Darpa Taking Fire for Its Cyberwar Range

Darpa Taking Fire for Its Cyberwar Range
Darpa Taking Fire for Its Cyberwar Range 

By Noah Shachtman  
Danger Room
June 21, 2010

Two years ago, the White House and the Pentagon launched a massive, 
secretive $17 billion effort to shore up the nation's defenses, and 
assigned Darpa a crucial role: build a replica Internet - a "National 
Cyber Range" - that could not only be used to test out information 
attacks, but could "emulate human behavior on all nodes," as well.

The project, personally guided by then-director Tony Tether, was 
supposed to be one of the most important in Darpa's history, on par with 
the agency's missions at the dawn of the space race. "Congress has given 
Darpa a direct order; that's only happened once before - with the 
Sputnik program in the '50s," one defense official told Danger Room. The 
New York Times went even further, breathlessly proclaiming that "the 
Cyber Range is to the digital age what the Bikini Atoll - the islands 
the Army vaporized in the 1950s to measure the power of the hydrogen 
bomb - was to the nuclear age."

But now, some in the armed services are grumbling that Darpa isn't 
working quickly enough on this all-important, $130 million mission. A 
few agencies are even looking to build their own ranges, Aviation Week 

"The services didn't want to wait around for Darpa," a senior official 
tells the magazine. "Everybody wanted a range, but Darpa's program was a 
6-to-7-year effort to put a national cyber range in place. That's why 
support eroded. Everybody wanted it quicker." The Navy, the National 
Security Agency, and the Air Force are all pursuing ersatz Internet 
programs, according to AvWeek.


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