Wired Magazine’s Danger Room blog has an interesting post today about the McLean, Va.-based consulting behemoth Booz Allen Hamilton. Danger Room’s editor, Noah Shachtman, essentially accuses Booz Allen executive vice president Mike McConnell of over-hyping cybersecurity threats so his firm can win government contracts to combat the dangers that he invented. Shachtman calls Booz “cyberwar Cassandras.”
Now, I can’t speak to the motivations of Mr. McConnell or anyone else at the firm. However, the evidence Shachtman presents on Booz Allen’s supposed recent windfall in government contract spending seems a little thin. Booz Allen has raked in $400 million in deals from the Defense Department in the last six weeks. Yes, that’s a lot, but it’s not far out of line with recent numbers. In fiscal 2009, Booz Allen brought in a total of $3.4 billion in federal contracts. Extrapolate the totals from the last six weeks out ($400M/6*52) and you get just under $3.5 billion. The only caveat would be that the $400M was only from DoD, so we’re comparing apples and oranges, but the military has traditionally been far and away Booz’s biggest government customer, so the numbers probably aren’t too far off.
Again, I don’t mean to disparage the Danger Room report, only to point out that $400 million in six weeks isn’t an insane amount of money for a firm like Booz Allen to bring in. We’ll be keeping an eye on who the winners and losers are as DoD and the rest of government continue to move toward acquisition reform. If any of you eagle-eyed readers are picking up on trends in contract spending among sectors and/or firms, drop me an e-mail at email@example.com.