back to article US Cyber Command floats $460m contract to outsource most of itself

The United States' Cyber Command has floated a $460m contract to outsource pretty much all of its duties, as the nation seeks to bulk up its offensive cyberspace capabilities. A 114-page draft support contract (PDF), and an 86-page draft task order (PDF), for the US Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) were published on 30 September, …

  1. Andy Non Silver badge
    Coat

    So far, US Cyber Command has received quotes for handling the contracts from Russia, China and North Korea.

    1. JCitizen Bronze badge
      Pirate

      Although that is hilarious

      it is actually no joke. From what I understand the Chinese already run many of the contracts around Washington D.C.!!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And the contracts are awarded to....

    Haliburton

    Lobbying $$$ bringing re-election funds to a Congress Critter near you.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: And the contracts are awarded to....

      A good answer! Just because there isn't a Bush on the Throne or a Cheney behind the curtains, doesn't mean Haliburton and all it of the subsidiaries aren't still at the US Gov's teet.... maybe more than ever now???

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: And the contracts are awarded to....

        Hold on, Blackwater (whatever their name is now) wants a taste, too. Gotta spread the money around, otherwise how is the US going to spend 4x as much for 10% more capability than they have now? Yay, privitization!

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Re: And the contracts are awarded to....

          Yo! Don't forget about Israeli security companies. The trough is vast!

    2. Wzrd1

      Re: And the contracts are awarded to....

      Booz Allen Hamilton? Lockheed Martin?

      Hell, the list is somewhat longish.

      1. Mike Moyle Silver badge

        Re: And the contracts are awarded to....

        Mitre Corp... MIT founded and nearly a wholly-owned subsidiary of DoD anyway.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    not surprising

    Most people in the military just don't have the skills to do this, and most of the ones who would are officers and are going to be in command of other troops. In the civilian world as long as you can pay people you can generally find them and most wouldn't be up to the physical part of being a soldier even some of us who were/are in a former time couldn't now.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: not surprising

      The argument has always been the military/government does not have the ability to do this, which is something they not only did in the 50s but pioneered. It might have more to do with the fact that a contractor is not held to the same standards and constitutional requirements as a government entity. Invasion of privacy? Oh it's not US, it's our contractors, we don't ask how they get this stuff bro.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: not surprising

      Wasn't Snowden a contractor? And look how well that worked out for us!

      The single advantage of having the military provide cyber command and control is the fact that the military has complete culpability for any screw-ups.

      1. Wzrd1

        Re: not surprising

        He was, out of a few hundred thousand other contractors, including this retired Army BOFH.

        The military doesn't have a pay scale to afford experienced people, who could be making upwards of $100k per year, rather than the pittance that the US pays service members.

        1. PrivateCitizen
          WTF?

          Re: not surprising

          The military doesn't have a pay scale to afford experienced people, who could be making upwards of $100k per year, rather than the pittance that the US pays service members.

          So rather than pay its soldiers well, the decision was made to outsource to a more expensive provider?

          Cool.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: not surprising

      Actually most of the real security work in government is done by contractors, though not for those reasons. At my agency there are Feds who set policy, manage the contractors, and insist all the appropriate boxes have their checkmarks, but damned if half of them actually know what they're doing (one of them told me to delete the ntuser*.* files in a profile because they'd just repopulate [windows 7]). And they are impossible to get rid of given the civil service rules. Contractors on the other hand can be fired at will. And I don't mean at will like in the private sector where HR actually needs to document before firing. I mean, if the contracting officer didn't like the way you looked at him/her this morning, the door will not be hitting your ass as you exit.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Mind the gap!

    "Mr President, we must not allow a right-shoring-gap to develop!"

  5. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Lessons unheeded will always be subject to serial punishment and constant correction

    If USA is a failed states model and easily hacked and eternally vulnerable fiat capitalist system, which is content and intent on propagating itself further in the same likeness of yore, and as it so transparently appears to be with an embarrassment of rich UKGBNI cheerleading, will there be no ingenious help available to save it and ignorant allies from continuing decline in the face of the truths which expose its inherent systemic weaknesses for sustained and ruthless exploitation. Such is only natural and a fit and proper course for reaction, action and proaction in a smarter new orderly world order program, for everything revolves around universal programming, does it not?

    Einstein said it right whenever he said ..... "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." and "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited."

    Is real and virtual change, a vain glorious hope to aspire to, or a definitive program for really smart cyber space savvy conspirators to adhere to and provide novel fundamentally different and radical solutions ...... nobler works in constant revolutionary progress.‽

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't know if its the same in the US, but in the UK the government love doing this kind of thing as they can then refuse to provide any operational details ("commercially confidential") and avoid all liability for subsequent problems.

  7. elDog

    Outsourcing WW3 - with deniability!

    So some Carlyle/Halliburton-group thug group get together and set up a new shell company(XYZ Group) to bid on this nice little contract. Maybe have Ed Snowden as CEO to lend a bit of panache.

