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Quick Hits

New DHS office focused on the health and wellness of its workforce.

DHS declared on Tuesday that it is establishing a new office to oversee and coordinate health care for both its own personnel and those under its supervision, claiming that the streamlined approach would improve outcomes for both groups. DHS has occasionally had difficulty providing treatment throughout the vast areas that fall under its control, but it claimed that its new Office of Health Security would provide a new organizational structure that will better serve all of its clients. The office will prioritize enhancing work-life balance and wellbeing among its 230,000 employees as well as providing medical attention to immigrants and other people who enter its custody.
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USCIS digital strategy is making progress…supposedly.

The long-running and occasionally painful endeavor by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to increase online filing and electronic processing for immigration documents is on the verge of success, according to the agency’s Ombudsman. The CIS Ombudsman acknowledged in its most recent annual report that after a year of improvement, USCIS’s digital strategy is approaching a “inflection point,” even if “there is still more work to be done.”
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Women still lag far behind men in the government’s STEM workforce.

The government still hasn’t gotten the memo that women can math just as hard as men can. A new report issued highlights that women make up only 29.3% of the fed workforce in STEM roles. The good news is that the government is slightly ahead of the civilian workforce, where women hold a 27% share of STEM-related civilian work, but there’s more bad news: women still make about $4,300 a year less than their male counterparts.
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Top Defense & Aerospace

“AF1 was a hot mess, but hey! We’ve learned from it,” said Boeing.

The new head of Boeing’s defense unit said the company has learned lessons from contracts on programs such as the new Air Force One and will take different approaches to contracting in the future. Boeing Defense, Space and Security Chief Executive Officer Ted Colbert said the company will make decisions on contract vehicles on a case-by-case basis, and go with what it feels is the best approach. In April, Boeing Co. CEO Dave Calhoun expressed a “whoopsie-poopsie!” for the company’s decision in 2018 to accept the Trump administration’s terms on the VC-25B Air Force One program. In its most recent quarter, Boeing recorded a $660 million charge on the Air Force One program from schedule delays, rising supply expenses and higher costs to finalize technical requirements. Calhoun said that deal represented “a very unique set of risks that Boeing probably shouldn’t have taken.”
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AF says options are limited for speeding deliveries of Wedgetail.

This is another story of delayed products issued by Boeing, but at least this time it’s not entirely contract mismanagement driving the delay: it’s the cumbersome FAA certification process. The Air Force in April chose the Boeing-made Wedgetail to be its next battle management and command and control aircraft, replacing part of its aging E-3 Airborne Warning and Control fleet. But the service said in the announcement the first rapid prototype E-7 would be delivered in FY2027, following a contract award to Boeing in FY2023. The Air Force wants to retire 15 of its 31 decades-old AWACS in 2023, years before the first E-7′s anticipated delivery, generating concern among lawmakers about a potential capability gap
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The future of unmanned aircraft systems.

Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) have gained increased prominence in U.S. military operations. The Department of Defense (DOD) is currently developing advanced UAS, along with optionally crewed aircraft, as part of its modernization strategy. The roles and missions of UAS are relevant to Congress in authorizing, appropriating, and providing oversight to DOD and the military services for these systems. Analysts and DOD argue that UAS could replace crewed aircraft for a number of missions, including; aerial refueling, air-to-air combat, strategic bombing, battle management and command and control (BMC2), suppression and destruction of enemy air defenses, and electronic warfare (EW). In addition, DOD is developing several experimental concepts—such as aircraft system-of-systems, swarming, and lethal autonomous weapons—that explore new ways of employing future generations of UAS. This Congressional Research Service report explores what that future may look like.
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Top Intel Community

Congress wrangles with DHS over biometric system delays and oversight.

