Booz Allen Hamilton will continue working under a DISA contract that had originally gone to another company. Pictured: Booz Allen's McLean, Va., headquarters. (Thomas Brown / Gannett Government Media Corp)
Booz Allen Hamilton is a major player in the Pentagon’s efforts to enable more defense contractors to share cyber threat data with the government.
So much so that the Defense Information Systems Agency awarded the consulting giant a $9.9 million, sole source award in September, 2012, to continue development of the Defense Industrial Base Network systems. The contract tasked the company with ensuring the web-based tool could support more contractors in DoD’s information-sharing program.
At the time, DISA said Booz Allen was the only contractor capable of doing the work.
In September 2013, DISA awarded a competitive follow-on contract to Data Systems Analysts, Inc. That award was later protested by Solers, a small business, and a stop-work order was issued. It isn’t clear whether Booz Allen competed for the follow-on contract.
The Government Accountability Office is expected to make a decision on the protest by Jan. 27.
Meanwhile, DoD’s dependence on Booz Allen’s “extensive knowledge” of the data-sharing program has left DoD with only one option for keeping the program running while the award is under protest, according to a notice on fbo.gov.
On Wednesday DISA announced a $4.7 million, sole source award to extend Booz Allen’s contract for up to six months, through June 30. The ultimate length of the contract will depend on GAO’s ruling. Even if GAO denies the protest, DoD will need Booz Allen to assist in a 90-day transition period to ensure the new contractor is up to speed on DIBNet programs.
“Disengaging from [Booz Allen Hamilton] at this time would effectively cause the DIBNet program to come to a complete halt,” according to DISA.
In recent months Booz Allen has received unwelcome attention after former employee Edward Snowden leaked troves of sensitive government data, but that hasn’t seemed to hinder the company’s role in developing DoD’s data-sharing program.
DIBNet is key to DoD’s Defense Industrial Base (DIB) Cyber Security/Information Assurance (CS/IA) program, which was created to allow DoD and its contractors to share classified and unclassified information. DIBNet is a multi-phased project that launched in 2010 to address program deficiencies, including the inability to streamline and automate program activities and communication of cyber threat data to and with cleared defense contractors.
This level of sharing will allow companies to better secure DoD program data that are stored on contractors’ networks. The number of industry participants in the program has grown from 34 in May 2012 to more than 90 companies as of August.
Should GAO uphold the protest against the follow-on contract, Booz Allen will continue providing full services on a month-to-month basis until the work is re-awarded.