Northrop Grumman nabs FBI security contract

Northrop Grumman Corp. will provide the FBI with a public key infrastructure to increase the security of its information systems, the Los Angeles company announced today.

The contract is initially worth about $4 million, and could rise to more than $8 million if all options are exercised.

The contract is for an enterprise-level deployment for the FBI, the first major Department of Justice bureau to implement PKI. The potential exists for PKI expansion to include all of Justice Department, said Jim Perriello, president of government solutions for Northrop Grumman IT.

PKI is an infrastructure of cryptographic software that generates two large, mathematically related numbers that are stored on a user's Web browser or in a piece of hardware such as a smart card.

These numbers help identify the user. Northrop Grumman IT will deploy an off-the-shelf solution, which requires no modifications. Initial deployment will be made by December, according to the company.

The work will be performed by Northrop Grumman's Information Technology sector in Reston, Va., with deployment to FBI headquarters in Washington and one FBI field office in Oklahoma City.

Northrop Grumman IT will provide program management, design and implementation services to maintain the PKI that will support 50,000 FBI employees. Team members on the contract include PEC Solutions Inc. of Fairfax, Va., Entrust Inc. of Addison, Texas; and Schlumberger Ltd. of New York.

Northrop Grumman's PKI will provide identification and authentication, confidentiality, integrity and non-repudiation services. The system will be able to accommodate growth of the Justice Department; it is also scalable and will be deployed in multiple phases, according to the company.

"The government anticipates transforming the PKI smart card into an FBI common access card to provide physical and system access control," Perriello said.

As the program expands to other Justice Department entities, there is potential for an additional 200,000 certificates, which are similar to electronic "credit cards" that establish a person's credentials when conducting business on the Internet, according to Northrop Grumman. These digital certificates can identify an individual or an organization and directory services that can store and, when necessary, revoke certificates.

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