The launch of the DHS’s new, centralized biometric system is imminent after years of cost and schedule delays according to agency documents, but lawmakers and immigration advocates are still concerned about cost overruns and privacy concerns. The Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology System, or HART, is a cloud-based system being built to replace the department’s 1994 legacy system. It’s the government’s largest biographic database, currently holding 270 million unique identities – a number expected to grow, DHS says in 2023 budget documents. The project has seen cost overruns, schedule delays and contract modifications since it was launched in 2016. The project is still “in breach of cost and schedule goals,” according to a March 2022 GAO report, which also states that the legacy system still being used “risks failure.”
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CISA goes global.

The CISA is opening an office in London this month to collaborate with UK officials and those of other US federal agencies. The office will focus on “advancing operational cooperation; building partner capacity; strengthening collaboration through stakeholder engagement and outreach; and shaping the global policy ecosystem,” reads a press release, noting it will “serve as a model as CISA matures its international mission to drive down cybersecurity risks.” CISA said the first UK Attaché will be Julie Johnson, a former State Department staffer who was previously working as a regional protective security advisor for CISA in New York.
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Senate bill wants annual briefing between U.S. CYBERCOM and NSA.

A Senate committee requests yearly updates on the partnership between the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command, which are now housed in the same building and share resources. The clause is in the version of the fiscal 2023 National Defense Authorization Act that was approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee on June 16 but whose content wasn’t made public until July 18.
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Top Civilian

VA senior staffers failed to provide accurate data on EHR training.

The VA can’t catch a break on the EHR rollout! Normally the agency in general gets its backside paddled, but this time the OIG is pointing naming names and pointing fingers. Specifically, two staffers responsible for training employees of the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center to use the agency’s Cerner Millennium electronic health record system gave inaccurate data to inspectors reviewing the implementation of the software, according to a report conducted by the VA’s Office of Inspector General. The OIG report found that the executive director and the director for training strategy of the Change Management group at what was then known as the VA Office of EHRM, “failed to provide timely, complete and accurate information and data to the OIG, which impeded oversight efforts.” The Change Management team was responsible for overseeing the training of staffers on the EHR system and ensuring that they were proficient in using the new program. That doesn’t bode well for performance bonuses.
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IRS may use COVID funds to double IT modernization workload.

The IRS still hasn’t received the funding required for its six-year IT modernization effort from Congress in order to retire some of the oldest running systems in the federal government. But they may have a workaround! The IRS received funds through the American Rescue Plan last year that could allow the agency to double the number of modernization programs it can tackle starting this fiscal year. The IRS’ IT Annual Key Insights Report found that even with “limited funding,” the IRS delivered more than 80 new capabilities and enhancements in the first three years of its Integrated Modernization Business Plan. IRS CIO Nancy Sieger said in the report that the IRS made progress on its IT modernization goals, all while dealing with “unprecedented demand due to the pandemic.” The report states the IRS is “at an inflection point,” having concluded the first phase of its six-year IT modernization plan, and is able to accelerate modernization efforts using ARP funds. The report also outlines several IRS goals to improve its level of taxpayer service, in light of major tax return and call backlogs since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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VA & FTC ramp up hybrid cloud adoption.

Federal IT leaders are focusing on data and change management to ensure successful adoption as agencies continue to migrate applications to the cloud.  The VA began its cloud journey with a hybrid multi-cloud environment, which helped the agency integrate its massive on-prem infrastructure into the cloud. VA recently launched its Application Hosting, Cloud and Edge Solutions unit, which consolidated the agency’s existing Enterprise Cloud Solutions Office, Platform One Organization, regional and national data centers, the data center consolidation initiative, as well as its platform as a service (PaaS) and software as a service (SaaS) offerings.  “We’re consolidating all the like functions under one area to get better synergy and improve our modernization efforts and work together provide a unified customer experience,” said Dave Catanoso, acting director of VA’s new unit.  Raghav Vajjhala, the Federal Trade Commission’s CIO and CDO, explained that his agency has transitioned its IT environment to run on PaaS and SaaS to better manage large data transfers. The agency is currently improving adoption of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and is expecting to see new operational efficiencies in the next six months to a year.
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GovCon M&A Corner

Raytheon buys UK-based Northern Space and Security, Ltd.

