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Activity title

Mission Assurance for Autonomous Unmanned Systems

Activity Reference

IST-166 (IWA)


Information Systems Technology

Security Classification



Awaiting Publication

Activity type


Start date


End date



Autonomous systems, cybersecurity, mission assurance, risk assessment, risk management, unmanned systems


Advances in autonomous unmanned systems provide an increasing number of challenges for both the operational and research communities. Careful consideration is needed in the command and control of the integrated man and machine team when considering the communication systems and the dependencies across the distributed and complex operational environments. The traditional understanding of cyber network operations will extend beyond the physical connectivity into the electromagnetic spectrum. There will be an increasing number of access points for nefarious actors to corrupt collection integrity, inject false data or modify data with the intent to deceive or deny the mission. Trends in the commercial sector will spill over into the defense systems and we will rely more heavily on infrastructure as a service and security as a service as cyber reach continues to extend from wired systems to systems connected through wireless communications. This growing complexity makes it even more pressing to develop a holistic approach to security that can ensure that adequate protection is integrated in the development of new capabilities from the early design stages. To achieve this, autonomy and operational experts need to be involved to help security researchers understanding which new security risks may arise when unmanned and autonomous systems are employed in a mission. Novel security solutions that can provide increased data integrity and reduce the risk of information compromise in this new scenario will hold tremendous promise to ensure the success of the future integration of man and machine across sea, land, air and space systems.


The security and defense communities are interested in novel techniques for dealing with an overwhelming and exponentially growing supply of data that chokes communication channels and restricts or prohibits real-time analysis. These same communities are also interested in solving challenging computational problems that traditional techniques have left unsolved, or in some cases, not addressed. As autonomous unmanned systems evolve, new problems in cyber security will emerge that are difficult to attack with conventional methods. The problems will require new techniques that are more adaptable and flexible to provide system and mission resiliency. This Specialists Meeting will therefore focus on the multi-disciplinary aspect of the problem of securing mission assurance for autonomous unmanned systems. Understanding the role and the potential of unmanned autonomous systems in future missions is critical to identify new cyber security risks this may bring and develop novel methods to handle them. This objective of the meeting is provide attendees a forum to discuss state-of-the-art and emerging disruptive technologies, developments, concepts and operational solutions to ensure the mission of unmanned and autonomous systems of the future. . The meeting will also provide a forum to identify and gain input on and resolution of issues associated with NATO Policy, provide overviews of current research activities.The combination of specialists from various technical and non-technical domains in NATO allows a universal and unbiased discussion


• Mission models, mission decomposition, and mission scenarios • Modeling, simulation, and emulation for autonomy • Current and future applications of unmanned and autonomous systems in military missions • Taxonomy of unmanned and autonomous vehicles • Standardization activities and projects within autonomy • Vulnerability and risk assessment tools for unmanned and autonomous systems • Security aspects of artificial and computational intelligence for autonomy • Trustworthiness of sensor data • Models of interaction among heterogeneous unmanned and autonomous systems • Blockchain architectures for distributed systems and logistics chain management • Communications between systems and systems of systems • Advanced data analytics • Real Time Processing • Extended reach with compromised systems • Real time state of health assessment of autonomous systems • Security assessments of existing autonomous vehicles • Cryptography challenges for distributed autonomous systems • Security in embedded systems • Autonomous agents for security • Security architecture for autonomous vehicles

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