DARPA Needs Help Securing Its Programs From Foreign Influence and Malicious Insiders

3D drone satellite view of Pentagon building Washington DC USA

3D drone satellite view of Pentagon building Washington DC USA Vonkara1/istockphoto

The agency works on the most advanced tech research on the planet, often with critical national security implications.

The Defense Department’s main advanced research arm is on the outermost edge of technological progress and needs to ensure its work is protected from malicious eyes and foreign interference.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, is looking for a contractor to support its program security efforts and entered the first stage of market research with a request for information.

The agency works on a lot of sensitive research with national security implications. To that end, the Security and Intelligence Directorate, or SID, works with the other program offices to “apply risk-managed, proactive program protection and related services,” the RFI states. That work is done by a mix of in-house security experts and contractor support.

“These personnel must be subject matter experts across multiple security disciplines, must not be paralyzed by the unknown or unfamiliar, and must possess critical thinking and analytical problem-solving skills that foster the creation of innovative security solutions to support program timelines and objectives, while maintaining compliance with applicable national security requirements,” DARPA officials wrote.

The Program Security Services contract focuses on program security representatives, or PSRs: personnel with top secret clearances capable of working across multiple classification and information security levels. These positions develop security protocols for DARPA researchers and partners to ensure sensitive data is secured and only shared with appropriate people; prevent leaks and tampering by insider threats; and weigh the appropriateness of working with foreign entities on a given project, including assessing incoming grant proposals for inappropriate foreign influence.

The RFI notes this position “is unparalleled in any other contract position in the DOD.”

“They are not stove-piped into a specific type of program support—i.e., just collateral, just SAP or SCI, or just CUI,” the document states. “As they are imbedded directly into the technical offices as part of a DARPA [program manager’s] team, they are the ‘tip of the spear’ for execution of SID’s primary function, enabling the secure development of DARPA technologies.”

Whereas program security personnel in other DOD components often follow strict guidelines, DARPA reps must be agile and able to develop new security protocols capable of matching the revolutionary technology being worked on by any given program.

The RFI outlines this work in a series of objectives for the winning vendor:

  • Identification of critical and enabling technologies through the technology decomposition process.
  • Determining applicable national security policy and existing related programs for horizontal protection.
  • Facilitating intelligence and counterintelligence support.
  • Projecting test and transportation security needs.
  • Intelligently crafting and executing proposed security classification architectures and program protection plans that balance security requirements with program cost and schedule constraints.

The PSRs must also think about how the information and technology will remain secure after it leaves DARPA, as most of the agency’s efforts are eventually pushed out to other departments and the private sector.

The expiring contract is held by System High Corporation.

For the new contract, DARPA officials are looking at procurement strategies, including opening the opportunity to small and large businesses.

Contracting officials expect to make a single award, with a base period of one year, with four one-year add-on options. The contract is expected to kick off in February 2022.

Responses to the RFI are due by 2 p.m. April 19.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.