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Raytheon and West Point's Information Technology and Operations Center: Partnering to Defend the Cyberdomain
Raytheon's objective to provide its customers with comprehensive solutions in the area of information assurance and information operations has resulted in the initiation of valuable partnerships with several academic institutions that are pursuing research in these areas. A partnership with United States Military Academy at West Point's Information Technology and Operations Center (ITOC) was a natural choice for Raytheon, allowing the company to work in information operations with a top-notch research institution that also happens to be part of one of Raytheon's primary customer organizations: the U.S. Army.

The U.S. Military Academy at West Point has a storied history as the premier institution of military education in the U.S. Since it was founded by President Thomas Jefferson in 1802, the academy has been dedicated to providing the nation with "Leaders of Character" who can serve the nation in military operations throughout the globe.

The cadets who graduate from West Point in these early years of the 21st century face ever-more complex challenges as they enter the U.S. Army as second lieutenants. Among those challenges is the increasing need to protect our nation, and its military defenders, against cyberattack.

Responding to that challenge, West Point created ITOC in order to equip the Army to better deal with the looming challenges of information operations. The mission of the ITOC is "to educate and inspire cadets and faculty in the acquisition, use, management, and protection of information through innovative teaching, curriculum development, research, and outreach to Army, DoD, and federal agencies." As part of West Point's Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) department, the ITOC draws from a stellar faculty — many of whom bring experience as active-duty military officers, along with advanced degrees to their research endeavors.

In the fall of 2008, engineers from Raytheon's Corporate Technology and Research organization participated in discussions with ITOC faculty to identify research projects of common interest. In the early months of 2009, Raytheon's University Research Program funded two research programs at the ITOC.

The first research project is being conducted under the auspices of Raytheon's Intelligence and Information Systems (IIS) business. Titled "Secure Soldier Field Computer," this project will investigate the various software and hardware configurations that will be utilized in future field operation computers. Insight into these configurations will support identification and development of appropriate cybersecurity measures that can be used to protect the data and functionality provided to the soldier via these computers.

The second research project is sponsored by another Raytheon business, Network Centric Systems. Titled "Netted Secure Soldier Field Radio," this project will investigate new methods of providing soldiers with a low-weight secure radio that supports more rapid setup and is less cumbersome to use than currently fielded secure radios. Because these radios will need to function as part of a comprehensive netted communications system, the impact of a new approach to radio security to the overall communications infrastructure will also require investigation. The field-duty experience brought to this task by West Point faculty members will be invaluable in determining the viability of any type of secure radio in a "real world" setting.

Raytheon is also partnering with its U.S. Army customer by offering summer internship opportunities to West Point cadets. As part of West Point's Academic Individual Advanced Development program, several cadets learned and contributed at a number of Raytheon businesses during the summer of 2009. Two cadets with an interest in information operations spent a few weeks at IIS' SIGov affiliate in Melbourne, Fla. Four other cadets were in Tucson, Ariz., to participate in a summer internship sponsored by Raytheon Missile Systems. In an effort to further interservice communication, the RMS program partnered USMA cadets with cadets from the United States Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, Colo.

The Raytheon engineers who work with the professors and staff at the ITOC are excited about this opportunity to engage in research that will benefit our company, the faculty and cadets at the United States Military Academy and, most importantly, the soldiers who serve our nation.

Jeanne Minahan Robinson