Desk Jockeying: FBI Puts Out The Call For 'Cyber Security Furniture'

from the bringing-the-war-to-work dept

If you're going to fight in the Cyber Front, you're going to want the most up-to-date office chairs. Here's an unlikely use of federal tax dollars, as spotted by the EFF's Dave Maass: "FBI Cyber Security Furniture."

Disappointingly, the FBI isn't actually looking for something along the lines of Matrix dental exam chairs for office drones to monitor... uh... multiple monitors during crucial cyber operations. Instead, the FBI is looking for standard office furniture to furnish its new Colorado cyber security office.

But the scope of work doc [PDF] indicates not just any office furniture will do. On the FBI's Cyber Titanic, reshuffle-ability of deck chairs is crucial.

The furniture solution for the workspace (individual and team) is expected to be adjustable, adaptable and easily interchangeable into different configurations as required by the work force.

[...]

Technology will be integrated at all levels of the project. Furniture must be adaptable to the continuously changing technology solutions required to maintain a collaborative, mobile, and sustainable work environment.

In total, the FBI is looking for 24 workstations, 30 office chairs, and an out-of-the-box "STEELCASE Private Office" [pictured below].

THE PRIVACY VIOLATIONS ARE COMING FROM INSIDE THE OFFICE!

If any vendors carry something more cybertastic than what's described in the request, they are cordially disinvited from responding. The FBI is going sole-source and pouring federal dollars back into the local economy.

The General Services Administration has a new requirement that it intends to sole source for New Steelcase and Mayline Office Furniture from Officescapes, LLC a local dealer in Colorado.

The sole-source provider won't have it easy, though. The demands for bog standard office furniture are far more rigorous than most demands for off-the-shelf solutions. It needs to do far more than prevent FBI cyber warriors from having to perform their duties sitting on the carpet. The new furniture must also work as a "quality of life patch" for the field office. Here's part of a long list of things purchased furniture is expected to do:

  • Improv[e] work/life balance
  • Attract and retain the best talent

Hopefully no employees signed with the new Cyber Security office in hopes of being part of the office of the future. Team Cyber (Denver, CO) will be doing its work in the more familiar "office of the present," with all of its boring chairs, workstations, and conspicuous lack of monitor-covered walls.


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  • icon
    TechDescartes (profile), 13 Jul 2017 @ 2:41pm

    The FBI Wants Backdoors, Except When They Don't

    From the STEELCASE Private Office website:

    A traditional advantage of the private office is the ability to concentrate and protect confidential information. Yet this security and control is compromised if workers are approached from behind by guests entering the office.

    So the FBI doesn't want any information getting out via backdoors. Hmm.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 13 Jul 2017 @ 4:12pm

    Are they quite sure it has to be local? I understand Spain has some very good furniture. Perhaps a demonstration? _Cardinal Fang! Fetch the comfy chair!_

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 13 Jul 2017 @ 4:41pm

    Suggestion

    I recommend bean bag chairs, at least 2 feet shorter than the desk.

    They will be eminently adequate for the requirement "is expected to be adjustable, adaptable and easily interchangeable into different configurations as required by the work force". Just don't let the ergonomics folks in the building.

    They will also be eminently adequate for the requirements of the populace "Don't tread on me".

    That there is some difference between the FBI's requirements, and the Public's requirements, which is up for discussion.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      orbitalinsertion (profile), 13 Jul 2017 @ 4:50pm

      Re: Suggestion

      Like chairs which teleport to random places in Antarctica, then sneak back alone?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 13 Jul 2017 @ 5:10pm

        Re: Re: Suggestion

        Depends. There is a new iceberg the size of Delaware that broke loose from Antarctica recently, and if the teleport is to that iceberg, then the return trip might be mitigated by the original outbound trip, and the return inbound trip, depending on the drift of the iceberg, assuming the teleportation device is based upon differentiation rather than start and endpoint LAT/Long coordinates. There is nothing to assume anything different, even if it does not make any sense.

        The same way that Executive Departments changes points of view with certain elections. Sometimes the requirements of the populace are forgotten, and other times they are just trashed.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DB (profile), 13 Jul 2017 @ 4:59pm

    I recall that when I worked at NASA we were delighted to get "Space Station desks".

    These were used desks from one of the canceled efforts to design a space station. The effort must have been lavishly funded, because they were much, much nicer than our 1960s-era dark gray steel desks that showed their decades of use.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2017 @ 6:18pm

      Re:

      Aaannnnnddd those dark grey desks lasted let's say 15 years (conservatively)... How long do you think that these pressed board thin contact paper laminated desks and drawers will hold up through the "adaptable to the continuously changing technology solutions" and "interchangeable into different configurations as required by the work force". I know that any time I try moving anything made out of the pressed board it ends up with pieces chipped off and can never get put back together again. So, while the steel desks aren't "cool" and may not be the answer, but pressed wood is surely not the answer either.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Jul 2017 @ 9:02am

      Re:

      our 1960s-era dark gray steel desks

      You had one of the new ones? Lucky! We still have several older ones around at our agency. I'm not joking. I surplussed one a few years ago with a manufacturing date of 1932 on the bottom.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2017 @ 6:18pm

    Yet another example of our cyber-security-tax-dollars at work.

    Reminded me of this...

    NSA director modeled top secret war room to look like the bridge of Star Trek's Enterprise

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 13 Jul 2017 @ 6:27pm

      Re:

      Which raises the question...which fantasy world do they live in? Their own? Some video developed scenario? Some printed developed scenario? The scenario where the current administration directs them? Or...maybe the fantasy they participated in when they last tried LSD?

      Choices, choices, choices!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 14 Jul 2017 @ 5:11am

        Re: Re:

        "Or...maybe the fantasy they participated in when they last tried LSD?"

        It seems they are collectively in one of these cases where the person gets a permanent trip then.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Jul 2017 @ 9:39am

        Re: Re:

        If they want to "Attract and retain the best talent", they'll need to add a Millenium Falcon room. I find their Star-Trek-only policy unacceptable.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ArkieGuy (profile), 14 Jul 2017 @ 5:57am

    Are appliances considered furniture?

    You have to wonder if someone (or some auto-correct) thought "security furniture" made more sense than "security appliance"..... :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Jul 2017 @ 12:10pm

    Working in the federal government and experiencing the headache which is government purchasing. The choice to sole -source sounds very fishy.

    Oh and after reading the article I about wet myself from laughter.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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