After protest, DHS sticks with same winner for $1B cyber contract

The Homeland Security Department’s $1 billion cybersecurity contract is going to Raytheon after all.

Eight months after seeing its contract to Raytheon to run the DOMino program come under protest, DHS pulled the award and recently affirmed its selection of Raytheon, according to a company spokeswoman.

DHS issued a solicitation in 2014 for a vendor to run the DOMino program, which is to maintain and improve the intrusion protection and detection system known as EINSTEIN, and for other cyber tools under the National Cybersecurity Protection System.

Northrop Grumman had protested DHS’s choice of Raytheon to the Government Accountability Office on Oct. 5. GAO’s records show it dismissed the protest on Oct. 28 when DHS decided to take corrective action.

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Multiple requests to DHS asking for comment on the decision to re-award Raytheon the contract were not returned.

Few details about DOMino have come out over the past few years since it’s a classified contract. A 2014 presentation by DHS acquisition officials shows the program as a limited competition indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract with a five-year performance period.

Raytheon’s press release from September says as the prime contractor for the Network Security Deployment Division (NSD), it will help safeguard the dot-gov domain. Raytheon says it “will support government efforts to develop, deploy and sustain systems that monitor, analyze and mitigate cyber threats to dot-gov networks.”

The DOMino program is a critical piece to the broader effort by DHS to expand cyber protections throughout government, including providing more advanced tools under the EINSTEIN 3A program as well as better information sharing.

“We have built automated real time information sharing and we’re on a terrific path when it comes to EINSTEIN 3A. I told our people that by the end of last year I wanted at least some aspects of the EINSTEIN 3A system available to every department and agency by the end of last year. They met that deadline,” said DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson during a press conference in March. “Congress gave us a further deadline which is that all federal agencies should be online with EINSTEIN 3A by the end of this year. We are continually engaging our partners in federal departments and agencies to make sure they know about this capability.”

EINSTEIN 3A blocks known intrusions, not just monitors them.

In January, Johnson highlighted the progress DHS is making with EINSTEIN 3A after a critical Government Accountability Office report.

“A year ago, EINSTEIN 3A protected only about 20 percent of the government. In the wake of the OPM intrusion, in July, 2015 I gave our cybersecurity team within DHS an aggressive deadline for making at least some aspects of EINSTEIN 3A available to all federal civilian departments and agencies by the end of last year, and they met that deadline,” he said in a statement. “At present, EINSTEIN 3A is in fact protecting 50 percent of the government and is now available to 100 percent of the government. And, to date, EINSTEIN 3A has blocked over 700,000 cyber threats.”

GAO found in January that the entire suite of cyber technologies provided by DHS are not meeting all intended objectives.

DHS has received solid support from Congress for its EINSTEIN and other cyber programs.

In the fiscal 2017 budget request, DHS asked for $471.1 million for the National Cybersecurity Protection System to maintain EINSTEIN capabilities, and invest in new capabilities for analytics, information sharing, and intrusion prevention.

The House Appropriations Committee is holding a hearing June 9 on the 2017 DHS budget. In the proposed bill released June 8, lawmakers want to give the agency a total of $1.8 billion for the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD), which is $120.5 million above the fiscal 2016 enacted level.

Of that, the committee wants DHS to use $1.1 billion help secure civilian agency networks, detect and prevent cyber-attacks and foreign espionage, and enhance and modernize emergency communications. Funds are also included to enhance emergency communications capabilities and to continue the modernization of the Biometric Identification System.

In May, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its version of the bill.

It gave NPPD a little more money than the House is proposing. Senate lawmakers approved $1.82 billion, an increase of $183 million above the 2016 enacted level. The committee also is giving NPPD $1 billion, which is $186 million above the 2016 levels, to protect the dot-gov domain. Lawmakers also are giving DHS $480 million for the EINSTEIN program.

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