The Cyber Market writ large is well over $15 billion. This goes up to as much as $18 billion and as little as $12 billion, depending on who is “defining” what counts as “cyber.” Most of it is generated by the CNCI projects/intentions. This has NOT generated much business that can be defined as CYBER without a mangled definition. There is a reason for the shortage of easily definable industry pipeline.

Despite the seemingly well-informed and well-intentioned efforts of the Obama Administration, the large contracts (or lots of medium sized ones) most of the experts thought would begin to flow in 2010 quite simply did not happen. The slowness can be “blamed” on two factors:

1. Obama’s focus on other issues he considered bigger fish; and
2. A reluctance to spend big until there was both a plan and an organizational framework in place.

I expect this to break lose this year.

The stage is now set for things to begin to move in 2011. For example:

  • Howard Schmidt has been in office for just over a year. His cautious, low-key approach (actually welcomed, by the way) has slowed things down but should begin to move now.
  • US Cyber Command is now at full operational capability (as are the Military Service components that make up its “troops”). All of these elements should begin to reach out with contracts soon.
  • DHS is now ready to push forward Einstein III. This will affect the entire Federal government.
  • The readiness to move forward on the smart grid will drive business in DoE (and State and Local)
  • Each of the main Federal Department’s is energized for the protection of their own networks (Continuous Monitoring, WikiLeaks, etc) as well as infrastructure protection (DHS-DoD partnership will grow in depth and scope).
  • No real cyber legislation was passed last year, and it is likely there will be some this year that will direct standards and/or requirements that will “cause” business to flow.

The industry has done extensive outreach, written a ton of thought leadership, and maximized its public presence. By this, they have positioned themselves as innovators in cyber and as partners that can bring a menu of assets to a task that is far more extensive and comprehensive than even last year. They are also in a position to offer “slices” of their capabilities in order to partner with others.

Additionally, organizations have worked to bring together the various parts within their firms to develop solutions, cross level contacts and opportunities, and to leverage all the strengths organic to some of America’s biggest commercial organizations. This internal alignment effort is making them more ready everyday.

Bottom line: The efforts and investments thus far will bear fruit in 2011. The entire market has moved much slower than anticipated, but all signs point to a harvest this year.

Dr. Steven Bucci is director of the Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation. He was previously a lead consultant to IBM on cyber security policy. Bucci’s military and government service make him a recognized expert in the interagency process and defense of U.S. interests, particularly with regard to critical infrastructure and what he calls the productive interplay of government and the private sector. Read More