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Quick Hits

Coast Guard set to spend $93M on cybersecurity vulnerabilities & the GAO is still concerned.

The U.S. Coast Guard is set to spend $93 million in fiscal year 2022 to improve its IT systems and infrastructure. But a new report from the GAO says the Coast Guard still doesn’t fully assess its IT network capacity needs. IT systems and operational technology are critical for Coast Guard operations. The DHS component relies extensively on IT systems and services to carry out its 11 statutory missions. It also relies on operational technology, which encompasses a broad range of programmable systems or devices that interact with the physical environment, such as sensors and radar. GAO is concerned that the Coast Guard has a history of problems managing these resources and lacks a documented network capacity planning process.
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Annoying political spam emails might land in your inbox anyway.

The Federal Election Commission is planning to vote later this week on Google’s proposed pilot program to keep eligible political campaign emails out of spam folders, saying that the plan does not violate federal campaign finance laws. Google’s proposal comes after months of bipartisan bickering, with one side claiming that their political emails land in spam more often than the other side. In response to the criticism, Google asked the FEC to allow for a pilot program that would exempt eligible campaign solicitations from the company’s spam filters. Score +1 for politicians, -5 for average citizens.
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Inflation Reduction Act is pouring billions into the IRS to catch tax-dodgers.

The Inflation Reduction Act includes billions to modernize the Internal Revenue Service‘s IT business systems and digital asset monitoring.  The IRS would receive $80 billion of the $430 billion reconciliation package, of which $4.8 billion is allocated to upgrade some of its highly antiquated digital business systems it uses to administer taxpayer services, operations, and cybersecurity.
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Top Defense & Aerospace

Space Development Authority issues call for proposals for NDSA systems.

SDA is issuing this Call for Proposals specifically seeking industry partnership to demonstrate laser communications from SDA’s Tranche 0 Transport Layer (first launch Sept 2022) to a laser equipped airborne platform as soon as practical. While SDA is specifically interested in a live flight demonstration, potential Offerors may propose three phases (base + 2 contract options) – space to ground (risk reduction), space to moving ground (further risk reduction), and then space to an airborne platform, as long as the optical terminal maintains pedigree throughout.  The most important of the phases is demonstrating laser communications from space to a moving airborne platform. Proposals are due by September 2.
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Information enterprise modernization is balance between cost-effectiveness and mission effectiveness for the Pentagon.

“Cloud adoption, software modernization, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity are paramount to all DoD missions”, Lily Zeleke, the acting Deputy CIO for the Information Enterprise. “Our ability to deliver information at resilience and speed, as well as delivering secure information to our people, is paramount to staying ahead of adversaries,” she said. Funding these technologies within the appropriated budget is a balance between cost efficiency and mission effectiveness. “We’re working for the public and for the country. I emphasize that resources and costs are critical, but the mission is just as critical, so it is a balance between cost effectiveness and mission effectiveness for us,” she said.
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DOD could use some help measuring progress in developing GPS systems.

A new GAO report has pointed out that the DOD needs some help tracking progress of one of its ongoing projects modernize its GPS systems and develop alternatives. The GAO found that 4 of 5 alternative systems in development didn’t have complete business cases—which justify the project and evaluate associated benefits, costs, and risks. So DOD leaders didn’t have enough information to support crucial decisions at the start. GAO also found that DOD’s oversight council for GPS hasn’t set goals for measuring progress on the alternatives.
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Top Intel Community

CISA releases top malware strains of 2021.

The top malware in 2021 included remote access trojans, banking trojans, information stealers and ransomware. Specifically, 2021’s top malware strains were: Agent Tesla, AZORult, Formbook, Ursnif, LokiBot, MOUSEISLAND, NanoCore, Qakbot, Remcos, TrickBot and GootLoader. CISA and ACSC state that most of these top strains have been used for more than five years—and some for more than 10 years—with their respective code bases evolving into several variations. Like a good virus, like COVID-19, these malware strains morph, adapt, and are persistent as hell.
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CISA issues warning on active exploitation of UnRAR software for Linux Systems.

The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) on Tuesday added a recently disclosed security flaw in the UnRAR utility to its Known Exploited Vulnerabilities Catalog, based on evidence of active exploitation. Tracked as CVE-2022-30333 (CVSS score: 7.5), the issue concerns a path traversal vulnerability in the Unix versions of UnRAR that can be triggered upon extracting a maliciously crafted RAR archive. This means that an adversary could exploit the flaw to drop arbitrary files on a target system that has the utility installed simply by decompressing the file. The vulnerability was revealed by SonarSource researcher Simon Scannell in late June.
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US Army seeks criminal and threat intelligence coverage.

