By GCN Staff

DHS announces challenge for National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility

DHS announces challenge for National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility

The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate has announced a competition designed to help the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) better protect the nation’s animal agricultural industry and public health.

The Think and Do Challenge is seeking unique ideas and concepts to jump start the development of an innovation ecosystem that will enhance public/private sector collaboration, leverage stakeholder knowledge and capabilities, accelerate the speed of technology transfer and enable skilled training and talent development in support of the NBAF mission.

The winners will receive up to $100,000 for the development or implementation of their submissions under the America COMPETES Act. Submissions will be accepted until Nov. 30 and must include a written business plan that clearly states an understanding of the solution and its impact on, creative and specialized collaboration, innovation, talent or training to the innovation ecosystem.

The NBAF is a biocontainment laboratory focused on the study diseases that threaten America’s agriculture and public health, and is currently under construction in Manhattan, Kan.  "The NBAF will open in 2022," DHS S&T Undersecretary Reginald Brothers said, "but we are laying the groundwork now for its future success.”

Posted on Oct 06, 2015 at 8:28 AM0 comments

DHS puts $14M toward better DDoS defenses

DHS puts $14M toward better DDoS defenses

In an effort to encourage new technologies to defend against distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate has awarded eight grants worth a total of $14 million.

The eight award winners and the amount they will receive are:

  • University of California, San Diego: $1.3 million
  • University of Southern California, Information Sciences Institute: $1.8 million
  • Colorado State University: $2.7 million
  • University of Houston, Texas: $2.6 million
  • University of Delaware: $1.9 million
  • University of Oregon: $1.3 million
  • Waverley Labs of Waterford, Virginia: $629,992
  • Galois Inc. of Portland, Oregon: $1.7 million  

DDoS attacks are used to overwhelm a target's computer systems, preventing legitimate users from accessing them and creating opportunities to breach their security.  The funded research will focus on slowing the growth rate of such attacks, making current attacks harder to execute and developing tools and techniques that allow organizations to respond to attacks. Research will also go toward addressing new threats that may target non-traditional clients such as emergency management systems.

“Cybersecurity is a critical technology area that is continuously changing,” DHS Under Secretary for Science and Technology Reginald Brothers stated in announcing the awards. “We need to be able to quickly adapt to challenges like DDoS attacks and work with our partners so that solutions can be rapidly developed to ensure the security of our nation’s networks and resources.”

Posted on Oct 05, 2015 at 8:28 AM0 comments

State starts development on new social media and analytics platform

The State Department is building a real-time, cross-platform social media content management and analytics system.

Working with the Winvale Group, a business management consultant, State will be able to use the mobile-enabled platform to communicate, contribute and collaborate in real-time and schedule and publish content across multiple social media platforms.

For analytics, the system will analyze sentiment, track trending social media topics, aggregate location and demographic information, rank of top multimedia content, identify influencers on social media and produce automated and customizable reports.

According to the original solicitation, State expects the system initially to support 20 users and track up to 30 million yearly mentions.

Posted on Sep 24, 2015 at 11:28 AM0 comments

Air Force financial management system in final stages

Air Force financial management system in final stages

The Air Force has awarded Accenture a 30-month, $73 million contract to complete work on the Defense Enterprise Account and Management System, the Air Force’s principle financial transformation initiative.

When fully implemented at all bases, DEAMS will help the Air Force comply with the Defense Department’s Financial Improvement and Audit Readiness Plan, consolidating all of its enterprise resource planning systems into a single organization. 

DEAMS essentially consolidates and streamlines financial data across the Air Force, the U.S. Transportation Command and the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, integrating data from cost accounting, purchase requests, accounts payable, financial obligations and collections and customer billing for greater accuracy and more timely financial data. 

The system is currently operational at 40 Air Force bases, managing roughly $800 million in monthly billings and cash collection and processing over 100,000 invoices for the Air Force each year. 

Posted on Sep 24, 2015 at 12:53 PM0 comments

DARPA Edge CT WAN protection

DARPA taps Raytheon to protect DOD communications

Despite the military's heavy reliance on networked communications, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency contends the wide-area network infrastructure that supports such information exchange is far too vulnerable to failures and attacks. 

DARPA's Edge-Directed Cyber Technologies for Reliable Mission Communication program aims to bolster communication resilience against both cyberattacks and common network errors by adding new capabilities to the communications devices at the edges of the network, rather than to the network itself. The EdgeCT approach would make it easier to mitigate WAN failures on the fly.

To accomplish this, DARPA awarded a Raytheon BBN-led team a contract to develop an overlay network, interconnecting users through secure connections. Through these connections, software could continuously monitor events in the larger network and their effect on traffic flow, Raytheon officials said. The overlay network also could exchange information about network conditions and then dynamically configure the way the network handles application traffic to maximize performance.

“Recovering from network attacks or working around misconfigurations can disrupt traffic for hours,” said Greg Lauer, EdgeCT principal investigator at Raytheon BBN. “Our aim on the EdgeCT program is to minimize that disruption to minutes or less. Our approach does not require control or direct observation of the wide-area network and so it can be easily deployed in end user enclaves.”

Posted on Sep 18, 2015 at 12:14 PM0 comments