🏛 DOD’s use of commercial space, GAO’s valley of death, NATO OSINT AI platform SaaS RFP, secret Space Force group, spy search at CIA

QUICK HITS

  • SBs are getting a portal that hooks them up with potential clients: DOD Small Business is launching an updated web portal that would directly link small businesses to potential buyers.
  • Fed procurement reform is coming — here’s what you should know: Collaboration between private, public sectors will clarify how best to modernize govt. systems, minimize disruptions.
  • IT leaders see ‘critical moment’ in securing systems from fraud: Federal IT leaders look across agencies to fight fraud in public programs.
  • What execs need to know before they hop on LinkedIn: LinkedIn has some pretty cool ‘powers‘ contractors can wield to build their business.
  • $6 billion USAID SWIFT 6 Draft RFP is released: The contract will have 8 awards in its unrestricted full-and-open portion, with at least one small business reserve contract. (SAM notice here)

TRIVIA

DEFENSE & AEROSPACE

What’s keeping China from giving lethal aid to Russia?

Probably the massive consequences for doing so, according to the Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary. The US has not yet seen China giving lethal aid to Russia in its illegal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, but the Chinese also haven’t taken that aid off the table… yet. Read more

WH advisory group to explore DOD’s use of commercial space.

The National Space Council’s new Users Advisory Group met for the first time with its national security subcommittee focusing largely on how the Pentagon can better take advantage of the booming commercial space sector. Read more

Are you an info warfare guru? You may soon be boarding a submarine.

Pilot projects launched last year to see how info warfare gurus could enhance submarine operations are yielding long-term plans. There are talks “to invest full-time, probably, in at least two cryptologic technicians to be onboard”, according to the commander of Naval Information Forces. Read more

ICYMI Snippets

Defense Contract Awards

  • Lockheed was awarded $170M supporting the Joint Strike Fighter Program.
  • GovCIO subsidiary books $99M navy submarine broadcast tech engineering IDIQ.
  • Group W Inc. gets a $12M WHO contract for information management and analysis.

Follow the Defense Leaders

  • The Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee welcomes two new members.
  • Retired two-star general appointed to Sigma Defense Systems advisory board.
  • Accenture’s federal group names a new group leader.
  • SAIC promoted a senior Opps manager to be Senior VP of its Army business unit.

Defense Job Openings

INTEL COMMUNITY

Heads up, contractors! FBI’s ITSSS-2 award phase is fast approaching.

The FBI has informed vendors it can now take over responsibility for the execution of the award phase for its follow-on Information Technology Supplies and Support Services blanket purchase agreement, as a result of increased bureau procurement staffing and experience. Read more

CIA’s AI director says AI is a critical national security issue.

The director says the CIA is hard at work on addressing and incorporating AI into its daily practices, but reiterated the private sector’s obligation to partner with the government — specifically the IC — to assist the country in reaching its goals and readying for confrontation with its competitors. Read more

ICYMI Snippets

CIVILIAN

GAO’s new contract vehicle will cross procurement’s “valley of death”.

The GAO is continuing its market research for a potential new multi-award IDIQ contract vehicle centered on a research and development funding program. The vehicle means to make innovative tools available for governmentwide acquisition and help technology funded by federal research bridge the gap between prototype and production –  what’s known in procurement circles as the “valley of death.” Read more

VA’s EHR functionality issues are affecting other medical centers.

According to a VA official, it’s possible there will be additional delays in the rollout of its Oracle Cerner EHR platform due to concerns regarding how it interacts with other medical research systems. Read more

Big bucks this way  → VA posts draft scorecard, eval criteria for $5B IDIQ.

In the VA Enterprise Supply Chain Modernization IDIQ, the agency has released some draft documents to help you prepare your submission. Read more

ICYMI Snippets

Civilian Contracts Awards

  • Peraton snags $399M NOAA contract supporting the Joint Polar Satellite System.
  • CMS re-signs Serco for $690M insurance eligibility support contract.
  • HHS awards EAGLES a $2M, five-year DITAP training program IDIQ.

Follow Civilian Leaders

Civilian Job Openings

M&A CORNER

Booz Allen invests in Hidden Level Inc.

