HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – A Hanscom senior official discussed efforts to modernize Air Force cybersecurity during a virtual meeting with Hanscom-area business leaders Sept. 29.
In his presentation to the Hanscom Representatives Association, Joe Bradley, director of the Cyber Resiliency Office for Weapons Systems, and the associate director of engineering and technical management here, outlined his vision for the future of CROWS, detailed some on-going projects, and provided insight into the relationship between small business and Air Force cyber.
“In the last year, we’ve had a number of interactions with Hanscom-area small businesses, which is very exciting,” said Bradley. “We’ve heard quite a few pitches and invested about $9 million into people and capabilities. I’m thrilled with what we’re doing and it’s only going to increase as we gain traction in continuing to identify what cyber is throughout the Air Force.”
CROWS is dedicated to advancing the cyber resiliency of weapon systems to maintain mission effectiveness. In an effort to analyze the cyber vulnerabilities of major weapons systems and report findings back to Congress, the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center stood up CROWS in late 2016.
During his presentation, Bradley discussed the development of a small business incubator dedicated to bringing those businesses into the Air Force cyber ecosystem. CROWS is currently collaborating with the Hanscom Innovation Team to hold biweekly vendor ‘Pitch It’ sessions for small businesses to present ideas directly to innovation leadership within the Digital and Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks directorates, both headquartered here.
“These pitch sessions are great because they connect vendors with direct business opportunities for the weapon systems that are in need of their cyber solutions,” said Lyle Hopkins, special projects team lead, CROWS.
Over the past two years, CROWS has spent more than $1 million to help introduce new capabilities into the Air Force cyber ecosystem.
Bradley also discussed the creation of several cyber focus teams dedicated to guiding acquisition directorates on cyber-related topics.
“These teams are the realization of a commitment Air Force senior leaders made to advance how its acquisition workforce acquires more robust combat and combat support weapon systems in the fight against cyber threats,” said Lt. Col. Zach Lehman, materiel leader, CROWS. “We are delivering this commitment through recruiting, hiring, training, and eventually embedding systems security engineering manpower within the Department of the Air Force acquisition centers.”
According to Bradley, CROWS is also working on a number of cyber avionics projects with organizations like Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University, the Software Engineering Institute, and the Air Force Research Laboratory. They are also partnering with MassChallenge, the Digital Directorate, and C3I&N to introduce CROWS employees to Banshee training.
“We’re doing some amazing things and I’m very happy with the work that’s being done,” he said. “For those who we haven’t worked with yet, if you have a cyber solution or even an idea, please feel free to reach out to us. We want to hear from you. We want to ensure the legacy that we leave behind is one that is worthwhile and useful.”
Contact them at CROWS@us.af.mil
The HRA brings representatives from small, large, and start-up Hanscom area businesses together to encourage collaboration in the acquisition process.
Steven Wert, program executive officer, Digital, is scheduled to speak at the next HRA meeting on Oct. 14.