(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has reaffirmed a $1 billion contract won by Raytheon Co. to protect the networks of dozens of federal agencies from cyber threats over protests by competitors, according to a company executive.
Raytheon was picked last September as the prime contractor and systems integrator for the department’s Network Security Deployment division, which oversees cybersecurity for more than 100 federal civilian agencies. After completing "corrective actions" following questions from the Government Accountability Office on the award decision, Homeland Security last week reaffirmed Raytheon as its pick, according to Jack Harrington, vice president for cybersecurity and special missions at Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services.
"It’s providing all of the infrastructure, all of the kind of capabilities," that will be deployed "to all of these agencies to help protect .gov," Harrington said in an interview Monday in Sterling, Virginia.
Beefing up online security has become a priority for government agencies and companies in the wake of repeated cyber attacks. Last year, the Office of Personnel Management experienced a breach traced to hackers in China which compromised data on 21.5 million individuals.
"If you think about the federal agencies, many of them have been underserved because of budgets, when you think about even OPM their mission is not cybersecurity, their mission is getting people cleared," Harrington said. "This whole cybersecurity thing is a new element, and a hard element for a lot of these agencies who have budgets for many many years that didn’t include IT security."
In a January report, the Government Accountability Office said Homeland Security’s National Cybersecurity Protection System "provides DHS with a limited ability to detect potentially malicious activity entering and exiting computer networks at federal agencies." It raised concerns over the system’s ability to monitor network traffic and address threats.
Raytheon, which says it has invested more than $3.5 billion in building its cybersecurity services, will "support DHS in providing those capabilities out to those agencies," Harrington said.
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