Booz Allen announced that its corporate venture capital arm, Booz Allen Ventures, LLC, has made a strategic investment in Hidden Level, Inc., a developer of passive sensing technology of unmanned aerial systems (UAS), such as drones, for high-interference environments. Read more

SHOWER THOUGHTS 🚿

 

What’re the Pros and Cons of Digital Workers?

With the rapid emergence of AI and spillover from Hollywood special effects, digital humans are entering the workforce. They’re sales assistants that never sleep, multilingual presenters and trainers, and social media influencers who always stay on-brand. So what’re their biggest pros and cons? Read more

Why does it seem like the CIA can’t stop searching for spies in its ranks?

Ever heard of Kim Philby? He was a Soviet spy — the most significant Soviet spy to work in and with British and US intelligence agencies, in fact, during the entire 20th century. 60 years after Philby rocked the world when he fled to Moscow to reveal that he was a longtime Soviet spy, the “mole hunt virus” that he left is still flowing in the CIA’s veins. Read more

TRIVIA ANSWER

D. $46.6 billion in total military aid
Total amounts of aid we have given Ukraine in the past year include:
  • $3.9 billion in humanitarian aid
  • $26.4 billion in financial aid
  • $18.3 billion in security assistance (counted in military aid total)
  • $23.5 billion in weapons and equipment (counted in military aid total)
  • $4.7 billion in grants and loans for weapons and equipment (counted in military aid total)
(Source

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🏛 DHS 1.5B PACTS expansion, bitcoin and defense strategy, killer robots, Lockheed 1.2B Navy contract, SpaceX gets fined, Malcom X fam sues FBI, CIOSP4

QUICK HITS
  • 8(a), WOSB, others eye $1.5+ Billion DHS PACTS IDIQ expansion: DHS’ SSV for Professional Services will include “separate and distinct tracks” for some set-aside programs, sparking renewed interest.
  • Why CPARs matter for proposal development: You remember report cards, right? That’s basically what Contractor Performance Assessment Reports (CPARs) are — but why are they so important?
  • White House wants login.gov to reach every American: As an option for those who participate in most federal programs.
  • More agencies defining risk appetite, integrating into strategy, decision making: According to eighth annual federal enterprise risk management survey.
  • Power Projection and the National Strategic Significance of Bitcoin. This could be the biggest change in DOD strategy since nuclear warfare.

DEFENSE & AEROSPACE

War in Ukraine accelerates global drive toward killer robots.

DOD’s Directive 3000.09, “Autonomy in Weapons Systems”–the first in a decade about artificial intelligence autonomous weapons–and the lessons learned in Ukraine and Nagorno-Karabakh demonstrate that weaponized AI is part of the future of warfare, with a proportional amount of effort going toward this development. Read more

Adm. Gilday sees uncrewed vessels as key to Navy’s future.

Uncrewed vessels with the ability to jam electronics, spy on faraway activities, and even help coordinate the flow of fighting will play an increasingly important role in the service’s mission. Read more

The Navy’s CIO is stepping down after just three years.

When Aaron Weis came to the Department of Navy as its new CIO, he found an infrastructure that was 15-to-20 years behind the times. After stepping down on March 17, the DON’s principal deputy CIO will take over in the interim until a new permanent CIO is named. Read more

ICYMI Snippets

Defense Contract Awards

Follow the Defense Leaders

  • With retirement of CFO, ManTech appoints a new one.
  • Navy vet named chair of Acalvio’s newly-created federal advisory board.

Defense Job Openings

DAILY FUNNY

INTEL COMMUNITY

Catalyst Accelerator launches 11th defensive cyber ops for space cohort.

Sponsored by the AFRL and U.S. Space Forces as a defense and national security industry incubator, Catalyst Accelerator has partnered with eight small businesses across the country on its eleventh defensive cyber ops for space cohort this spring. Read more

ICYMI Snippets

  • National Ground Intelligence Center posts synopsis for upcoming EWIR RFP.
  • Protestors come out of the woodwork after NSA chooses CACI for $2.4B award — again.
  • Malcolm X’s family is suing the FBI and CIA.
  • The DIA is looking for a new Inspector General.

 

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CIVILIAN

USPS health insurance marketplace launch gives OPM plenty to do in a busy 2023.

