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Open Call: Military Systems Information Assurance (MSIA)

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Sectors:
Defence and Security
Digital, AI & Machine Learning
Project Size:

Military Systems Information Assurance (MSIA) is a project element within the Cyber Defence Enhancement through Life Project. Funded as part of the UK Government’s Integrated Review of security, defence, development and foreign policy (IR) to modernise UK forces across domains. The IR has highlighted the importance of Cyber defence for the UK Critical National Infrastructure and Defence.

The Defence Enterprise is an expansive, diverse and continually changing construct with a large element of Operational Technologies, many of which are legacy. This presents a large and varied attack surface. With the increasing cyber threat to UK, Information Security is essential. It is therefore critical that the UK understands and adapts to future ways of securing data in order to provide Information Advantage and safeguard critical data.

The purpose of this challenge is to identify, develop and accelerate new and/or novel technical solutions for Information Assurance. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Innovative ways to provide assured information flow across both high bandwidth, reliable, corporate/enterprise level networks, and low bandwidth, intermittent comms channels.
  • Innovative ways of securing data at rest.
  • Innovative methods for Authentication.
  • Securing information in a Cloud environment, i.e. to secure data at rest and whilst being processed; this will focus on end user/system implementation as opposed to relying on the underlying cloud infrastructure.
  • Novel cryptographic key management solutions.

Whilst, historically, these solutions have often involved cryptographic based approaches this challenge seeks alternative technologies and approaches that may not use cryptography.

We are seeking proposals that:

  • Offer non-conventional technical approaches to Information Assurance solutions
  • Will either involve novel uses of existing Cryptographic techniques or alternative, novel, non-cryptographic solutions
  • Address either current or future security issues

Proposals will be assessed on the likelihood of successful adoption within a military arena, therefore proposals should address either current or future security issues. Proposals can apply to all types of MoD systems from ships, vehicles, aircraft, dismounted soldiers, Command and Control systems up to MOD Headquarters, and all associated networks and cloud-based environments. Proposals, surmounting the challenges of the end user operating environment, can focus on specific problems (for example the security of a vehicle platform) or general systems (for example, bearer networks).

Successful proposals may provide a range of benefits including enhanced security, or increased efficiency and usability, whilst retaining existing security levels. Whilst this competition is not targeting specific issues, a successful proposal should be clear on how its novel solution or application could provide potential benefits.

We are not seeking proposals that:

  • Offer demonstrations of off-the-shelf products requiring no experimental development (unless applied in a novel way to the challenge)
  • Are Literature Reviews
  • Offer no real long-term prospect of integration into defence and security capabilities
  • Offer no real prospect of out-competing existing technological solutions
  • Offer the current traditional approach to using Cryptography

Funding for this IFA will be split by Technical Readiness Level (TRL). Less mature, lower TRL (2 - 4) proposals will be considered an Emerging Innovations while more developed, higher TRL (4 - 6) proposals will be considered a Rapid Impact:

  • Lower TRL, Emerging Innovations proposals should bid for funding up to £150K to provide a proof of concept within a 6 month contract.
  • Higher TRL, Rapid Impact proposals should bid for funding up to £350K to provide a concept demonstrator within a 12 month contract. Government Furnished Assets (GFA) are not available for this IFA so bidders may need to simulate a network/data to develop and prove their technology.

This IFA is open for submissions within the DASA Open Call. (See Para 9.1). Further cycles may be advertised.

To increase the impact and likelihood of exploitation, the output of these proposals may be shared across UK government as appropriate. Furthermore, as deemed appropriate, proposal outputs may be shared with partner nation governments including Five Eyes (FVEYS) partners nations under the rights secured under DEFCON 705. However, DASA reserves the right to apply an alternative Intellectual Property contractual conditions if individual circumstances dictate, to be mutually agreed with you before a contract is awarded. Under the terms of DEFCON 705 any intellectual property generated under the contract belongs to the contractor. In return, the funding Authority obtains a set of rights to use the delivered technical information and associated intellectual property for specified purposes.


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