Researchers Help Ensure Security of Military Logistics

Oct. 20, 2009

A UT Dallas computer scientist argues that it’s possible to establish data security for a large military logistics system even if the system’s component parts come from many companies and aren’t each individually secure.

That’s significant because of both the importance of robust logistics systems and the frequency with which they’re built by multiple contractors, said Dr. Bhavani Thuraisingham, a professor of computer science and director of the CyberSecurity Research Center at UT Dallas.

She spoke recently as part of a panel discussion that included senior naval officers at the opening session of an annual conference organized by SOLE – The International Society of Logistics - in Irving, Texas.

Moderated by Dr. Charles Nemfakos, a senior fellow of the RAND Corp., the panel also included Richard Skinner, inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security; Vice Admiral Michael Loose, deputy chief of naval operations for Fleet Readiness and Logistics; and Vice Admiral Mark Harnitchek, deputy commander of the Defense Department’s U.S. Transportation Command.

“The challenge for security researchers is to develop appropriate security architectures to ensure that the system operates securely even if individual components fail.”

Dr. Bhavani Thuraisingham

“The challenge for security researchers is to develop appropriate security architectures to ensure that the system operates securely even if individual components fail,” Thuraisingham said.

She also argued that data-mining techniques can be used to detect viruses and other malicious software, or malware, that may have been introduced into the supply chain process.

Thuraisingham’s team at UT Dallas is developing architectural solutions for secure systems, conducting risk analysis and risk modeling, and applying data-mining techniques. The team includes Dr. Latifur Khan, Dr. Murat Kantarcioglu and Dr. Kevin Hamlen, all members of the computer science faculty. The work is carried out in collaboration with faculty from the University’s School of Management and its School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences.

Thuraisingham regularly gives keynote addresses and participates in plenary panels at prestigious conferences. In the past six months she has given keynote presentations at the Cyber Security and Information Intelligence Research Workshop at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Pacific Asia Workshop on Intelligence and Security Informatics in Bangkok, the IEEE International Conference on Secure Software and Reliability Improvement in Shanghai, the IEEE International Conference on Information Reuse and Integration in Las Vegas and the IEEE/ACM Conference on Web Intelligence in Milan.

She also regularly gives presentations on emerging technologies to various government entities, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense and agencies within the intelligence community. Many of the presentations are co-authored with members of her team at UT Dallas, and she and Khan also organized last summer’s IEEE Intelligence and Security Informatics Conference, which included participants from several government agencies.


Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu

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Dr. Bhavani Thuraisingham (left) takes part in a panel discussion on “The Many Faces of Logistics in Global Security” (Photo courtesy of SOLE – The International Society of Logistics)

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