Cyber Weapon Experts: US Air Force Wants You

Dennis Faas's picture

The US Air Force (USAF) has made a public appeal for tech experts to help design cyber weapons. The call for help comes in a solicitation document, which is a formal request for non-military organizations to submit ideas.

To encourage a response, the Air Force has announced that it could award contracts worth a total of $10 million.

The document asks for ideas that could help the USAF "disrupt, deny, degrade, destroy, or deceive an adversary's ability to use the cyberspace domain to his advantage."

It specifically refers to using cyber technology to weaken an enemy's ability to wage physical, non-virtual warfare. (Source:

Air Force: Help Us Compromise Enemy Systems

The Air Force is open to all ideas but it's especially interested in tools that could be used to:

  • Infiltrate an enemy's computer systems;
  • Manipulate enemy data;
  • Take offline an enemy's operating systems and other computer resources.

The document also suggests bidders could develop communications tools that provide allies with "near real-time effectiveness feedback" about a military situation.

As you'd expect, the Air Force is warning against sending any ideas by email or fax. Officials suggest bidders send sensitive material by United States Postal Service registered mail.

For now, bidders should supply only an outline of the concept they would like to develop. Officials will review submissions and may ask some bidders to prepare more detailed proposals.

Military Cyber Policy Evolves from Defense to Offense

Previous instances in which the US military has sought out cyber experts have concentrated on defensive rather than offensive cyber technologies. This new solicitation seems to represent a step forward in military thinking about cyberspace.

Military sources have confirmed the US used cyber attacks as part of its military operations in Afghanistan. There have also been credible but unconfirmed reports the US government was behind the Stuxnet virus that caused a malfunction in Iranian nuclear equipment. (Source:

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