The Department of Homeland Security wants every contract employee at its forthcoming Network Operations and Security Center to be skilled in both network management and cybersecurity operations.
DHS issued a request for information (RFI) due Oct. 25 on the feasibility of that approach for both personnel responding to Tier 1 IT and cyber issues, which can be resolved rapidly, and those handling Tier 2 incidents requiring greater resources.
The department announced in September 2020 that it had begun consolidating its six network operations centers (NOCs) and five security operations centers (SOCs) into the NOSC to reduce costs and improve situational awareness and incident response times across all its agencies. DHS further began recompeting contracts to adjust the ratio of federal to contract employees supporting the NOSC, but ensuring they have the desired expertise to respond to any issue that arises is another matter entirely.
“DHS envisions the NOSC support would consist of junior- and journeyman-level personnel providing the necessary technical expertise,” adds the RFI. “DHS is explicitly not seeking senior subject matter expert-level personnel.”
Both Tier 1 and Tier 2 operations will be round the clock, but DHS currently lacks some of the requisite technical skills for the latter — prompting the RFI to ask what the minimum labor mix recommended might be.
DHS also expects the NOSC will need surge support in the event of cyber threats and attacks, network design transitions, and other projects and wants to know the recommended approach and lead time for contracting such temporary personnel.
The department is considering a single-award contract to meet its needs at three locations: the national capital region; Stennis, Mississippi; and Chandler, Arizona. Contract personnel are expected to have top secret/sensitive compartmented information clearance and be on site at least one day a week.