The Postal Service Reform Act requires OPM to set up a separate insurance marketplace for USPS employees and retirees within the Federal Employee Health Benefits program by January 2025. As it prepares for an open enrollment in late 2024, OPM officials are prioritizing this project. Read more

OPM makes no progress with retirement backlog to start 2023.

OPM started 2023 with a rise in its retirement claims processing backlog by 3,262. In January, OPM received 12,404 claims, an almost 7,000 increase compared to December. OPM only processed 9,142, leaving the inventory backlog at the highest level since October with 24,858 claims. Read more

Zero trust presents ‘doable’ security goals, State Department CIO says.

State Department is working to enhance its internal cybersecurity and promote more efficient technology practices across its global operations.  Read more

ICYMI Snippets

Civilian Contracts Awards

  • NOAA awards Peraton contract worth up to $400M to provide ground servicing for polar-orbiting weather satellites.
  • CMS awards 8(a) small biz Neil Hoozier & Associates a $7M contract for Evaluation & Oversight.

Follow Civilian Leaders

Civilian Job Openings

SHOWER THOUGHTS 🚿

How does ChatGPT differ from human intelligence?

Just how similar is a computer brain to the human brain? If ChatGPT can sound like a human, does that mean it learns like one as well? Two scholars from Brown University’s Carney Institute for Brain Science weigh in, discussing parallels between artificial intelligence and human intelligence. Read more

Supreme Court is torn over the challenge to internet firms’ legal shield.

Right now the Supreme Court is hearing a case involving YouTube and the family of an American student fatally shot in a 2015 rampage by Islamist militants in Paris. The case calls into question the scope of a much-debated 1996 federal law called Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects internet companies from liability for content posted by their users. On one hand: you know, freedom of speech. Oh yeah, and the internet is inherently a smorgasbord of unregulated nonsense—it’s just what it is. On the other hand, custom algorithms may be pushing unlawful videos on their platforms, and that CAN be controlled. Read more

What JADC2 is — and what it definitely isn’t.

A lucid definition of JADC2 — a multibillion-dollar venture meant to link forces and their databases across land, air, sea, space, and cyber — is notoriously difficult to pin down. One US Admiral is here to finally put your (our?) confusion to rest. Read more

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🏛 FBI 7B IT services contract, OPM to adopt private sector pay, IRS slow to issue refunds, DISA Riverbed NetProfiler STIG

QUICK HITS
  • Two new tools aim to reverse decade-long drop in small biz industrial base: Supplier base dashboard and procurement equity tool.
  • OPM’s special federal IT salary rate narrows gap with private sector pay: Timing of final release and the scope of agencies that adopt it remain unclear.
  • U.S. seeks to further quantum research with Dutch partnership: Science and tech research pact follows other international partnerships.
  • Watchdog: outdated IT at IRS is slowing down your tax refund: I want my money! Old tech is to blame.
  • Proposal libraries? Yay, nay, who, how?

DEFENSE & AEROSPACE

DOD updates job qualifications for cyber workers.

John Sherman, DOD’s CIO, has updated the military’s cyber workforce plan, as part of ongoing efforts to modernize the agency’s talent management. He issued DOD Manual 8140.03, the Cyberspace Workforce Qualification and Management Program—the third issue of this policy series, which was last updated in December 2021—to provide a more targeted and flexible approach within the cyber workforce lifecycle.  Read more

Send me software, not hardware, Navy infowar chief says.

Rear Adm. Doug Small, the commander for Naval Information Warfare Systems Command, said he only wants software solutions, rather than another box of computers, given the space limitations aboard ships. Small, who is also leading the Navy’s Project Overmatch effort to connect command and control communications across the service, also said that interoperability is key in systems.  Read more

ICYMI Snippets

 

Defense Contract Awards

  • Lockheed Martin wins $1.2B contract mod for program mgmt, engineering dev, sys integration, and equipment for missile production.
  • GDIT wins Navy electromagnetic effects contract.
  • SPA books five-year, $164M Navy Program Office Assistance contract extension.

Follow the Defense Leaders

Defense Job Openings

  • National Guard Bureau is hiring an executive director Acquisition/Head of Contracting Service.
  • The Army is hiring a director of architecture, data, and standards.

INTEL COMMUNITY

FBI goes its own way with $7B IT and services contract. Sorta.

