Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) in McLean, VA recently won a $9 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for an unusual effort:
“…research in the detection of insider threats based on sensor data from routine activities of members of a group, and possibly social networks.”
Call it the WikiCaulking contract. Work will be performed in McLean, VA; Amherst, MA; Corvallis, OR; Pittsburgh, PA; and Atlanta, GA, with an estimated completion date of May 31/13. Bids were solicited through a broad agency announcement, with 7 bids received by U.S. Army Contracting Command in Durham, NC (W911NF-11-C-0088).
As the US defense budget is seeing targeted cuts, one area that seems to be getting more money is cybersecurity. The US military has announced plans to spend billions on technology to secure its networks.
In response to this shift in priorities, traditional defense contractors, such as BAE Systems, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman have been on a buying spree, snatching up cybersecurity firms left and right. At the same time, a number of these companies have proven vulnerable to cyber attacks themselves, with some analysts seeing a tie to a security breach at RSA, which provides technology for remote access of employees to their corporate networks.
This article examines this shift in the US defense industry and defense spending regarding cybersecurity. In particular, the article examines where the money being earmarked for cybersecurity is going and what kind of initiatives are being undertaken by the US military.
The USAF began the original MPEC program in 2004, to shift from existing USAF, Navy and Army systems into a single Joint Mission Planning System (JMPS). The USAF is moving to JMPS from its PC-based PFPS(Portable Flight Planning System) and Unix-based MPS(Mission Planning System), while the Navy will move from its TAMPS(Tactical Aircraft Mission Planning Systems) and the Army from its MPS(Mission Planning System).
MPEC-II extends that effort. Major MPEC I/II awards, and some delivery order examples, include:
As cyber-security becomes a greater focus for militaries around the world, contracts are following. The US Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific in San Diego, CA recently issued a set of multiple award contracts aimed at shaping the USA’s cyber-defense and cyber-warfare infrastructure.
Note that these are multiple-award contracts, hence not cumulative. The highest figure below is the highest possible total for the entire program, under circumstances that are basically impossible. These are 2 year contracts running to Jan 30/13, plus 3 more 12-month option periods. The contracts were competitively procured via publication on the Federal Business Opportunities website and posting to the Space and Naval Warfare Systems e-Commerce Central website, with 14 offers received. The 4 winners, and their terms, were:
Guest article by Ian P. Wilson, Grant Thornton UK LLP
Given unprecedented fiscal pressures inherited by the new UK Government, there is an increasing recognition that the UK will have to reassess how it seeks to assert itself militarily. Given the poor condition of the country’s public finances, it is a widely-held view that the UK simply cannot afford to buy and support military assets to simultaneously project air, sea and land force capabilities on a global scale; nor can it expect to address several major conflicts while maintaining effective security at home.
As it proceeds with its promised 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), the new UK Government faces the dilemma of having to fund a fundamental realignment and upgrade of the country’s defence and security infrastructure, whilst seeking to reduce a record fiscal deficit. Inevitably, priorities will have to be determined and certain programmes will face cancellation or curtailment…
Four teams get up to $100 million in DARPA funding to develop superfast supercomputers. (Aug 6/10)
The US Department of Defense (DoD) High Performance Computing Modernization Program (HPCMP) was set up in 1992 to modernize DoD’s supercomputing capabilities. The HPCMP was assembled out of a collection of small high performance computing departments run by the services, each with supercomputing capabilities independent of the others.
The HPCMP brings these capabilities together. The program provides supercomputer services, high-speed network communications, and computational science expertise that enables the DoD labs to develop new weapons systems, prepare US aircraft for overseas deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq, and assist long-term weather predictions to plan humanitarian and military operations throughout the world…
Modern navies run on computers. Unfortunately, computers don’t last nearly as long as ships, something that’s both a hardware and a software problem. The computer console over there might be up to operating key systems on a billion-dollar warship, but a casual observer might be forgiven for wondering if it would be up to the task of running Pong. Behind that computer, an array of wiring and other mechanical components snake through the ship. They, too, have finite lifespans, but the networks they carry are vital. On top of it all, software systems run key programs, and tie various networks together. Some of those programs must change or be re-created when hardware shifts, while others change when new software replaces them.
All this has to be managed, and warships worth hundreds of millions of dollars have been retired early because their electronics upgrades were seen as too costly. Hence recent pushes toward open-architecture computing on many modern navy ships, built with commercial rather than military-proprietary components. Hence, also, programs like the US Navy’s future CANES (Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services), designed to streamline and update shipboard networks, to improve interoperability across the fleet.
What to do until CANES? Enter the Common Afloat Local Area Network Infrastructure (CALI) effort:
Satellites are currently big, expensive to build and launch, vulnerable, impossible in practice to upgrade on-orbit, difficult to replace – and critical to military effectiveness. That’s a really bad combination. Now add program risk and cost inflation driven by those issues, as the military tries to launch the most advanced technologies it can, in a uniquely ‘no fail’ environment.
DARPA’s System F6 program aims at nothing less than a revolution in satellite technology, aimed at removing those constraints. If successful, it will develop and demonstrate the basic building blocks of a totally new space architecture, in which traditional integrated satellites are replaced by clusters of smaller, cheaper, wirelessly-interconnected space modules that form a “virtual” satellite.
The Naval Sea Systems Command’s (NAVSEA) Naval Surface Warfare Center in Indian Head, MD awarded 2 performance-based, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity, multiple-award, cost-plus-fixed-fee contracts worth up to $87.6 million to provide engineering and demilitarization of munitions.
Under the contracts, the winning bidders will provide analytical engineering and technical support services, analysis of requirements, assessments, data analysis/management, technical support, and program management support for the US Navy and other Department of Defense (DoD) and non-DoD customers.