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Cyber tool coming
A mock-up of a Cyber Control System Increment-1 graphical user interface is shown here. CCS Increment-1 will help 24th Air Force provide mission assurance for the 845,000 users of the Air Force network.
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Cyber Control System launch under way this week

Posted 3/9/2010   Updated 3/10/2010 Email story   Print story

    


by Chuck Paone
66th Air Base Wing Public Affairs


3/9/2010 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Electronic Systems Center program managers are in Virginia this week for a contract kick-off meeting on Increment One of the Cyber Control System, after awarding the critical $8.9 million contract to Electronic Data Systems, a Hewlett Packard company,  two weeks ago.

CCS Increment-1 will enable active defense of the Air Force network by automating and simplifying data feeds that provide network operators real-time information on network anomalies, which could represent threats or even active attacks.

"The system will provide those operators greater situational awareness and display the information they need in a simpler, more intuitive manner than they're used to seeing it displayed in now," said Vince Ross, deputy chief of the AFNET Systems Division here. He said system deployment is critical because cyber attacks "occur at light speed," making automated detection and response imperative.

Because the tool will add an important component to the package of capabilities being assembled by 24th Air Force, the lead Air Force cyber arm, the service wants it up and running as quickly as possible.

"We're working against a very aggressive schedule, which calls for fully deploying and integrating CCS Increment-1 capabilities within one year," Mr. Ross said. "To get rolling right away, we built the requirement for a rapid kick-off meeting into the contract."

The kick-off meeting will be hosted by EDS and, in addition to ESC program management staff, will include participants from the 624th Operations Center out of Lackland AFB, Texas, Air Force Space Command, the 346th Test Squadron out of Lackland and the 46th Test Squadron from Eglin AFB, Fla.

CCS Increment-1 has been an inclusionary effort from the start, with operators, testers and Air Force Research Laboratory staff heavily involved in all aspects of the program. AFRL's Information Directorate, based out of Rome, N.Y., helped with the source selection process and designed the open architecture concept for the system, which is key to making it flexible enough to support changing requirements and added capabilities.

"This has to be a team effort," said Capt. George Nuño, CCS program manager. "Space Command and 24th Air Force, as the users, and all the testers need to be heavily involved if we're going to get CCS fully incorporated on the Air Force network as quickly as we want."

Captain Nuño said that's the main reason they've chosen to set up the CCS Integration Environment close to the users. The Integration Environment consists of terminals hosting the software but disconnected from the network, where specialists can work on integrating it with other network tools and maybe even use it as a training module.

"There was a lot of discussion about doing this work in an established test facility, but we really thought it was more important to be right in there with the operators," the captain said.

That integration work is going to be critical, said Mr. Ross, noting that everything purchased under the contract is COTS, which stands for commercial-off-the-shelf. But as with many COTS purchases, getting everything integrated with existing equipment and software is where challenges tend to arise, "especially with Web-based solutions."

Although this was a COTS procurement, new acquisition rules still required completion and staffing of a Milestone C package, which in defense acquisition parlance generally denotes that a developmental system is ready for production.

CCS Increment-1 is part of what had been known as the Combat Information Transport System, or CITS Program. This was the first Milestone C package prepared and staffed under CITS in 12 years, Mr. Ross said.

Program managers also adapted to a prime customer change. They had started working on CCS Increment-1 for Air Force Cyber Command - Provisional. Then the Air Force changed direction and put cyber ops responsibility under Space Command, which established the 24th Air Force.

"This meant we had to bring in these new customers and make sure we were meeting their requirements and satisfying their concerns before we could move forward," said Mr. Ross.

Despite these challenges, program managers feel good about what they've acquired, which includes a Continuity of Operations option.

"The award of the CCS Increment-1 contract culminates an excellent collaboration and matching of requirements to capabilities by a truly dedicated and integrated team," said Col. Russ Fellers, deputy director of the 753rd Electronic Systems Group. "This new capability is an important step for 24th Air Force to provide mission assurance for the 845,000 users of the Air Force network."



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