Questions & Answers

Below is a list of general questions regarding the Applied Research & Experimentation Partner Webinar. If you do not find the information you are looking for here, you may submit a question or comment by clicking below.

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Questions and Answers

  • Question: February 26, 2014

    Is the government willing to consider incorporating an innovative technology platform (appliance) to serve as a foundation to support a cohesive validation plan mentioned on page 21 and considering the CRA Research Strategy identified on page 19 of the Cyber Security CRA PA?

    Answer:

    Yes

  • Question: February 26, 2014

    Greetings, This is in reference to the BAA for Cyber Security Applied Research & Experimentation Partner (W911NF-14-R-0001). Section 1.1 of the BAA describes the "Whitepaper Content and Form". Page 27 contains an outline and page breakout for the 12 page whitepaper summarized as follows: - Overview - 2 pages - Research and Experimentation Program - 8 pages - Description of unclassified facilities - 1 page - Biographical Sketches - 1 page per PI Total: 12 Pages Question: Do the Biographical Sketches count towards the total page count? Or are you expecting only 1 PI? What if we have multiple PIs? My contact information is listed below. Thank you. V/R Keith Pabst TeleCommunication Systems, Inc. kpabst@telecomsys.com (850) 452-6032

    Answer:

    See Amendment 0001 to the BAA

  • Question: February 25, 2014

    We are professors with the Electrical and Computer Engineering and Criminal Justice departments at Temple University. We are not a member of CRA, but were wondering if the research abstract below is suitable for consideration under the BAA program. If it is indeed an appropriate topic, would we submit as a sub-awardee of CRA or can it be submitted directly. Critical infrastructures drive the US economy and security, which make them prime targets of cybercriminals or state-sponsored terrorists, and warrants special attention for its protection. Security of these systems can be modeled as a three layer process: infrastructure security, information security, and control system security. Current security practices of infrastructure systems are highly technical and vulnerability-based, but minimally address the human behavior component of cybercriminals. This research presents a novel method of infrastructure security based on multi-agent simulation that models the cybercriminals and defenders as active and intelligent agents, engaging in dynamic decision-making processes when executing, and deflecting, cyberattacks. Using ethical hackers (penetration testers) to understand the socio-cognitive abilities of both adversaries and defenders in the context of game theory, the proposed research develops a framework for understanding risk, detection, and agility of adversaries and defenders. The proposed study is unique in that it gives the human element a ‘voice’ in the cybercrime equation, and uses penetration testers to capture the dynamic and evolving characteristics of both adversaries and defenders that cannot easily be accessed and observed. By doing so, this research serves to stimulate new ways of thinking about adversaries and how they commit cyberattacks, and in turn, develops stronger methods for the protection of critical infrastructure. Thank you for your assistance. Best regards, Aunshul Rege, PhD Phone: 215-204-1671 Email: rege@temple.edu

    Answer:

    Research and experimentation approaches must be submitted as whitepapers for evaluation.

  • Question: February 20, 2014

    When can we expect the changes to this solicitation to be posted to FBO? When will the slides be posted from the presentations of the webinar?

    Answer:

    Amendment 0001 has been posted to FBO and the slides have been posted to the BAA website.

  • Question: February 20, 2014

    Page 20 of the BAA has the statement at the top "The proposed innovative approach to cyber security experimentation should derive from the state of the art [2,3,4] and seek to improve accuracy, impact, realism, repeatability, predictability, etc" but the references [2,3,4] are not provided. Can they be provided please?

    Answer:

    These references have been removed in Amendment 0001 to the BAA.

  • Question: February 20, 2014

    Where will the slides from the Webinar be posted?

    Answer:

    See Amendment 0001 to the BAA for the site.

  • Question: February 19, 2014

    Will the briefing slides from the Tues Feb 18 CS AR&EP BAA webinar telecon be made available to all attendees so we can download a copy?

    Answer:

    Yes. See website.

  • Question: February 18, 2014

    I filled in the Webinar registration form and have yet to see any informaiton on how to call in. how will that be provided?

    Answer:

    As indicated on the registration page, Login information was emailed to all registrants at 11:48am on 12/18/14

  • Question: February 18, 2014

    Will information on Webinar be posted or emailed to recipients?

    Answer:

    As indicated on the registration page, Login information was emailed to all registrants at 11:48am on 12/18/14

  • Question: February 18, 2014

    the Website says White Papers are due on 3 Mar but BAA states 5 March - can you confirm White Paper due date?

    Answer:

    The website has been corrected. The due date is 5 March 2014.