FBI officials have decided to manage the next iteration of their $7B IT and services contract in-house, managing all pre-solicitation and post-solicitation matters, although contract awards will still take the form of GSA Schedule blanket procurement agreements, according to a solicitation notice. Read more

ICYMI Snippets

  • Army C3ISR Center releases Expeditionary Smart Power System prototype RFI.
  • USAF mulls remote control of drone wingmen.
  • Timesheets are such a pain! Former NSA contractor convicted of false claims on hours billed to gov’t.

 

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CIVILIAN

VBA sees automation tools as ‘game changer’ in battle to keep up with growing workload.

Veterans Benefits Administration and its 25,000 employees completed a record high of 1.7 million total claims in FY22, disbursing about $100B in benefits. VBA has processed over 390,000 total claims for benefits in FY23 so far, about a 13% increase compared to the same period in FY22 and plans to hire 1,900 more employees. Read more

CISA seeks industry consulting support to shape its operational strategy.

CISA is planning a potential three-year consulting services contract to help craft its plans for defending the nation from emerging threats, and it’s looking to industry for help. Check out the special solicitation notice. Read more

FTC launches new Office of Technology for ‘in-house skills.’

FTC Chair Lina Khan has launched a new Office of Technology to help the agency keep pace with the rapidly evolving sector and provide FTC staff and commissioners with the technological proficiency needed to guide their work. Read more

VA delays health record ‘go live’ at key Michigan site.

This is not a good situation! Veterans Affairs is delaying a scheduled go-live of the Oracle Cerner EHRM at Ann Arbor Healthcare System facilities. The installation was set to be completed in July and will now take place late this year or in early 2024. Read more

ICYMI Snippets

  • White House missed its own deadline to detail Inflation Reduction Act spending at IRS.
  • GSA’s TMF invests $40.6M to improve cybersecurity and digital services at SSA, Treasury, and U.S. Agency for Global Media.
  • VA announces winners of $20M challenge to provide innovative methods to prevent veteran suicides.
  • HHS CISO: Ransomware, telehealth are top challenges.
  • State Department releases guidelines on responsible AI use for international militaries. It also is prepping MVP rollout to innovate the acquisition process.

Civilian Contracts Awards

  • HHS has awarded Radiant Digital a three-year contract to update the data portal for the Community Living Agency.
  • Deloitte was awarded a one-year, $6M task order from NIH to provide IT services.
  • Aquia, a SDVOSB, has earned a subcontract from Oddball to support its $9 million contract with VA to provide multi-factor authentication pilot services.
  • InnoVet Health LLC, a SDVOSB, has earned a $3M contract to provide data-as-a-service.

Follow Civilian Leaders.

  • Empower AI hires new CEO.
  • Scientific Systems hires robotics industry vet as products division SVP.
  • TSPi, an IT services company with more than 20 agency customers, has promoted two executives to SVP.
  • SparkSoft has hired a CDC veteran to serve as director of life sciences.

Civilian Job Openings

M&A CORNER

Cadmus expands federal contracting business with Nathan acquisition.

Cadmus, a provider of technical and strategic expertise to governments, energy utilities, and private sector companies in more than 100 countries over the last 75 years, is acquiring Nathan Associates, Inc.an economic and analytics consulting firm that works with government and commercial clients internationally. The acquisition more than doubles Cadmus’ U.S. federal business. Read more

SHOWER THOUGHTS 🚿

Feds driven away by vaccine mandate could return or get payouts, under new bill.

Federal employees who left government or were fired due to the White House’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate could be reinstated or reimbursed for time lost under a new House bill.  Read more

Eight client satisfaction guidelines every project manager should know.

Mike Lisagor, the founder of Celerity Works, who has previously written books on succeeding in the GovCon market and how to win SBIR contracts, shares best practices on client satisfaction for project management from his book, The Essential Guide to Managing a Government Project. Read more

Russia’s Wagner deepens influence in Africa, helping Putin project power.

