Think Tank Calls for NASA to Unleash Gryphon-X

Convergence Corner

Think Tank Calls for NASA to Unleash Gryphon-X

By Peter Bernstein, Senior Editor  |  April 04, 2016

The Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology promotes itself as a non-partisan conduit between private sector, federal agencies, and the legislative community. Its goal is to facilitate the exchange of ideas needed to effectively support and protect the critical infrastructures of the U.S. It has emerged as a powerful voice in keeping security issues front and center in our increasingly risky cyber world. And, ICIT is on a new mission that members of the Cloud Security Resource Community should be aware of.

As the headline says, ICIT is calling on NASA to unleash its Gryphon-X project, a proposed cybersecurity fusion and training center which brings together American organizations in the public, private, and academic spheres for bleeding-edge cybersecurity collaboration.  

This is a real call to action that is contained in a new white paper, America is Under Siege: Now is the Time for NASA to Unleash Gryphon-X. It is, to say the least, compelling reading. (To check it out, visit:

In the hit 1981 movie The Clash of the Titans, the character Zeus uttered “Release the Kraken!” It refers to a mythical Norwegian massive sea monster that is supposedly capable of destroying almost anything. The term has gone on to become a major buzzword for creating havoc and used in several recent TV commercials. Gryphon-X is not a sea monster, but as ICIT says, its goal is to wreak havoc on those with malicious intent. 

Indeed, ICIT puts things bluntly in the below commentary.

“Despite maintaining one of the greatest treasure troves of intellectual capital on the planet, NASA, like virtually all federal agencies, is plagued by bureaucracy and competing inter-agency political agendas, which create a culture that stifles innovation. While adversaries run rampant in the critical infrastructures of our nation, next-gen cybersecurity proposals aimed at protecting our networks, data, and Internet-enabled devices fail to gain the full support of agency leaders operating in siloed environments…. This report details Gryphon-X and discusses why viable, innovative cybersecurity initiatives mandate the full support of our government agencies in the interest of national security.”

The bottom line is reflected in comments on the report by James Scott, ICIT senior fellow, and one of the authors of the white paper. Scott notes, "Make no mistake, America is at war. The American people are subject to exploitation by a vast and nebulous storm of adversaries, and Gryphon-X, a viable solution capable of shifting the tide, is withheld in bureaucratic limbo within NASA." He adds that, "This is not a time to sit on proposals that can have an optimal and profound impact on critical infrastructure resiliency. Gryphon-X cannot be allowed to just be another proposal that got lost in NASA’s notorious bureaucratic black hole…. The time has come to unleash Gryphon-X."

I won’t spoil the why ICIT feels Gryphon-X should not become just another proposal that sits on a shelf someplace. Community members are encouraged to read the details in the white paper about this project. It clearly speaks to the challenges that have become a priority of the U.S. government and those with responsibilities for the protection of absolutely critical digital assets and capabilities of our nation’s infrastructure. 

It is not customary for me to advocate these types of calls for action. However, in this instance, a reading of the white paper is likely to get skilled IT security professionals’ juices flowing. Finding out more about how to join ICIT’s cause to get educated on Gryphon-X and help it gain the attention it deserves is something to be recommended.  

Peter Bernstein is a senior editor for TMC (News - Alert) (, the parent company of INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi