Magazine article National Defense

DHS Rolls out Cyber Security Program for Federal Agencies

Magazine article National Defense

DHS Rolls out Cyber Security Program for Federal Agencies

Article excerpt

* Phase one of the Department of Homeland Security's Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation program will be completed by the end of summer, said an executive at Dell Inc., a technology supplier to the competing contractors.

DHS is allocating $6 billion in funding for the initiative, which will provide enhanced cyber security to civilian federal agencies. In August 2013, DHS chose the 17 companies that can compete for the pot of money.

The first phase of the program focuses on hardware and software asset management, configuration settings, known vulnerabilities and malware, according to a 2013 DHS PowerPoint.

During that phase's second task order, which is currently underway, contractors bid on federal agencies and departments organized into groups A through F. Each group awards a contract to the company with the best solution.

"Over the course of the summer, all of the agencies in the entire federal government will be awarded out in phase one of CDM to one of the 17 respondents," said Paul Christman, vice president of public sector sales and marketing for Dell. "Of the 17, you're not going to get 17 responses for every single solicitation," he added. Some of the contractors are going to bid on agencies they have existing ties with. Others will avoid submitting proposals to agencies they haven't dealt with in the past.

Many of the intended recipients are unsure if DHS is best suited to dictate their security posture, he noted.

"A lot of the end user agencies have publicly voiced their distrust," he said. They don't want DHS inspecting their systems. "If you read the CDM procurement and you look at the first authorization for that whole process, it goes to great lengths to say that CDM will not audit and inspect the other agencies."

On the other hand, they will be assuaged by the fact that the funding is coming from DHS, not out their own budgets, he added.

The tools and services delivered by the contractors in the CDM program will enhance and automate existing continuous network monitoring capabilities, correlate and analyze security-related data and enhance risk-based decision making on the agencies' networks, according to the General Services Administration's website.

In March, Knowledge Consulting Group became the first contractor to earn an award in the second task order, receiving $29 million to build and operate a continuous monitoring as a service solution for Group A, which includes DHS and its components. …

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