[ACSAC History]

1985: The Origins

The initial idea for a conference that would address issues regarding applications of security technology to aerospace programs came from conversations between MITRE employees Harry Sheetz and Fred Tompkins in July of 1984. The idea was supported by MITRE, which became the co-sponsor of the first conference, along with NASA and the IEEE Computer Society. The first General Chairman was Dr. William Bisignani of the MITRE Corporation. The technical program was organized by Frederick G. Tompkins.

The first conference, a one-day affair, was held in March 1985 at the MITRE Corporation facilities in McLean Virginia. The conference attracted about 115 people and was acclaimed by all as a success. The welcome speech was given by Charles A. Zraket, Executive Vice President of MITRE. The Keynote Speaker was Congressman Dan Glickman, who in 1984 had released a report from his Subcommittee on Transportation, Aviation, and Materials entitled Computer and Communications Security and Privacy, which was one of the many government reports documenting the seriousness of computer crime and the lack of government action. The distinguished speaker was Thomas P. Quinn (ASD(C3I)).

Aerospace Computer Security Conference: Protecting Intellectual Property in Space
March, 1985
Track 1: Operational Concerns
(Russell Rice, NASA Chairman)
Track 2: Security Technologies
(Joel Levy, ORI, Chairman)
  • Security Implications of the Space Station Information Systems, R. W. Burns Space Shuttle Security Policies and Programs, E.L. Keith
  • Potential Uses of Probabilistic Risk Assessment Techniques for Space Station Development, Bruske, et. Al.
  • Key Considerations in Contingency Planning for Secure Space Flight Ground Control Centers, J. E. Summerton
  • A Systematic Method for Evaluating Security Requirements Compliance, N. Tyra and P. Miles Security Engineering of Secure Ground Stations, L. Bickner

  • Processing Requirements of Secure C3/I and Battle Management Systems and Development of Gemini Trusted Multiple Microcomputer Base, T. Tao and R. Schell
  • Multilevel Security, M. Tinto
  • DBMS Security, S. Walker
  • Restricted Access Processor -- An Application of Computer Security Technology, E. McMahon Satellite Communications Security Techniques, J. Sangster
  • Observations on Local Area Network Security, M. Abrams

This first conference was called the Aerospace Computer Security Conference: Protecting Intellectual Property in Space. The conference had two tracks; one on operational concerns, the other on security technologies. A list of papers from this conference is shown in the sidebar. The proceedings were published by the IEEE Computer Society Press.

The Conference Spawned ACSA

Following the first conference, four of the organizers concluded that there was a need to establish a conference of this kind on a continuing basis. These four founded a partnership and later a non-profit organization, (now incorporated in the state of Maryland) called the Aerospace Computer Security Associates (ACSA).

The association has the goal of improving the understanding, the theory, and the practice of computer security in both the Federal government and the civil sector. ACSA continues to be the primary sponsor of the Annual Computer Security Applications Conference. The current membership of ACSA (as of Dec. 1994) is:

Dr. Marshall Abrams President and Chairman of the Board The MITRE Corporation
Dr. Ronald Gove Vice President and Vice Chairman of the Board Science Applications International Corporation
Robert Kovach Treasurer NASA
Diana Akers Recording Secretary The MITRE Corporation
Dr. Gary Smith Member at Large ARCA Systems
Ann Marmor-Squires Member at Large TRW
Daniel Faigin Member at Large The Aerospace Corporation
Victoria Ashby Member at Large The MITRE Corporation

ACSA continues to be committed to serving the community by finding additional approaches for encouraging and facilitating dialogue and technical interchange. ACSA continues to be interested in suggestions from interested professionals and computer security professional organizations on how to achieve these goals.. In 1994, ACSA organized and sponsored the Invitational Workshop on Information Technology Assurance and Trustworthiness. A follow-up workshop is planned for 1995.