DARPA Cyber Ops Needs a Bigger Rolodex

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Agency seeks private-sector cyber ninjas to help dominate the cyber domain.

The Pentagon is scouting for cyber ninjas in the private sector who would be available for future help dominating the cyber domain, according to documents. The trick will be finding potential “performers” that hold security clearances for classified endeavors, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency officials said. 

Projects "to achieve cyberspace superiority require specialized knowledge, skills, and experience," states a request for company workforce information. "Ideally, respondents will include both potential performers currently holding security clearances and those who may be granted clearances based on technical capabilities and eligibility."

DARPA wants details on both people and infrastructure. These assets would have to “rapidly develop state-of-the-art [cyber ops] technologies responsive to current and emerging cyber threats,” the survey states.

Specifically, the Pentagon is asking private sector organizations for a Rolodex of current personnel with cyber ops experience, their clearance level and a narrative describing their skills. Officials also want to know about the availability of company facilities and tools capable of storing and processing potentially classified information. 

The notice directs contractors to a secret policy -- Joint Publication 3-12, Joint Cyberspace Operations -- for additional background.

Companies can submit information on staffing and facilities to DARPA between now and March of next year.

This month, the military unveiled a quadrennial defense review that envisions building up cyber forces stateside and overseas, especially in Cyber Command, which is expected to become a unified command within the next year. 

Fiscal 2014 funding provides $447 million for this Pentagon component that launches cyber weapons and deflects hacks against civilian and military networks. The figure more than doubles Cyber Command's fiscal 2013 budget of $191 million.

Last March, about 834 active duty military and civilian personnel were on staff, Cyber Command chief Gen. Keith Alexander told lawmakers at the time. The goal is to add 2,000 personnel annually, until 2016. 

(Image via Alan Bailey/Shutterstock.com)