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Cyberspace Science and Technology RFI

Solicitation Number: RIK-RFI-12-01
Agency: Department of the Air Force
Office: Air Force Material Command
Location: AFRL/RIK - Rome
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Special Notice
Added: Jan 11, 2012 11:10 am
Synopsis: Request for Information (RFI) Cyberspace Science and Technology

1. Description

This is a Request for Information (RFI) on cyberspace science and technology (S&T) research, operational concepts, and mission support innovations to support Air Force projected missions in the near-term (FY2012-15), mid-term (FY2016-20) and far-term (FY2021-25). NO FUNDS ARE AVAILABLE FOR ANY PROPOSAL OR INFORMATION SUBMISSION AND SUBMITTING INFORMATION DOES NOT BIND THE AIR FORCE FOR ANY FUTURE CONTRACTS/GRANTS RESULTING FROM THIS RFI.

2. Background and Requested Information

The Air Force is requesting information on revolutionary cyberspace science and technologies that address the challenge of future Air Force cyberspace needs in cyberspace exploitation, defense, and operations for potential inclusion in the Air Force Cyber Vision 2025 study. Cyber Vision 2025 is a study to create an integrated, Air Force-wide, near-, mid- and far-term S&T vision to advance revolutionary cyber capabilities to support core Air Force missions. Cyber Vision 2025 will identify state of the art S&T and best practices in government and the private sector. It will analyze current and forecasted capabilities, threats, vulnerabilities, and consequences across core AF missions to identify key S&T gaps and opportunities. It will articulate an AF near- (FY2012-15), mid- (FY2016-20) and far-term (FY2021-25) S&T vision to fill gaps, indicating where AF should lead (creating or inventing novel solutions for core AF missions), follow (by adopting, adapting, or augmenting others investments), or watch key technologies. In alignment with the national security cyber strategy, the study is intended to address cyber S&T across Air Force core missions (air, space, cyber, and Command and Control Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C2ISR)) including DOTMLPF (Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Leadership and Education, Personnel and Facilities) considerations, engaging with industry, academia, national laboratories, Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs), University Affiliated Research Centers (UARCs), and government to leverage capabilities and experience.

The Air Force seeks the assured cyber advantage across air, space, cyber, C2ISR and mission support where these key dimensions are defined as:

      Assured - Ensured operations in congested, competitive, contested, and denied environments in spite of increased dependencies, vulnerabilities, and threats.

      Cyber - its defense, exploitation, operation

      Advantage - an immunity, resilience, speed, agility, and effectiveness edge over our adversaries to ensure operational dominance

      Across - supremacy within and across missions

      Air, space, cyber, C2ISR, mission support - we require full spectrum cyber solutions

The Air Force operates missions in and through cyberspace, a human-created domain that knows no geographic boundaries (in contrast to air, land, sea and space). Cyberspace capabilities encompass not only hardware, software, information, and services, but also individuals, organizations, and missions. Air Force cyber requirements encompass cyber exploitation, defense and operations as well as doctrine, workforce development (education and training), acquisition and support. Cyber vulnerabilities open the way for exploitation by a range of threats. Threats include but are not limited to external, internal, supply chain, and may employ a diversity of methods such as denial, deception or social engineering and may have objectives of theft, disruption, and even physical destruction. Operations must be assured by mitigating vulnerabilities that adversaries might exploit and developing strategies and technology that assure missions in contested cyber environments. Special attention must be paid to dependencies on critical infrastructure and interdependencies with the defense industrial base, commercial providers, academia, non-profits and federal laboratories. While the Air Force cyber vision will remain within Title 10 authorities for organizing, training and equipping, a collaborative approach and peer review across other services, agencies and federal departments and coalition partners will ensure appropriate coordination with relevant defense, homeland security, and intelligence authorities.

The Air Force is seeking information on revolutionary hardware and software cyber technology and systems as well as innovative Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTP) that will support, augment and in some cases extend mission range and scope. In addition, the Air Force is interested in operational innovations that provide immediate and long-term applicable, cost-effective operational capability and technological superiority for Air Force operations. Also of interest are enabling mission support elements and supporting best practices that provide the foundation for cyber capabilities across the other domains.

