Reference Code: 502

Posted: 11-12-2021


U.S. Army Cyber Institute, United States Military Academy
Spellman Hall, 2101 New South Post Road, West Point, NY 10996
Preferred On-Site, (potential for a Hybrid Fellowship with some travel to ACI required) (Limited travel stipend to support a Hybrid commute are available.)


January 4, 2022 (flexible start), Term: Spring Academic Semester, potential for extension

Fellowship Offering:

Graduate Student

Detailed Lab Description, Background and Research Focus:

The U.S. Army Cyber Institute (ACI), is a national resource for interdisciplinary research, advice and education in the cyber domain, engaging DoD, U.S. Army, Government, academic and industrial cyber communities in impactful partnerships to build intellectual capital and expand the knowledge base for the purpose of enabling effective army cyber defense and cyber operations. The next-generation battlefield will be populated with a vast number of interconnected, heterogeneous and sometimes autonomous agents including devices, networks, software, and humans. On these battlefields, combatants will seek to disrupt connections and key nodes in their opponent’s network and gain tactical and operational advantages.  Current authentication and authorization systems have properties that make them inappropriate for these networks and research in this area is key to ensuring such systems are resilient to the full range of adversarial attacks.

In response to the ongoing and future challenges facing the Cyber and Information Domain, our projects support the research, development, experimentation, testing, evaluation and operationalization of authentication and authorization systems for access to data and controls in highly-contested, complex battlefield environments.  To build, assess and deploy smart, autonomous cyber systems that enable intelligent, assured and federated decision-making; our research explores tradeoffs in cybersecurity and distributed systems in order to optimize for communications in a dynamic and hostile electromagnetic environment.

Fellowship Project Description:

The U.S. Army Cyber Institute (ACI), United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point, NY is looking for a Graduate Research Fellow to join the ACI’s Data Science research team and assist in developing projects that support the Battlefield Communications for 2035 initiative. The fellow will be expected to conduct applied research and development with the objective of providing new capabilities for secure, asynchronous distribution of information, decentralized authorization mechanisms; dynamic tuning of system parameters to match the operational environment; and secure; automated failover for control nodes. Over the semester, the fellow will research the tradeoffs of existing cryptographic primitives and authorization systems and develop a system that can gracefully adjust or degrade in a contested communication environment. The successful candidate will be expected to take a leading role in developing, testing, and implementing an authentication and authorization system. These systems have a variety of failure modes, which have different practical impacts for the larger system embedding them. The fellow will explore these failure modes and develop a system capable of minimizing the worst-case failure modes while also providing mechanisms for tuning or adapting to optimize for a given environment. It is expected that the candidate will be able to assist in writing of scholarly manuscripts along with project white papers, making positive scholarly contributions that are of mutual interest with the Principal Investigator, as well as, productively interact with research collaborators within the ACI, across USMA, and with external partners.

Fields of Study:

  • Computer Science
  • Mathematics and Cryptography

Fellow Requirements:

  • US Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident
  • Proof of COVID-19 vaccination
  • Graduate research and coursework in distributed systems, applied mathematics, cryptography, and/or formal methods
  • Proficiency in at least one programming language (Python, C/C++, etc.) along with modern software development practices, tools and technologies
  • Understanding and ability to apply computer and network security principles, as well as, knowledge of general cybersecurity data sets and tools

Topics Relevant to this Posting:

Distributed systems; Authentication and authorization; Cybersecurity; Cryptography

Fellowship Educational Stipend Amount:

  • Monthly stipend amount of $4,000+, based on coursework, academic standing and experience
  • Additional Research Travel Stipend (travel to USMA at West Point and/or academic meetings as needed)

Additional Application Documents Needed:

  • A statement of interest (limited to one page), based on the project description and research focus, explaining your interest in the project and why you believe the work is significant/important.

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