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The U.S. military’s weapons systems today are reliant on complex software and interconnectivity with a host of components, sensors and computer systems. The highly connected nature of weapons systems gives soldiers, the edge over opponents. At the same time, however, adversaries can look for vulnerabilities in the software, supporting systems or supply chains to disrupt and sabotage operations. Cyber resiliency is the ability to prepare for, and adapt to, changing conditions and to withstand and recover rapidly from disruptions.
It is the task of the US Air Force’s Cyber Resiliency Office for Weapons Systems (CROWS) is to assess how the Air Force fields and sustains its weapons systems, and analyze any vulnerabilities that might exist. Ultimately, they must root out potential problems such as intrusions, malicious malware or any cyber threat to its arsenal, according to federalnewsradio.com. The goal is to not only “bake-in” cybersecurity in its developing weapons systems and mitigate critical vulnerabilities in already fielded weapons, but to ensure that cyber resilience is a major part of the DNA of all airmen and service members.
Air Force weapons systems include airplanes, ground systems, mission planning systems that provide airplanes with flight plans, satellites, weapons connected to airplanes and kinetic control networks.
CROWS’ aim is to help the Air Force community, from warfighters to maintenance folks to airmen, understand everything they do with electronic systems has a cyber component. The Air Force is not going to plug all the holes, but patch enough so if something happens weapons can still execute their mission.