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Quick Hits

New bill introduced to ensure resiliency of federal data centers.

A group of bipartisan senators have introduced legislation to establish baseline cybersecurity requirements and new protections against catastrophic weather-related disasters for federal data centers across the country. The Federal Data Center Enhancement Act of 2022 tasks the OMB with establishing standardized cybersecurity requirements for the federal facilities, which host some of the nation’s most sensitive information technology and cybersecurity infrastructure. Federal data centers like Social Security and credit card information are only two critical areas that should be protected, the bill’s introducers noted.
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Air Force-sanctioned gaming program brings young and old together

No need to put down that gaming device when you start work. Now, you can even justify chug-a-lugging Mountain Dew at 2 a.m., during an all-night gaming session. In part through the power of LinkedIn, Facebook, and Discord chat, a grassroots movement of airmen and air guard members ultimately became, in 2020, an AF-sanctioned gaming program. The program is an unlikely vehicle to bring airmen and guardians who are both young and old through various ranks, and it could help the USAF find models for talent management.
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White House seeks to scrap two nuclear programs

As the U.S. shrinks its nuclear warhead inventory, the White House is trying to defund two nuclear programs in the FY23 budget. The Senate’s version of the 2023 NDAA calls for dropping the atomic bomb on the B83 megaton gravity bomb until the Senate receives a report on alternatives for striking “hard and deeply buried targets.” Meanwhile, a House version of the FY23 NDAA or FY23 calls for $45 million in research and development funding, the House Defense appropriations bill, backed by the White House, calls for defunding it.
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Also you don’t want to miss: 

Top Defense & Aerospace

Radha Plum is top pick for DOD’s #2 acquisitions and sustainment offical.

Radha Plum, who has recently been nominated for the position, is currently Chief of Staff to Kathleen Hicks, the DOD’s #2 civilian. “If confirmed, my focus would be on making sure we can identify as early as possible key issues and drivers of sustainment [costs] and then include that in early negotiations [with vendors],” she told the Senate Armed Services Committee at her confirmation hearing July 28.
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The Enemy of My Enemy: Microsoft seeks allies to halt Amazon DoD cloud advance.
With Amazon the favored cloud provider in DOD, Microsoft is seeking to join forces with other cloud providers, including Google and Oracle, to convince DOD officials to adopt a multi-cloud approach, in line with federal acquisition guidelines. A Wall Street Journal podcast explores this news.
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Lt. Gen. Chance Saltzman nominated to lead Space Force.

Saltzman currently serves as Space Force operations boss. If confirmed by the Senate, Saltzman will be the second person to serve as the Space Force’s top officer since the service was created in December 2019. He would succeed Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, who is set to retire after 35 years of service in the Air Force and nearly three in the Space Force.
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DOD to host a “Fog and Edge Computing Solutions” meeting.

DOD Under Secretary of Defense for R&E Capability Prototypes Office, in coordination with the meeting sponsor AFRL TCO announced that it will conduct a virtual Solutions Meeting focused on Fog and Edge Computing in the Fall of 2022. All applications must be received on or before 5:00 PM EDT, August 10, 2022. Submission of an application does not guarantee an invitation to the Solutions Meeting.
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Top Intel Community

Intelligence Community struggling to create sophisticated online enterprise data tools.

While businesses have developed tools to analyze online data, including social media, the Intelligence Community has not yet come up with common standards for structuring the data, in part resulting in an inability to develop tools to analyze online data and existing silos within and between the 18 IC agencies. In fact, 80-90 percent of IC data is unstructured. a Federal News Radio commentary asserts. Tear down the wall!
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Space Force officially creates cryptologic service component for NSA.

The Space Force established its own cryptologic component. The director for ISR, S2, will serve as the service cryptologic chief, with the S2 staff serving as the cryptologic staff. Each military service now has a cryptologic component that is responsible to the NSA and Central Security Service. Maj. Gen. Leah Lauderback, the current S2, is the first Space Force service cryptologic chief.
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Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone about this secret network contract extension.

To better secure the Pentagon’s communications network for secrets, DISA officials extended their Thunderdome cybersecurity contract with Booz Allen Hamilton for six months. In the July 28 announcement, DISA officials said they would include the Secure Internet Protocol Router Network, or SIPRNet, in the zero-trust program and the “complete development, testing and deployment planning for the original unclassified prototype,”
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Top Civilian

Legal defense fund launched for former SBA CIO.

A fundraising page has been set up in support of a former SBA IT leader who is appealing his dismissal from the agency. Keith Bluestein, who was hired in June 2020 as SBA’s chief information officer, was put on temporary leave in late January 2022 and officially fired this summer. According to Bluestein’s LinkedIn page, he officially left the agency in June and began working as a principal at Deep Water Point. Bluestein is appealing his dismissal with the Merit System Protection Board, an independent panel that rules on federal personnel issues—including claims of inappropriate termination—according to a fundraiser set up on GiveSendGo asking for donations to assist with legal fees. As of Aug. 1, the fund had raised over $25,000, with a goal of $75,000.
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US Digital Service calls for outdated organ transplant system’s shakeup.

In a move that will hopefully save hundreds of thousands of lives, the U.S. Digital Service recommended the $248 million contract for an organ transplant system be bid separately from one for policy management because the current holder has denied nearly 100 federal requests to audit source code. USDS identified three alternatives to the nonprofit United Network for Organ Sharing’s Organ Procurement Transplant Network (UNOS) — which mostly operates from a local data center, rather than in the cloud, hindering efficiency and automation, according to a report. UNOS has denied federal government requests to audit code despite its system crashing for a total of 17 days since 1999, according to the report. On average 22 of the approximately 106,000 people waiting for kidneys, livers and hearts die daily with several doctors telling The Post that UNOS is at least partly to blame for refusing to coordinate organ transport, in addition to its system requiring manual data entry, reprioritizing certain patients due to a programming error and sometimes taking a year to reflect updates.
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Congress approves bill to provide more care to vet, grow VA workforce.

