DEFEND–the new acquisition approach for the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) program– will allow agencies to quickly bring in cybersecurity products and provide support throughout the lifecycle, said Jim Piche, homeland sector director for the Federal Systems Integration and Management Center (FEDSIM) within the General Services Administration (GSA).

DEFEND, or Dynamic and Evolving Federal Enterprise Network Defense, consists of five single-award task orders that will provide CDM services to Federal agencies, instead of serving as an acquisition vehicle. “It covers all the capabilities over the full lifecycle, across the entire Federal government,” said Piche this week.

Under DEFEND, agencies can expect much faster acquisitions of important cybersecurity tools. Piche said that the request for services process takes around six weeks on average, and GSA aims to get that below 30 days.

“I joked that previously, under the BPA [blanket purchase agreement] era, it wasn’t continuous diagnostics, it was continuous acquisitions. It seemed like we were always in an acquisition cycle trying to buy something,” Piche noted. “Now that CDM is done through the DEFEND process, our acquisition is done, and now we just have to get on with executing it.”

With the size of CDM DEFEND, Piche emphasized how important it was to get the task orders right.

“That’s $3.2 billion that the Federal government put on contract to do cybersecurity, Federal government-wide, for the next six years. You combine that with the Group F task order, and the dashboard contract, and that becomes one of the largest cybersecurity initiatives ever taken on globally,” said Piche.

“Rather than contracting for things or tools, we’re contracting for an integrator that is capable of delivering any number of CDM solutions using any number of tools. We’re not limited to just what we’ve bought under the BPA,” he added.

For those who want to look outside of the DEFEND task orders, agencies–including state and local governments–can still look to the CDM special item number (SIN).

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MeriTalk Staff