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Truestone to Support Intelligence and Information Warfare Directorate

March 3, 2014

Truestone, Herndon, Va., was awarded a $6,685,148 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for reverse engineering, limited prototyping for exploitation, test and evaluation, and target validation. The contractor shall provide program management, engineering, and technical support related to a wide range of technologies managed in the Intelligence and Information Warfare Directorate, Technical Characterization and Exploitation Branch, Cyber Offensive Operations Division. Army Contracting Command, Aberdeen, Md., is the contracting activity (W15P7T-14-C-A159).

Air Force Pushes for More IT Modernization

December 19, 2013
By Henry S. Kenyon

The U.S. Air Force is moving aggressively to modernize its information technology capabilities to ease its move to the Defense Department’s Joint Information Environment (JIE). The JIE will enable a shared information technology architecture, services and infrastructure across the entire military. But to reach its goals, the service will need to close excess data centers and improve its security policies.

DARPA Kicks Off Cyber Grand Challenge

November 5, 2013
By Henry S. Kenyon

A new government-run competition seeks to advance the boundaries of computer network analysis and defense by developing autonomous cyberdefense capabilities, which combine the speed and scale of automation with reasoning abilities that exceed what human experts can do.

These are the goals of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA’s) Cyber Grand Challenge (CGC), which according to agency officials, is the first-ever tournament for fully automated network defense systems. Building on its experience running robotics grand challenges, which greatly advanced the ability of autonomous ground vehicles, DARPA’s new event will have teams of competitors developing automated systems. These smart programs will go head-to-head against one another in real time on a network to evaluate software, test for vulnerabilities, create security patches and deploy to protect computers. To win the $2 million cash prize, teams must combine the capabilities of security software with leading-edge program analysis research, DARPA officials said.

Network computer defense currently is the realm of software specialists who can sift through code to identify weaknesses and back doors. This bespoke analysis is done by hand, making it time consuming, and it cannot be scaled effectively for volume or speed to meet changing threats. While some semi-automated software exists to help analysts, DARPA officials note that there is a need to conduct the analysis and repair parts of network defense in near real time.

This is one of the major goals of the CGC, which is not looking for incremental improvements to existing systems but for new leaps in technical capability. According to DARPA, the CGC program will push competitors to invent and develop truly autonomous cyberdefense technologies.

Cybersecurity in the Work Place

When it comes to cybersecurity, companies are only as strong as their weakest link. In most cases, the weakest link can be organizations’ own employees. Social engineering, rogue email attachments and access through telecommuting are just a few of the ways cybercriminals can creep into otherwise secure networks.

Navy Sets up Cyber Mission Teams

May 30, 2013
By Henry S. Kenyon

The U.S. Navy is establishing new teams to run cyber operations and help defend Defense Department networks as a service extension of U.S. Cyber Command. These teams are part of a centralized defensive and offensive cyber capability that is beginning to take shape within the Defense Department, said Kevin Cooley, command information officer for the Navy’s Fleet Cyber Command/10th Fleet.

Speaking at AFCEA NOVA’s 12th annual Naval IT Day, Cooley explained that the Navy is standing up 40 cyber national mission teams totaling some 2,000 personnel. All the teams will be up by the end of fiscal year 2016. These teams will function as units based on mission orders from the U.S. Cyber Command, Cooley said.

The Navy teams will provide U.S. commanders with additional cyber resources to use during operations. Cooley noted that many of the information technology and communications capabilities created over the past 20 years have given the Defense Department a major advantage operationally. Potential adversary nations have been working for some time to copy these capabilities for themselves. But, those systems have weaknesses that can be exploited. “We spend a lot of time dealing with how to capitalize dealing with those vulnerabilities so that we can provide our commanders with a robust set of kinetic and non-kinetic options, should that need arise,” he said.

It also is likely many nations and smart individuals around the world are putting similar efforts into exploiting U.S. network weaknesses. “They’re smart, they have a lot of money and they are very motivated,” Cooley said. This is both a problem and an opportunity of national importance, he added.

