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Quick Hits

Senate passes Build Back Better 2.0

On Sunday, the U.S. Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act, which proposes to counter climate change and lower the cost of prescription drugs. Paid for in part by an increase in taxes on large corporations and a corporate minimum tax of 15%, the bill would invest almost $400 billion into climate and energy programs. The House of Representatives should pass the bill by the end of this week.
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One fix could help close the federal cyber talent gap.

Closing the government’s large and growing cybersecurity talent gap is a growing concern in the federal government. Ther is one simple legislative fix that could open up many more opportunities for top cyber students to eventually join the ranks of the federal civil service. Just give every federal agency the same cybersecurity scholarship authority that the Defense Department has today and then get out of their way. It would require just a few changes to the wording of DOD’s authority, and there’s no better time to do it than now, as the fiscal 2023 National Defense Authorization Act makes its way through Congress.
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Prosecutors given more time to pursue COVID-19 small biz hucksters

On Aug. 5, President Biden signed into law a bill to extend the statue of limitations for federal and state and local prosecutors pursuing small business fraud under the Payroll Protection Plan and Economic Injury Disaster Loan from five years to 10 years. In his announcement, President Biden announced that DOJ now has a chief prosecutor for pandemic fraud: Kevin Chambers. 
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Top Defense & Aerospace

DOD ordered to preserve text messages as federal records

In an Aug. 3 memo that appeared to be a response to reports on erased text messages pertaining to the Jan. 6 attack on Capitol Hill, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks ordered that text messages are federal records and must be preserved by DOD officials.
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Once bitten: DHA moves to eliminate ineligible bidders and small biz companions on $2B enterprise IT contract.

After having to pull back a 2021 award of a $2B enterprise IT award to Peraton when two losing bidders claimed conflicts of interest (identified in documents as “Mr. X” and “Mr. Y”) and having the protests thrown out by GAO last week, DHA moved forward to eliminate two ineligible prospective bidders for the small business companion award.
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DoD rolls out three new projects focused on innovation for technologies beyond 5G. 

The Pentagon has launched a trio of new projects to explore 5G and future wireless technologies, including one that aims to become the military’s “hub” for next-generation communications efforts, the Defense Department announced this week. The undertaking, known as Open6G, was initiated through the Pentagon’s Innovate Beyond 5G program and seeks to “jump-start 6G systems research on open radio access networks,” according to the DOD release posted Tuesday. Funded through a $1.77 million IB5G award, the effort is led by Northeastern University’s Kostas Research Institute in Massachusetts, in conjunction with a cooperative agreement struck through the Army Research Laboratory.
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Top Intel Community

Operation Cyber Dragon turns Navy reservists into digital defenders.

Operation Cyber Dragon is the brainchild of Chief Warrant Officer Scott Bryson. This endeavor is authorized by U.S. Fleet Cyber Command and aims to fix virtual vulnerabilities while also fostering a new wave of cybersecurity expertise. Cyber Dragon kicked off in March, with the second phase of the program now underway. In its current form, the operation is focused on fortifying unclassified networks and rooting out common, widespread digital weaknesses: lax security settings, easily guessed credentials, unpatched software and more. To tackle such a large and evolving workload, manpower was needed. So Bryson turned to the reserves, including to people not necessarily cyber fluent.
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NAVAIR posts Cyber Warfare Engineering draft RFP.

The Cyber Warfare Department (CWD), a department within the Digital Analytics Infrastructure and Technology Advancement (DAiTA) Group under the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD), serves as NAVAIR’s competency and authoritative source to rapidly research, develop, mature, procure, integrate, test, evaluate, train, support and sustain cyber resilient and full spectrum cyber warfighting capabilities for platforms, weapons, sensors, communications and networks, computing systems, mission systems, support equipment, logistics and maintenance systems and ashore and afloat enterprise systems. The CWD has a requirement for contractor support services for engineering, technical and program management services and associated supplies to support the requirements and operations of the NAWCAD Cyber Warfare Department as defined in the draft solicitation. Responses are due by 12:00 p.m. Eastern on August 24.
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Ransomware Task Force releases SMB blueprint for defense and mitigation.

The Institute for Security and Technology’s Ransomware Task Force (RTF) released a blueprint for small and mid-sized enterprises to face ransomware Thursday, aiming to promote hygiene in less mature network environments. The RTF became a key resource in 2021 as governments started to take ransomware seriously as a homeland security problem. Its inaugural report, coincidentally released in April amid the chaos of Colonial Pipeline, offered recommendations for ransomware on geopolitical, federal, law enforcement, insurance and enterprise levels, and became a key document in crafting legislation. RTF sported an attractive multistakeholder membership ranging from security companies and insurers to highly targeted groups to governments and law enforcement at a time lawmakers were trying to understand the needs of the many players in the field.
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Top Civilian

Tens of thousands of VA telehealth appointment tablets go unused. 

