Defense

Lockheed Clinches $82.5 Million Sole-Source Cyber Range Deal

John Amis/AP

A defensewide system that simulates hacks is reliant on Lockheed Martin's trade secrets and expertise, Pentagon officials said in a redacted justification for awarding an $82.5 million to develop and manage the so-called cyber range. 

In May, officials said they were awarding Lockheed a $14 million, 5-year contract to operate and sustain the National Cyber Range. 

ManTech in 2012 lost a bid for the contract, according to Pentagon officials, because only Lockheed had the necessary institutional knowledge and computer programs.

“ManTech does not have the expertise” to support the system’s capabilities, “nor do they, or the government, own the source code,” said Army officials, who awarded the contract to Lockheed on May 23. 

The contract justification, which was released Friday, was signed in early 2013. The work period cited in the document is June 2013 through May 2018.  

The project would be delayed by a year and eight months, if the government awarded the work to another company, officials said in the document. Taking on a new contractor also would duplicate costs, they said. The exact amount of duplicative costs is redacted. 
 
Killing the program would interrupt the government’s counterterrorism and cyber offensive activities, Army officials said. 

“The disruption of current operations will impact ongoing efforts addressing cyberattacks on U.S. weapon and military systems supporting the global war on terrorism and countering cyber terrorism activities," the justification states. "Failure to meet current and planned operations will impact fielding schedules for critical capabilities, disrupt mission rehearsal for planned operations, and increase risk to combatant and component commanders’ military operations.”

Ending the program not only would heighten national security risks but also cost the government billions of dollars. It would be an “expense of not less than $3B,” because testing technology and training troops before deploying new cyber tools saves that much money, officials said. 

It takes 10 to 20 times longer to test new cyber technologies without the range. The system also is valuable in “improving confidence in the real-world performance of these tools, a vital feature considering the extremely dynamic and evolving real-world cyber threat,” officials said.

Lockheed's tasks will include research and engineering, creating range technologies, testing cyber systems, training and supporting development.

Department cyber specialists consulted with other vendors, in addition to searching government and commercial databases for services, before determining "there is no acquisition alternative for the [national cyber range] at this time,” the justification states. Lockheed, “as the initial developer,” is the “only source that possesses recent knowledge, experience and unique capabilities necessary to meet current requirements.”

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