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

Quick Hits

Feds’ ability to buy citizen data worries, lawmakers and experts.

We (Schmo Citizen) all know our data isn’t safe in the hands of commercial companies, but few people consider that the federal government can buy your data from these data brokers. Notably, in the past, FBI, DEA, and ICE have entered into problematic agreements in buying citizen data. This week a house committee and a panel of experts weighed in on the subject, offering lots of concern and few solutions. Topics that were brought up: reverse search warrants that allow law enforcement agencies to make broad requests for a company’s data as well as facial recognition and biometric data. “The government is exploiting…legal loopholes to obtain Americans’ most sensitive information without a warrant, subpoena, or any legal process whatsoever,” one expert witness stated. One possible solution? The Four Amendment is Not For Sale Act.
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Demand for government reform is at a 20 year high, and confidence is at a historic low.

Today’s GovBrew highlights a few agencies that are trying to figure out how to fix the public perceptions plaguing all of government. As we move towards midterm elections, public demand for comprehensive government reform is at a 20-year high, while confidence in government has dropped to a historic low. The thickening of government with layers of management has continued unabated, and support for government careers has slipped below 40 percent. Plus, stories of government programs breaking down (like the VA’s EHRM rollout, for example) feature heavily in the news, impacting public perception of government negatively. If you scroll down to the IC section of this newsletter, you’ll see Congress pushing CISA and DHS to start sharing their good stories more frequently.
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Got ideas? Compete for $1.6 million in prize money for best AI model.

The U.S. and U.K. governments launched a competition series this week offering $1.6 million in prize money for developing privacy-enhancing technologies allowing artificial intelligence models to be trained with sensitive data safely. Entrants will create federated learning solutions that prevent organizations’ raw data from being revealed, shared or combined as it’s used to train AI improving financial crime detection, forecasting a person’s risk of infection during a pandemic, or both. The series was announced in 2021 at the Summit for Democracy.
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GovCon Trivia

How well do you think you know the federal government?

How much money does Social Security spend each year? 

A. $650 million
B. $800 million 
C. $1 trillion
D. $1.5 trillion

Find the answer at the bottom of this newsletter! 

Top Defense & Aerospace

Space Force issues Cyber Operations Digital Bloodhound RFI.

Cyber Opps Digital Bloodhound aims to address the following cyber operations strategic themes:

  • Agile improvements for information sharing, integration & interoperability
  • Agile infrastructure improvements to current Cyber Operations product lines
  • Agile integration of new mission systems and data streams to ensure the highest available cybersecurity of USSF and USAF mission systems

With this IDIQ contract, the government intends to develop and acquire software for these product lines that can be acquired via commercial software product development. Think you’ve got what it takes to help USSF SSC Cyber Opps? This RFI is due by 5 pm on August 19.
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NDAA gets passed, and cyber efforts loom large.

The NDAA for FY2023 was finally passed this last week after a whopping 1,200 amendments to the bill. Featuring large this year: technology and cybersecurity issues. Here are some major additions to the NDAA: (1) Establishing the National Digital Reserve Corps; (2) CISA leadership are appointed to five-year terms; (3) directives to investigate the SolarWinds attack; (4) adoption of the Identification of Systemically Important Entities Act; (5) directive for GAO to investigate federal policy regarding commercial satellite systems in critical infrastructure sectors, and about 1,195 other additions.
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L3Harris and Inmarsat team demos JADC2 capability.

L3Harris Technologies, Inmarsat Government and industry partners demonstrated an new level of SATCOM connectivity in support of representative JADC2 operations at this year’s Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC) in Tampa, Florida. The industry team simulated a real-world remote network that delivered situational awareness information from a notional tactical-edge command-and-control node to a Joint Operations Center replicated at the L3Harris trade show booth. Notably, the L3Harris DarkWing Ka-band Flat Panel Very Small Aperture Terminal provided 25×8 Mbps of throughput during the demonstration.
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Top Intel Community

Congress wants CISA and DHS to share their good news with the public.

Lawmakers want CISA and DHS to stop being such “Negative Nellies” about stuff like cyber hacks and vulnerable election systems. Lawmakers think that by sharing all the good stuff that they are doing, that citizens will start to have more faith in the election process and government agencies as a whole. “When things go wrong the public generally will know about it quickly,” Frank LaRose, Ohio’s Secretary of State said. “But we haven’t always been able to share our successes, and the public should know when we had a day where the good guys won and the bad guys lost.” To these federal agencies, GovBrew would like to say: We want to share your successes! Send your stories our way!
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IC community honors Paul Demshur and Dr. Kerry Rines as award recipients for the 2021 Pioneers of National Reconnaissance.

Demshur had more than 50 years of experience in military operations and all phases of overhead signals intelligence system development and operations. NRO and the entire national reconnaissance community mourn the passing of Demshur June 28, 2022. Dr. Rines dedicated nearly 40 years to the NRO. His contributions helped build NRO’s robust space-based architecture, with a legacy of solving tough challenges. His introduction and effective use of a number of new technologies benefited the agency and the community.
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IARPA to host SINTRA Proposer’s Day.

Interested in the “Space Debris Identification and Tracking (SINTRA) program?” If yes, you’ll want to be sure to sign up for IARPA’s Proposer’s Day, scheduled from 10:30 am to 5:00 pm on August 10.  Participants must register prior to Friday, August 5, 2022, at noon EDT. SINTRA aims to investigate space junk and its ability to harm lethal, non-trackable floating junk. With an average low Earth orbit (LEO) impact velocity of 22,500 MPH, even the smallest of debris can cause significant damage. (This event, and many other important government events, can be found in our weekly Opportunities Email! Don’t miss these exclusive events!)
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Top Civilian

VA postpones EHR rollout in Boise (again).