Wagner Group, even as it plays a central role in the Ukrainian war, is deepening its influence in Africa through its mercenary work in Central African Republic, Libya, and Mali, through an estimated 5,000 men on the continent, rivaling the U.S. deployment of 6,000 troops. Wagner’s work in Africa is helping Russian leader Vladimir Putin project power. Read more

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Navy sets the pace on protecting infrastructure & tech, a deep dive on Jacobs, states battle bogus tax refund requests

QUICK HITS

  • States are battling bogus requests for refunds this tax season: This tax season, states are using new strategies to combat online tax fraud.
  • This isn’t the Jacobs you think you know: As recompetes for Jacobs’ recent wins approach, let’s explore how they’ve changed as a competitor.
  • RFP Management Approaches: what they are, how to write ’em: Don’t settle for lame content 😴 leading to low scores and lost contracts.
  • GSA FEDSIM winners and spenders: the return of the blog!: Explore some eye-opening analyses on FEDSIM spending and winners.

TRIVIA

DEFENSE & AEROSPACE

Navy “setting the pace” to protect tech, infrastructure.

The Navy is “setting the pace” among the services’ efforts to protect infrastructure and technology with pilot programs and a forthcoming cyber plan, according to the Navy’s principal cyber advisor. Read more

Army training looks to a virtual future.

If the Army’s top training officers are to meet the demands of ever-evolving multi-domain operations and Joint All-Domain Command and Control, they need to change their programs to adapt to more sophisticated battle environments. That’s the message coming from Army Futures Command and its generals. Read more

The DOD has a super-sized Super Bowl of its own this week.

About 113 million people around the world watched Super Bowl LVII, which means that nearly that many saw the Navy flyover and presentation of the flags by the U.S. Armed Forces Color Guard during the national anthem. But what you might not know is that the DOD has a much broader role in one of the most watched sporting events in the world. Read more

ICYMI Snippets

Defense Contract Awards

  • General Dynamics, Day & Zimmermann subsidiaries awarded $994M Army ammo contract.
  • Seven companies awarded positions on $250M contract for Army civil works.
  • Astranis wins $4.5M SBIR Phase 3 contract supporting Space Force.

Follow the Defense Leaders

  • Four retired Army generals, who served a total of 147 years in uniform, agree to join Valiant’s advisory board for miiltary training market strategy.

Defense Job Openings

INTEL COMMUNITY

Our top IC tech priorities are the same as our adversaries’, says CIA exec.

According to the Associate Deputy Director for Digital Innovation at the CIA, our adversaries are investing in the same intelligence community technology areas as the U.S., meaning the nation must act quickly to maintain technological dominance and its position in the global power competition. Read more

ICYMI Snippets

CIVILIAN

USPTO wondering if AI inventorship uncertainty requires change.

The USPTO is seeking AI-specific commentary in connection with its continued efforts to incentivize and protect innovation, including innovation enabled by AI, to ensure continued U.S. leadership in AI and other emerging technologies. Read more

Buy America, by Americans—OMB seeks input on harmonizing domestic preference regimes.

As previewed in President Biden’s State of the Union Address, the OMB has issued a proposed rule and notification of proposed guidance to improve uniformity and consistency in the implementation of Build America, Buy America (BABA) requirements. Read more

DoE CIO: Delivering modernization at scale requires culture shift.

Is there a magic recipe of products and services that can allow the Federal government to deliver for customers to realize modernization at scale? According to the DOE’s CIO the answer’s no, there’s no magic recipe. However, it turns out that delivering modernization at scale is about shifting the culture. Read more

ICYMI Snippets

Civilian Contracts Awards

  • State Department clears $250M IT services sale to Kuwait’s Military Medical Command.

Follow Civilian Leaders

  • Former GSA exec named Chief Solutions Officer at Leadership Connect.
  • Former GM at Teledyne joins Scientific Systems as Products VP.

Civilian Job Openings

  • FSIS needs an Executive Associate for Regulatory Operations.
  • Dept. of Commerce seeks Director, Office of Financial Management Systems.

M&A CORNER

Acorn Growth finalizes Black Sage sale to Highlander Partners.

Acorn Growth Companies, a middle-market defense and aerospace investor, has finalized its sale of Black Sage Technologies to private equity firm Highlander Partners. The transaction, which comes nearly four years after Acorn bought Black Sage, is part of the latter’s expansion strategy, according to Acorn Growth. Read more

LinQuest adds defense RDT&E Services through CAMO acquisition.

