As part of an effort to improve its warfighting architecture, U.S. Cyber Command continues to seek increased acquisition authority and is trying to drive out redundancies, Khoi Nguyen, who is in charge of acquisition at the command, said May 5 at the C4ISRNet Conference.

The Joint Cyber Warfighting Architecture, or JCWA, was established in 2019 and has been slowly taking shape. The aim is to consolidate and standardize Cyber Command’s big-data tools that help forces share information and plan missions. The command previously relied on tools, personnel and infrastructure from the National Security Agency.

“I would say it’s moving forward, we are getting momentum,” Nguyen said. The command, through congressionally approved defense policy, has been able to establish a program executive office for the JCWA, for one.

The command and the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s Acquisition & Sustainment office is working to stand up the PEO, he said, and in 2023, the command obtained system engineering and integration authority over the JCWA.

“What that means is we now have the authority to define the interoperability standards between the different components to help better drive better integration and better interoperability between different systems,” Nguyen said.

The JCWA is currently made up of six components: A persistent cyber training environment and the Joint Common Access Platform (JCAP), which are both run by the Army; a Unified Platform to take in, analyze and pass data, and Joint Cyber Command and Control, both under Air Force purview; and portfolios of sensors and tools, managed by Cyber Command.

Next up, as part of the establishment of the PEO JCWA, the command is working to get more acquisition authority over the program management shops that belong to the services, according to Nguyen.

This would mean the command would be able to approve programs of record as well as acquisition and contracting strategies, he explained. “That will give us a much more holistic ability to move everybody forward singularly.”

Additionally, the command has been able to conduct analysis and gain understanding of the different components of the architecture and a better understanding of the capabilities that exist within JCWA. Through that analysis, several initiatives were born to reduce redundancies, Nguyen said.

For example, he said, the programs of record all have their own software factory where software development is conducted. The command is now working to combine some software factories as a result.

“By reducing software factories, one, there’ll be some cost efficiencies,” Nguyen said, “but more importantly if you think of SolarWinds, SolarWinds was an attack on the software factory, so this will ensure we have a much better ability to defend our supply chain and so on from a software development environment perspective.”

The SolarWinds was a cyberattack in 2019 that led to data breaches for at least 200 organizations worldwide. The attackers, believed to be backed by the Russian government, exploited software or credentials at Microsoft, SolarWinds and VMware.

In another effort to reduce redundancy, the command is looking to combine or develop a singular platform to host applications.

The platform would be government furnished equipment that the command would give to all program shops “and say, ‘Hey, this is a common platform, Kubernetes environment, that we’re going to define and you will just deliver your application as containers or as virtual machines onto this common platform,” Nguyen said.

Kubernetes is an automated workload and services management platform that works within a container system. It was originally developed by Google.

The platform, “allows more efficiencies in the applications and then also, importantly, with this common platform we’re able to deploy it in different environments. We can deploy it within the cloud, we can deploy it on an edge processing or our [joint cyber] hunt kit and so on with a common platform,” he said, “and then the variances will be based on the application sets that were delivered on top of that.”

Jen Judson is an award-winning journalist covering land warfare for Defense News. She has also worked for Politico and Inside Defense. She holds a Master of Science degree in journalism from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kenyon College.

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