Pentagon Police Agency Hit by ‘Catastrophic’ Network Outage

The outage left the agency “without access to the mission-critical systems needed to properly safeguard personnel and facilities, rendering the agency blind across the national capital region.”

National Journal
Bob Brewin, NextGov
May 6, 2014, 10:26 a.m.

 The agency that man­ages the Pentagon Po­lice De­part­ment  and also runs net­works and com­puters used  the by the  Of­fice of the Sec­ret­ary of De­fense ex­per­i­enced a “cata­stroph­ic net­work tech­no­lo­gic­al out­age” on Jan. 3, and it could take un­til Janu­ary 2015 to com­plete the re­pairs, an ob­scure doc­u­ment on the Fed­er­al Busi­ness Op­por­tun­it­ies web­site re­vealed

That doc­u­ment, pos­ted on May 2, dis­closed that the out­age ex­per­i­enced by the Pentagon Life Safety Sys­tem Net­work and Life Safety Back­bone left the Pentagon Force Pro­tec­tion Agency “without ac­cess to the mis­sion-crit­ic­al sys­tems needed to prop­erly safe­guard per­son­nel and fa­cil­it­ies, ren­der­ing the agency blind across the na­tion­al cap­it­al re­gion.”

The Force Pro­tec­tion Agency provides se­cur­ity and ser­vices to 100 mil­it­ary build­ings in Wash­ing­ton, Mary­land and Vir­gin­ia.

The agency es­tim­ated it would take six to 12 months to “ef­fect re­pairs and to up­grade the net­work core to mit­ig­ate fu­ture out­age risks.” Re­pairs in­clude re­cov­ery of data after the cata­stroph­ic net­work tech­no­lo­gic­al out­age and up­grade and re­place­ment of switches and routers.

SRA In­ter­na­tion­al Inc. won a $56 mil­lion con­tract for the Life Safety Sys­tem Net­work in 2008 that ex­pired on April 30. The Force Pro­tec­tion Agency falls un­der the Wash­ing­ton Headquar­ters Ser­vice, which ex­ten­ded the SRA con­tract through Oct. 31, with a value of $7.3 mil­lion, and a four month op­tion through Feb. 28, 2015, with a total value of $11.4 mil­lion.

The sole source con­tract ex­ten­sion with SRA called for re­freshed hard­ware and soft­ware for the Life Sys­tem Safety Net­work, a new net­work design that min­im­izes single point fail­ure, in­clud­ing dual hom­ing, which re­duces the risk of fail­ure.

As the in­cum­bent on Life Safety Sys­tem Net­work con­tract, “SRA is the only known vendor who has ex­pert se­cur­ity-cleared per­son­nel that can im­me­di­ately ac­com­plish this ur­gent up­grade giv­en their ex­ist­ing know­ledge of the spe­cif­ic LSB tech­nic­al and ar­chi­tec­tur­al chal­lenges, and in-depth know­ledge of the ex­ist­ing in­fra­struc­ture to in­clude the known and po­ten­tial fail­ure points of an ex­tremely com­plex en­vir­on­ment,” the Wash­ing­ton Headquar­ters Ser­vice said.

The Pentagon has not yet re­spon­ded to a query sub­mit­ted Sunday on the gen­er­al cause of the out­age nor to a query earli­er Tues­day morn­ing on wheth­er or not it was caused by a hack­er.

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