For cybersecurity, however, the “moonshot” or the sometimes-interchangeable cyber “Manhattan Project” may not be the best models.
First, both the moonshot and the Manhattan Project were relatively focused, short-term efforts aimed at a single and clearly defined objective—land on the moon, explode an atomic bomb. We do not have the same clarity and focus for cybersecurity. Project Apollo, delayed by a tragic fire, took seven years to put people on the moon while the Manhattan Project took three years to build the atomic bomb. Both were well-resourced. It may be possible to match these speeds if the technological objective of the cybersecurity moonshot was clearly defined and if the United States is willing to make the needed investments, but the construct we call cyberspace is the most complex creation ever built by humans. There are entrenched interests fearful of any change, and the politics of a cyber moonshot will be much more daunting.
A cyber moonshot could increase its chances of success if it could identify technologies that would provide wide-ranging improvements for cybersecurity.
This article raises some excellent concerns. Indeed, in order for this kind of thing to be successful (or like the Solarium Project I wrote about the other day) we need to define clear goals and objectives.
And we need fresh thinking, something VCs, the cybersecurity industry, and the US government largely lack at the moment. Everyone seems to be iterating the same concepts.
What do you think? Is this a space where a government run or sponsored project could, assuming the best conditions, make a noticeable impact?