Target Practice

/ January 8, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Call it a 21st-century shooting range. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency today announced the contractors that will help build the National Cyber Range, where government officials will one day be able to test America's offensive and defense weaponry for the war online.

The winning contractors include the cyber shops of some of the usual suspects in the defense contracting scene. Also playing will be SPARTA of Columbia, MD, which nabbed the biggest chunk of the contract, worth $8.6 million. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, MD, also won a sizable portion, worth $7.3 million.

"The National Cyber Range will provide the Nation with revolutionary, real-world simulation environments from which organizations can develop, field, and test new 'leap-ahead' concepts and capabilities required to protect U.S. interests against a growing, worldwide cyber threat," DARPA said in a Jan. 8 statement.

First order of business for the winning companies over the next eight months will be the development of "detailed engineering plans,"  DARPA said.

-- Sebastian Sprenger