Army firewall contracts near

The Army’s contracts for licensing intrusion-detection and firewall software for
all its LANs and WANs will be awarded within weeks, perhaps days.


Bids were due in early February in the full-and-open competition, said Connie Avallone,
a contracting officer at the Army Communications-Electronics Command Acquisition
Center–Southwest Region at Fort Huachuca, Ariz. The service may award as many as four
one-year contracts with four one-year options, she said.


The Directorate of Information Systems for Command, Control, Communications and
Computers set the technical requirements for the servicewide license.


In late 1997, the Army negotiated blanket purchasing agreements with four security
vendors, but the BPAs did not fill the need for intrusion-detection systems, said Kim
Wentrcek, a contract specialist at CAC-Southwest Region.


“When we won the BPA, we felt it should have included everything,” said John
Schwepker, western region manager at World Wide Technology Inc. of St. Louis, one of the
BPA holders. “We were curious as to why they decided” to award a site license
with BPAs already in place, he said.


Army officials put a technology insertion clause into the license agreement to cover
the service’s future needs, Wentrcek said. Army buyers will continue to use the BPAs
to buy hardware and installation, training and related services, she said.


“The Army will still need hardware and risk assessment,” said Max Peterson,
senior director for technology teams at Government Technology Services Inc. of Chantilly,
Va., which holds another of the BPAs. “People want security tailored.”


Army users will download the new security software from a Web site, and users outside
the continental U.S. can load it from diskette, Wentrcek said.


The Army budgeted up to $20 million for the security program, said David Steinberg,
director of vertical markets at Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. of Redwood City,
Calif. Bases will get intrusion protection at their gateways and subbases at their LAN
firewalls. Between bases worldwide, the Army will encrypt messages at the Triple Data
Encryption Standard level, he said.


It is unclear what role the National Security Agency’s network security
certification programs will play in the Army’s licensing decision.


Check Point, for example, is an Israeli-owned company that NSA officials reportedly
rejected out of fear of foreign access to its products. Check Point officials agreed to
open their source code to NSA review, Steinberg said.


“Most of the Defense Department is looking to NSA to set standards for firewalls,
encryption and access control, such as authentication,” Steinberg said. “Right
now, every agency is on its own.”


More about the program appears on the Web at acbop.monmouth.army.mil.  For information on NSA’s network security
certification program, go to radium.ncsc.mil.  


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