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Quick Hits

Upsetting news for the SDVOSB & VA Contractor Community: NVSBE won’t be having an event this year.

We were all patiently waiting for The National Veterans Small Business Engagement (NVSBE) event to make a comeback in 2022. It’s only the largest VA and SDVOSB/VOSB event in GovCon, but unfortunately, the event won’t be happening in October 2022. The VA encourages you to look for virtual business opportunities on their events calendar here.
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Staffing problems might prevent agencies from spending infrastructure dollars.

For example: The GSA received $3.4 billion under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to modernize 26 land ports. But GSA doesn’t have the staff to get that project in high gear–staff that includes project managers and contracting officers. The Public Building Service has seen nearly 13% of its project managers leave just since September 2021. The office lacks the requisite guidance and experience to implement the law, the IG said, including steps for calculating cost estimates for new construction. Contracting officers have demonstrated a lack of understanding of their responsibilities in awarding and managing contracts.
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Despite mishandling the Jan 6 probe, the DHS IG office gets good marks in job satisfaction.

Although the Homeland Security Department Inspector General office is under fire for alleged mishandling of the probe into the Jan 6 attack on the Capitol, it appears that employees really like to work there. The Homeland Security IG office ranked 253 out of 432 subcomponent agencies on the 2021 “Best Places to Work in The Federal Government” rankings released July 13. It received an overall 69.7 out of 100 on “engagement and satisfaction,” and more than the governmentwide score of 64.5. Furthermore, in the “effective leadership: supervisors” category, the Homeland Security IG office received an 83.7 in the latest survey, up from 79.5 in 2020.
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Defense innovation could be hampered by budget impasse

With only six weeks left in the fiscal year, the chances of Congress passing a Defense appropriations bill and avoiding continuing solutions by Oct. 1 is getting less likely.  One challenge that continuing resolutions present to Pentagon planners is that they generally fund programs at the same level as the previous (current) fiscal year. Such a scenario can hamper our military’s efforts to keep up with rival nations in emerging technologies.
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ICYMI Snippets:

The following is exclusive, featured content.

From startup to acquisition in 10 years – This highly successful federal health prime executive provides lessons learned.

Keven LeBlanc is CEO/President of 4A Consulting. His career spans more than two decades in Federal IT and consulting, including nearly a decade as a leader with Liberty IT Solutions, managing the administration of Mentor/ProtĂ©gĂ© and JV relationships, managing a portfolio of projects valued at over $175M in TCV, and supporting the company’s growth as it rose from a start-up in 2013 to being acquired by Booz Allen Hamilton in 2021 for $725M. In this Orange Slices interview, he shares lessons learned about hiring, pursuing business, making connections, and defining a niche.

Starting as a Small Business

As a small business, you gain past performance and perspective by subcontracting to those who need your socioeconomic status, but you cannot rely solely on that status. Small business needs to have a clearly defined niche, something to be known for, a clear brand promise they can deliver on and then, over time, strategically work to move toward the edge of that model.

Know Your Direction

No small company can possibly deliver on every capability needed. I would much rather see a team say, ‘this is where we are now, this is where we would like to be, and this project will help us move in that direction.’

Beyond the Resume

Growing a successful company is never about one person and their connections. At Liberty IT, while some leadership possessed VA-domain experience, in building the team we focused on junior people, many straight out of college, in whom we saw a drive. Everyone was expected to perform some degree of business development and where we saw passion, we would position more specific joint business development (BD) and capture leads.

The Go/No Go

Bluebirds, those lucrative sales opportunities that you come across unexpectedly, without much effort, are there but rare. We made hard pursuit decisions based on metrics. We refused business when we did not have a solution that made sense, or where we lacked needed intimacy with the client, and we declined based on partner strategy if we disliked the view.

LOVE THIS INTERVIEW? There’s more! Read the full interview at: 

Top Defense & Aerospace

Shark tank for troops! CENTCOM launches competition.

U.S. Central Command is launching a contest to elevate new technology solutions to military problems. But rather than reach out to industry and established defense contractors, the command is asking service members to submit ideas for possible scale up across the broader U.S. military. The effort, dubbed Innovation Oasis, is open to all active service members, reservists and National Guard members, as well as all DOD civilians, until September 16, 2022. Judges include executives from Google, SpaceX, and NASA, as well as senior uniformed leaders from across the U.S. military.
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“Extremely aggressive” schedule set for next phase of ARRW hypersonic weapons testing.

The schedule for the next round of flight tests for the AGM-183A Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) is “extremely aggressive” as the DOD races to field new hypersonic missiles to keep pace with China. Lockheed has been developing the system for the Air Force as part of a rapid prototyping program to give the service greater ability to destroy high-value, time-sensitive targets and heavily defended land targets. Following the completion of the booster test series last month, the program is about to move into what officials call “all-up-round testing.”
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AF to put Angry Kittens in plans for electronic warfare edge.

A ferocious feline may help transform how the U.S. military approaches electronic warfare. The so-called Angry Kitten, a cluster of electronic components contained in a vaguely cat-shaped tube, has proved so successful as a training tool in simulating enemy EW actions that officials with Air Combat Command recommended at least four pods be reworked for use in actual combat, allowing fighter pilots to benefit in the real world. The Air Force has used Angry Kitten in tests and training for years, outfitting aggressor squadrons with the gear to harass trainees and replicate electronic assaults. Lessons learned from using the device have “dramatically shaped the direction” of the service. Meow!
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Top Intel Community

Multi-Cloud approach the way to go for Intelligence Community, according to IC News.

