• NITRD Coordination Areas

    The Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Program's member agencies coordinate their NITRD research activities and plans by Program Component Areas (PCAs) or program focus areas. For each PCA, agency representatives meet in an Interagency Working Group (IWG) to exchange information and collaborate on research plans and activities such as testbeds, workshops, and cooperative solicitations.

    NITRD Coordination Areas

File:National Cyber Leap Year Summit 2009 CoChairs Report.pdf

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National_Cyber_Leap_Year_Summit_2009_CoChairs_Report.pdf(file size: 324 KB, MIME type: application/pdf)

National Cyber Leap Year Summit 2009

Co-Chairs’ Report

September 16, 2009



“America's economic prosperity in the 21st century will depend on cybersecurity.” President Obama, May 29, 2009

The Nation’s economic progress and social well-being now depend as heavily on cyberspace assets as on interest rates, roads, and power plants, yet our digital infrastructure and its foundations are still far from providing the guarantees that can justify our reliance on them. The inadequacy of today’s cyberspace mechanisms to support the core values underpinning our way of life has become a national problem. To respond to the President’s call to secure our nation’s cyber infrastructure, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the agencies of the Federal Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Program have developed the Leap-Ahead Initiative. (NITRD agencies include AHRQ, DARPA, DOE, EPA, NARA, NASA, NIH, NIST, NOAA, NSA, NSF, OSD, and the DOD research labs.)

As part of this initiative, the Government in October 2008 launched a National Cyber Leap Year to address the vulnerabilities of the digital infrastructure. That effort has proceeded on the premise that, while some progress on cyber security will be made by finding better solutions for today’s problems, some of those problems may prove to be too difficult. The Leap Year has pursued a complementary approach: a search for ways to avoid having to solve the intractable problems. We call this approach changing the game, as in “if you are playing a game you cannot win, change the game!” During the Leap Year, via a Request for Information (RFI) process coordinated by the NITRD Program, the technical community had an opportunity to submit ideas for changing the cyber game, for example, by:

  • Morphing the board: changing the defensive terrain (permanently or adaptively) to make it harder for the attacker to maneuver and achieve his goals, or
  • Changing the rules: laying the foundation for cyber civilization by changing norms to favor our society’s values, or
  • Raising the stakes: making the game less advantageous to the attacker by raising risk, lowering value, etc.

The 238 RFI responses that were submitted were synthesized by the NITRD Senior Steering Group for Cyber Security R&D and five new games were identified. These new games have been chosen both because the change shifts our focus to new problems, and because there appear to be technologies and/or business cases on the horizon that would promote a change:

  • Basing trust decisions on verified assertions (Digital Provenance)
  • Attacks only work once if at all (Moving-target Defense)
  • Knowing when we have been had (Hardware-enabled Trust)
  • Move from forensics to real-time diagnosis (Nature-inspired Cyber Health)
  • Crime does not pay (Cyber Economics)

As the culmination of the National Cyber Leap Year, the NITRD Program, with guidance from OSTP and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Defense Networks and Information Integration, held a National Cyber Leap Year Summit during August 17-19, 2009, in Arlington, Virginia. Summit participants examined the forces of progress and inertia and recommended the most productive ways to induce the new games to materialize over the next decade. Two reports have been created as the result of the Summit:

1. National Cyber Leap Year Summit 2009 Co-Chairs Report: Written by the Summit Co-Chairs, this report presents the vision, the path, and next-step activities in the five game-changing directions as articulated by the Co-Chairs, based on the Summit discussions and Co-Chairs’ expertise.

2. National Cyber Leap Year Summit 2009 Participants’ Ideas Report: This report documents ideas that were introduced by participants and discussed and developed during the Summit. These ideas are presented to the community for inspiration and follow-on activities.

Taming this new frontier will require the contributions of many. The Summit, as the National Cyber Leap Year itself, should be seen as a tool for the community to use to build the shared way forward. The Summit reports clarify destinations with specific instantiations of the game changes and make the path visible through practical action plans. For those who wish to begin immediately on next-step activities, the Summit community should be a great source of traveling companions.

The Summit’s outcomes are provided as input to the Administration’s cyber security R&D agenda and as strategies for public-private actions to secure the Nation’s digital future.

More information about the National Cyber Leap Year and how to get involved can be obtained at: http://www.nitrd.gov. The Summit was managed by QinetiQ North America at the request of the NITRD Program, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense Networks and Information Integration, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Ideas and recommendations expressed in this report are solely those of the Summit participants.


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