Hacking the Air Force and Beyond: Engaging Hackers to Secure the U.S Department of Defense

Speaker – Dr. Will Roper and Jack Cable


Two years ago, the U.S Air Force opened its doors to hackers with the launch of the Hack the Air Force challenge. Since then, the Air Force has run numerous other bug bounty challenges, ranging from logistics sites to custom hardware and engaging thousands of hackers along the way. Hear from Assistant Secretary of the Air Force Dr. Will Roper and Defense Digital Service hacker Jack Cable on the Air Force’s engagement of hackers via bug bounties and future initiatives in aviation security. In this open discussion, we encourage attendees to share their thoughts on how the Air Force can continue to work with the security community to improve the state of aviation security.

About the Speakers

Dr. Will Roper, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.

Will Roper is a rare U.S. government specimen who is not just thinking about the future of warfare; he’s hacking the bureaucracy to make it happen. As the founder of the Strategic Capabilities Office, a vanguard defense agency that prides itself on breaking down tech, he introduced the Pentagon to new concepts such as smart-phone navigating weapons, big-data-enabled sensing, fighter avatars and swarming micro-drones. Roper currently oversees development and production for all Air Force air and spacecraft, weapons, and software programs. In this role, he’s challenging the system to seriously face cyber vulnerabilities and take realistic action.

Jack Cable is a coder turned white hat hacker and a rising sophomore at Stanford University. Jack is a top ranked hacker on the HackerOne bug bounty platform, having identified over 350 vulnerabilities in companies including Google, Facebook, Uber, Yahoo, and the U.S. Department of Defense. After placing first in the Hack the Air Force challenge, Jack began working this past summer at the Pentagon’s Defense Digital Service. There, Jack helped organize the Hack the Marine Corps competition held live in Las Vegas and advises policymakers on vulnerability disclosure. Jack was named one of Time Magazine’s 25 most influential teens for 2018. At Stanford, Jack studies computer science and launched Stanford’s bug bounty program, one of the first in higher education.