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Quick Hits

It’s official. The SBA takes over the verification of SDVOSBs/VOSBs from the VA.  

It was announced a few months back that the SDVOSB/VOSB certification process was moving from the VA to the SBA and things are moving along quickly. The VA will stop taking applications for verification or reverification Oct. 24, 2022. The department is reaching out to all Veterans who may be impacted by this action to inform them of VA’s Oct. 24th application deadline. Until then, Veterans can continue to apply for verification at VA’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization.
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Grifters steal more than $45B in unemployment benefits during pandemic, watchdog says.

A Labor Department watchdog is reporting that fraudsters stole more than $45B from the government during the COVID-19 pandemic. The final tally could be higher. Some real areas of concern: Paying out jobless benefits to federal prisoners and paying out aid to individuals in multiple states. The watchdog goes on to say that the DOL’s Employment and Training Administration “has not taken sufficient action” to implement inspector general recommendations dating back to Feb. 2021 “that would help mitigate and prevent even more potential fraudulent payments from occurring.”
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Understanding the federal AI spend.

Understanding how the feds are allocating funds towards a particular capability is a vital step in your business strategy. If you’re pursuing AI work, then you should read this Brookings report that analyzed a dataset of 663 contracts across 652 agencies with 556 NAICS codes. This report suggests that AI in the fed space is an immature market that is focused on the development of research. There are only 62 companies with more than one contract for AI services and very few with more than 5 (AI Solutions 10+ awards, AI Signal Research 5+ awards, and AI Biosciences 5+ awards)
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ICYMI Snippets:

Top Defense & Aerospace

Let the games begin! Thirty companies selected to compete for $950M USAF Joint All-Domain Command and Control contract.

USAF officials last week selected 30 companies to compete for the service’s $950M JADC2 contract. In July, USAF officials had added 27 other companies to the procurement, which seeks to better connect the military services and provide critical, mission information to forces across land, air, sea, space and cyber. Winners included: Agile Defense, Autonodyne, BMC Software Federal, Clear Creek Applied Technologies, Colossal Contracting, Confluent, Charles Stark Draper Labs, EpiSys Science, Epoch Concepts, ICR, InfoSciTex, Innoflight, Intrinsic Enterprises, Jasper Solutions, Memcomputing, Nteligen, Oceus Networks, Orbital Insight, Patrocinium Systems, Radiance Tech, RFK Engineering Solutions, RUAG Space USA, Siemens, SRIInternational, Sterling Computers, Sigma Defense Systems, Terbine, and Vannevar Labs.
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USAF meets its 2022 recruiting goal.

As the fiscal year 2022 enters its final days, USAF officials announced they have met their 2022 active duty recruiting goals, thanks due in part to recruiting bonuses. Air National Guard and Reserve are thousands of personnel short, but a number of challenges remain, with 2023 likely to be at least as challenging as this year. One challenge: EHR MHS Genesis transition. Another challenge: private industry snagging the top talent from airmen who have just left active duty.
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DARPA selects teams to improve how scientists build/sustain models, simulations.

DARPA has selected a whole bunch of university research teams for the agency’s Automating Scientific Knowledge Extraction and Modeling (ASKEM) program. ASKEM performers will use AI approaches and tools to create, sustain, and enhance complex models and simulators. Resulting tools will enable experts to maintain, reuse, and adapt large collections of heterogeneous data, knowledge and models – with traceability across knowledge sources, model assumptions, and model fitness. Program performers will apply the models and simulators to various use cases with a focus on modeling of viral epidemics, such as COVID-19, and to the causes and impacts of space weather.
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Top Intel Community

CISA, NSA release guidance to reduce alternatives for securing industrial control systems.

CISA and NSA officials jointly released guidance to help prompt streamlining and easing of the decision-making process for owners of critical infrastructure to start protecting industrial control systems from an increasing likelihood of cyberattack.
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New review examines NSA and Cyber Command’s ‘dual hat’ structure.

Former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Joseph F. Dunford Jr. has been tapped by the Biden administration to guide a review of the leadership arrangement governing U.S. Cyber Command and the National Security Agency, an examination that could trigger lasting ramifications for the country’s digital and intelligence operations. The administration has assembled a small study group to scrutinize the benefits and drawbacks of the “dual-hat” leadership structure that has existed since Cyber Command was created in 2009, according to three sources familiar with the matter.
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NNSA has major cyber failings, watchdog report warns.

This can’t be good! The NNSA, which oversees our national nuclear stockpile, has major cyber security failings, according to a GAO report. The NNSA has implemented only four out of six foundational cybersecurity requirements within its traditional IT environment, which includes computer systems used for weapons design, according to the report. The problem includes contractors as well as the agency itself.
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Top Civilian

USPS consolidation plans for 200 facilities in flux.

As USPS officials work toward consolidating 200 post offices and other facilities beginning as soon as next month, the plans are very much in flux, with some employees concerned about how the developing plans impact their jobs.
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Immediate action needed to protect homeland from drone threats, former TSA exec argues.

With drone use growing at fast rate, one former TSA administrator argues that the government needs to provide vendors the ability to complete quarterly scientific R&D testing at designated military installations. He argues that foreign drone mitigation companies benefit from their governments’ more streamlined R&D scientific policies.
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Treasury is announcing a new office: Office of the Chief Sanctions Economist.

….And they are actively recruiting for the Chief sanctions Economist and two initial staff members. OCSE will be responsible for the development of economic and financial policy analysis to inform the design and implementation of sanctions policy and targeting options, among other tasks.
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GovCon M&A Corner

Anser Advisory acquires RLH Engineering.

Anser Advisory announced the acquisition of RLH Engineering, Inc. (RLH). RLH is an owner’s representative, project management, and environmental consulting firm serving Colorado. Both firms have shared values and beliefs, and both are committed to developing and maintaining long-standing client relationships. By leveraging the combined expertise of the Anser Advisory and RLH teams, the combined firm will provide additional value to clients in the region, as well as across the country.
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The Administration is playing hardball with large M&A deals.

The Biden Administration is putting big companies on notice that they may need to fight in court if they want to pull off a big merger. Under Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter, head of antitrust, the Justice Department in 2022 has sought to block four mergers in court, one more than last year. Moreover, the DOJ hasn’t accepted any merger settlements on Kanter’s watch, according to James Fishkin, an antitrust partner at law firm Dechert and a former attorney at Federal Trade Commission.
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Shower thoughts 🚿

Think that you’re patient? Try waiting eight years for a USAF settlement

How patient are you? A disabled veteran has been waiting eight years to receive a $8 million settlment,  The Texas man had hoped to work at Laughlin Air Force Base in the Lone Star State, but instead, he’s battling foreclosure as he seeks his payment.
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Virtual communication kills creativity; For better remote work, focus should be on collaboration tools.

As federal agencies transition to a hybrid work model from a fully remote approach was precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, a new Government Business Council white paper calls for focusing on implementing collaboration tools for teams to work with, as opposed to focusing on performance technology. The study looked at data from DOD, DOT, and AFGE. Results: 70% of respondents said that collaboration between in-office and remote workers is challenging with current tools and 56% are only somewhat or not very satisfied with the tools they use. 61% of respondents felt that screen sharing is effective to broadcast information across a team, but not for active knowledge sharing or collaboration.
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