Assured cyber advantage is critical in all domains in which the Air Force operates. The Air Force must maintain its dominance of air, space, cyber, and C2ISR fixed and expeditionary operations. All domains have unique challenges, but each requires cyber solutions, therefore, a portfolio of technologies is required to meet the wide spectrum of future Air Force requirements.


A crucial part of achieving the Air Force mission involves obtaining and maintaining superiority in the air domain. Within that domain, forces exercise degrees of control or levels of influence, characterized as parity, superiority, or supremacy. The US has enjoyed air superiority in all conflicts since the Korean War, however, near-peer competitors and future contested and anti-access/area denial environments raise the possibility of air parity or even the risk of conceding superiority to the adversary. The asymmetrical dependence on cyber of our air platforms renders air superiority in a contested cyber environment even more elusive. Independently, the US Air Force is often the first responder in times of crisis-to lay down expeditionary bases and create the backbone of critical supply lines. Cyber is a key enabler in maintaining air superiority and an ability to promptly react to natural disasters or human-caused contingencies.

The Air Force seeks information on how cyber technologies can be defended or employed to ensure air superiority. Several cyber technologies need to be researched in the coming years to continue our success in the air domain. These include, but are not limited to, methods for mathematical representation of weapon system requirements, formal verification that implementations satisfy the security properties of specifications, test and evaluation in contested environments across the entire acquisition lifecycle, improvements in modeling and simulation for platform and weapon design as well as operator training, software for guidance, navigation and control, secure air-to-air and air-to-ground data links, anti-tamper technologies, encryption, high performance on-board processing, autonomous operations, advanced human machine interfaces, intelligent sensors, smart munitions, and the entire logistics systems.


Military forces have always viewed controlling the "high ground" as a position of dominance and advantage in warfare. With rare exceptions, whoever owned the high ground owned the fight. Space assets offer an expansive view of the Earth, operating high above the planet's surface; satellites can see deep into an adversary's territory, with little risk to humans or machines. Today, control of space as the ultimate high ground is critical for space superiority and assures the force-multiplying capabilities of space power. Tomorrow, space superiority may enable instant engagement anywhere in the world.

Space assets have not only enhanced our national security but have also fundamentally changed military operations. Space power is defined as the total strength of a nation's capabilities to conduct and influence activities to, in, through, and from space to achieve its objectives. Space power is integrated throughout joint operations as both an enabler and a force multiplier. The Air Force views cyber operations supporting, enabling or controlling space assets and missions as a key ingredient for achieving battlespace superiority.

Space operations are essential to space power, providing a uniquely persistent presence over key areas of the world through the effective employment of space capabilities. Space power provides the joint fight with permanently "forward-deployed" satellites and adds another dimension to the joint force's ability to posture quickly and achieve battlespace superiority. Space power bolsters US global presence because it is not limited by terrestrial anti-access concerns. Airmen exploit this global presence and produce force-multiplying capabilities like instant global communications, timely missile warning, near-persistent surveillance and reconnaissance, and precise positioning, navigation and timing (PNT).

In order to ensure continued dominance in this domain, continued investment into enabling cyberspace technologies is required. These include ground stations; telecommunications hardware, software and protocols; cyber S&T for rocket engines and satellites in space as well as satellite control and data processing centers on the ground. For example, intelligent space maneuver could provide extended life for assets in orbit, autonomous satellite command-and-control as well as establishing intelligent ground processing centers that would help address responsiveness, resiliency, and readiness requirements.


