U.S. Air Force Inks $19 Million Cybersecurity Deal

December 7, 2016

The digital defense contract may be the biggest of its kind this year.

The United States Air Force has awarded an $18.8 million contract for digital defense software to Endgame, the cybersecurity firm told Fortune.

Multiple analysts with whom Fortune spoke described the deal as potentially the largest of the year within the “endpoint detection and response” market, a segment of the $74 billion cybersecurity industry that involves finding and remediating security breaches on people’s computers. This niche portion of the fast-growing enterprise security market had a run rate of nearly $500 million in 2016, according to estimates by research firm Gartner.

In an era increasingly marked by cyber warfare, the Air Force’s purchase reflects the U.S. military’s ongoing efforts to equip its forces with the latest technology to defend against a host of adversaries staging computer-based attacks.

The Air Force began testing Endgame’s product after announcing a $1.5 million pilot program at the end of last year. That preliminary deal came on the heels of a report released by the Air Force’s Scientific Advisory Board, an independent federal committee of technical experts appointed by the Secretary of Defense, which warned of vulnerabilities in military infrastructure.

Now, the Air Force intends to extend its Endgame deployment across many thousands of internal computers, manned by so-called cyber protection teams. The military branch has already been using the company’s tools in internal “red flag” exercises, training games that pit offensive hackers against guards.

“The government is often seen as a laggard in technology, and often that is correct,” said Nate Fick, CEO of Endgame and a former Marine captain who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. “But in the case of cybersecurity, parts of the Department of Defense and military are the leading edge of adopters in the world.”

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