IMAGE 2015

Mr. Anthony DalSasso
(click here for bio)
Chief Engineer - Simulators Division

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio

Acquiring Simulators in the Cybersecurity Age


Historically, the development and fielding of military training simulators has been a relatively straightforward process. Training requirements were derived from operational tasks, and training devices were designed and built to provide the functionality needed to satisfy these requirements. While the simulator also needed to meet other specifications, such as safety compliance and compatibility with interface standards, the majority of what defined the trainer could be traced directly back to the training capability needed by the warfighter.

This paradigm is changing, however. While maintaining the security of training systems has always received significant attention - especially when classified information has been involved - in recent years, the emphasis on cybersecurity has grown dramatically, in response to an increasingly malevolent and technically sophisticated cyber threat. The resources being applied to assess, document, certify and accredit the cybersecurity posture of training systems have increased in kind, becoming a significant portion of the effort of developing, fielding, and operating these systems. This upward trend is expected to continue, as cybersecurity processes evolve to address new threats, and increasingly capable simulators further complicate the assurance procedures. In addition to addressing all of the operational requirements, the trainer definition process must now incorporate activities to protect the system from the cyber threat.

This presentation will discuss how the acquisition of training simulators is being affected by this increase in attention to cybersecurity, and the challenge of maintaining focus on meeting the primary objective - providing capable warfighter training systems - within this increasingly complex environment.