What seemed like such a no-brainer during the pandemic – to use tablets to help veterans make telehealth appointments – appears to have gone bust. According to a Veterans Health Administration Office of the Inspective General audit report from Aug. 4, two years into the initiative, more than half of the 41,000 tablets distributed to vets during the first three quarters of fiscal year 2021 have gone unused.
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VA Cerner EHR system issues… again.

The VA had another outage within the Oracle-Cerner EHR system last Thursday, due to a corrupted patient database that could have caused major harm to VA patients due to the errors. This is one of the latest of many problems to hit the Oracle-Cerner VA EHRM program, which has provoked ire from lawmakers and VA frontline medical staff. The system went down for approximately three hours, resulting in downtime and delays to VA patients databases in the middle of the day, while the corrupted database was fixed and reprogrammed. During downtime of the EHR, medical personnel could still care for patients, but they had to take it all the way back to pen and paper documentation.
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SBA names three CIOs in 24 months.

The SBA named its third CIO in two years. Since Maria Roat left in 2020 to become the federal deputy CIO, SBA is on its third technology leader. Stephen Kucharski assumed the acting title earlier this summer. Kucharski replaced Luis Campudoni, who had been acting since January when he took over for Keith Bluestein. Campudoni returned to his former deputy CIO role. Kucharski is no stranger to SBA, having worked there for 23 years. He comes to the acting CIO role after leading the systems delivery of SBA’s Office of Capital Access programs.
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Who are you? A cross-agency foursome explores identify verification’s implications.

A report and simulation tool from four civilian organizations tries to demonstrate the tradeoffs behind identity verification tools and frameworks. The Joint Financial Management Improvement Program involved representatives from the Government Accountability Office, Office of Management and Budget, Office of Personnel Management, and Treasury Department.
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GovCon M&A Corner

QinetiQ to acquire Avantus Federal for $590M.

QinetiQ US officials announced the company has agreed to acquire Avantus Federal for $590 million from NewSpring Holdings to continue to target complex DOD and intelligence contracts. Subject to customary conditions, the acquisition should close by the end of calendar 2022.
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WWC Global Acquired by Command Holdings, a Pequot Company.

WWC Global was acquired by Command Holdings, a holding company owned by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, to function as a scalable infrastructure for the entity. The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. With just under $100 million in annual revenue and 350 employees, WWC Global brings a robust operations unit and a wide portfolio of customers, including the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development, and U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
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Follow the Leaders

  • Randy James joins Superlative Technologies as Vice President Cyber/Health IT/Strategy
  • Matthew Solomon joins Humana as VP – Technology and Cybersecurity Risk Management
  • Alycia Yozzi joins GSA OSSPI as Cheif of Operations
  • Xavier Hughes former DOL Chief Innovation Officer starts his own firm Proku.
  • Joel Minton joins Google Public Sector as Head of Technology


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Contract Awards

HII wins $127M RDTE task order from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency

HII won a $127 million research, development, testing, and evaluation of new technologies task order from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency to better enable functionality and capability of systems integration through the development of hardware and software capabilities, systems, engineering, research, and analysis. The support will develop and create new knowledge for the enhancement of the Defense Technical Information Center repository and the research and development to benefit the science and technology community.
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Parsons wins $104M MDA contract

Thank God It Was Friday! On Aug. 5, Parsons won a cost plus fixed fee contract worth up to $104.2 millon for planning, design, and construction services for the Missile Defense Agency’s facility restoration and modernization programs, beating two other bidders. MDA’s Real Property Program is obligating $1.7 million in fiscal 2022 research, development, test and evaluation funds
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General Dynamics NASSCO wins contract mods worth $1.6 billion for ship design, construction support

General Dynamics’ Nation Steel and Shipbuilding Co. (NASSCO) subsidiary won two contract modifications to provide detail design and construction support for the Navy’s fleet replenishment oilers and mobile landing platform. Work is taking place in six states and Mexico through June 2027. The first conrract modification is valued at $890 million and covers the service’s T-AO 211 and 212 oilers, while the second contract modification is worth approximately $535 million in support of the construction of the Expeditionary Sea Base 8 ship, DOD announced on Aug. 4.
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Shower thoughts đźšż

What advice can one give to first-time federal contract bidders?

What advice to newbies would the executives behind the company that recently won the largest contract for a woman-owned business ever by the U.S. Special Operations Command? It’s hard. They share their experience from 16 years slugging away.
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Quantum-safe security getting its due

Ready for some emerging technology? Three months after a National Security Memorandum addressed the issue, on corporate CTO addresses the cybersecurity implications of quantum-safe security 
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Don’t fear the reaper: one contrarian voice on the Public Service Reform Act 

A former federal chief human capital officer bucks the trend of reflexively bashing the Public Service Reform Act and says it could help balance the goals of organizational effectiveness with individual fairness. No more beltway insider cocktail invites for you!
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GovBrew is an elite crew of knowledgeable, cool, and aggressive GovCon Experts who also like to have a good time. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning we take a 5-minute journey together. After our morning read we are more informed, optimistic, and motivated about our place and power in the GovCon industry. Basically, ready to kick ass.

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