GovCon News & Updates Straight to Your Inbox

You’re reading GovBrew. A five minute read to catch up on the best damn GovCon news around!¬†

Quick Hits

DHS is protecting the farm with the FAV-D program (RFI).

The DHS¬†Science and Technology directorate put out a RFI this week to determine if and whether scientific and technological capabilities exist¬†to augment its Food, Agriculture and Veterinary Defense, or FAV-D program, which is charged with prevention, protection, mitigation, and response to high-consequence threat agents affecting food and agriculture. The request is looking for companies that have¬†capabilities in¬†laboratory and vivarium space, IT infrastructure, and subject matter expertise¬†to ‚Äúleverage against current or emerging transboundary animal and zoonotic diseases, high-consequence plant/crop diseases, agricultural pests,‚ÄĚ or technologies that may harm the U.S. agriculture.
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GSA has several upcoming improvements to the entity validation process in SAM.gov.

What are some of these hot new changes?

  • Early info¬†at the beginning of the process about what information and documentation you should gather.

  • Asking for all entity information up front so you just have one ticket.

  • Step-by-step instructions for picking an entity from the search results and for providing your documentation.

  • Clear confirmation that your documents were submitted and links to information on what happens next.

There’s more. Check it out if you plan to be listing an entity anytime soon.
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FDIC prioritizing tech changes in the financial sector.

Brian Whittaker said the FDIC¬†will reorient itself to become better prepared internally to supervise fintech companies, and other new tech entities in the financial services sector. The comments from the recently installed technology leader come as the agency moves ahead with the relaunch of its innovation lab.¬†‚ÄúWe now have less of an outward focus on policy and instead more about how do we modernize the FDIC to be prepared to receive crypto currency and adopt new technologies.¬†Now our focus is on how do we improve CIOs capacity to deliver for business units. How do we test out blockchain ledger technology. How do we make sure FDIC is prepared for the direction that fintechs are going in financial services?‚ÄĚ
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But wait! There’s more!

 

GovCon Trivia

How well do you think you know the federal government?

What government department has the most employees?

(Nope, I’m not going to give you multiple choice. You just need to think about it and come up with the answer!)

Find the answer at the bottom of this newsletter! 

Top Defense & Aerospace

 

DOD has a plan for speeding up how they buy weapons systems.

DOD is working to change its processes so it can buy and deliver software as quickly as it’s needed.¬†One of the primary ways it’s doing so is through its¬†software acquisition pathway, which allows contracting officers and program managers to separate out the software components of various programs, from unmanned systems to enterprise software, making the buying process faster and easier. The current nominee (Radha Plumb) for the DOD’s weapons buying program has vowed to make software modernization a priority.
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DOD, regarding¬†CHIPS: “Good gravy, it’s about time!”

In February, Heidi Shyu, undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, spelled out 14 technology areas of critical importance to the DOD. Among those are biotechnology, renewable energy generation and storage, and directed energy. But the $54.2 billion CHIPS Act, signed yesterday, advances another of those top priorities for the department: microelectronics.¬†“Let me take a moment and share with you what a banner day yesterday was [with] the signing of the CHIPS Act,”¬†Barbara McQuiston, deputy chief technology officer of science and technology, said.
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DOD, regarding cool new tech: “How are we gonna plug this stuff in on the battlefield?”

The U.S. Army‚Äôs rapid adoption of new Soldier-worn devices, C5ISR systems and networked sensors is touted as ‚Äútransformative‚ÄĚ. But the Army has not addressed the infrastructure or ‚Äúback-end‚ÄĚ needed to keep them powered-up with electricity.¬†Without the capacity to efficiently store and distribute electricity near or at the tactical edge, the Army will struggle to realize the potential of its new tools.
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Top Intel Community

Mobile threats prompt operational changes for gov’t staff.