Air Force missions across the air, space and cyber domain are increasingly dependent on cyberspace operations. Cyberspace is a source of both strength and vulnerability. The almost annual doubling of the cyber technology base has created critical vulnerabilities for our adversaries to attack and exploit. Expanded interconnectivity through cyberspace has exposed previously isolated critical infrastructures vital to national security, public health, and economic well-being. Adversaries may attempt to deny, degrade, manipulate, disrupt, or destroy critical infrastructures and AF missions through cyberspace attack, thus affecting warfighting systems and the nation as a whole. The Air Force must have assured, trusted, resilient and affordable communications and networks to effectively and confidently execute its mission to protect and defend this nation. The Air Force is interested in S&T and operational support innovations that can assure missions, dynamically map cyberspace with critical mission functions and provide integrated mission/cyber situation awareness. Technology is required that will provide trusted, resilient and agile architectures that can mitigate risks, limit adverse consequences and /or enable operating through a cyber attack. Analysis of COTS to assess threats and vulnerabilities is of interest. Validation and verification methods are sought which will ensure an in-depth knowledge and trust in COTS and GOTS hardware and software components prior to their usage in weapon systems.

Techniques which will augment human performance to provide force-multiplication through cyberspace are sought. S&T for Integrated Full Spectrum Cyberspace Operations to develop and demonstrate trusted, validated, verified capabilities capable of delivering a full range of cyber effects and a means to measure and assess the effectiveness and degree of assurance of a delivered cyber effect prior to usage are of interest. Technology and techniques which will provide new opportunities for AF advantage in cyber operations and support are sought.


Command and Control (C2) is the exercise of authority and the direction by a commander over assigned and attached forces in accomplishment of the mission, typically operating in a monitor, assess, plan, and execute (MAPE) process which requires global situational awareness, cross domain course of action analysis and selection, surveillance and strike coordination, execution monitoring, and battle damage assessment. Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) is planning and directing intelligence activities, collecting critical information, processing data, analyzing information, building intelligence products, and disseminating intelligence to support planning, decision making, and execution of operations. C2ISR provides a persistent, collaborative environment comprised of people, processes, systems, and tools to support a broad mix of military options - offensive, defensive, kinetic and non-kinetic. C2ISR is conducted in and through cyberspace, an essential enabler and employer of C2ISR. In other words, C2 and ISR for air, space, and cyber operations use the assets, information, and services of cyberspace.
Many parallels exist between operations in the more traditional domains of air and space and in the emerging domain of cyberspace. As we integrate these capabilities, planning requirements for cyber assets mirror those for traditional ISR and combat assets. However, the practice of procedural versus positive control over air assets and the time scales of the C2 planning and execution cycles do not translate well to cyberspace where decision cycles hover around a fraction of a second. Conversely, placing cyber assets under procedural control requires the incorporation of a set of previously agreed upon rules for a broad range of future scenarios. Integrated planning must take into consideration the challenges of cyberspace deconfliction, Identification of Friend or Foe (IFF) procedures and the potential of cyber fratricide and cross-domain (air/space/cyber) fratricide. The ability to tag and identify cyber assets and to continuously ascertain their status and integrity creates technical challenges unique to cyberspace.

Simply porting technologies developed for C2ISR in the air and space domain may not be directly applicable or useful in the cyber domain. The integration of kinetic assets and the effects they produce are at a formative stage. C2 capabilities for monitoring, assessing, planning, and executing cyber operations need to be designed, developed, and implemented to be interoperable with existing air and space capabilities. The Air Force is interested in novel and unique approaches to enable C2ISR in an environment that is not constrained by time, distance, and geographical boundaries.


Mission support provides the foundation that enables global engagement and is a linchpin that ties together Air Force core competencies. It includes those actions taken to create, deploy, employ, generate, sustain, protect, and redeploy cyberspace personnel, assets, and capabilities through all peacetime and wartime military operations. The Air Force is interested in innovative solutions to key cyber mission support challenges including, but not limited to, training and education, workforce development, test and evaluation, timely and relevant acquisition of cyber technologies, and incorporation of sound cyber practices throughout the acquisition of Air Force weapon systems.

New modeling and simulation (M&S) approaches are critical to integrating cyber techniques into our military operations. M&S tools need to assess effectiveness of cyber capabilities and actions for operations, planning, acquisition, and testing. Planning tools, much like those available for kinetic weapons that exist in the Joint Munitions Effectiveness Manual (JMEM), are need for cyber. The Cyber JMEM needs to expand beyond its two current applications to address the wide range of cyber military activities. Also, the additional target attributes and data that could be exploited by cyber techniques are a necessary development. Finally, development of evaluation tools that can capture the effects of combined kinetic and non-kinetic operations are necessary. The scientific and technology community should support the advancement of the analytics for effective and efficient acquisition and use of future cyber capabilities.


