The United States military is heavily dependent on networked communication to fulfill its missions. The wide-area network (WAN) infrastructure that supports this communication is vulnerable to a wide range of failures and cyber attacks that can severely impair connectivity and mission effectiveness at critical junctures. Examples include inadvertent or malicious misconfiguration of network devices, hardware and software failures, extended delays in Internet Protocol (IP) route convergence, denial of service (DoS) flooding attacks, and a variety of control-plane and data-plane attacks resulting from malicious code embedded within network devices.
The objective of the EdgeCT program is to bolster the resilience of communication over IP networks solely by instantiating new capabilities in computing devices within user enclaves at the WAN edge. It is envisioned that EdgeCT systems will mitigate WAN failures and attacks on the fly, in a mission-aware fashion, by incorporating the following three technical components:
EdgeCT systems and all of their functionality will be positioned solely within (cleartext) enclaves fronted by one or more in-line military encryption devices. These systems will have no ability to communicate directly with the WAN control or management planes or with the WAN administrator, and will have no knowledge of WAN architecture except for what EdgeCT systems can infer from edge-based observation of packet flows into and out of the WAN. EdgeCT system designs cannot require any changes to the WAN or to the encryption boundaries. Deployed EdgeCT systems may ultimately have to recognize and support robust communication for a variety of user applications including real-time streaming video, real-time audio, file transfer and situational awareness, among others.
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