Increasing cyber attacks mean a multi-cloud, hybrid approach is the best approach for the Intelligence Community , according to Intelligence Community News. “For hybrid cloud computing to be effective and adaptable for mission deployments there needs to be consistent secure approaches and workflows that are reused at scale across multiple environments and cloud providers,” Loren Blinde writes.
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Anduril expands to Nevada national security site.

Anduril Industries last week announced that the Nevada National Security Site, a DOE, National Nuclear Security Administration facility near Las Vegas and a historic proving ground for defense technology, would now serve as Anduril’s primary test range. Using the site’s larger airspace will allow Anduril to better test capabilities including large unmanned aircraft, explosive and restricted payloads, electronic warfare platforms and classified programs, company officials said.
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Top Civilian

GSA among agencies facing staffing shortages in implementing White House’s signature infrastructure bill.

Irony of ironies, right? Just as the White House’s signature infrastrastructure bill is getting signed into law, agencies such as GSA lack the necessary qualified project managers and contracting officers to spend the funds, according to watchdogs, such as the GSA Office of the Inspector General. For example, GSA Public Building Service, for example, has lost 11 percent of its project managers since September 2021.
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HHS OIG CIO discusses Micro-segmentation.

HHS OIG CIO and other leaders in the cybersecurity sectors explained why micro-segmentation is as important as other pillars and how to begin doing micro-segmentation — including roadmapping data — during an event sponsored by GovExec on Aug. 15. Pushing off micro-segmentation is a mistake malicious people can take advantage of, said Gerry [Caron]., the chief information officer for the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General. At HHS, Caron started with the data as the agency implements zero trust. “What facilitates access to the data is an application; an application sits on a device; it needs to be hosted somehow and then in network you need connectivity somehow,” Caron said. “And then it’s [the] right data, the right users at the right time and you want to make sure that data has integrity, so being able to understand what that data is, is very important as you work back.”
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GSA’s technology leader Dave Zvenyach is out.

Dave has led the Technology Transformation Services division at GSA since January 2021. In a prior stint with the agency during the Obama administration, he held several other senior IT leadership roles, including as director of 18F and a senior technical adviser. Zvenyach has held other high-profile public service roles, including as general counsel of the District of Columbia. He is also an adjunct professor at the George Washington University Law School.
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GovCon M&A Corner

EY US to purchase Cambria Solutions.

In a bid to bolster the company’s government tech services business, California-based professional services company EY US has agreed to purchase Cambria Solutions, an information technology and management consultancy, the companies announced on Monday, Cambria runs a privately funded innovation laboratory, Kappy, that focuses on developing technology for government applications, and will become part of the EYwavespace collaboratoin network, the audit and advisory services provider said Monday.
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D-Orbit, Breeze SPAC cancel merger deal.

After inittially agreeing to merge in January, Italy-based space logistics provider D-Orbit and Breeze Holdings Acquisition (Nasdaq: BREZ), a special purpose acquisition company, have agreed to to cancel their plans to merge due to changes in market conditions.
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System High acquires ManageYOURiD.

System High Corporation, a portfolio company of Enlightenment Capital, announced it has acquired ManageYOURiD, a leading software provider of identity management, risk mitigation, and personal privacy services to commercial, government, and individual consumers.
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ICYMI Snippets:

Follow the Leaders

  • Brian Epley appointed principal deputy CIO at DOE.
  • Kasey Cooper joins DTC as defense, aerospace VP.
  • Jim Ford named Semantic AI’s president, chief strategy officer.
  • Carmen Krueger named SVP, Managing Director for Regulated Industries at SAP.
  • Darryl Scott joins Maximus Federal Services as Director.
  • Tony Meyer joined Global Services at Ventech Solutions as a Senior Vice President.

Follow the Job Openings

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Contract Awards

MELE Associates, Inc. wins $400M DOE/NNSA contract.

MELE Associates, Inc. a veteran-owned, minority owned business, is proud to announce the award of a $400 million DOE, NNSA Enterprise-Wide Technical Engineering Programmatic Support Services III Blanket Purchase Agreement (TEPS III BPA).  This is MELE’s fourth straight award. The MELE team included multiple subcontractors.
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The IRS awarded five initial contracts for Pilot IRS EDCMO Submission Processing.

The $7.5 million contract(s) to enhance digital intake and data capture, modernize operations, and improve taxpayer experiences was awarded to:

  • 22nd Century Technologies
  • Fairfox Software
  • Brillient
  • Iron Mountain
  • Resultant/KSM Consulting

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Four Points Tech (an SDVOB firm) wins 3 ICE contracts worth $341.5M.

IT product and solution reseller Four Points Technology has won three contracts with a combined $341.5 million ceiling value for cloud computing services to the ICE. Each award is technically a blanket purchase agreement with a five-year duration, during which Four Points will work with ICE to acquire storage and hosting that resides in the Amazon and Microsoft cloud infrastructures.
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ICYMI Snippets:

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Shower thoughts 🚿

Are tech companies hiring from overseas more often now?

Yup. In fact, there’s a trend for tech companies to look to Latin America for their talent. A 2022 report from tech services company Commit estimated that offshoring software development roles would increase by 70 percent over the next year. Some companies, like Coinbase and Shopify, have already hired aggressively outside the US to fill open technical roles. Many new hires are coming from countries like the Philippines, Argentina, Brazil, and India. While tech companies have long sought out those markets to cheaply staff call centers, content moderator positions, and IT departments, they are now following talent to fill open roles on any of their teams.
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Federal agencies ahead of industry in implementing zero trust security.

Federal agencies have responded to a mandate to show plans to implement zero trust security, with 72 percent of responding agencies in an Okta-commission survey reporting at least one active iniative underway, putting federal agencies at a more aggressive pace of implementation of zero trust security than industry.
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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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