The Air Force is interested in revolutionary cyberspace concepts and innovative solutions that can meet the challenging cyber needs of the Air Force. These solutions are sought for all mission areas including air, space, cyber, C2ISR, and mission support. Described technologies should also indicate the areas of improvement over current state of the art technologies in quantitative metrics including, but not limited to, efficiency, effectiveness, robustness, resiliency, size, cost and sustainability. The Air Force is interested in solutions not focused exclusively on commercial viability but rather game changing revolutionary advances. Innovative basic cyber science research is also of interest if there is concrete evidence of technical viability such as peer-reviewed publication, prototypes, or demonstrations as well as cross cutting applicability to two or more mission domains. The focus of the submissions should be on advanced technology solutions in the idea generation or early development stages.


The global scope of DoD and Air Force networks and systems presents adversaries with broad opportunities for exploitation and attack. U.S. adversaries may seek to exploit, disrupt, deny or degrade the networks and systems the Air Force depends upon 24/7 for global operations. The threats to cyberspace are presented from external threat actors, insiders, and via supply chain vulnerabilities. Of particular concern are the threat activities which result in the theft and exploitation of data, disruption or denial of access or service, and destructive activity that threatens to destroy or degrade networks or connected systems. While the threat to intellectual property is often less visible than the threat to the air, space, cyberspace, C2ISR and mission support areas, it may be the most pervasive threat to the Air Force today. As military strength ultimately depends on economic vitality, sustained intellectual property losses erode both U.S. military effectiveness and national competitiveness in the global economy.

Ultimately there are significant risks inherent in relying on cyberspace as the DoD and Air Force will continue to leverage cyberspace to execute its mission more effectively and efficiently. Adversaries will continually adjust their tools and tactics, making a perfect defense impossible. Thus the importance and urgency for an integrated, Air Force-wide, near-, mid-, and far-term science and technologies vision to advance revolutionary cyber capabilities to support core Air Force missions. RFI responses addressing cyber solutions in the air, space, cyberspace, C2ISR, mission support, threat analysis or projections, and revolutionary S&T areas should address adversary threats which may exploit, disrupt, deny or degrade Air Force data, networks, systems and mission in the near-, mid-, and far-term range. Innovative methods and insights into how to most effectively forecast and anticipate future threats are also welcome.


To respond to this RFI, interested parties should submit all information detailed below. Packages must be submitted by Friday, February 24, 2012 by 4:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Submissions should briefly summarize the technical concepts and approaches within a maximum of four pages (as broken down in paragraphs c, d and e below), excluding quad chart, figures, references and the cover page. No proprietary information should be included in response to this RFI. You must submit a CD and a hard copy of the response. The size of the CD submission will be limited to 20 MB. The hard copy format specifications include 12 point font, single-spaced, single-sided, 8.5 by 11 inches paper, with 1-inch margins in either Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF format. You may submit only one idea per category.

    a. Quad Chart

The template for this is attached to the solicitation

    b. Cover Page (1 page only)



Respondent's technical and administrative points of contact (names, addresses, phones and fax numbers, and email addresses)

Applicable Domain(s) for the technology/concept or approach: (e.g., cyber S&T for air, space, cyberspace, C2ISR, mission support, threat analysis or projections, and revolutionary S&T concepts & best practices).

    c. Abstract (1 page only)

Summarize technical concepts, associated technical challenges as well as approaches to address the enumerated technical challenges.
Respondents are encouraged to be as succinct as possible while providing sufficient detail to adequately convey the technical concepts, challenges and approaches.

    d. Technology/Concept Description (2 pages only)

Provide an enhanced view of the technical concepts you are proposing, focusing on the advantages of the technology application and its applicability to the future Air Force needs, indicating if the idea is near-, mid-, or far-term. The description of each solution should include the current state of development and the predicted performance levels the technology should reasonably achieve. The description should justify why this is a revolutionary and not evolutionary idea but also provide evidence as to its technical realism/feasibility. This should include a technology readiness level, manufacturing readiness level (if appropriate), and cost.

