Naval Research Lab seeks cyber help via GSA
The Naval Research Lab will use a General Services Administration contract vehicle to acquire cybersecurity services rather than conduct its own procurement.
The Naval Research Laboratory has followed up on a June notice seeking information on cybersecurity services by telling vendors it plans to use a governmentwide acquisition contract instead.
The lab initially sent out a sources-sought notice for small companies classified as disadvantaged under the Small Business Administration's 8(a) designation. On Aug. 5, the lab said it will buy its cybersecurity risk management support services through the General Services Administration's Stars II GWAC, which taps 8(a) vendors.
NRL conducts scientific research and development activity for the Navy on new materials, techniques, equipment and systems for ocean, atmospheric and space-related technologies.
In 2015, the lab was hit by a cyberattack that exploited a previously unknown software vulnerability. Capt. Mark Bruington, NRL's commanding officer, said it was a rude reminder that no one, even quasi-academic research facilities, is exempt from cyberattack.
The zero-day attack on NRL's unclassified network "became almost a science experiment unto itself" because it was a teachable moment for network defenders, he added.
Last December, Bruington told FCW that NRL had cleared the vulnerability from its network, but he would not say how long it took or when the breach occurred, only that it was recent. He added that NRL did not receive help from industry to diagnose and resolve the breach.
Its June notice to vendors states that the lab does not have the internal capability to perform required cybersecurity assessments and certifications. Officials said they wanted an ongoing contract for those services because of the constant development of new systems and threats.
In other news, the NRL has a new commanding officer. Rear Adm. David Hahn has been assigned to serve as chief of the Office of Naval Research, which includes the NRL. Hahn currently serves as special assistant to the deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare.
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