National Security Agencies Pursue Cyber Entrepreneurs to Protect Mobile Systems
Officials from DARPA, In-Q-Tel, the U.S. Army, the Department of Homeland Security and the Small Business Administration joined TandemNSI on May 18th to discuss how their organizations are working to attract small businesses and entrepreneurs to solve cyber problems.
All five agreed the government needs to keep introducing new programs to break down acquisition road blocks restricting some commercial cyber security firms from wanting to work with government agencies. The U.S. government sustains millions of cyber attacks every minute. It needs the bleeding edge technology these companies produce.
Doug Maughan, the Cyber Security Division Director for DHS Science & Technology, said the challenge to protect government systems and networks has gotten even tougher with the advent of the Internet of Things. Protecting mobile systems has risen to the top of Maughan’s list of priorities.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has also made protecting mobile systems a priority. Raymond Richards, a DARPA program manager, oversees the High Assurance Cyber Military Systems program. He explained how his agency is constantly trying to introduce new solutions from small businesses since protecting mobile systems is a relatively new endeavor.
John Hannah, director at In-Q-Tel, explained how his organization has invested in cyber security firms on behalf of intelligence organizations across the government. In-Q-Tel acts much like a venture capital firm, except with government funding. The organization was stood up when Congress recognized that the traditional acquisition model didn’t allow the government to start working with bleeding edge technologies companies.
The U.S. Army recognized that it needed to institute a nontraditional contract vehicle to get more cyber firms onboard, thus it set up an Other Transactional Authority (OTA). The OTA is managed by the Consortium for Command, Control, and Communications in Cyberspace (C5). John Britton, general counsel for C5, joined the panel to talk about how his consortium has the authority to put small businesses on contract and get money in their hands quickly when compared to the traditional defense acquisition model.
Following the panel discussion, cyber companies from across the country participated in the lightning pitch round talking about the technologies that set their companies apart. Kestrel Technology, Trail of Bits, Atomicorp, and PerCredo all took part in the pitch round.