Mission Planing Tool Helps Commanders Assess Cyber Threats

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A group of U.K. companies has embarked on a development to provide tools that enable military commanders to better assess the risks and potential of cyber and electronic attacks. The JUMP – Joint User Mission Planning for Cyber and Electro-Magnetic Activity (CEMA) project is a concept demonstrator of a toolkit that integrates cyber and physical mission planning. The BMT-led initiative research project is being developed for the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl).

For example, JUMP displays a layout of a plant, and explains how systems and devices are connected to each other, what is the state of the services, are servers patched to the correct level and what vulnerabilities or threats exist.

Bringing together all the physical knowledge a commander planning a mission needs, such as mapping, the environment, satellite imagery and 3D buildings, JUMP also provide cyber situational awareness enabling decision makers to better understand risks and make decisions.

JUMP uses visual presentation tools, including dynamic 3D terrain modeling displayed in Augmented Reality (AR) to provide field commanders with an informed visual understanding of their mission and the integration of cyber operations across all domains – something that is currently missing from existing mission planning tools. It will also allow experts in other locations to share a situational report analysis report (SITREP) and input and share their intelligence, insights, and recommendations share the same view using rapidly advancing technology such as VR and AR.

According to Simon Luck, Head of Technology & Innovation, Defence & Security, UK at BMT, the mission planning tools used today do not provide such capabilities and do not inform mission commanders of cyber vulnerabilities and risks to the systems and facilities they are set to protect.

“JUMP helps to bring in new datasets very quickly, and apply autonomy, to develop multiple courses of action. The system will tell you where the risk lies, your vulnerabilities according to the threats, and will help to develop a vision of your possible courses of action. JUMP facilitates the management and visualization of the information supporting this decision-making process.”

Luck also sees its use going beyond battle planning by the UK Ministry of Defence or other military forces. “You can use this application to protect your critical national infrastructure, to have a better understanding of it and where the risks are, and then hardening your security stance to mitigate those risks that the system has identified. JUMP is all about making much better and more informed decisions.”

BMT is an international science, technology, engineering and risk management consultancy, working principally in the defense, security, energy, and environment, marine risk and insurance, maritime transport and ports, and logistics sectors. The company has recently secured a year’s further funding for the next phase of this S&T research project which will involve the team delivering additional functionality to the concept demonstrator to enable a range of cyber modeling capabilities.