NEWS | Oct. 28, 2015

It is Time for the U.S. Military to Innovate Like Insurgents

By War on the Rocks

"Amidst the sea of defense contractors at this year’s AUSA expo, we — three young new players in this market — stood. We weren’t vendors, contractors or legislators, but rather active-duty Army captains, all members of the new cyber branch assigned to the Army Cyber Institute at West Point, the Army’s agent for change in cyberspace operations. Huddled around a shared U.S. Army demonstration area in the shadow of the sprawling defense contractor mega-booths, we employed a new tool that we had developed just weeks before the expo: the Cyber Capability Rifle. Successfully able to remotely disable an overhead UAV, we developed this proof-of-concept device in a dusty backyard garage, as amateur engineers and do-it-yourselfers, in about 10 hours with about $150 of spare parts. Encouraged by the cyber branch’s innovative spirit and entrepreneurial culture to explore the technological possibilities and enabled by the resources of the Army Cyber Institute, as makers we demonstrated the possibilities of unconventional thought and experimentation. For the Army to be prepared to “operate across a range of operations … anywhere around the world any time,” it must develop asymmetric acquisition methods that enable warfighters to make their own tools at the tactical edge in a timely and cost-effective manner requiring as little red tape as possible."