The Pentagon Wants to Bolster DIU’s Cyber Defenses

Maj. Denzil 'DT' Thomas of Air Force Materiel Command; Maj. Todd Myers, Defense Innovation Unit pathways manager, and Maj. David Rothzeid, Defense Innovation Unit director of acquisition pathways work at DIU HQ in Mountain View, Calif., March 26, 2019.

USAF / J.M. Eddins Jr.

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Maj. Denzil 'DT' Thomas of Air Force Materiel Command; Maj. Todd Myers, Defense Innovation Unit pathways manager, and Maj. David Rothzeid, Defense Innovation Unit director of acquisition pathways work at DIU HQ in Mountain View, Calif., March 26, 2019.

The department is looking for penetration testers, red teams, and cyber training to protect its startup incubator from online attacks.

The Pentagon is looking for vendors to conduct penetration testing and other security services to bolster the defenses of its startup outreach office.

Department officials on Monday began seeking a contractor to provide cyber testing and training services for the Defense Innovation Unit, the now-permanent group charged with adapting Silicon Valley tech for the country’s national security apparatus. 

Under the contract, vendors would provide penetration testing, red teaming, cyber training and active defense services to plug security gaps in the unit’s networks.

“Since the mission of [DIU] is to operate at ‘commercial speed’ and startup innovation to bring technology into the [department], it is critical to have the security expertise and security services that will allow [DIU] to be compliant with industry standards and [department regulations],” Pentagon officials wrote in the performance work statement.

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The one-year contract will only be available to small business vendors, they said. 

According to the solicitation, the program will be divided into three phases: vendors will first oversee penetration testing of “key technologies deployed at DIU,” then conduct red teaming exercises on the unit’s physical and network infrastructure, and eventually train teams to mitigate existing vulnerabilities and anticipate future threats. 

DIU intends to repeat the program every year “to stay current with industry best practices,” officials said. Interested vendors must submit proposals by Sept. 16.

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