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The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is developing the National Cyber Range (NCR) to provide realistic, quantifiable assessments of the U.S.'s cyber research and development technologies. The NCR will enable a revolution in national cyber capabilities and accelerate technology transition in support of the President’s Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative (CNCI).
The goal of the NCR is to enable a revolution in the U.S.’s ability to conduct cyber operations by providing a persistent cyber range that will:
- Conduct unbiased, quantitative and qualitative assessment of information assurance and survivability tools in a representative network environment.
- Replicate complex, large-scale, heterogeneous networks and users in current and future Department of Defense (DoD) weapon systems and operations.
- Enable multiple, independent, simultaneous experiments on the same infrastructure.
- Enable realistic testing of Internet/Global Information Grid (GIG) scale research.
- Develop and deploy revolutionary cyber testing capabilities.
- Enable the use of the scientific method for rigorous cyber testing.
The development of the National Cyber Range will allow DoD, other U.S. government entities, and potentially non-U.S. government partners to test and evaluate new cyberspace concepts, policies, and technologies. Although the U.S. military routinely exercises units on target ranges and in a variety of simulations, the DoD has had limited capability to simulate cyberspace operations. The National Cyber Range, which allows the rapid creation of numerous models of networks, is intended to enable the military and others to address this need by simulating and testing new technologies and capabilities.
The NCR will test technologies such as host security systems, and local and wide area network (LAN and WAN) security tools and suites by integrating, replicating or simulating the technologies. The NCR will provide a large-scale Global Information Grid (GIG) infrastructure, where technologies and systems can be analyzed and tested under real world conditions in current and future environments. These testbeds include the ability to test new network protocols, satellite and radio frequency (RF) communications, and mobile tactical and maritime communications.
The NCR will forensically collect, analyze, visualize, and present data and information from the tests. Knowledge and insights gained during testing will assist operators and developers as they refine, research, and develop operations, technologies, policies, and procedures to strengthen cyber security.