Enabling Foreign Military Sales with Secure Processors

Defense contractors have been depending on the export market in order to weather the current economic crisis. It turns out their hopes have considerable justification. According to a September 9, 2009 NY Times article

“The United States signed weapons agreements valued at $37.8 billion in 2008, or 68.4 percent of all business in the global arms bazaar, up significantly from American sales of $25.4 billion the year before.”

By contrast, through the early 2000s, arms sales averaged only $8-13B. According to Loren Thomsen of the Lexington Institute, “weapons could be the single biggest export item over the next ten years.” 

However, at a time when defense contractors are highly motivated to increase export, the regulatory climate is becoming tougher. For example, a recent report by the GAO on export controls found that “…current government programs for protecting critical technologies may be ill-equipped to overcome challenges in the current security environment….globalization and terrorist threats have heightened the challenges…” 

Following the July 16, 2008 reissue of DoD Instruction 5200.39 requiring anti-tamper protection for critical program information in new systems, the services have been moving ahead with implementation. 

Of course, anti-tamper concerns extend to domestic deployments as well as export. But anti-tamper guidelines are particularly strict for export.  Consequently, a key value proposition for a secure processor such as CPU Tech’s Acalis CPU872 in weapon systems is straightforward:  to improve tamper resistance, detection and response for FMS. 

Weapons systems include a mix of proprietary components and merchant market components.  The proprietary components may include anti-tamper protection but until recently merchant market processors have not.  Sensitive subsystems with merchant market components are protected by conventional anti-tamper technology: volumetric enclosure with sensors to detect breaches and trigger destruction of critical program information.  Assuming Acalis can meet the performance and SWaP envelope allocated, the design-in should be straightforward. Leave the proprietary components and conventional AT in place (for now): simply use Acalis to further improve tamper resistance, detection and response.

The stage is set for Acalis Secure Processors to enable continued and increased FMS.


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