The feds just gave Booz Allen a $1 billion contract to fortify cyber defense for several federal agencies

  • Booz Allen will expand cross-agency cybersecurity efforts through a $1.03 billion contract.
  • DHS, NASA and Treasury are all in line for cyber enhancements as part of the deal.
  • Coordination of cybersecurity efforts across agencies has been a challenge since the elimination of the White House cyber coordinator role in May.
Booz Allen Hamilton's cyber solution facility.
The Washington Post | Getty Images
Booz Allen Hamilton's cyber solution facility.

Consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton will take on a $1.03 billion contract to build up cybersecurity capabilities over the next six years at several federal agencies, according to the company.

The contract expands on work Booz Allen has done with the Department of Homeland Security and General Services Administration to build a "continuous diagnostics and mitigation" system, known as a CDM. The purpose of a CDM is to help cybersecurity workers triage threats, using electronic sensors and software, so they can focus on the most severe threats first.

The programs Booz Allen will help stand up are ones to watch: they are a larger part of the federal government's overall DEFEND initiative, which stands for Dynamic and Evolving Federal Enterprise Network Defense. These programs are part of what several agencies hope will lead to a more active defense of government systems.

This is the fourth iteration of the CDM program – earlier stages involved more basic elements of seeking out gaps in cybersecurity and filling. The CDM program is also a cornerstone of DHS's planned approach to securing elections infrastructure throughout the U.S.

The new effort is meant to help streamline cybersecurity efforts across the DHS, GSA, the U.S. Postal Service, NASA and several other organizations. Efforts will include creating further safeguards for agency employees that have privileged access to sensitive systems, adding network access controls and enhancing security in cloud environments.

The move comes at a time when Federal cybersecurity leadership and coordination has been shaky. National Security Advisor John Bolton eliminated the centralized White House cybersecurity coordinator position in May.