News in Brief

NIST app competition, Clapper's hack warning, DIA protests and a new intel CIO

Crowdsourcing Ideas

Build an app for science, $30K

competition announced July 27, the National Institute of Standards and Technology called for developers to help organize NIST Standard Reference Data into an easy-to-use app.

Competitors must incorporate at least one of six NIST datasets, though they may roll in more than one set and pull data from other government sources.

The app will need to serve a broad audience.

"Physicists, biochemical engineers, environmental researchers, and many other technically trained experts routinely use NIST Standard Reference Data in their workday," noted NIST's competition announcement. "Students from high school through graduate school use the same datasets to master the ropes of scientific discovery."

The competition is scheduled to close Sept. 28, and is open to for-profit companies, non-profits and individuals alike. First prize is $30,000, while second- and third-place finishers will receive $10,000 and $5,000, respectively.

Obama to nominate Ray Cook as next intelligence CIO

President Barack Obama will nominate Raymond Cook, a dual-hatted CIA and NRO official, as the next intelligence community chief information officer, the White House announced.

Cook is currently both director of the CIA's Office of Space Reconnaissance and director of mission operations for the National Reconnaissance Office, according to a White House biography. He would succeed Al Tarasiuk, who stepped down as IC CIO in late April.

Cook earned a Ph.D. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and was named CIA Engineer of the Year in 1999 and 2009, according to the White House bio.

Clapper, Rogers share sobering cyber predictions

The nation's top spy last week said he could see a massive hack like the recent breaches at the Office of Personnel Management happening again in the future. Until the United States develops an effective deterrence policy, "we're going to have more and more of this," Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the Aspen Security Forum on July 24.

When asked about his recent comment linking the OPM hacks to China, he again betrayed a respect for the hackers' handiwork, saying, "If we had the opportunity to do the same thing, we'd probably do it."

Appearing at the same forum a day earlier, National Security Agency Director Adm. Michael Rogers made his own grim prediction. Before his tenure as head of Cyber Command is up, Rogers said, the president will order him to defend U.S. critical infrastructure "either in anticipation of or in the aftermath [of] a significant cyber event." That is something Rogers said he has yet to do.

Protests filed against $6B DIA IT contract

The Defense Intelligence Agency made 50 awards for its $6 billion IT contract known as E-SITE, and so far two of the 27 losing bidders have filed protests, Washington Technology reported.

The two protests filed to date are from Sev1Tech Inc. and VariQ Corp., both small businesses.

DIA made 25 large business awards for the Enhanced Solutions for the IT Enterprise or E-SITE contract, and 25 small business awards. DIA said it received 77 bids, so more protests are likely.

The contract is for a wide-range of IT requirements and technical support services for global intelligence and command and control assets. In addition to DIA, the contract also will be used by the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and other defense agencies and allies.

Lynn takes over at DISA

Army Lt. Gen. Alan Lynn on July 23 succeeded Air Force Lt. Gen. Ronnie Hawkins as director of the Defense Information Systems Agency, the Pentagon's IT infrastructure outfit.

Lynn had served as DISA's vice director since September 2013, prior to which he was commanding general of the Army's Network Enterprise Technology Command at Fort Huachuca, Ariz. He has also served as DISA's chief of staff and as head of the Army Signal Center of Excellence.

"Al Lynn was cyber before cyber was cool," said Lt. Gen. James "Kevin" McLaughlin, deputy commander of U.S. Cyber Command, in a statement. "He has spent a career getting ready to do this job."

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