USS Secure

The US Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) is developing a virtual cyber test bed, USS Secure, in collaboration with three navy system commands, cyber defence leaders, and experts from coast-to-coast.

The new technology, aligned to the Navair and Navsea goals, aims to boost the navy’s capabilities to combat potential cyber security threats and shield navy surface, undersea, and air warfare systems against the effects of a cyber attack, and can briskly salvage a system after being corrupted.

It is said to enable engineers to establish cybersecurity in an all-round basis, reaching across the hull, mechanical, electrical, and other enclaves.

"USS Secure is the first collaboration among major systems commands to simultaneously join forces to address cyber problems for the navy."

USS Secure project manager Chuck Campbell said: "USS Secure is the first collaboration among major systems commands to simultaneously join forces to address cyber problems for the navy.

"Follow on activities will add fidelity and representative systems into the varying enclaves to ultimately instantiate an entire strike group, surface, subsurface, and airborne."

The USS Secure’s capacity to reproduce a naval warlike scenario will be assessed, including the new test bed leveraging on its real and virtual systems to simulate live systems so that it can display the navy’s combat capabilities without hindering real-time performance requirements.

NAVSEA’s Integrated Warfare Systems Engineering Directorate has been assigned to assess the USS Secure to provide a functional test bed for cyber certifications and to conduct future cybersafe test activities.

NSWC Philadelphia cybersecurity systems engineer for hull, mechanical and electrical systems aboard navy nuclear aircraft carriers Dennis Schaeffer said: "We can use the USS Secure distributed test environment to test multiple systems located in different geographic areas without trucking racks of equipment to different labs and warfare centres."

Schaeffer has also joined with the USS Secure collaborators to develop a multi-enclave test environment to allow the navy’s development, evaluation, and testing of cybersecurity concepts and technologies to shield mission critical systems at sea and ashore.

The USS Secure research was funded by Naval Innovation for Science and Engineering (NISE) funds and will witness the participation of 28 cybersafe shipbuilders.

The inaugural test exercise is scheduled to be held in March.

Image: USS Secure testbed designed to turn the US warships into cybersafe warships. Photo: courtesy of U.S. Navy photo/Released.