Eighty-seven percent of public sector employees surveyed in the 2022 Verizon Mobile Security Index said they have been forced to re-evaluate how they operate as attacks on mobile devices grow.  Among enterprise respondents, 23% said their organization had suffered a mobile security compromise. Of those, 74% said the impact of compromising their mobile security was major, while 34% said it had lasting repercussions, which included spending money to clean up from an attack and bolstering defenses to prepare for the next one. Across all respondents, 79% said that shift to remote or hybrid work has undermined the cybersecurity of their organizations, as remote work can make them more vulnerable to an attack due to the distribution of devices and less secure networks. Almost half of organizations said they suffered a cyber compromise in the last 12 months, up 22% from the same period in the previous year. Yikes!
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Log4j vulnerability prompts lawmakers to examine agency cyber measures.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Leaders¬†sent letters¬†to several federal agencies requesting briefings to address concerns about how the federal government is identifying and mitigating potential issues with network security.¬† In the letters, the house leaders requested information about ‚Äúthe open-source software vulnerability‚ÄĒApache Log4j.‚ÄĚ House E&C leaders asserted their concern that government agency systems may be exposed to this vulnerability because of its scope. The committee leaders asked each agency about the vulnerability‚Äôs scope, when the agency first learned about it, the measures that were taken to mitigate its effects, vulnerability detection and identification tools and incident alert thresholds, among other things.
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Technologists need a voice at the highest levels of federal decision-making.

Noreen Hecmanczuk, digital experience adviser to the¬†federal chief information officer, said that the¬†Office of the Federal CIO¬†is working hard to ensure staff with technology expertise have a seat at the table during C-suite strategy discussions.¬†Hecmanczuk explained that the federal CIO‚Äôs office, housed in the OMB, is ‚Äútrying to get technologists in the room earlier and often. We want to focus on the C-suite ‚ÄĒ they also have a huge responsibility to protect the safety and security of the systems that we manage on behalf of the American people, and so technologists are hugely important to them.‚ÄĚ
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Virtual CMS & HHS¬†event today! It’s Free

We know you’re busy¬†closing out the FY and planning holiday vacations¬†but you should make¬†some time today to get a jump start¬†on the NEW¬†FISCAL YEAR! At this FREE online¬†event, you will hear from the HHS OSDBU Shannon Jackson and the CMS Small Business Specialist Anita Allen.¬†Bring your forecast and opportunity questions! Questions will be taken and answered.
This event is today from 12:30 PM ‚Äď 2:00 PM ET.

Sign Up Free

Top Civilian

HHS targets data strategy.

Federal IT leaders have a clear focus on¬†data strategy and interoperability, improved customer experience and cybersecurity as their top priorities throughout the rest of 2022. HHS¬†CIO Karl Mathias said although these efforts are all important to him, one of the¬†biggest is to publish a department-wide data strategy within the next two and a half months. ‚ÄúThe top priority at HHS is developing a comprehensive department-wide data strategy, and we are in the middle of doing that,‚ÄĚ Mathias said.
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DOE asks for new R&D in critical materials for clean energy (RFI announcement).

The Energy Dept. issued a new request for information that seeks to spur the development of more research on how to fortify the U.S.‚Äôs transition to a clean energy infrastructure, examining gaps in supply chains that process critical minerals.¬†The agency posted the RFI¬†seeking to diversify waste streams from energy usage, study decreases in overall energy consumption and analyze the market impacts of clean energy technology implementation. Some of the critical minerals that will play a major role in the development of clean energy systems include lithium, nickel and cobalt. (If you love announcements like this, you’ll LOVE our premium Opportunities email!)
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Meet CLARA, GSA’s procurement robot.

As we are sure you are aware, Robotics Process Automation (RPA) is on the rise. RPA while it sounds like it came out of the movie I, Robot it has nothing to do with mechanical or physical robots. RPA is a form of automation software that uses software robots that mimic basic human-computer interactions. GSA has been using RPA in its acquisition process since 2020. One of the RPAs currently in us is CLARA (closeout robotic assistant) which supports the closeout process by allowing the release of claims creation, financial review, de-obligation modification preparation, and contract closeout. Today the GSA uses 30 acquisition-related RPAs with many more in development.
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But wait! There’s more!

GovCon M&A Corner

CornerstoneAI announces Carahsoft partnership.

CornerstoneAI and  Carahsoft Technology Corp. announced a partnership. Under this agreement, Carahsoft will serve as CornerstoneAI’s Master Government Aggregator, making their AI and ML solutions available to the Public Sector through Carahsoft’s reseller partners and NASA Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement (SEWP) V, OMNIA Partners and National Cooperative Purchasing Alliance (NCPA) contracts. CornerstoneAI provides AI audit, remediation and development services.
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Mirion buys Collins Aerospace’s critical infrastructure business.

Mirion Technologies, a supplier of radiation detection and measurement instruments to various markets, has¬†purchased the critical infrastructure business¬†of¬†Raytheon Technologies‚Äė (NYSE: RTX) Collins Aerospace business.¬†Formerly part of Collins‚Äô ARINC portfolio, the CI business will join the¬†Secure Integrated Solutions unit at Mirion that offers C2, cybersecurity and life cycle management services.
Read more

Also, don’t miss this!

Follow the Leaders

 

  • WH picks Cori Zarek as US Digital Service deputy administrator.
  • Janet Vogel (former CIO and CISO for HHS) is starting a new position as President of The Vogel Group LLC (TVG).
  • Al White has been tapped to lead Black Sage as CEO.
  • Brian Wilbon and Patricia Hunter have been appointed VPs at CNSI.
  • Megan Hanik joins Groundswell as Chief People Officer.
  • Jason Tone joins Maximus as SVP of Tech, Consulting Services for Health Care.
  • Patricia Perozo joins US Digital Services as a Digital Services Expert.
  • Mark Headd takes a job with Ad Hoc.

Follow the Job Openings

 
ūüíé Did you enjoy today’s newsletter? This¬†survey is your chance to tell us how we can improve the product for you. Link Here.

Contract Awards

Electric Boat (A GD company) awarded $236M Navy Submarine Support Contract Modification.

A General Dynamics subsidiary has been awarded a one-year, $236.2 million contract modification to continue helping the U.S. Navy design and engineer operational strategic and attack submarines. The modification will extend Electric Boat’s engineering, technical, design agent and planning yard support to the service branch.
Read more

DARPA selects 11 teams for Phase1 of Space-BACN program.

Best program name ever, btw DARPA. Bravo. The 11 winners are:

  • CACI, Inc.
  • MBRYONICS
  • Mynaric
  • II-VI Aerospace and Defense
  • Arizona State University
  • Intel Federal, LLC
  • SpaceX
  • Telesat
  • SpaceLink
  • Viasat
  • Kuiper Government Solutions

Read more

QinetiQ US secures $45M Army C5ISR contract.

QinetiQ US, a defense company providing mission-critical solutions in robotics and autonomous systems, sensing, protection systems, and next-generation autonomous vehicles announced that it has won the Fort Belvoir Prototyping Integration Facility (BPIF) task order under the Deployable Adaptive Global Responder Support (DAGRS) IDIQ contract vehicle. This task order has a ceiling value of $45 million.
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But wait! There’s more!¬†

See what’s brewing in¬†GovCon throughout the day.¬†¬†
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Shower thoughts ūüöŅ

Did you fall for the viral space chorizo?

In case you missed it, scientist Etienne Klein, director of France’s Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, shared a photo on Twitter that went viral. The scientists claimed it was a James Webb Space Telescope photo of Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the sun. But it wasn’t. It was just a slice of chorizo. It was an…odd joke.
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Do rich people work more than poor people?

When people talk about wealth inequality, one myth that gets perpetuated is that people who are rich are so because they work harder or longer. The question of who works harder is more qualitative and tough to judge, but is it true that wealthy people work longer hours than people who aren’t wealthy? Well, it’s pretty close. A new study shows that people in the top 1% in the USA work an average of 46.6 hours per week. People in the bottom 1% work 43.2 hours per week. Check out the charts to see how other countries company. (Belgium and South Korea, woah!)¬†
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Does the government need a FOIA enforcer?

A federal advisory committee is recommending Congress give a small office at the NARA the ability to issue binding decisions over FOIA request disputes. Proponents of the recommendation say it will help improve FOIA at a time when public records requests backlogs and denials are on the rise. But the idea also faces pushback, including from the office’s director. With just 10 employees and an annual budget of less than $2 million, the Office of Government Information Services, or OGIS, is charged with mediating disputes between the public and agencies over FOIA requests.
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The Trivia Answer is….¬†¬†

The United States Postal Service!  With 516,000 employees, they get the award for having the most employees. Also, they employ about 68,000 veterans. (Source)

(The DOD employs about 950,000 civilians, but I didn’t count it because I feel like Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and other DOD agencies should be counted on their own.)

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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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