    e. Applicability to Future Air Force needs (optional) (1 page only)

Identify and expound upon the most desirable application through the Air Force, concentrating on the added capability this solution provides that currently does not exist. Make it clear how this revolutionary S&T addresses AF specific needs, distinct from those of other government organizations (e.g., DoE, ARPA-E, Army, Navy, Marines) although relating and leveraging these organizations as appropriate. The description should state if this is an area where the Air Force is expected to be a technology leader (lead AF mission and lead investor), follower (adopt, adapt, or augment an effort external to the AF), or watcher.

Respondents are encouraged to be as succinct as possible while providing sufficient detail to adequately convey the technical capabilities these innovative solutions have to the Air Force mission.

All Proposers should review the NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL SECURITY PROGRAM OPERATING MANUAL, (NISPOM), dated February 28, 2006 as it provides baseline standards for the protection of classified information and prescribes the requirements concerning Contractor Developed Information under paragraph 4-105. Defense Security Service (DSS) Site for the NISPOM is:

Unclassified white papers/CDs must be mailed to the technical POC listed below. Proposers who intend to include classified information or data in their white paper submission or who are unsure about the appropriate classification of their white papers should contact the technical POC for guidance and direction in advance of preparation at 315-330-7420.

Mailing Address:
Attn: Captain Trevor Stutting
26 Electronic Parkway
Rome NY 13441-4514


The Air Force invites participation from all those engaged in related research activities and appreciates responses from all capable and qualified sources including, but not limited to, universities, university-affiliated research centers, federally-funded research centers, private or public companies, national laboratories, and government research laboratories. Foreign or foreign-owned offerors are advised that their participation is subject to foreign disclosure review procedures. Foreign or foreign-owned offerors should immediately contact the contracting office focal point, Lynn G. White, Contracting Officer, telephone (315) 330-4996 or e-mail for information if they contemplate responding. The e-mail must reference the title "RFI Cyberspace Science and Technology".


The submitted documentation and content thereof becomes the property of the U.S. Government and will not be returned. This is an RFI issued solely for information and new program planning purposes. The RFI does not constitute a formal solicitation for proposals. In accordance with FAR 15.201(e), responses to this notice are not offers and cannot be accepted by the Government to form a binding contract. Submission of an abstract is voluntary and is not required to propose to subsequent Broad Agency Announcements (if any) or research solicitations (if any) on this topic. The Air Force will not provide reimbursement for costs incurred in responding to this RFI. NO PROPRIETARY INFORMATION SHALL BE INCLUDED IN THE RFI RESPONSE. Respondents are advised that the Air Force is under no obligation to acknowledge receipt of the information received or provide feedback to respondents with respect to any information submitted under this RFI. Response to the RFI is strictly voluntary. This RFI does not commit the Air Force to be responsible for any cost associated in the generation of the responses. Submission ideas may be used in the formulation of "Cyber Vision 2025" the Air Force Cyberspace near-, mid- and far-term S&T vision which may be publically released. Some of the more revolutionary recent results of breakthrough experiments or publications may be given recognition in this or other publications. We will invite the very best RFI respondents to present at a future workshop. We will select those ideas that have comparatively superior and best substantiated system, operational and cost benefits together with technical realism that promise the most revolutionary advances for assured cyber advantage for priority AF missions. 

Submissions may be reviewed by the Government personnel; Federally Funded R&D Centers; and support contractors to the Government.

Please consult the list of document viewers if you cannot open a file.

Cyber RFI Quad Chart Template

Other (Draft RFPs/RFIs, Responses to Questions, etc..)
Cyber RFI Quad Chart Template
Posted Date:
January 11, 2012
Description: Cyber RFI Quad Chart Template
AFRL/Information Directorate
26 Electronic Parkway
Rome, New York 13441-4514
Lynn G. White,
Contracting Officer
Phone: (315) 330-4996