Raytheon’s acquisition of Northern Space and Security Ltd (NORSS), combines its complementary capabilities to advance its offerings in space domain awareness. NORSS is headquartered in the northeast of England and specializes in space domain awareness, orbital analysis, and space surveillance and tracking. The company delivers orbital analyst technical services to the UK Space Agency and provides critical capabilities to both government and UK satellite operators. Additionally, NORSS is contracted with the Ministry of Defense to build a new simulator system for developing and testing future British military satellite systems and constellations.
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Godspeed Capital makes a $144M all cash offer for Hill International.

Godspeed Capital, a defense & government services PE firm, sent a letter to Hill International, a Philadelphia-based construction consulting firm, proposing to acquire the company for approximately $143.9 million, or $1.85 in cash per share to the Board of Directors. The acquisition would be a bolt-on to Godspeed’s strategic platform, Huckabee Architects, led by Chris Huckabee.
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Contract Awards

NIST selects 12 companies for implanting post-quantum cryptography.

Microsoft, AWS, VMWare, Cisco Systems and Samsung are among 12 companies the National Institute of Standards and Technology has selected to guide the nation’s migration to cryptographic standards that are immune to the computation powers of a quantum machine.  Earlier this month, NIST made a big splash announcing that—after a long international competition—it has identified four algorithms that will form the basis of the new standards and continue to diversify the kinds of math used, to allow for greater resilience of encryption mechanisms heading into a quantum age. Ro hxd ljw anjm cqrb, hxd jan yaxkjkuh fxat oxa xwn xo cqxbn cfnuen lxvyjwrnb cqjc fxw!  ← IYKYK
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L3Harris and Northrop Grumman win $1.3B SDA contract for hypersonic missile-tracking satellites.

The Space Development Agency tapped L3Harris Technologies and Northrop Grumman Strategic Space Systems to prototype and maintain the Tranche 1 (T1) Tracking Layer of its National Defense Space Architecture. That Tracking Layer will be comprised of specialized constellations of satellites intended to provide global, nonstop monitoring for conventional and advanced missile threats, including hypersonic systems flying faster than five times the speed of sound. Via two prototype agreement awards worth a potential combined value of more than $1.3 billion, the prime contractors will supply specific segments of those built-for-space devices, which are slated to begin launching in April 2025.
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CACI wins $80M Army aerial ISR contract.

CACI International Inc announced that it has been awarded a new task order worth approximately $80 million to provide mission expertise to INSCOM and the 116th Military Intelligence Brigade (MIB) in support of the Army’s Solutions for Intelligence Analysis 3 (SIA-3) effort. Under the task order, CACI will offer tactical intelligence and analytical expertise to assist in the ever-changing landscape of the Army’s aerial intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.
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GDIT scores $908 Air Force IT contract for work in Europe.

In about as much time as it takes to say “prost!” over a pint of beer, GDIT has signed on the bottom line on a contract with the Air Force to support IT networks in Europe. The IDIQ, Europe-Wide Information Technology and Enterprise Network (EITEN) award has a five-year base period and three-year option and will support IT and network systems operated by Air Forces in Europe. Individual task orders will focus on modernizing and supporting existing infrastructure, networks, systems, operations and maintenance, cybersecurity and managing new requirements across Europe including Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy and Turkey, to name a few. We assume that the standard, month-long August summer sojourn was written into the contract.
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Shower thoughts 🚿

Verizon’s got a big new FBI task order.

Verizon announced Tuesday that it has been awarded a $400 million task order under the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions contract to assist the Federal Bureau of Investigation with network upgrading. Verizon will assist the FBI in enhancing its connection as well as its data and voice solutions through the EIS contract in order to serve its expanded intelligence and law enforcement responsibilities.
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