeting our information infrastructure, our country faces a growing threat from nefarious groups and individuals intent on disrupting and destroying our infrastructure and way of life and acquiring military intelligence and intellectual property. Current methods used by the Air Force to defend against these attacks and protect the assets of its information networks typically focus only on ensuring that the information is transmitted successfully, not on the success of the mission. A need exists to change this cyber defense paradigm from information assurance (ensuring the successful transmission of information) to mission assurance (ensuring the attainment of mission objectives). Military missions and their supporting components and activities must be compared on an equal basis and prioritized according to their criticality in ensuring mission success. 21CT is proposing the Network Prioritization Analysis Capability (NetPAC), a system dynamics modeling approach to represent the activity network used to accomplish Air Force missions. The model will consist of the key activities and interactions needed to satisfy the military objectives and will give military planners a capability to analyze these activities and determine their priorities to determine the effects of disrupting a particular activity on one or more military missions. BENEFIT: If developed and implemented according to plan, NetPAC will be able to provide an invaluable capability to Air Force cyber security analysts and mission planners in identifying network components and activities that must be given higher priority prior to or during the execution of a mission. The analysts and planners will be able to run the model using a set of scenarios. The model will provide information on the impact that a cyber-attack induced degradation of capabilities in one or more activities might have on the success of a mission. This information will help identify higher priority activities. The ultimate benefit is the application of resources to the network assets that need them the most. The resources can be applied at the planning stage of the mission or during its actual execution since the model can be used to make asset prioritization adjustments in real time. The anticipated final results of NetPAC Phase I will include a proof-of-feasibility demonstration that illustrates the concepts enabled by the proposed approach. These concepts will show that it"s possible to conduct a complete comparative analysis of mission-supporting activities and determine how they should be prioritized. The ultimate intent is to extract the information needed to protect the Air Force"s most valued activities and ensure the successful completion of its missions. The results of the analysis and proof-of-feasibility demonstration will be documented in a final report at the end of Phase I. The Phase I results will determine the continuing research direction for Phase II and will provide the basis for the full-scale prototype to be developed in that phase. The lessons learned from the comparative analysis and demonstration of feasibility will be used to refine the system dynamics model and the performance metrics that will first be defined in Phase I. In addition, the knowledge gained from the construction of a limited set of scenarios in Phase I will provide guidance to the development team in constructing a comprehensive set of scenarios for the prototype demonstration in Phase II. The entire Phase I effort will be focused on building a prototype that can ultimately be fielded at the Air Force level or at a regional Network Operations and Security Center, and getting the final product ready for commercialization.
* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *