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April 10, 2023: Robert Hanley

April 10, 2023
4:00 p.m.
Room: 190 Goodwin Hall
Robert Hanley, Sabre Systems  
Faculty Host: Dr. Pat Artis

"Considertions for Conducting Operational Cyber Live Fire Test and Evaluation"

Abstract:  The DoD has over $1B worth of cyber tools, processes, capabilities, labs and ranges that are used to assess cyber vulnerabilities on weapon systems.  To date, this has only been done on isolated systems off platform in hardware/software in-the-loop facilities with limited DT/OT, but only on flight test assets. There have been isolated tests of operational aircraft but only in a non-intrusive way that did not impact any mission or safety critical systems.  These types of tests cannot definitely determine if an aviation asset is fully mission capable, survivable and resilient in an operational cyber contested environment.  In addition, the DoD currently does not have deployable restoration/maintenance procedures to return a cyber exploited aircraft to mission ready status at any forward operating base in a timely (within 24 hours) way.  The primary reason these operational tests have not been done is over the concern that the testers will “break” the aircraft requiring weeks, if not months, to return the asset to flight status.   However, that is about to change.  This discussion will focus on how the DoD is developing Operational Cyber Live Fire Testing and Evaluation Methodology, processes and procedures (and restoration techniques) to ensure these weapon systems can be declared “cyber mission ready and sustainable” in any threat environment.  This includes assessing the risks of conducting such tests and the benchmarks needed to be passed in the testing to declare the aircraft cyber-worthy.  This is ground breaking and a game changer for the cyber battlespace.

Bio:  Bob Hanley is currently the Vice President for Cyber and Engineering Solutions at Sabre Systems, Inc. He provides cyber architecture and systems engineering expertise across the commercial sector for federal/civilian Government agencies and for the Department of Defense.  He is also currently the Chairman of the Virginia Tech Aerospace and Ocean Engineering Advisory Board, and he is on the Board of Directors of the Association of Airworthiness Professionals. Previously, Mr. Hanley worked at the Naval Air Systems Command for over 38 years and most recently served as the Director of Airworthiness and CYBERSAFE for the Navy and Marine Corps Airworthiness. He oversaw the flight safety and cyber certifications for all the Navy and Marine Corp’s 4,000 plus manned and unmanned aircraft including all tactical aircraft, the President’s Helicopter and the Blue Angels.

Awards and Honors

Mr. Hanley has received well over 50 awards during his career including the Department of Defense (DoD) Distinguished Civilian Service Award (the highest civilian award given by the Department of Defense); the DoD Exceptional Civilian Service Award; the Secretary of Defense Freedom Award; the Navy Superior Civilian Service Award, the T. Michael Fish Award for excellence in leadership in the Navy; the Under Secretary of Defense Acquisition Innovation Award, and the Heinemann Aerospace Achievement Award. Mr. Hanley was also inducted into both the Virginia Tech Aerospace and Ocean Engineering Academy of Excellence (2016) and the College of Engineering Academy of Excellence (2021).