  • Question: February 13, 2014

    These was much discussion of the human element in this BAA. Who will be evaluating the whitepapers with an eye toward the human elements? In the proposal, should the inclusion of human elements into the whitepapers be included in separate sub-sections? How important will the human elements aspect be in the evaluation of the submissions?

    Answer:

    Subject Matter Experts will evaluate the whitepapers. Including sub-sections for human elements is the Offeror’s decision. Evaluation Factor 1 carries the most weight. Subfactors listed in Evaluation Factor 1 are equally important. Experimental Designs should provide insights into psychosocial effects that are sufficient to correlate human behaviors with data/events in the model being validated.

  • Question: February 13, 2014

    What is the desired scale of the strategic and tactical networks that this program desires to use in the test bed for validating the developed theories? Regarding test fidelity, does the program look for a validation solution having the capability to provide different levels of test fidelity independent of the scale of the network? Specifically, does the program demand the fidelity of testing a large-scale network to be (almost) equivalent to that of testing a small-scale network? If not, what's ARL's viewpoint on the potential trade-off between fidelity and scale?

    Answer:

    1) After award is made, ARL/CERDEC will coordinate with the AR&EP to address the appropriate scales for experimentation. 2) It is anticipated that different degrees of fidelity would be required in different portions of experiments. Depending on the validation exercise, particular nodes would require greater fidelity than others 3) The fidelity of a testing environment should be directly related to the theory/model being tested. The experimental design and plan should clearly identify any assumptions or limitations with respect to fidelity. Any potential trade-off between fidelity and scale should be discussed with consortium members.

  • Question: February 13, 2014

    Can we have abstracts/samples of the ongoing cyber CRA research prior to submitting our white paper?

    Answer:

    No

  • Question: February 13, 2014

    By the end of the first year, do you expect to have an operational testbed with limited functionality?

    Answer:

    The BAA seeks innovative approaches – not specifically a fully functional test-bed environment, but an environment that is extensible to be utilized across the three CRA research thrusts and the CCRI

  • Question: February 13, 2014

    For the psychosocial effects studies, is the AR&EP expected to provide personnel for the defense team that is subject to the studies?

    Answer:

    At this time, it is not our expectation that the AR&EP will be solely responsible for providing human subjects for psychosocial effects studies. A definitive answer can be stated when details of experimental designs and processes are known

  • Question: February 13, 2014

    What input/guidance can the AR&EP expect from ARL on topology, traffic, mobility, attacks?

    Answer:

    After award is made, ARL/CERDEC will provide input/guidance on expectations for network topology, traffic and intrusion data. These details will be provided at the appropriate classification levels

  • Question: February 13, 2014

    What maximum network size is expected to be modeled at each stage of the program? E.g., up to 1,000 nodes at end of the first year, 10,000 at the end of the program, etc?

    Answer:

    Offeror’s testbed designs should be extensible in order to increase the number of network nodes as needed. No maximum network size will be declared.

  • Question: February 13, 2014

    The BAA has missing footnote references--(see II.C.1 "spectrum operations3.") and bibliography references--(see II.E.Role2 "state of the art[2,3,4]"). Can we be provided with all missing references?

    Answer:

    These references have been removed in Amendment 0001 to the BAA.

  • Question: February 12, 2014

    We are Soleil IT Services, Inc., a small business. Are we eligible to compete in this opportunity?

    Answer:

    Yes

  • Question: February 12, 2014

    Section II.E of the BAA asks, "how the Offeror proposes to seek out and evolve theoretical research as applied to experimental validation; the plan should include a focus on proactively seeking input from basic researchers on what research to provide experimental validation." Are we to limit this "seeking" to only research from the institutions that are part of the CRA or are we to cover a broader brush of basic research?

    Answer:

    The intent is for the Offeror to describe how they will coordinate and collaborate with the CRA Researchers specifically as it is the output of those Researchers the AR&EP will be validating. The AR&EP is not limited to those institutions only.

  • Question: February 12, 2014

    Can a bibliography be added to the white paper, and if so, does it count toward the page limit of 12 pages?

    Answer:

    See Amendment 0001 to the BAA.

  • Question: February 12, 2014

    The bulleted paragraph in Section II.A (Domain of Army Networks) says, "Future Army networks will be heterogeneous and convergent...". What is meant by the use of the word convergent in this context?

    Answer:

    The term convergent in the context of Future Army Networks is used to describe the merging of Army's fixed communication networks and tactical communication networks. The connection of these networks will create additional opportunities and challenges with respect to the Army's cyber domain.

