Interaction highlight of Innovation Exchange

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Hanscom subject matter experts and MITRE principal investigators came together on April 26 at an Innovation Exchange to learn about each other's work and opportunities for collaboration.

In the crowded atrium of Building 1612, investigators spoke about and presented demonstrations on the independent research and development work ongoing at MITRE and being drawn from the broader innovation community. The three overarching topics for this event were cybersecurity, communications and networking, and the future of command and control.

"It's exciting to see the discussion and interaction taking place," said Col. Edward Masterson, Hanscom Engineering and Technical Management deputy, whose office hosted the event in conjunction with MITRE. "Ideas are being shown that program personnel can take back to their everyday job to see if they can help with accomplishing the mission."

He added the topics were specifically chosen to be of interest to Hanscom personnel.

One research project centers on mission-centric network optimization in software defined networks. Jamie Ma, an investigator with MITRE from McLean, Virginia, explained they are looking at airborne networking, and not only how to improve and maintain connectivity, but the possibility of predictive work.

Another project area discussed was Cyber Attack Graph Analytics and Visualization, often simply referred to as CyGraphs. Steve Noel, MITRE investigator, described it as looking at relationships rather than individual pieces of information. A cyber analyst has to look at various items such as vulnerabilities, firewalls, status and alerts and be able to react, he said. The team is working to integrate those different elements in an overall view for situational awareness and also provide suggested best courses of action.

Presentations included a myriad of other areas of work from Cyber Risk Informed Engineering to Robust Communication for Airborne Multi-Agent Robotic Systems.

"The level of interaction is exactly what we were hoping for," said Steve Vinica, MITRE Engineering and Analysis associate department head and event coordinator. "We're ecstatic about the overwhelming turnout."

Also as part of the event, three courses highlighted cyber threats, cybersecurity challenges and a cyber risk assessment tool.

"If a program manager learns something today that they can take back to their job, I consider it [the event] a success," said Masterson.

Hanscom's Engineering and Technical Management director, Dennis Miller, presented a challenge to those in attendance.

"Innovation happens by making connections between fields where people didn't realize there was a connection," he said. "We have a tendency to repeat last year's harvest, so here's my challenge: awaken, become a hunter and capture opportunity."

In the future, organizers hope to include the Air Force Research Lab and other Federally Funded Research, Development and Engineering Centers in these events.