Defense contractor L-3 Communications and Virginia Tech are set to formally open a cybersecurity research center in Arlington on Friday.

The center, located in Virginia Tech’s Ballston research center, is meant to give L-3 employees access to the university’s labs and equipment and Virginia Tech’s faculty and students a chance to collaborate with L-3 on cybersecurity research.

Les Rose, president of L-3’s national security solutions group, said the company is occupying one of the seven floors in Virginia Tech’s building. Through the partnership, the company and Virginia Tech are already working on two projects, one related to mobile security and another to big data, he said.

The collaboration “allows L-3 the ability to actually deliver more innovative security solutions than we might do on our own,” Rose said.

Charles Clancy, who heads up Virginia Tech’s Ted and Karyn Hume Center for National Security and Technology, said the collaboration would give students and faculty more real-world experience.

“Cybersecurity in particular is an area where the needs are pretty significant,” he said. “By having [the] university and a company working together so closely, we can significantly shorten the lead time between innovation and solution.”

Glotech protest upheld

The Government Accountability Office has upheld a protest filed by Rockville-based small business Glotech against a U.S. Agency for International Development award.

The agency issued blanket-purchase agreements, meant to speed individual orders, to seven companies, including Bethesda-based IBM Global Business Services-Federal, Chantilly-based Computer Sciences Corp., Fairfax-based CGI Federal and Herndon-based HP Enterprise Services.

Glotech argued USAID failed to sufficiently take price into consideration. The GAO agreed, writing that the agency “gave no meaningful consideration” to cost and calling for a new selection decision.

GST expands NOAA work

Greenbelt-based Global Science & Technology said last week that it has received a contract to continue and expand a program that uses sensors to collect detailed environmental data.

Under the new $9.7 million, one-year task order with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, GST will manage more than 5,000 sensors — some in the form of weather stations located on the ground and others that ride along on a nationwide fleet of commercial trucks.

The initiative started as a small pilot program, under which the mobile data stations were attached to buses in the Northeast.

“Where we’re at now is a coalescence ... of all of it under one program,” said Paul Heppner, who manages the program for GST.

He said collected environmental observations are forwarded to the National Weather Service.

“We’ve got to start getting this data to the forecast offices, getting it to the modelers, getting it to the people who are actually going to start making use of it,” he said.

CloudBolt gets started

John Menkart, a veteran of HP’s security business, has taken the reigns of a new Rockville-based company called CloudBolt.

The business, which got started last month, is hawking software meant to make it easier for government agencies and commercial businesses to manage their technology infrastructure and programs as they move to cloud — or Web-based — computing.

The software, said Menkart, can help organizations that have a whole range of technologies tie them together to be more efficient and cut costs.

Thus far, the start-up has about 15 employees and is getting business off the ground by offering a free download of its signature product, called CloudBolt Command & Control.