  • Question: February 12, 2014

    In section I.B.2 we are told that we will, "be required to join the Consortium for the Cyber CRA", and "be a signatory to the Cooperative Agreement...and...the Articles of Collaboration...related to membership, intellectual property and other consortium-related issues". We are later told that we, "will be provided information concerning the Cyber CRA Cooperative Agreement and Articles of Collaboration" with the "invitation to submit a Proposal." All of this sounds normal and harmless to an engineer, however, it would assuage executive fears if this detail could be provided before we even submit a whitepaper. This would avoid us wasting your time and resources--(and vice versa) on an opportunity that our management may later reject because of these terms. Would it be possible to post these items for download earlier?

    Answer:

    See Amendment 0001 to the BAA.

  • Question: February 12, 2014

    Would it be possible to be given the contact information for the principle investigators at the CRA member institutions so we might be able to correspond with them in advance of the submission?

    Answer:

    No

  • Question: February 12, 2014

    Are FFRDCs allowed to bid on this BAA as a subcontractor? Are Government agencies allowed to bid on this BAA as a subcontractor?

    Answer:

    The BAA does not preclude the participation of FFRDCs as subcontractors; however, FFRDCs must otherwise be able to participate in accordance with their governing rules and practices. Government organizations are not permitted to participate as subcontractors.

  • Question: February 12, 2014

    Can there be administrative text placed in the Header and Footer margins of the document that is smaller than the required Times New Roman 12 point font?

    Answer:

    Yes

  • Question: February 12, 2014

    Do the one-page PI biographical sketches count towards the 12-page limit on the white paper?

    Answer:

    See Amendment 0001 to the BAA.

  • Question: February 12, 2014

    Is a cover page required for the white paper? If so, (i) what is the required information on the cover page? (ii) Does the cover page count towards the 12-page limit?

    Answer:

    See Amendment 0001 to the BAA.

  • Question: February 12, 2014

    References [2,3,4] in the BAA are missing. Could you please provide them?

    Answer:

    These references were removed in Amendment 0001 to the BAA

  • Question: February 12, 2014

    Can a non-industry organization (i.e., an academic institution) lead the AR&EP program?

    Answer:

    Yes

  • Question: February 12, 2014

    Is it permissible for the AR&EP offeror to partner with members of the ongoing CRA?

    Answer:

    Yes

  • Question: February 12, 2014

    Is partnering with universities allowed, or is the AR&EP offeror’s team expected to consist only of industry partners?

    Answer:

    Yes

  • Question: February 12, 2014

    Is partnering encouraged?

    Answer:

    The choice of whether to partner with other organizations in the submission of a Whitepaper or proposal is up to the offeror.

  • Question: February 12, 2014

    The indentation in the description of the white paper format is confusing. The “Research and Experimentation Program (8 pages)” bullet has several sub-bullets, including some with page limits (namely, “Description of unclassified facilities available for this contract (1 page)” and “Biographical Sketches (1 page per PI)”) and the rest without. It is unclear whether the one-page limits on description of facilities and bio sketches are part of the 8 pages for the “Research and Experimentation Program” or not. Also, the item “Approach for deriving publicly releasable relevant data sets from sensitive/FOUO/classified environments” has a sub-bullet with a page limit (“Description of unclassified facilities available for this contract (1 page)). It is unclear whether this item was intended to be a sub-bullet. Please clarify the page limits.

    Answer:

    See Amendment 0001 to the BAA

  • Question: February 11, 2014

    Can the font size in graphical images be smaller than Times New Roman 12 point?

    Answer:

    Yes

  • Question: February 11, 2014

    The "Biographical Sketches" bullet of section I.1 (Application and Submission Information) suggests "1 page per PI". In order to meet the page count given the other bulleted allocations, this implies that either: a) There is only one PI for the entire effort, even if the team has multiple academic/corporate partners; or b) Multiple PI's need to share this one page. Was this your intention? Which of these two scenarios would you prefer we use?

    Answer:

    See Amendment 0001 to the BAA

  • Question: February 11, 2014

    Most white papers have a cover sheet declaring company points of contact information and an ITAR releaseability statement. Such a page is not listed in Section I.1 (Application and Submission Information) of the BAA. We assume such a page is still desired and will not count against our page count. Is this assumption correct?

    Answer:

    See Amendment 0001 to the BAA

  • Question: February 10, 2014

    Page 27 says that white papers require unclassified, public releasable information only. It is hard to imagine how a potential performer can describe their "innovative experimentation and research strategy", "innovative plans and approaches proposed for the research and experimentation program" in a way that would be appropriate for release to the entire world online. Is the intention really to prevent performers from providing proprietary ideas or material in their white papers?

    Answer:

    See changes to this language in Amendment 0001 to the BAA.

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Last Update / Reviewed: February 6, 2014