DARPA sets first phase contracts for National Cyber Range

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency announced Jan. 8 a total of some $30 million of first contract awards for its National Cyber Range (NCR) program, a research and development testbed aimed at speeding deployment of new cybersecurity systems and which is a key part of the interagency Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative (CNCI).

Launched early in 2008, the CNCI will be managed by the Homeland Security Department and will be the central coordinating office for all of the government’s cybersecurity organizations and development efforts.

The NCR will focus on developing technologies that provide improvements in cybersecurity that are orders of magnitude beyond that which current systems manage, DARPA officials said, and that can be deployed anywhere from five to 10 years from now.

“Addressing the vulnerabilities within our cyber infrastructure must become our long-term national security and economic security priority,” Melissa Hathaway, director of the Joint Interagency Cyber Task Force, said. “I don't believe that this is a single-year or even a multi-year investment – it’s a multi-decade approach.”

In the initial eight-month first phase, contractors will work simultaneously on initial concept designs for the NCR and develop detailed engineering plans. At the end of that, DARPA will make decisions that, at least for now, include two other phases for a critical design review and production of prototypes, and then development of the full-scale NCR.

The original request for proposals also included an optional fourth phase, which would require the contractor chosen to operate the NCR and conduct tests on cybersecurity systems that will be a part of various government programs.

First phase awards were made to:

  • BAE Systems, Information and Electronic Systems Integration Inc., Wayne, N.J. ($3,279,634);
  • General Dynamics, Advanced Information Systems, San Antonio, Texas ($1,944,094);
  • Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel Md. ($7,336,805);
  • Lockheed Martin Corp., Simulation, Training and Support, Orlando, Fla. ($5,369,656);
  • Northrop Grumman, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Systems Division, Columbia, Md. ($344,097);
  • Science Applications International Corp., San Diego, Calif. ($2,821,725);
  • SPARTA, Columbia, Md. ($8,603,617).

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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