Coming soon on demand: Cyber weapons

Members of the 36th Electronic Warfare Squadron

From John Reed, Killer Apps:  Last month, the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) gave six firms contracts valued at up to $300 million under a program called Agile Cyber Technologies (ACT), which will essentially keep these companies on retainer to provide cyber weapons on-demand under a form of contracting known as Indefinite Delivery-Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ). . . .

Basically, if the Air Force sees the need for a new cyber weapon, it can immediately tap one of its contractors to develop and field the technology quickly rather than go through an infamous military procurement system that can take anywhere from months (for small buys under "rapid equipping" programs) to decades to field a new weapon system.

CACI, Assured Information Security Inc., L-3 Communications, Radiance Technologies, ITT Exelis, and Global Infotek have all been given contracts through 2018.

While the dollar amount of the ACT contract may relatively modest by Pentagon standards, the program is important because it could pave the way for how the Air Force and the rest of DoD stays ahead of the tech curve in the cyber realm. No more bulky acquisition contracts for single types of weapons, just one retainer fee to continually develop new weapons.   (photo: Carrie Kessler/USAF)

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