By Barry Rosenberg
May 26, 2010
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and industry are
developing a National Cyber Range to test network attack-and-defend
strategies, much the same way that the United States created a range at
Bikini Atoll in the 1940s and 1950s to test atomic weapons.
The goal of the NCR is to accelerate government research and development
in high-risk, high-return areas and jump-start technical cyber
transformation in the private sector. NCR will achieve this by providing
a real-world simulation environment from which companies and research
organizations can develop, field and test advanced concepts and
capabilities to defend U.S. communications networks against cyber
There are already a number of smaller, noninterconnected cyber ranges
for testing in the United States, but none of them provides the single,
large-scale test bed that DARPA said will quickly produce qualitative
and quantitative assessments of cyber R&D. For example, there is the
Joint Forces Command Information Operations Range, which has been
operating since 2006 and routinely conducts more than 100 experiments a
year related to information operations.
What DARPA wants to do with the NCR is take testing automation to the
next level so that time-consuming, manual setup time can be kept to a
minimum, leaving more time to conduct experiments so cyber defense can
be more quickly woven into the nation's communications networks.
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