DOD SBIR 24.4 Annual

Active
Yes
Status
Open
Release Date
October 3rd, 2023
Open Date
October 3rd, 2023
Due Date(s)
March 31st, 2025
Close Date
March 31st, 2025
Topic No.
A244-018

Topic

Tactical Implementation of Quantum Hardening

Agency

Department of DefenseN/A

Program

Type: SBIRPhase: BOTHYear: 2024

Summary

The Department of Defense (DOD) is seeking proposals for the topic "Tactical Implementation of Quantum Hardening" as part of its SBIR program. The objective is to develop a tactical implementation of quantum hardening for Army systems on a tactical network to identify vulnerabilities, remove or remediate them, and maintain security against quantum cyber threats. The Army is interested in software that can future-proof Army networks related to quantum computing vulnerabilities. The ideal solution is a holistic suite of quantum-resistant security applications that can assess cryptographic security, implement quantum-resistant algorithms, and provide a crypto-agile framework to protect sensitive data. The project will involve analyzing Army networks, prioritizing critical networks, and transitioning to a quantum-safe architecture. The performer will prototype a software suite at technology readiness level 6, demonstrated in relevant environments. The project will have a Phase I and Phase II, with Phase II delivering a prototype for further Army evaluation. The performer will have access to a lab with tactical network capabilities and associated devices for iteration. The project will also include demonstrations at NetModX events in 2024 and 2025. Awardees may be eligible for a Phase IIb award after completing Phase II. Phase III will focus on commercialization objectives. The project is open for proposals until March 31, 2025. For more information, visit the solicitation agency URL: link.

Description

OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Quantum Science; Advanced Computing and Software; Integrated Network System of Systems

 

The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120 – 130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730 – 774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with the announcement. Offerors are advised that foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws.

                                                                                                                                               

OBJECTIVE: Develop a tactical implementation of quantum hardening for Army systems on a tactical network in order to identify potential vulnerabilities, remove or remediate, and maintain security against quantum cyber threats.

 

DESCRIPTION: The Army is interested in software to aid in future-proofing Army networks related to quantum computing vulnerabilities. The performer will prototype a representative software suite at technology readiness (TRL) level 6, demonstrated in relevant environments.  This may involve analyzing Army networks to determine the required actions for the transition to a quantum-safe architecture and investigating critical networks necessary for the prioritization and eventual scaled migration to quantum-resistant cryptography. The ideal solution is a holistic suite of quantum-resistant security applications that can help organizations assess their cryptographic security posture, implement quantum-resistant cryptographic algorithms with minimal impact, and provide a crypto-agile framework to protect sensitive data from adversarial quantum computer attacks. Examples of solutions that will be considered include prototype software with and/or supporting the following capabilities, to be demonstrated on simulated and/or relevant government furnished hardware/network systems:

 

Integrate with existing Army networks (limited on premises servers, limited bandwidth, existing architecture for configurations cyber hardened)
Discovery and cataloging of cryptographic protocols, ciphersuites, and keys across networks 
Real-time cryptographic monitoring
Identify vulnerabilities and algorithms that do not adhere to Army standards
Self-repair/remediation capabilities for network certificates identified via Army tactical network with systems such as Joint Battle Command-Platform (JBC-P), Deployable Defensive Cyberspace (DDS), and the Tactical Radio (TR) application
Prepare to implement solutions on the Upper Tactical Internet and the Lower Tactical Internet in terms of bandwidth, configuration, VMs, on-premise servers, etc.

 

PHASE I: Only Direct to Phase II (DP2) proposals will be accepted for this topic. DP2 proposals must provide documentation to substantiate that the scientific and technical merit and feasibility (listed in the following paragraph) are met, and the proposals must describe potential commercial applications of the solution. The provided documentation should contain all relevant information including, but not limited to, technical reports, test data, prototype designs/models, and performance goals/results. 

 

DP2 proposals should build on the design formulated according to Phase I requirements: Design a preliminary solution for tactical quantum hardening of Army networks. Preliminary design should describe a cryptographic inventorying and management software or software suite or how to go about developing it.

 

PHASE II: Develop, build, and demonstrate a prototype of the concept advanced during Phase I. Prototypes should be capable of integration with existing Army systems and/or newly-developed systems. Phase II deliverables include a demonstration and delivery of a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6 prototype for further Army evaluation, as well as monthly and final reports detailing design and performance analysis of the prototype.

 

The performer will demonstrate the as-is technology at NetModX 2024 at Fort Dix, NJ to receive feedback on how to optimize the technology. This event is anticipated to take place in September 2024.

 

The performer will have access to a lab with tactical network capabilities and associated devices in order to iterate between NetModX events. This will be facilitated by Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM), Control, Communication, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C5ISR) Center. Plan to travel once per month to a site near Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD. If permitted, the government will provide interactive space to collaborate under the CyberVAN program (https://www.peratonlabs.com/cybervan.html). Plan to travel monthly within your estimate to Aberdeen Proving Ground and Fort Dix.

 

A final demonstration will be conducted at NedModX 2025, estimated to take place in September 2025. For all demonstrations, the necessary government furnished equipment (GFE) will be provided.

 

Awardees may also be eligible for Phase IIb award after completion of Phase II period of performance. Phase IIb can extend the period of performance with additional funding and additional matching opportunities to finish building out solutions with the stakeholders’ discretion.

 

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The objective of Phase III, where appropriate, is for the small business to pursue commercialization objectives through the effort. Companies will engage in laboratory or operational testing as required. Phase III deliverables include system-level integration, technical data package, installation documentation, and system-level prototype for demonstration and Government-sponsored testing.

 

REFERENCES:

https://www.nist.gov/programs-projects/post-quantum-cryptography

 

KEYWORDS: Quantum computing; quantum hardening; cryptography

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