A measure to expand benefits offered to veterans who became sick after exposure to burn pits while on active duty is set to become law after the Senate approved the bill on Tuesday, which will also authorize sweeping new authorities to hire and keep employees to handle the resulting uptick in usage of the government health care system. The bill also authorizes leases for 31 new medical facilities at VA to help accommodate the expected surge in patients, which is expected to cost nearly $1 billion. The bill will authorize the department to buy out the contract of health care professionals to recruit them to VA, so long as they make a four-year commitment to the department. VA will have $40 million per year for the buyouts. VA’s health care employees will be eligible for pay boosts worth 50% of their base salaries, up from the current cap of 30%.
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GovCon M&A Corner

SES acquires DRS Global Enterprise Solutions.

SES and its wholly owned subsidiary SES Government Solutions (SES GS) announced the completion of the acquisition of DRS Global Enterprise Solutions (GES) from Leonardo DRS for $450 million after obtaining all the necessary regulatory approvals. The new organization will comprise a cross-functional workforce with deep technical expertise and a proven ability to integrate and manage multi-orbit geostationary and medium earth orbit (MEO) services as well as multi-operator network solutions.  The combined business will continue to serve US Government customers under the direction of the SES GS Proxy Board of Directors.
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Booz Allen makes its EverWatch case

As his company faces an anti-trust lawsuit from the Justice Department, Booz Allen CEO Horacio Rozanski defends his company’s proposed $440 million acqusition of EverWatch, a Reston, Va.-based DoD contractor. Washington Technology takes a look at BAH’s July 22 response to the DOJ lawsuit and Rozanski’s quarterly earnings call comments.
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Lockheed looks for startups to invest in as it doubles it’s venture fund $400 Million.

Lockheed has doubled its venture capital fund to $400 million as it screens more start-up technology companies to invest in. “The success of our venture capital investments to date is a testament to our strategy and allows Lockheed Martin to continue to deliver innovative solutions across all domains,” Jay Malave, the company’s CFO, said. The ventures fund was stood up in 2007 with $50 million and since then has invested in more than 70 companies, including 11 so far in 2022 that are working in areas such as sensor technology, quantum computing, advanced manufacturing and space services. The fund was eventually increased to $100 million and then in 2018 to $200 million.
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Contract Awards

GDIT wins prime spot on $10B DHA contract.

Cha-Ching! This is a big one. GDIT has won the Omnibus IV Medical Research and Development contract by the DHA. This multiple-award IDIQ contract has a total ceiling of $10 billion with a 5-year base period and one 5-year option. The DOD uses Omnibus contracting vehicles for discovery and evaluation of innovative medical solutions and supports DHA’s medical research and development initiatives. GDIT was awarded a position to compete for task orders in all four market segments: research and development; research and development support services; regulatory processes; and translational science support and services.
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HII wins $826M DOD tech innovation contract.

Huntington Ingalls Industries has won the Decisive Mission Actions and Technology Services task order under the GSA One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services multiple-award contract vehicle. This task order has a ceiling value of $826 million with performance of a 1-year base period and four 1-year option periods. As part of this work, HII’s Mission Technologies division will support all Defense Department service components, component research labs, components of the DOD Fourth Estate, national intelligence agencies and combatant commands.
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DMI wins 5 year NIH contract.

DMI has been awarded a 5-year task order to continue supporting the NIH’s Intramural Database enterprisewide system. The contract focuses on the system that facilitates annual report data collection for NIH’s Intramural Research Program, as well as a collection of data in several areas required by Congress.
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But wait! There’s more!

  • Army awards $6.5 million to five small businesses for network tech, AI/ML, and electronic warfare. The five companies are Aptima, Aspect Consulting Group, Intelligent Fusion Technology, Perceptronics Solutions, and MZA Associates Corporation.
  • Navy awards 9 companies a $1.3B Navy Training Systems Support IDIQ. The companies include 7 large businesses and two small businesses. Winners include: BGI and Aero Simulation JV, CAE, Valiant Integrated Services, Delaware Resource Group of OK, Fidelity Technologies Corp., FlightSafety Defense Corp, and LB&B Associates. Engineering Support Personnel and LTSS JV are the small business awardees.
  • Northrop Grumman wins $3.28B contract for US MDA’s GWS program.
  • L3Harris and Air Tractor team win $3B SOCOM aircraft production contract.

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Shower thoughts 🚿

Which federal agencies have the highest (and lowest) attrition rates?

In 2021, nearly 9% of those under 30 years old left work at the federal government. Looking at the whole federal workforce, the attrition rate was 6.1% in 2021. The agencies with the highest turnover? The VA had the highest, at 7.1%, followed by the Army, AF, and Treasury. Who had the lowest turnover rates? The EPA followed by USAID. 
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What factors make the biggest difference to economic mobility later in life?

A new study that examined BILLIONS of social media data had some really interesting revelations that uncovered a powerful exception to the idea that financial circumstances in which you are born determine whether you will live in poverty as an adult. A new study published in Nature showed that if children have friends that bridge economic classes, they will do better economically in life. The study found that if poor children grew up in neighborhoods where 70 percent of their friends were wealthy — the typical rate of friendship for higher-income children — it would increase their future incomes by 20 percent, on average.
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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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