The 24th Air Force (24AF) – Air Forces Cyber (AFCYBER) declared an initial operational capability (IOC) for its newest cyber weapons tool, the Automated Remediation Asset Discovery (ARAD), on Dec. 15, the Air Force said Thursday.
ARAD is a modification to the Air Force Cyber Security and Control System (CSCS) cyber weapons system. CSCS was declared IOC by Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) in October 2014.
ARAD aims to leverage leading-edge technology to modernize and efficiently improve vulnerability management execution, defensive cyberspace operations (DCO), system health, asset management, and situational awareness capabilities, 24AF said.
24AF is the Air Force component of the Defense Department’s U.S. Cyber Command and operates as a component of AFSPC.
It highlighted that ARAD will “dramatically improve the management of discovering vulnerabilities and automatically remediate them within seconds to minutes, verses days or weeks across the entire enterprise.” It alerts at the point of infiltration and exploitation to improve AFCYBER DCO’s ability to respond more quickly to cyber attacks.
“ARAD brings improved speed and precision across the enterprise. We are excited about the potential ARAD holds to improve our situational awareness and cyberspace defense,” 24th Air Force vice commander Brigadier Gen. Mitchel Butikofer, said in a statement.
The ARAD program began in FY 2015 when Lt. Gen. William Bender, Secretary of the Air Force Chief Information Officer (CIO), directed 24AF to perform a military utility assessment (MUA) of the operational utility of Tanium, a commercially available technology.
That MUA led to 24AF updating operational requirements establishing the baseline needed for ARAD.
Following the MUA Air Forces Cyber recognized the kind of technology in Tanium had the potential to drastically improve endpoint baseline control, maintenance, health hygiene, security, and defense, the Air Force said. 24AF then worked through AFSPC to update the requirements for vulnerability management and defensive cyberspace operations (DCO). That, in turn, began the need for ARAD.
The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) then collaborated with AFSPC and 24AF to start a full and open acquisition which resulted in the integration and employment of ARAD, 24AF said.
The whole ARAD implementation effort required AFLCMC, AFSPC, 24AF, the 688th and 67th Cyberspace Wings, and Air National Guard to coordinate on systems across the Air Force control portions of the Defense Department’s unclassified information network.
AFSPC and 24AF are currently working with the Secretary of the Air Force, Air Force major Commands, and DoD services and agencies to implement the ARAD capabilities across all of the Air Force’s networks. Ultimately, they intend to implement ARAD across all department networks.
“This is the cyber platform we will fight from in the future,” Bender said in a recent visit to Air Forces Cyber.
In November the ARAD team won a 2016 Department of Defense Chief Information Officer Award for Cyber and Information Technology Excellence (Defense Daily, Dec. 2, 2016). It was cited for “an unprecedented eight-month acquisition schedule to deliver tools that enable operators to identify and fix network vulnerabilities in seconds instead of weeks and the ability to detect, track, target, engage and mitigate adversarial activities in near real time.”