Honeywell to Provide Cyber Readiness Services

May 22, 2013
George I. Seffers

Honeywell Technology Solutions Inc., Columbia, Md., is being awarded a not to exceed $14,240,320 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with firm-fixed-price provisions for continuation of technical and analytical support services for the Office of Compliance and Assessment. Services shall include conducting command cyber readiness inspections, cybersecurity inspections and command assessment and training in support of Fleet Cyber Command’s Cyber Security Inspection Certification Program and verification, validation, and reporting effort foroversight of Navy Marine Corps Intranet/Next Generation Enterprise Network. This contract contains options, which if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $25,896,361. Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity. 

Multiple Firms Awarded Millions in Cyber Contracts

March 8, 2013
George I. Seffers

 
Barling Bay LLC, North Charleston, S.C.; CASE LLC, Alexandria, Va.; DKW Communication Inc., Washington. D.C.; Dynamic Network Enterprises Inc., Stafford, Va.; Grove Resource Solutions Inc., Frederick, Md.; Information Management Group Inc., Fairfax, Va.; Mandex Inc., Fairfax, Va.; Network Security Systems Plus Inc., Falls Church, Va.; Technical Software Services Inc., Pensacola, Fla.; and Vector Planning and Services Inc., San Diego, are each being awarded an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee, with provisions for fixed-price-incentive and firm-fixed-price task orders, performance based contract. The contracts are for the procurement of integrated cyber operations support services including the entire spectrum of non-inherently governmental services and solutions associated with the full system lifecycle support including research, development, test, evaluation, production and fielding of sustainable, secure, survivable, and interoperable command, control, communication, computers, combat systems, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, information operations, enterprise information services and space capabilities. The cumulative, estimated ceiling value of the base year is $49,918,000. These contracts include options, which if exercised, would bring the cumulative ceiling value of these contracts to an estimated $249,590,000. Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic, Charleston, S.C., is the contracting activity. 

Cybersecurity Measures Adjust to Emerging Capabilities

January 31, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

The task of protecting U.S. military cyber assets is increasing in complexity as new capabilities come to dominate communications and networking. Planners must implement security measures that do not hinder the new technologies introduced to the force.

That challenge was in a cyber fireside chat that opened the final day of AFCEA/USNI West 2013 in San Diego. Robert J. Carey, deputy chief information officer for the U.S. Defense Department, noted that one key tasking is to protect the mobile devices that now are proliferating in the force.

One approach is to tie identity credentials to these devices, especially for them to access the cloud. “If we can’t do that, then we’ve created more of a problem than an answer,” he stated.

The Joint Information Environment (JIE) will help in overall network security, he continued. The department is aiming for “an exact fit” between how warfighters use the JIE and how the U.S. Cyber Command provides security for it.

One activity that will help is the consolidation of data centers. Reducing the number of these data centers by 90 percent will allow security personnel to single out anomalous behavior and to identify attacks more effectively with identification tied to data, Carey pointed out.

U.S. Cyber Force to Grow to 14,000 People

January 31, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. Cyber Command force is likely to increase to 14,000 people over the next few years as the command trains experts and disperses them where they will be needed, according to its deputy commander. Lt. Gen. Jon M. Davis, USMC, told the audience at a morning fireside chat beginning the last day of AFCEA/USNI West 2013 that the command already has an assigned force of 6,000 as it ramps up to carry out its dynamic mission.

Most of these Cyber Command personnel are being trained to serve in the field—in this case, various military settings. The command is building teams for combatant commanders who will have operational control over these cyber experts.

The Cyber Command’s cyber protection platoons are a standardized cyber protection element, the general continued. And, national mission teams help defend the nation against cyber attack.

While these forces are undergoing detailed training, Gen. Davis lamented the lack of cyber schools that teach at the classified level. He emphasized that the command needs teaching at the Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI) level to build good cyber professionals.

SIX3 Awarded Cyber Fast Track Funding

January 24, 2013
George I. Seffers

SIX3 Advanced Systems Inc., Dulles, Va., is being awarded a $7,035,000 contract modification for establishment of program requirements and milestones for Cyber Fast Track Commercial Agreements. The location of the performance is Dulles, Va. Work is expected to be completed by Jan. 18, 2014. The contracting activity is the Air Force Research Laboratory, Rome, N.Y.

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