Juniper Networks forms federal unit

Juniper Networks Inc. is taking its battle with Cisco Systems Inc. to the federal market.

The company announced today that it is forming a federal systems unit headed by Dubhe Beinhorn. Juniper also has created an advisory board headed by Richard Clarke, former cybersecurity czar.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Juniper Networks has had success against Cisco in the commercial market, and now holds a 30 percent share in the market for routers that sit at the core of large networks, said Beinhorn, vice president of Juniper Federal Systems. The unit is based in Herndon, Va., and has about 30 employees.

The strategy in the federal market is focused on working with systems integrators to make inroads, she said. The company has formed partnerships with larger government integrators, such as Electronic Data Systems Corp., Lockheed Martin Corp. and Science Applications International Corp. It also has made alliances with smaller companies, such as Technica Corp. and Arrowhead Global Solutions Inc.

Juniper is a part of WorldCom Inc.'s team on the 10-year, $450 million Defense Research and Engineering Network contract. "That's a 100 percent Juniper network," Beinhorn said.

The company has been pursuing work in the federal market for the last three and a half years, but has decided to step up its efforts because market conditions are creating an opening, she said.

Namely, the President's Management Agenda means that the government will be looking to consolidate networks and streamline operations, which Juniper's technology can facilitate, Beinhorn said.

The challenge will be convincing government agencies to take the risk of going with a newcomer to the market such as Juniper, because Cisco is the conservative choice, she said.

High on Juniper's list is the Defense Department's Global Information Grid ? Broadband Expansion contract, a $3 billion project to build a secure global network. SAIC is the prime contractor on the project and is the process of picking hardware providers.

Winning a spot on GIG-Be should have a "snowball effect" and generate momentum for the company's push into the government market, Beinhorn said.

About the Author

Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.

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