The Australian Department of Defence is on the hunt for a private sector information and communications technology (ICT) provider, in a bid to augment the digital capabilities of the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) in its "cyber security mission".
The ASD, which is tasked with collecting and analysing foreign signals intelligence and providing assistance on information and communications technology, is part of the Department of Defence’s Strategic Policy and Intelligence (SP&I) Group.
According to an Invitation to Register (ITR) published on September 9, the SP&I Group is hoping to pull together a shortlist of service providers that can meet its needs to support the ASD’s cyber program.
To this end, it's calling on ICT service providers to demonstrate capabilities, with providers that meet the agency’s requirements set to be invited to participate in a pre-qualified Request for Tender (RFT) process.
Ultimately, the ASD is seeking an ICT provider with which it can establish a long-term working relationship.
Terms of the agreement will see the selected provider initially provide support to an existing Commonwealth-supported interim capability, and work with ASD stakeholders to develop the agency’s capabilities further in an iterative manner to meet changing needs.
One of the central themes of the stated requirements is the ability for technical users to rapidly spin-up and deploy new capabilities to meet operational requirements in short time frames.
The proposed partnership is expected to increase the ASD’s capacity to identify, analyse, and respond to new and emerging cyber threats, while also increasing the agency’s capacity to assess other government agencies’ vulnerabilities and provide technical advice.
At the same time, the winning provider will also be tasked with helping to expand the ASD’s capacity to provide cyber security services to a wider range of organisations, and enable the agency – and the private sector – to work more collaboratively together.
Under the proposed partnership, the ASD expects its physical server footprint to expand from 20 to 150, and its virtual machines to balloon tenfold from 100 to 1,000.
Meanwhile, its storage capacity is set to soar from 200 Terabytes to 10 Petabytes, and user accounts to grow from 50 to 250.
The ASD’s cyber program comes as a result of the government’s Cyber Security Strategy 2016, which is aimed at helping Australia develop a national cyber partnership between government, researchers, and business to tackle emerging issues, and build stronger cyber defences.
According to the the Department of Defence, any contract resulting from the tender process may extend up to seven years, with an initial three-year engagement, and two additional two-year extensions.