U.S. Army posted a sources sought notice for criminal and threat intelligence coverage for the Joint Task Force – National Capital Region / Military District of Washington (JTF-NCR / MDW). The contractor shall provide real-time 24/7/365 criminal, threat, and intelligence reporting for Joint Task Force-National Capital Region and the Military District of Washington. Daily Global Security Operations Center (GSOC) real time alerts, protest alerts, protest reporting, weekly JTF-NCR (MDW) intelligence reports, Extremist Intelligence Threat (EXIT) reports, global, national, and regional threat assessments, and when requested, Detailed Analysis in Real-Time (DART) report for requested events that The Joint Task Force-National Capital Region / Military District of Washington will participate in within the United States.
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Top Civilian

Bipartisan senators want commodity regulations for crypto.

You know the government wants a cut of the crypto, action, right? A proposed new bill would give federal financial regulatory agencies control over digital commodities. The Digital Commodities Consumer Protection Act of 2022 would give the Commodity Futures Trading Commission authority to regulate cryptocurrency and other digital asset trading and instill rules that hold digital assets to the same standards as other traditional financial tools. Of course, the bill was positioned as a way to “protect” Americans by reducing risks and requiring the marketplace to have adequate cybersecurity protections. One of the more critical regulations would be requiring these digital commodity trading platforms to register with the CFTC and maintain sufficient financial resources, similar to banking stress tests.
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FEMA, FCC warn emergency alert systems vulnerable to hacking.

It’s like V for Vendetta, 20 years later. (Seriously, it’s been 17 years since V came out.) FEMA and the FCC are warning that hackers like V can use the Emergency Alert System to issue TV, radio, and cable network alerts if encoder and decoder device software isn’t properly updated. FEMA issued an advisory to broadcasters after learning the exploit may be demonstrated to a large audience at the DEF CON hacking conference in Las Vegas that runs Aug. 11-14, 2022. Personally, I’m all for hacking the nightly news so long as they provide great entertainment and value in the process.
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GovCon M&A Corner

Parsons and Aurora Insight partner up.

Parsons Corp. has added Aurora Insight as a strategic partner through a multiyear agreement for commercial space research, development, and mission exploration and advancement. The partnership provides an agile vehicle where both companies can align their strengths and solutions. Aurora Insight measures the global radio frequency environment from a constellation of terrestrial and space-based sensor systems to provide government and commercial customers with data on spectrum and wireless network infrastructure.
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Command Holdings buys management consultancy WWC Global.

Command Holdings, the non-gaming investment arm of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, has acquired WWC Global, a woman-owned consulting services provider to the federal government sector. WWC Global —  which generates nearly $100 million in annual sales and employs 350 workers – provides support to federal clients such as DOD, DHS, as well as USAID.
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Guidehouse announces consolidation of national security and defense segments.

Guidehouse announced that it will consolidate of the firm’s National Security and Defense segments, along with several key leadership updates.
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Contract Awards

Peraton wins $850M DOD Intellgence Systems contract.

Peraton has been awarded a contract by the DOD to provide agile analytic platforms and data management solutions. The contract is worth $850 million over five years. Peraton has a decades-long relationship with DOD, having provided technological solutions across the U.S. intelligence community and military. The company’s cyber portfolio and capabilities include full spectrum cyber operations, information operations, cyber capability development and signals intelligence solutions.
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GDIT wins $267M Army National Guard cyber contract.

GDIT has won the $267 million Guard Enterprise Cyber Operations Support contract to support the Army National Guard. The contract has a 1-year base period and three option years. Under this new work, GDIT will provide the Army National Guard with an integrated network and security operations center. From this site, GDIT will operate, maintain and secure the enterprise network, in classified and unclassified environments.
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Accenture Federal Services snags Army Intelligence and Security Command contract.

Accenture Federal Services has won a 5-year contract from the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command to deploy the cloud-based ServiceNow platform and modernize its enterprise service management capabilities. AFS will deploy ServiceNow as part of the INSCOM Digital Transformation Support Services contract issued in partnership with Carahsoft under their Defense Department Enterprise Software Initiative blanket purchase agreement for service solutions and services.
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Shower thoughts 🚿

Will the Inflation Reduction Act be bad for small businesses?

Some argue that it will be, with some analysts predicting that 80% of new IRS revenue will come from small businesses earning under $200K. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that between 78% and 90% of the estimated additional $200 billion the IRS will collect will come from small businesses making less than $200,000 annually. Just 4% to 9% would come from businesses making north of $500,000 a year. 
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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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