“This isn’t a setback, but rather part of the process,” VA Deputy Undersecretary for Health stated. The VA announced last month that all of its originally planned software deployments for the year, with the exception of Boise, would be delayed until 2023, following a series of outages and logistical issues that have highlighted serious flaws in the EHR system. Despite his lackluster attempt to put a positive spin on it, it the fact remains that this is the third setback for Boise. And that hardly feels like “part of the process.” The deployment at Boise VA Medical Center was originally scheduled for June 25, before being pushed back to July 23. The most recent delay indefinitely postpones the software’s go-live date. The next EHR system deployments are currently scheduled for January 28, 2023, in Michigan’s Aleda E.Lutz VA Medical Center and the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System. In the meantime, the VA says that the $16 billion EHRM overhaul could triple in cost. 
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FCC and lawmakers get tangled up in privacy legislation.

At the same time that the FCC is looking to probe the nation’s top mobile internet providers’ privacy practices, Congress decided to take action on its own by terminating the FCC’s powers in the American Data Privacy and Protection Act. The legislation that the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed on Wednesday would void the FCC’s ability to exercise Section 222 of the Communications Act, for “Customer Proprietary Network Information.” The FCC exercised fines to four large wireless carriers for selling their customers’ location information, and they issued those fines citing Section 222 as the basis for their authority. Instead, the Committee turned those powers over to the FTC.
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FAA says air performance is improving.

The Acting FAA chief says that air carrier performance is performing, although millions of Americans disagree.  “We are keeping our eye on things,” said Billy Nolen. “We’ve seen good improvements. We can see overall delays are down…the airlines are working to right the size of their network.” Airlines have pointed the finger at the FAA for air traffic control staffing issues causing delays and cancellations, but Nolen, who has been running the FAA since April, said the “majority” of the problems “are not in any way shape or form related to air traffic (staffing) shortages.” Despite his really believable “Nuh-uh” defense, the FAA says they are on track to hire 1,000 controllers this year. For 1,500 positions, the FAA has accepted more than 57,000 applications. Nope, no staffing shortage there.
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Labor Dept. announces 120-day cybersecurity apprenticeship sprint.

The Department of Labor is promoting registered apprenticeships as a way for industry sectors to train skilled cybersecurity workers with a 120-day sprint. Together with the White House Office of the National Cyber Director, Department of Commerce and other agencies, DOL will recruit employers, industry sector associations, labor unions, educational providers, and community-based organizations to join or launch registered apprenticeships through National Apprenticeship Week running Nov. 12-20, 2022. Non-joggers are welcome to apply too.
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GovCon M&A Corner

Conceal partners with Carahsoft.

Conceal announced a partnership with Carahsoft Technology Corp. to protect government agencies from ransomware using the Conceal Platform which incorporates intelligence-grade, Zero Trust technology. The Conceal Platform provides detection of cyber threats before they can infiltrate the network by processing all code to determine whether or not it is malicious and placing suspicious content in isolation so malware cannot execute.
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Employee Moves

 
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Contract Awards

CACI wins $80M Army intelligence and analytics task order.

CACI International has been awarded a new task order worth $80 million to provide mission expertise to the U.S. Army’s Intelligence and Security Command and the 116th Military Intelligence Brigade. The contract supports the Army’s Solutions for Intelligence Analysis 3 effort. Under the task order, CACI will offer tactical intelligence and analytical expertise to help the Army’s aerial intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.
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Frank Garguilo & Son win $111 million contract to provide fresh fruits and vegetables.

We love this delicious contract win! As the sole responder to this RFP, a produce provider from Hillside, New Jersey has won a $111,465,000 IDIQ contract to provide fresh fruit and vegetables from the Defense Logistics Agency. Using customers are Department of Agriculture schools. Locations of performance are Massachusetts and Rhode Island, with a July 20, 2027, ordering period end date. Congrats Frank Garguilo & Son!
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Lockheed Martin wins $32M Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missile M-Code test and integration contract.

Lockheed Martin Corp. has been awarded a contract in the amount of $32,013,315 for Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) M-Code test and integration. Lockheed will provide support for JASSM, Long Range Anti-Ship Missile, JASSM‐ER, and any JASSM variant in the areas of M-Code test and integration.  Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, is the contracting activity.
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Shower thoughts 🚿

Is the policy to “leave it up to employees to run data backups” a good corporate strategy?

That was the Secret Service’s explanation of why data wasn’t backed up during a phone migration in January 2021. The Secret Service left it to employees to back up phone records when Congress sent a preservation and production request on Jan. 16, 2021, ahead of the three-month phone replacement that began Jan. 27, 2021. The agency sent personnel a guide on backing up phone content ahead of replacement, but it’s unclear how many employees followed the guidance or why there wasn’t an automated collection system in place — given the Secret Service’s record retention requirements. Would you trust your company employees to run their own backups?
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Is it COVID-safe to go on cruises?

The CDC stopped reporting to the public the number of COVID-19 cases on cruise ships. The CDC announced the end of its program on Monday, July 18, through its Cruise Ship Travel webpage, meaning the national health agency will no longer report coronavirus levels on commercial cruise ships that sail through American waters. So, whether it’s safe to go on cruises or not, we might never really know. You probably just need to make your best judgement, in this case, based on only general–not cruise-specific–data. 
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The Trivia Answer is…. C. 

The budget for Social Security is $1.151 trillion (FY2021), which accounts for approximately a quarter of the entire federal budget. Current payroll taxes provide nearly $1 trillion of the income. Interest from the Social Security Trust Fund pays for the rest. (Source)

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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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