DISA crew inoculates DOD against viruses

Tens of thousands of viruses threaten Defense Department systems, and Mark Bogart is personally working to provide every user with vaccines.

As the National Capital Region's chief of contracts for the Defense Information Systems Agency, Bogart leads an effort to provide enterprise-level inoculation to more than 3 million Defense desktop and notebook PCs, and wireless devices. Bogart hopes to protect computers at users' workplaces and at home to prevent the next big virus from infiltrating DOD systems.

Bogart and Air Force 1st Lt. Steve T. Wieland feel their work has life-saving potential because getting secure information to troops quickly can make the difference between life and death on the battlefield.

'This provides more visibility to the issue of bulk buying of software smartly and to save money,' Bogart said.

Using a perpetual license through three teams of vendors, Bogart and Wieland are overseeing the DOD Enterprise Antivirus Software Initiative, a follow-on series of contracts that let Defense agencies, contractors, and Reserve and National Guard units download antivirus software for free. DOD and the Coast Guard jointly hold the contracts.

'There are about 59,000 viruses out there in the wild, and with that threat, it's becoming more important for us to protect at the enterprise level,' Bogart said.

'This is about the network-centric warrior,' said Wieland, chief of the virus team for DISA's Computer Emergency Response Team. 'This tries to tie everything into this network antivirus measure of protection so that someone can't introduce a virus intentionally or unintentionally and disrupt the network.'

This won't hurt a bit

DISA in September awarded contracts for antivirus software to GTSI Corp. of Chantilly, Va.; Network Associates Technology Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif.; and Northrop Grumman Corp.'s IT division. The contracts are for five years, with four one-year options.

Northrop Grumman and Network Associates were awarded contracts worth $16.5 million. GTSI's contract is worth $4.6 million if all options are exercised, Bogart said.

DISA began the antivirus software initiative in 1994 as way to better protect Defense networks when there were a lot of standalone platforms. Since then, the department has issued follow-on contracts and added new features.

'There are not many programs that are this long and broad,' Bogart said.

The new features include powerful server, gateway and desktop protection tools, added protection for wireless equipment such as handheld devices, and individual desktop PC firewall protection. The contracts also provide several versions of antivirus software that can be downloaded for various operating systems.

'The vulnerabilities on DOD [networks] are significantly less than what we have in the commercial world because of this contract,' Wieland added.

Bogart said the initiative supports Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's goals for Defense transformation and security. They include information protection, networks and guaranteed access to space.

Wieland said one user could download the software to his or her computer or a network administrator could download the software for an entire database.

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