    All communications between the "official DC" and this new XYZ Group will be done using rats in the sewers - no traceability.

    When the XYZ Group starts WW3 official DC can deny any knowledge. Of course it might not matter, but better play by the rules!

  8. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Contracting?

    Ok.. so they contract it to a corporation (one of the Defense Industry types) who in turn, looks at the contract, pockets some profit and hires a subcontractor who promptly pockets some profit and off-shores it. So the Cyber Command ends up with 5 Indians and two Pakistanis as the defense/offensive capability and they're working from home. <facepalm>

    This isn't going to end well, is it?

    What's bugging me is that just recently they said they were staffing up with "top people" who are in the military already and to finish their TO, recruitment and training was well underway to bring the Command up to full strength. What changed? Lobbyists? A mass resignation of the troops? Profit?

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Contracting in Crash and Burn Cultures

      This isn't going to end well, is it?

      What's bugging me is that just recently they said they were staffing up with "top people" who are in the military already and to finish their TO, recruitment and training was well underway to bring the Command up to full strength. What changed? Lobbyists? A mass resignation of the troops? Profit? ... Mark 85

      What changed, Mark 85, is US Cyber Command realising their problems are all based in Wild Wacky Western business practices and fickle fat fiat banking systems falling flat and failing catastrophically to deliver goods to market and practical dreams to virtual reality. Remedying that requires ...... well, just for starters, at least AAA AIMissionaries ...... Ab Fab Fabless Mega Novel MetaDataBase Sourcing Pioneers.

      Then things end up simply just as planned and provided for, with all of the complicated processing taken care of by others quite anonymous and both remotely, practically virtually and relatively autonomously.

      Capiche, Amigos? That is how IT and things are done and get done with/in CyberIntelAIgent Command and Concentric Control of Computers and Communications ....... at the Virtual Machine Interface with Global Operating Devices in Unique Universal Source Banking Supply Systems.... SMARTR AI Programs which can easily entertain an Alternate Train and Strains of Hellish Pogroms too, but that isn't going to end well either, is it, so best not to deserve and server it, methinks ?

    2. Wzrd1

      Re: Contracting?

      Odd, as I'm a contractor for a corporation providing information security for government agencies, with one branch providing security for some US DoD operations.

      One requirement for any of those positions is US citizenship, followed by holding a security clearance.

      Odd that you'd speak in such volumes, yet have absolutely no idea what you are speaking about.

      Just as El Reg did when it went on about companies "vetting employees", nope, the company will frequently do so, but also the US government also does so. That is especially true when one is speaking of security clearances.

      Those are investigated by OPM, then provided to China for backup purposes.

      Oh wait, that wasn't a backup, because we can't restore from it.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    its just a smokescreen

    to get inside knowledge of a lot of corporations working on sensitive projects.

    I would expect (hope) a lot of this to be insourced again once the capability is built...

    I am not happy about outsourcing offensive capability either - although I wonder if the fees go up when there is demand (like uber) aha that second more effective attack will cost you 500% more and BTW you have to pay the raise shilds fee. You only bought the deployment not the managed operation...

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      It's for Real Hearts and Virtual Mind Games, NEUKlearer HyperRadioProActive IT Play

      Whenever it is just so, AC ……

      its just a smokescreen, to get inside knowledge of a lot of corporations working on sensitive projects.
      …… do smarter cooperative corporations and internetworking entities working on sensitive projects have the world at their feet and an embarrassment of international riches to choose from, and in who to favour and flavour and savour with their novel intellectual property.

      And it is a live opportunity for all those systems in need of such quite unexpected expertise to make their move, and initiate engagement lest treasures be shared elsewhere, foreign and alien, too.

    2. Wzrd1

      Re: its just a smokescreen

      Go look at the US military pay scale, then tell us all how you can even hold onto one single experienced system administrator, when the civilian market pays an order of magnitude more.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ^^^ This

    I make as much in base pay as an O-6 with 2 years in service (which is impossible pretty much) or an O-3 with over 18 years of service. You would need thousands of officers to staff that high up, and then provide pensions etc as well. Considering the physical requirements and the shape of your average geek...it just wont happen. I am still in the national guard as an E-6 in a different career field and if I was still active duty I would only be getting half of that.

  11. JCitizen Bronze badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    Of course they contract out..

    They don't have a clue how to actually build a "secure" network - if one even exists!

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      WMD, but not as they be portrayed and presently sold and told in MAD Circles and Crazy Space Places?

      They don't have a clue how to actually build a "secure" network - if one even exists! … JCitizen

      A secure network, JCitizen, whenever one exists, is one in which all secrets are open source and readily available in texts and/or language which all and a choice few can understand at a higher level of consciousness with a greater base intelligence. Encryption is not needed there ….. unless one is into sub prime supply and evil provision, although that would suggest the necessary understanding at higher levels of consciousness with greater base intelligences be surely missing in proposed action, reaction and proaction and that be the fundamental inherent systemic weakness for relentless ruthless search and destroy attack.

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