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Quick Hits

GAO investigating the Thrift Savings Plan to see if there is a problem with system migration.

Even though the system has set up nearly 2 million new online accounts in less than three months, and help desk wait times are down to less than 10 minutes, GAO officials announced earlier this month that they will investigate the federal government’s 401(k) style retirement savings plan program, amidst challenges with the Thrift Savings Plan’s migration to a new record keeping vendor on June 1, Accenture Federal Systems.
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FEC approves Google’s plan to exempt campaign emails from spam filters.

By a 4-1 vote on Thursday, Federal Election Commission officials approved Google’s July plan to exempt approved campaign emails from being included in spam filters. FEC officials decided that that the Google proposal did not represent a prohibited in-kind contribution to political candidates or committees.
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Survey finds performance gains, more pressure felt by remote federal workers.

So much for remote workers goofing off. A recent survey of 1,000 remote and hybrid government employees found that nearly reported team performance improvements during the pandemic, while a majority felt increased pressure to perform. The May survey conducted by Eagle Hill Consulting, found that 46% of surveyed government telework employees reported their team’s performance improved since 2020. Meanwhile, roughly two in three (64%) surveyed remote employees reported feeling “more pressure to perform” on the job, with 63% believing they need to “prove their value.”
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ICYMI Snippets:

Top Defense & Aerospace


DAF’s first Data and AI Forum is open for registration.

The Air Force’s Chief Data and Artificial Intelligence Office is partnering with the Department of the Air Force-Massachusetts Institute of Technology Artificial Intelligence Accelerator to present its first Data and Artificial Intelligence Forum in Lexington, Massachusetts, Aug. 24-25. Brig. Gen. John M. Olson, the first DAF Chief Data and Artificial Intelligence officer, is accelerating the pace in which the Air Force fosters digital fluency and creates trusted, seamless integration of data and AI — providing dominance to the United States and its strategic partners. This summit will feature subject matter experts who will share their vast knowledge of data, AI and analytics as a part of an effort to support initiatives like the Defense Department’s Joint All-Domain Command and Control and the Air Force’s Advanced Battle Management System to respond to a critical need, connecting sensors with shooters across all services in all domains.
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Tradewindai website to host AI challenge. 

FedScoop confirmed this week that the Pentagon’s Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office (CDAO) recently updated its website to be a one-stop-shop to announce new AI-aligned challenge competitions and opportunities supporting DOD components. “While this by itself is not a new approach, the creation of time-based events and near real-time awards is a new approach for us,” said CDAO spokesperson Kathleen Clark. The Aug. 16-17, the CDAO will use an industry day event happening near Quantico, Virginia, hosted by the 5th Special Forces Group, to meet with potential commercial partners about several of its open challenges. During those engagements, according to Clark, the CDAO intends “to make an award determination for pilots in areas such as digital STEM kits for recruiting of future acquisition professionals,” and a Southwest-focused regional pipeline to promote the quick transition of college students from minority institutions to positions at DOD test centers.
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SecDef cracks down on extremist speech within military ranks

In part as a result of the news that about 80 military veterans and a handful of active duty personnel have been charged with crimes associated with the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued directives cracking down on any speech, including social media postings, that would advocate what is called white nationalism, violence or insurrection. Military personnel enjoy the protections of a “diluted” form of the First Amendment.
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Top Intel Community

White House Cyber Director: ‘Defense is the New Offense’ for Cyber.

At the hacker conference DEF CON, White House National Cyber Director Chris Inglis asserted that the way forward for cybersecurity is defense, defined roles and responsibilities and investing in resilience and robustness. According to Inglis, there are “three waves of attacks” that have progressed in recent years. The first wave “focused on adversaries holding data and systems at risk.” In the second, the attackers “still held data and systems at risk, but they then abstracted that into holding critical functions at risk.” The third is an attack on confidence, as exemplified by the attack on the Colonial Pipeline. “The most important lesson from that is [attackers] then held the confidence of millions of people at risk,” Inglis said. “And what they eventually succeeded in doing was in defeating one, they defeated all. They defeated tens of millions of people because of a single person’s error. We need to flip the script.” Inglis declared that the solution is to focus on defense, and specifically collective defense.
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Ex-CISA chief Krebs calls for US to get serious on security.

