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Designing Reliable and Secure Tactical MANET's
In Response to: ONR BAA 06-028
FY07 MURI Topic #26: Robust and Resilient Tactical MANET's


The goal of our collaborative effort is to develop and implement practical techniques that integrate MANET reliability and security for tactical operations to achieve superior performance characteristics in the face of both failures and deliberate adversary attacks. Our hypothesis is that it is practically impossible to disassociate reliable and secure operations in tactical environments. A tactical MANET cannot operate reliably in the presence of an adversary whose actions disrupt communications and are not countered by detection/recovery, prevention, avoidance, or resilience techniques. Conversely, an unreliable MANET, whose communications are not robust and resilient, cannot be deemed to be secure
as the network may enter states in which the adversary can take advantage of communication fragility; e.g., capture temporary disconnected nodes in an undetected manner. Our research is based on the fundamental principles of active protocol monitoring for both performance, stability and adversary handling, of employing communication channel diversity for robust end-to-end operation in the face of failures and deliberate attacks, and of exploiting cross-layer interaction for predicting the effects of performance changes caused by layer-specific failures and attacks on end-to-end MANET operation. We employ design and analysis techniques found in network theory, statistics, game theory, cryptography, economics and sociology, and system theory to develop, design and analyze models, tools, and mathematical representations for predicting performance and prescribing resilient, secure MANETs. We anticipate that our research will lead to systematic ways of evaluating and countering attack vulnerabilities of MANETs and wireless sensor networks. The research will also lead to provably robust and resilient design of MANETs, which is a major shortcoming in the current state of the art. We also anticipate that the research will lead to the development of efficient security schemes for multi-service MANETs with guaranteed performance.