11 Teams Vie for DoD Info Assurance Work
11 Teams Vie for DoD Info Assurance Work<@VM>DISA's Information Assurance Contract
By Nick Wakeman, Staff Writer
The Defense Department has opened a $1.5 billion playing field to 11 mega-industry teams that will compete to supply the military with a multitude of information assurance services.
The seven-year contract, awarded by the Defense Information Systems Agency July 27, should become the premier vehicle that Defense Department agencies and the military branches will use to buy services, such as intrusion detection, security training and policy development, according to company executives.
"Information assurance is the next big growth area after Y2K, especially at the Department of Defense, because people's lives are at stake," said Kim Nguyen, director of special programs at Pragmatics Inc. of McLean, Va.
Pragmatics and Artel Inc. of Reston, Va., are the only two small businesses among the 11 companies picked by the Defense Department to compete for task orders under the DISA Information Assurance Services Contract.
The large businesses winning spots on the contract were: Affiliated Computer Services Inc. of Dallas; Computer Sciences Corp. of El Segundo, Calif.; Electronic Data Systems Corp. of Plano, Texas; Litton-TASC Inc. of Chantilly, Va.; Logicon Inc. of Herndon, Va.; Science Applications International Corp. of San Diego; SRA International Inc. of Fairfax, Va.; Veridian Inc. of Alexandria, Va.; and Wang Government Services Inc. of McLean.
All the companies have fielded large teams ranging in size from eight subcontractors to more than 40 to address the breadth of services required by the Defense Department.
"They have taken into account all the different aspects of information assurance and merged them into one vehicle," said Anthony Valletta, vice president of SRA federal systems.
The contract covers five task areas:
? Policy, planning, process, program and project management support;
? Standards, architecture, engineering and integration support;
? Solution fielding and installation and operations support;
? Education, training and awareness, certification and accreditation and information assurance support;
? Computer network attack and computer network defense.
The task areas are similar to the contract's predecessor, which was awarded by the Defense Information Systems Agency in 1995 to CSC, SAIC and Merdan Group Inc. of San Diego, said SAIC's Charles Tolliver, corporate vice president of business development.
"The big difference is that there will be competition for the task orders," he said. Under the old contract, DISA assigned task orders.
Company executives said they expect strong competition for the task orders. "But it is a very large marketplace out there," said Frank Cardile, president of Affiliated Computer Services Defense.
"The information assurance market is really only limited by funding, not by the need for services," said Dave Smith, program manager on the contract for CSC. "No one has enough money to do everything that they need to do."
For CSC and SAIC, winning a spot on the new contract allows them to continue serving an important customer.
For the new companies on the contract, it allows them to expand their information assurance capabilities into new government markets, executives said.
"This extends the reach of our information assurances services into DISA and other defense agencies that we haven't had before," said John Casciano, vice president for enterprise security at Litton-TASC. Currently, TASC provides information assurance services for parts of the Army, Air Force and U.S. Space Command.
"This can be a real springboard for all of our core competencies," said Bob Delleo, Wang vice president and general manager of network and security solutions.
Wang has developed several packaged information and network assurance products that it will be marketing through the contract, he said.
"This is just a beautiful business opportunity," said Lois Chadbourne, Logicon's program manager for the contract.
Like many primes on the contract, Logicon's team is heavy with small companies.
"DISA was really looking for innovative technologies and a lot of those innovative ideas come from small companies," Chadbourne said.
Teams with a lot of breadth and capabilities are needed when addressing information assurance challenges, ACS' Cardile said. "There really are steps to it," he said. The problem needs to be evaluated, a solution implemented and then the problem has to be revisited, he added.
In picking the 11 winners, DISA "certainly has gone out and looked for new solutions and potential problem solvers," Cardile said.
Several of the teams include academic institutions. Veridian, for example, has five universities on its side: George Washington, George Mason, Purdue, Eastern Michigan and Idaho State.
"DISA wanted a significant training component," said Jim Yeager, vice president of critical infrastructure protection at Veridian. The universities also will be helping with research and high-level consulting, he said.
Having a training component is very important, because there is such a critical shortage of people with information assurance skills, said William Dvoranchik, president of EDS federal government business. EDS is developing a "Security University" that will be available to all its customers and employees, he said.
Because of the life-and-death potential of the military's mission, the Defense Department's view of information assurance goes beyond just guarding against hacker attacks, Dvoranchik said.
"When you are fighting wars today, getting the right information accurately to the right decision makers is the critical difference between victory and defeat," he said.
The push toward electronic commerce solutions in the government also is driving the need for information assurance, said Dan Garrison, vice president of Defense Department programs at Artel.
Protecting the accuracy of data that is moving through and between networks is very important, he said. Artel has done information assurance work for the U.S. Customs Service, the White House and Federal Emergency Management Administration.
Now that the contract has been awarded, the real work of making it a success is just beginning, said SRA's Valletta.
"If you look at the primes, we are all a little different, so there are good choices for the customer," he said. "I think all of us together now have to market this and show that it is the contract of choice."
Affiliated Computer Services Inc.
Computer Sciences Corp.
Electronic Data Systems Corp.
Science Applications International Corp.
SRA International Inc.
Wang Government Services Inc.
Value: $1.5 billion
Length: 7 years
Customers: Defense Department, defense agencies, branches of the military
Services: Information assurance services ranging from policy and planning to implementation to training.