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.
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 enforce the implicit values which underpin our way of life has gained attention at the highest levels of government. 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.)
In October 2008, to begin to address this deficit, the Government kicked off a National Cyber Leap Year. That effort has proceeded on the premise that, while some progress on cybersecurity will be made by researching better solutions to today’s problems, some of those problems may well be too hard. The Leap Year has pursued a complementary approach: a search for ways to bypass the intractable problems. This approach we call changing the game, as in "if you are playing a game you can’t win, change the game!"
During the Leap Year, via a Request for Information (RFI) process, the technical community had an opportunity to submit ideas for changing the cyber game. The 238 RFI responses we received led to the five new games which this Summit will explore, games 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 which would be a force for that change. Summit participants will examine the forces of progress and inertia and recommend the most productive ways to induce the new games to materialize over the next decade.
Taming this new frontier will require the contributions of many, so the Summit, like the Leap Year itself, should be seen as a tool for the community to use to build the shared way forward. The Summit’s outcomes will serve as an input to the Administration’s cybersecurity R&D agenda and as strategies for public-private actions to secure the Nation’s digital future.