DARPA awards network security deal

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Web site

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency last week awarded an $8.7 million increment of a $13.2 million contract to Springfield, Va.-based Computer Systems Center Inc. (CSCI) for work on dynamic network security applications.

DARPA awarded CSCI the Information-on-Demand project, a study to determine whether dynamic network security access is possible. Agency officials plan to have the project completed by March 2005.

Dynamic network security enables users to have multiple levels of security access from one workstation. The Defense Department has been seeking dynamic network security for years to allow its employees and military personnel to use one workstation for both secure and nonsecure applications.

CSCI's flagship product, Trusted Information Infrastructure, is designed to allow the secure transfer of information between secure networks at multiple levels, with individuals accessing data on a need-to-know basis.

Defense chief information officer John Stenbit, speaking Jan. 20 to industry officials, said assigning dynamic access to end users is one of DOD's top priorities in its pursuit of a network-centric military.

"We need to assign dynamic access so that you get access to data, rather than based on who you are, based on what your job is at that moment," Stenbit said. "If you're a cook in the Army, you need to know where the potatoes are or where the pans are. But if they then give you a gun and tell you to guard this corner, you need to have access to the intelligence of what is happening in that area. We can't do that today."

"This feasibility study will demonstrate that sharing secure information on demand is possible, and not only in research and development," said Peter Anderson, CSCI's chief technology officer.

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