Operational exercise integration recommendations for DoD cyber ranges
August 5, 2015
MIT Lincoln Laboratory Report TR-1187
Cyber-enabled and cyber-physical systems connect and engage virtually every mission-critical military capability today. And as more warfighting technologies become integrated and connected, both the risks and opportunities from a cyberwarfare continue to grow--motivating sweeping requirements and investments in cybersecurity assessment capabilities to evaluate technology vulnerabilities, operational impacts, and operator effectiveness. Operational testing of cyber capabilities, often in conjunction with major military exercises, provides valuable connections to and feedback from the operational warfighter community. These connections can help validate capability impact on the mission and, when necessary, provide course-correcting feedback to the technology development process and its stakeholders. However, these tests are often constrained in scope, duration, and resources and require a thorough and holistic approach, especially with respect to cyber technology assessments, where additional safety and security constraints are often levied. This report presents a summary of the state of the art in cyber assessment technologies and methodologies and prescribes an approach to the employment of cyber range operational exercises (OPEXs). Numerous recommendations on general cyber assessment methodologies and cyber range design are included, the most significant of which are summarized below. -Perform bottom-up and top-down assessment formulation methodologies to robustly link mission and assessment objectives to metrics, success criteria, and system observables. -Include threat-based assessment formulation methodologies that define risk and security metrics within the context of mission-relevant adversarial threats and mission-critical system assets. -Follow a set of cyber range design mantras to guide and grade the design of cyber range components. -Call for future work in live-to-virtual exercise integration and cross-domain modeling and simulation technologies. - Call for continued integration of developmental and operational cyber assessment events, development of reusable cyber assessment test tools and processes, and integration of a threat-based assessment approach across the cyber technology acquisition cycle. Finally, this recommendations report was driven by observations made by the MIT Lincoln Laboratory (MIT LL) Cyber Measurement Campaign (CMC) team during an operational demonstration event for the DoD Enterprise Cyber Range Environment (DECRE) Command and Control Information Systems (C2IS). This report also incorporates a prior CMC report based on Pacific Command (PACOM) exercise observations, as well as MIT LL's expertise in cyber range development and cyber systems assessment.