The U.S. Army is initiating a Cyber Innovation Challenge to find technology solutions that can support the holistic management of a micro-cloud system used as part of the Army’s defensive cyber operations, the Army said in a FedBizOpps posting Wednesday.

The challenge is being jointly initiated by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology (ASA(ALT)); Army Cyber Command and Second Army (ARCYBER & 2A); and the Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC).

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The notice said the challenge relates to the Army’s Defensive Cyberspace Operation (DCO) Infrastructure (DCO-I). The DCO-I consists of commonly abstracted and controlled hardware suites installed at various levels across Army networks and units or configured as deployable suites to support cyberspace defensive response teams where prepositioned assets are not present. DCO-I’s components are “micro clouds,” forming the foundation of the Army’s DCO Maneuver Baseline (DCO-MB). They provide the network connectivity, hardware, and cloud virtualization to support rapid instantiation of several platforms (guest Operating System, database, etc.), and tools (applications, services) in the service of defensive cyber missions.

DCO-I has both prepositioned and deployable elements. The prepositioned components are divided into Garrison DCO-I (GDI) and Tactical DCO-I) (TDI), providing micro-cloud infrastructure that enables the instantiation of maneuver platforms and remote deployment of cyber defensive forces for missions at the installation and tactical levels. GDI ensures forces have proper access within the campus network while TDI is designed to be integrated at multiple network echelons within the Army’s tactical brigade formations. GDI provides cyber defensive forces compute resources and network access on demand within a highly decentralized and segmented tactical network.

Deployable DCO-I (DDI) includes several deployable kits (portable servers, network interfaces, etc.) that allow defensive cyber forces to insert compute resources within network enclaves of choice either remotely or locally. DDI supports operational needs where GDI or TDI assets are either not present or inadequate for the mission need.

“DCO-I’s dedicated prepositioned and deployable infrastructure assets enable Army and Joint forces to maneuver more effectively within our environment to achieve real-time proactive mitigation and response, reducing exposure and improving response time against cyber threats,” the Army said in the challenge announcement.

The Army said the challenge is needed because as it builds and fields these “micro clouds,” it recognizes the management of the vast resource pool will become a challenge.

“The Army is looking for innovative technology solutions that can support the holistic management for DCO-I, exploring various approaches for the lifecycle management, resource allocation, and asset control.”

The notice highlights potential solutions must address deconfliction of the constantly changing pool of micro cloud resources in addition to the integrated management of commercial cloud assets. The Army also desires that any solution be capable of managing disparate cloud environments irrespective of vendor and cloud operating systems.

The Army also said that because it considers cyber a domain like land, air, or sea, any solution must be compatible with a basic military command structure and echelon of responsibilities, with a hierarchical structure of control and access to distributable resources. The solution should also “have the ability to maximize the Army’s return on investment and inform future deployment and fielding decisions of the DCO-MB,” and be able to account for Army operations in disconnected, intermittent, and limited bandwidth tactical environments.

The Army plans an Industry Day on March 31, 2016 to provide industry/academia the chance to get further details and engage in discussion on government requirements with the sponsors. It will occur at the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx) facilities in Mountain View, Calif. Further details and registration information was to be available at soon.