Since 2013, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Plan X cyber warfare program engineers have done the foundational work they knew it would take to create for the first time a common operating picture for warriors in cyberspace.

Next month in Suffolk, Virginia, that work will pay off when Plan X is released from the DARPA lab and into the hands of operators — also for the first time — during back-to-back annual joint cyber exercises: Cyber Guard and Cyber Flag.

“We’ve got a great team of engineers, and we have had persistent participation by the military services in our lab acting essentially as end users, helping us flesh out the work flow and how it should be done,” Plan X Program Manager Frank Pound told DoD News in an interview this week.

“[Operators] haven’t had a unified architecture from which to conduct cyber operations or reason about cyber or visualize cyber,” Pound said, “which are all the things that Plan X is going to provide for them.”