Independent analysis of DOD authorization act offers insight on cybersecurity and Big Data

The 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) requires the Defense Department to make a number of concrete changes related to IT acquisition, cybersecurity, and network operations and software that will change the way the department does business in the years ahead, according to an independent analysis conducted by Deltek.

Deltek’s new report, “FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Market Implications,” which summarizes 15 technology areas outlined in the 2013 NDAA, notes that the legislation requires the Defense Department to limit the use of cost-type contracts, evaluate large-scale software data analysis tools that can handle DOD’s need for large-scale analytics, and submit to Congress a comprehensive Air Force cybersecurity investment strategy.

The 2013 NDAA calls on the defense secretary to modify acquisition regulations to prohibit DOD from entering into cost-type contracts for the production of major defense acquisition programs.

“Over the past few years, industry has seen a shift at the DOD toward the use of short-duration contracts aligned with major project milestone dates,” said Deltek analyst Alex Rossino. “The official limitation on cost-type contracts in the NDAA for significant acquisitions signals that the use of short duration contracts is a trend that is here to stay.”

The 2013 NDAA also mandates that the DOD evaluate large-scale software database and data analysis tools that could be used to meet the department’s needs for large scale data analytics. If the analysis identifies a need for software systems or tools, the DOD is instructed to acquire these using competitive procedures.

“This section moves the DOD closer to specifying its technical needs for data analytics,” Rossino said. “As these needs become clear, industry should see increased investment by the DOD in advanced analytics and database software offered by commercial vendors.”

As for cybersecurity, the 2013 NDAA instructs the defense secretary to submit to Congress the Air Force’s cybersecurity investment strategy. This strategy must cover investments in cyber science and technology, including technologies for command and control and decision support.

The strategy also must cover cyber exploitation, which is the use of offensive cyber actions over an extended period of time to support missions and goals. Congress also wants to know the Air Force’s strategy to employ these technologies into weapons systems.

“The fact that Congress wants to know how the Air Force plans to embed new cyber technologies into its weapons systems shows true convergence of traditional IT, weapons systems, and cyber security,” said Deltek analyst John Slye. “Congress recognizes that there is still progress to be made and the value of cyber in a proactive defense.”

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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