DHS to hold industry day on cyber initiative

Editor's note: This story was updated at 4:37 p.m. Oct. 20, 2008. Please go to Corrections & Clarifications to see what has changed.

Industry will learn more in the coming months about what the Homeland Security Department wants from vendors as DHS implements its part of the multiyear, multibillion-dollar cybersecurity initiative.

DHS plans to hold a vendor day in December or January to provide contractors with an overview of its program plans under the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative (CNCI), a senior DHS official said today. In general, DHS will look to industry for new services and augmenting existing ones and for help with analytics and operations, the official added.

Michael Brown, DHS’ deputy assistant secretary for cybersecurity and communications, said operational requirements for DHS' CNCI efforts have been developed and will be reviewed by the department's leadership. He added that the operational requirements will inform DHS’ upcoming CNCI-related acquisitions.

Once the program is approved, DHS will be able to better articulate its expectations and needs to vendors, Brown said at a breakfast hosted by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association’s chapter in Bethesda, Md.

Brown said he understands there has been tremendous interest from the vendor community regarding the initiative and he encouraged interested parties to send e-mail messages to civendorinfo@dhs.gov for more information.

DHS was given a leading role in the CNCI, a governmentwide effort President Bush implemented by signing a presidential directive in January.

Although much of the initiative is classified, officials say DHS is responsible for securing the government’s civilian .gov network, running the National Cybersecurity Center (NCSC) and to coordinate with the private sector to protect critical infrastructure. The NCSC is meant to improve coordination across the government's civilian, military and intelligence domains.

In a related development, on Oct. 14, as part of the CNCI, the National Science Foundation issued a request for information in the Federal Register on behalf of the National Coordination Office (NCO) for Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) seeking input on potential leap-ahead cybersecurity technologies.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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