LinQuest has acquired Capability Analysis and Measurement Organization, in a move to provide research, development, test, and evaluation support to USSOCOM and other defense organizations. Read more

Advent-Maxar merger to proceed following completion of ‘go-shop’ period.

Private equity investment firm Advent International and Maxar Technologies are expected to continue their planned merger after Maxar, a geospatial intelligence services provider, did not receive a competing alternative offer during the go-shop period that expired. Read more

SHOWER THOUGHTS 🚿

 

There’s a reason these hot-ticket technologies are what contractors are investing in this year.

Do you often wake up in a cold sweat wondering what the most sought-after technologies are that government contractors will be investing in in 2023? Do you have the burning desire to, like a mystical clairvoyant,  foresee the impacts of these tools? Unanet CEO Craig Halliday’s got you covered. Read more

Why are federal agencies so damn slow at implementing GAO’s privacy recommendations?

A GAO report found that, of the 236 public recommendations GAO has made since 2010 related to the protection of collected personal data, only 96 have been implemented by federal agencies as of December 2022. Read more

TRIVIA ANSWER

ANSWER
A. Must have the support of a political party.

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Navy sets the pace on protecting infrastructure & tech, a deep dive on Jacobs, states battle bogus tax refund requests

QUICK HITS

  • States are battling bogus requests for refunds this tax season: This tax season, states are using new strategies to combat online tax fraud.
  • This isn’t the Jacobs you think you know: As recompetes for Jacobs’ recent wins approach, let’s explore how they’ve changed as a competitor.
  • RFP Management Approaches: what they are, how to write ’em: Don’t settle for lame content 😴 leading to low scores and lost contracts.
  • GSA FEDSIM winners and spenders: the return of the blog!: Explore some eye-opening analyses on FEDSIM spending and winners.

TRIVIA

DEFENSE & AEROSPACE

Navy “setting the pace” to protect tech, infrastructure.

The Navy is “setting the pace” among the services’ efforts to protect infrastructure and technology with pilot programs and a forthcoming cyber plan, according to the Navy’s principal cyber advisor. Read more

Army training looks to a virtual future.

If the Army’s top training officers are to meet the demands of ever-evolving multi-domain operations and Joint All-Domain Command and Control, they need to change their programs to adapt to more sophisticated battle environments. That’s the message coming from Army Futures Command and its generals. Read more

The DOD has a super-sized Super Bowl of its own this week.

About 113 million people around the world watched Super Bowl LVII, which means that nearly that many saw the Navy flyover and presentation of the flags by the U.S. Armed Forces Color Guard during the national anthem. But what you might not know is that the DOD has a much broader role in one of the most watched sporting events in the world. Read more

ICYMI Snippets

Defense Contract Awards

  • General Dynamics, Day & Zimmermann subsidiaries awarded $994M Army ammo contract.
  • Seven companies awarded positions on $250M contract for Army civil works.
  • Astranis wins $4.5M SBIR Phase 3 contract supporting Space Force.

Follow the Defense Leaders

  • Four retired Army generals, who served a total of 147 years in uniform, agree to join Valiant’s advisory board for miiltary training market strategy.

Defense Job Openings

INTEL COMMUNITY

Our top IC tech priorities are the same as our adversaries’, says CIA exec.

According to the Associate Deputy Director for Digital Innovation at the CIA, our adversaries are investing in the same intelligence community technology areas as the U.S., meaning the nation must act quickly to maintain technological dominance and its position in the global power competition. Read more

ICYMI Snippets

CIVILIAN

USPTO wondering if AI inventorship uncertainty requires change.

The USPTO is seeking AI-specific commentary in connection with its continued efforts to incentivize and protect innovation, including innovation enabled by AI, to ensure continued U.S. leadership in AI and other emerging technologies. Read more

Buy America, by Americans—OMB seeks input on harmonizing domestic preference regimes.

As previewed in President Biden’s State of the Union Address, the OMB has issued a proposed rule and notification of proposed guidance to improve uniformity and consistency in the implementation of Build America, Buy America (BABA) requirements. Read more

DoE CIO: Delivering modernization at scale requires culture shift.

Is there a magic recipe of products and services that can allow the Federal government to deliver for customers to realize modernization at scale? According to the DOE’s CIO the answer’s no, there’s no magic recipe. However, it turns out that delivering modernization at scale is about shifting the culture. Read more

ICYMI Snippets

Civilian Contracts Awards

  • State Department clears $250M IT services sale to Kuwait’s Military Medical Command.

