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Cyber Command Says New Mega-Contract Will Be Out by Fall

Maksim Kabakou/Shutterstock.com

After abandoning last week a $475 million job posting for cyberattack and network defense experts, the Pentagon now says a retooled solicitation that takes into account private sector questions will be out by Oct. 1.

"Given significant interest along with technical and clarification questions from industry, U.S. Cyber Command is reassessing and amending the [request for proposals] to give industry better fidelity into cyber requirements," a Cyber Command official told Nextgov on Thursday afternoon.

The original solicitation, released April 30, was itself a revised version of a December 2014 draft request for proposals. The draft and final contracts both strove to reconcile the command's needs with cyber market realities. 

But soon after the final iteration was published, Defense Department officials said they needed more time to answer questions from cybersecurity vendors and extended the deadline for proposals to June 19.

And on May 21, officials jettisoned the whole five-year plan. At the time, contracting officials said they had to weigh whether a different acquisition strategy could better serve CYBERCOM's needs.

"In the evolving cyber environment, we will continuously assess our contracts to ensure that we get the best products and outcomes at the best price," the CYBERCOM official said Thursday.

DOD now anticipates "reissuing the RFP" within the fiscal year 2015 time frame, which ends Sept. 30, the official said.

The purpose of the rescinded solicitation was to help position the so-called Cyber National Mission Force. The Pentagon made the move to outsource expertise “to streamline USCYBERCOM’s acquisition of cyber mission support capabilities and services, information technology services, and cyber professional services” across multiple disciplines “under a centralized structure," according to the initial contracting documents.

This week, the CYBERCOM official said honing the contract requirements will have "no impact to the command’s mission or operations."

The Pentagon has set a goal of reaching full operational capacity by 2018. That means standing up three types of National Mission Force teams: one dedicated to defending military networks; another poised to aid troops worldwide with military offensives; and the third to repel hacks targeting vital U.S. organizations.

(Image via Maksim Kabakou/ Shutterstock.com)

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