It’s time to reorganize the US government and create a new agency focused solely on digital risk management services, according to former CISA director Chris Krebs. “And I’m ready to lead that charge,” he said, during the Black Hat USA infosec conference’s opening keynote on Wednesday. Krebs served as the first director of the CISA, which was created in 2018 largely as a response to Russia and other nation states from interfering in US elections. “So we’re gonna have to look at different possible outcomes,” Krebs said, noting that making CISA’s its own sub-cabinet agency is one such possibility. But this effort also requires private security company buy-in, plus the larger researcher community that has descended on Vegas this week for summer camp.
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Mmmm, I love the smell of Space-BACN in the morning! (A DARPA BAA)

DARPA has selected 11 teams for Phase 1 of the Space-Based Adaptive Communications Node program, known as Space-BACN, the agency announced August 10. Space-BACN aims to create a low-cost, reconfigurable optical communications terminal that adapts to most optical intersatellite link standards, translating between diverse satellite constellations. Space-BACN would create an “internet” of low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites, enabling seamless communication between military/government and commercial/civil satellite constellations that currently are unable to talk with each other. “We intentionally made making a proposal to our Space-BACN solicitations as easy as possible, because we wanted to tap into both established defense companies and the large pool of innovative small tech companies, many of which don’t have the time or resources to figure out complicated government contracting processes,” said Greg Kuperman, Space-BACN program manager in DARPA’s Strategic Technology Office.
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Top Civilian

House-approved Inflation Reduction Act to injected $80B in IRS over 10 years

An IRS audit is coming soon to a taxpayer near you! On Friday, the House approved the Inflation Reduction Act and sent it to President Biden for his signature, a piece of legislation that would inject $80 billion over 10 years into IRS coffers, in part to increase tax revenues to pay for increased spending. Other provisions in the legislation include an increase in USPS electric vehicle spending..
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Cyberdefense commission seeks answers from HHS’ Bacerra on cyberdefense

Apparently, someone is working in Washington in August. As if the crsis at the border weren’t keeping him up at night already, the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, wtih representatives from both the House and Senate, has written to HHS Secretary Xavier Bacerra seeking a briefing about HHS’ defenses against randsomware attacks.
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Peraton gets a second chance at SSA IT work.

If at first you don’t succeed, try again. Or hire a contracts lawyer. In response to a contract protest after Leidos had won the jobs in June, SSA officials are giving Peraton a second crack at a pair of task orders worth more than $800 million. Tjhe work covers IT infrastructure and programmatic support.
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ICYMI Snippets:

  • Two Senators urge DOJ to flex suspension and disbarment muscles against fraudulent contractors.
  • NIH RFP for NCATS Scientific and Technology Support Services.

GovCon M&A Corner

System High acquires ManageYOURiD.

System High Corporation, a portfolio company of Enlightenment Capital, announced today it has acquired ManageYOURiD, a leading software provider of identity management, risk mitigation, and personal privacy services to commercial, government, and individual consumers. System High, a National Security lifecycle protection services provider, will leverage ManageYOURiD’s proven platform to expand its offerings to the critical infrastructure sectors.
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Anuvu acquires Signal Mountain.

Anuvu has acquired Signal Mountain Networks, a leading provider of satellite communications to the U.S. Government. With the acquisition, Anuvu is expanding its existing government business and unlocking new revenue streams by leveraging Signal Mountain’s prime contractor status and 20-year history of delivering mission-critical solutions. Signal Mountain’s position on key contracting vehicles for government agencies, plus its strong history of exemplary customer service, broaden Anuvu’s potential avenues for growth.
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Contract Awards

SealingTech awarded $168M USMC Cyber Defense Tools task order

SealingTech announced the company had earnd a $168M Cyber Defense Tolls task oder from the USMC. A veteran-owned company based on Columbia, Md., SealingTech will develop self-contained defense cyber weapons systems for Marine Corps Defensive Cyberspace Organization teams to analyze vulnerabilities, map the cyber terrain, and respond to incidents, according to a DOD announcement.
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Army plans 3-year extensions to multiple award training support contract

The Army has notified participating vendors of its intent to award 3-year extensions. to its multiple award training support contact for contigent operations training centers for military and civilian personnel.

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Sealing Technologies takes $168M Marine Corps cyber contract.

Sealing Technologies has won a five-year, $168.5 million task order to support the Marine Corps in integrating a new set of systems and tools for carrying out defensive cyber operations. SealingTech will work with the Marine Corps to develop self-contained defense cyber weapons systems for teams responsible for analyzing vulnerabilities, mapping the overall network terrain and responding to incidents.
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Shower thoughts 🚿

Okay, I should have signed up for second life

Want to sound smart at your next cocktail party? According to the talking heads at the Gartner Group, during the next 10 years, the emerging technologies most likely to impact  digital business transportation include immersive experiences, artificial intelligence, and . Gartner speakers made their predictions about the Top 25 tech trends at the 2022 Gartner Hype Conference.
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Beijing city government investing heavily in avatars

Could Big Brother come in the form of an innocuous-looking avatar? The Beijing city government is investing nearly $900 million in digital avatars, virtual humans, and other Web 3.0 technologies, as it seeks to build its busines and governing. Mark Zuckerberg must like this!

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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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