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AUVSI Collaborates with DIU on Cybersecurity Certification Pilot for Commercial Drones

The Association for Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), the world’s leading trade association for uncrewed vehicle systems, has announced a collaboration with the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) to further commercial cyber methodologies to build a shared standard—like the one used to develop the DIU’s Blue UAS “Cleared List.” AUVSI’s effort is designed to expand the number of vetted Uncrewed Aircraft Systems, or UAS, that meet Congressional and federal agency drone security requirements.

“The goal of this new pilot initiative is to extend relevant cyber credentialing across the U.S. industrial base, proactively, streamlining and accelerating capabilities available to the Department of Defense (DoD) and the rest of the U.S. government,” said Brian Wynne, AUVSI President and CEO. “We are grateful for DIU’s partnership and look forward to working with them to make the US drone industry more resilient and secure.”

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AUVSI efforts will streamline the vetting process and further expand the potential small UAS entrants to the government through its Trusted Cyber Program. The industry-led cyber compliance effort will work with a suite of cybersecurity firms to provide technical cyber assessments before DIU, DoD, and government organizations can then conduct additional vetting, if needed.

The Blue UAS program has helped establish a cybersecurity baseline and coordinate government efforts to streamline the approval process for commercially available NDAA-compliant drones. There are currently 13 drones scheduled to be added to the Blue UAS Cleared List, but demand for additional cleared drones with new capabilities has outpaced DIU’s ability to scale this critical program due to limited funding and manpower. Because of its unique position in the market, AUVSI and its Trusted Cyber Program will provide this cybersecurity certification pathway to the commercial industry in close coordination with DIU.

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“Commercial-off-the-shelf sUAS are increasingly relied upon by federal agencies as critical tools to conduct diverse operations,” said David Michelson, DIU Program Manager for Blue UAS. “Partnerships with industry that make it easier for federal users to access commercial technology will help achieve the program’s goals.”

Blue UAS, launched in 2021 by DIU, is designed to provide a holistic and continuous approach that will rapidly vet and scale commercial small UAS technology for the DoD. The Blue UAS program consists of five lines of effort to curate, maintain, and improve a robust roster of policy-compliant, commercially-available small UAS, which suit the diverse needs of DoD users.

Given its unique position with commercial vendors and close coordination with DIU, AUVSI’s Trusted Cyber program will bolster capacity and meet growing demand, offering a standardization of cybersecurity certification. AUVSI’s Trusted Cyber Program launched in August 2022 in partnership with Fortress Information Security, a leading cybersecurity firm with experience in industry-led cyber standards development. AUVSI and Fortress will work with a network of cybersecurity firms to rapidly vet drones that are seeking cyber certification. Elements of the process include corporate cyber hygiene, supply chain security, product and device security, data link connectivity and encryption, and application and criticality.

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