Central Command Needs Mideast Cyber Ops Advisers — and Fast

U.S. Army Gen Joseph L. Votel, commander United States Central Command, receives a mission briefing at the Lebanese Armed Forces 9th Brigade observation positon at Dahr Al Jabl overlook, near the Syrian border during his visit to Lebanon June 7, 2017.

Photo by U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. Dana Flamer

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U.S. Army Gen Joseph L. Votel, commander United States Central Command, receives a mission briefing at the Lebanese Armed Forces 9th Brigade observation positon at Dahr Al Jabl overlook, near the Syrian border during his visit to Lebanon June 7, 2017.

Potential bidders should come ready to handle everything from network maintenance to offensive hackery.

U.S. Central Command—responsible for military operations in the Middle East, central Asia and part of northern Africa—is looking for a contractor to help identify targets, plan, and execute cyber operations. Beyond basic cyber and geopolitical expertise, CENTCOM needs 8(a) contractors who understand the policy and process behind military cyber operations.

CENTCOM is issuing a solicitation through the General Services Administration, which released a presolicitation notice May 24. The agency is looking for a quick turnaround on the procurement process: The request for proposals is expected to land June 5 and give interested vendors three weeks to respond.

The winning contractor will be expected to assist with a number of tasks, including cybersecurity and technical support, advice and situational awareness on the region and administrative functions like managing information sharing through SharePoint.

But the main task will be advising on both the big picture and minutia of cyber operations.

Among the list of deliverables in the performance work statement, first and foremost is to “Provide level 4 planning expertise in conducting research and analysis of full spectrum cyberspace operations in joint, multinational and interagency context.” This includes coordinating with other combatant commands, civilian agencies and international partners on operations and contingency plans, “including mission analyses, command estimates, campaign design and concept of operation.”

Along with the highest Defense Department security clearances—top secret and sensitive compartmented information—the draft PWS details specific requirements for the team, including:

  • Minimum of two of the contractor team with 10-plus years of targeting, fires, maneuver, battle damage assessment and modernized integrated database experience.
  • Minimum of four personnel with 10-plus years planning experience at a combatant command.
  • Minimum 50 percent of contractor team with previous combatant command experience.
  • Minimum 50 percent of contractor team with previous experience with cyberspace operations planning, synchronization, integration or execution.
  • Minimum 33 percent of contractor team with operations plan, operational order and execute order writing experience.
  • Minimum 33 percent of contractor team with intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance and all-source analytics experience.

Contracting officers expect to be through the evaluation process before August. According to the work statement, the winning vendor should have a transition plan in place for Aug. 26 to Sept. 25 to seamlessly take over from the current contractor.

The contract will be for one base year beginning in late September, with four one-year add-on options. The draft work statement also includes an option to extend the contract beyond 2023.

Contractors will be working out of CENTCOM headquarters in Tampa, Florida, with occasional travel in the U.S. and abroad.

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