SRI International Leading Security Research for U.S. Army Research Lab Initiative to Develop and Secure the Internet of Battlefield Things (IoBT) | SRI International

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SRI International Leading Security Research for U.S. Army Research Lab Initiative to Develop and Secure the Internet of Battlefield Things (IoBT)

MENLO PARK, Calif., February 21, 2018 – To meet the growing need for smart battlefield capabilities, the U.S. Army Research Lab (ARL) awarded $25 million to the “Alliance for IoBT Research on Evolving Intelligent Goal-driven Networks (IoBT REIGN),” in October 2017. IoBT REIGN is an initiative to develop and secure new predictive battlefield analytics and services.

Led by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the team includes SRI International and collaborators from ARL, Carnegie Mellon University, University of California, Berkeley, University of California, Los Angeles, University of Massachusetts, and University of Southern California. The funding covers the first five years of a potential 10-year effort.


A key and emerging battlefield challenge is the security of cyber-physical systems. “Battlefields are by nature fast-paced adversarial environments and security challenges arising from these cyber-physical environments will be addressed in every research task, said Tancrède Lepoint, Ph.D., computer scientist and cryptographer at SRI International. Lepoint is SRI’s principal investigator for IoBT REIGN and will lead research on security for the project team.

In the future, military operations will rely less on human soldiers and more on interconnected technology, leveraging advancements in unmanned systems and machine intelligence to achieve superior defense capabilities. The IoBT will connect soldiers with smart technology in armor, radios, weapons, and other objects, to give troops “extra sensory” perception, offer situational understanding, endow fighters with prediction powers, provide better risk assessment, and develop shared intuitions.

One area critical to IoBT success is in the collaboration of autonomous agents and human warriors in a battlefield. The autonomous agents will require razor-sharp reflexes to quickly react to a novel and unforeseen circumstances and maintain safety without jeopardizing long-term mission effectiveness.

 A key focus of SRI’s work on IoBT REIGN will address this challenge by quickly identifying out-of-ordinary circumstances and using a combination of data-driven inductive learning and deductive reasoning techniques for discovering a reflex adaptation strategy to ensure safety.

IoBT REIGN brings together researchers in cyber-physical computing, information theory, security, cryptography, formal methods, machine learning, networking, control, and cognitive science, among other disciplines. The goal is to understand and exploit the capabilities of networked battlefield systems and create a cyber network of “things” that adapts as the mission evolves. This means an IoBT system able to analyze its available resources in real-time, be self-aware and in a continuous state of learning, and possess the cognitive abilities to fuse data from technology with data from humans.