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DoD to acquire vulnerability assessment software from ARES Corp.

The Defense Department’s human resources office plans to award a sole source contract to ARES Corp., of Burlingame, CA, to supply its AVERT software, which will be used by the Pentagon’s Antiterrorism Force Protection Office to perform a wide variety of security and vulnerability assessments.

The software, whose official name is Automatic Vulnerability Evaluation for Risks of Terrorism, “Computes the probability of a successful attack or intrusion and identifies the most effective path(s) that an adversary will use to penetrate security,” says a product description prepared by ARES.

A user in DoD could model any physical attack by terrorists, visualize the security breaches, quantify the existing risks in mathematical terms, and then measure the effectiveness of proposed security improvements.

In a notice announcing its intention to award the sole source contract, the Defense Human Resources Activity (DHRA), a unit of DoD that reports to the under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness, said it expects six tasks to be performed by ARES: (1) supply its AVERT software, (2) maintain its product with software updates and technical support, (3) train DHRA users in vulnerability assessment modeling, data library development and interpreting results, (4) develop models for locations with DHRA employees, (5) provide engineering analysis support for security and vulnerability assessments, and (6) provide structural engineering analysis, threat analysis and other technical support.

“In 1999, while working with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), on risk assessments for the F-15, F-16, and B-2 bomber, ARES recognized the need for a software tool that would objectively quantify the risks of intentional acts,” says the company’s descriptive literature.

“ARES developed AVERT through Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grants supported by the DoD. In its present state, AVERT can realistically model threats to critical sites from the land, sea, and air, while taking into account diversions, weapons, vehicles and multiple adversaries and targets.”

AVERT is a PC-based program that models terrorist attacks in a graphical 3-D interface. Taking into account various threat conditions — on world, regional, and site-specific level -- the software reviews a range of attack paths, delivery systems, and transport routes against the effectiveness of existing and potential countermeasures.

“Its powerful ‘what–if’ analysis capability quantifies precisely the reduced vulnerability when security is enhanced in the form of added barriers, security patrols, and detection devices,” says the ARES product literature.


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