The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) announced that it has awarded Booz Allen Hamilton a $6.8 million contract to implement a Thunderdome Prototype—which will be DISA’s zero trust security and network architecture.

Over the next six months, DISA will operationally test how to implement DISA’s Zero Trust Reference Architecture through utilizing commercial technologies like Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) and Software Defined-Wide Area Networks (SD-WAN).

“Over the course of the next six months, we plan to produce a working prototype that is scalable across the department,” said Jason Martin, director of DISA’s digital capabilities and security center. “During that time, we will do what DISA does best – build, test, validate, and implement the premier cybersecurity solutions for the Department of Defense and warfighter around the world.”

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The Thunderdome will also be incorporating cybersecurity centered around data protection and integrating with existing endpoint and identity initiatives aligned to zero trust.

“Thunderdome reflects a substantial shift to a next generation cybersecurity and network architecture for DoD,” said Chris Barnhurst, DISA deputy director. “Rooted in identity and enhanced security controls, Thunderdome fundamentally changes our classic network-centric defense-in-depth security model to one centered on the protection of data and will ultimately provide the department with a more secure operating environment through the adoption of zero trust principles.”

Thunderdome is meant to modernize DISA’s cybersecurity infrastructure to improve the U.S.’ cybersecurity posture and improve user access to cloud-hosted applications by enabling dynamic, adaptable security from the user to the data and application edge. It also aligns with several Federal government cybersecurity modernization efforts to include President Biden’s executive order on improving the nation’s cyber, the Department of Defense (DoD) CIO’s Digital Modernization Strategy, and DISA’s Strategic Plan.

“As part of this modernization, Thunderdome will enable the streamlining of DoD’s endpoint security solution set, enhance our security posture as we continue to invest in cloud technologies, and implement new security capabilities,” according to a press release. “SASE technology will be used to supplement the current perimeter defense function and allow for direct internet access for DoD applications, regardless of hosting environment.”

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.