Follow Civilian Leaders

  • Former GSA exec named Chief Solutions Officer at Leadership Connect.
  • Former GM at Teledyne joins Scientific Systems as Products VP.

Civilian Job Openings

  • FSIS needs an Executive Associate for Regulatory Operations.
  • Dept. of Commerce seeks Director, Office of Financial Management Systems.

M&A CORNER

Acorn Growth finalizes Black Sage sale to Highlander Partners.

Acorn Growth Companies, a middle-market defense and aerospace investor, has finalized its sale of Black Sage Technologies to private equity firm Highlander Partners. The transaction, which comes nearly four years after Acorn bought Black Sage, is part of the latter’s expansion strategy, according to Acorn Growth. Read more

LinQuest adds defense RDT&E Services through CAMO acquisition.

LinQuest has acquired Capability Analysis and Measurement Organization, in a move to provide research, development, test, and evaluation support to USSOCOM and other defense organizations. Read more

Advent-Maxar merger to proceed following completion of ‘go-shop’ period.

Private equity investment firm Advent International and Maxar Technologies are expected to continue their planned merger after Maxar, a geospatial intelligence services provider, did not receive a competing alternative offer during the go-shop period that expired. Read more

SHOWER THOUGHTS 🚿

 

There’s a reason these hot-ticket technologies are what contractors are investing in this year.

Do you often wake up in a cold sweat wondering what the most sought-after technologies are that government contractors will be investing in in 2023? Do you have the burning desire to, like a mystical clairvoyant,  foresee the impacts of these tools? Unanet CEO Craig Halliday’s got you covered. Read more

Why are federal agencies so damn slow at implementing GAO’s privacy recommendations?

A GAO report found that, of the 236 public recommendations GAO has made since 2010 related to the protection of collected personal data, only 96 have been implemented by federal agencies as of December 2022. Read more

TRIVIA ANSWER

ANSWER
A. Must have the support of a political party.

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🏛 How L3Harris won Aerojet, the best SDVOSB tech companies, GSA tests text notifications, two spying stories, more CIO-SP4 protests, HubZone map

QUICK HITS
  • State Department considers open source effort to track global conflicts: Up to and including war crimes in Ukraine. Take that, Putin!
  • New round of $50B CIO-SP4 protests underway: Failed bidders claim scoring threshold to advance to next round of procurement was arbitrary.
  • Small business participation in federal marketplace continues to decline: Despite $159B in awards.
  • In the meantime….check out the HubZone map, which is changing July 1. (also: SBA notice about it)
  • National cyberdefense strategy: What we can expect this time and what should be considered: New policy expected in the coming weeks.

DEFENSE & AEROSPACE

Launch demand remains high, despite industry struggles.

Despite concerns about the viability of many new launch vehicle developers, many in the industry say those vehicles are needed as demand for launch outstrips supply. During a SmallSat Symposium panel, spacecraft developers and launch integrators said that, even with the predictions of “bloodletting” among small launch companies because of technical and financial challenges, new vehicles are needed to meet growing demand.  Read more

AWS touts Modular Data Center for DOD.

Through the $9B Joint Warfighting Capability Contract, Amazon Web Services has added Modular Data Center, a cloud offering available to military customers operating in austere, low-latency conditions, such as battlefields and areas in crisis, with the use of ruggedized containers designed to be shipped almost anywhere in the world. Read more

“Out of control!” DOD reviews use of super-secret SAP classification for space programs and more.

DOD is reviewing how the department uses tightly restricted Special Access Program (SAP) classification not just for space programs, but across the department.  Many have argued that over-classification, especially the use of SAPs, is harming the ability to convey the growing space threats from adversaries to lawmakers, the public and allied/partner nations, and hampered cooperation with industry and foreign partners to mitigate those threats. Read more

ICYMI Snippets

  • Navy teams with Qualcomm to research 5G, artificial intelligence.
  • Launches of private Chinese rockets could double in 2023.
  • Army opens Tradewind Solutions Marketplace for artificial intelligence and machine learning.
  • Why are so many flying objects being discovered right now? There’s a reason, and it has to do with radars and speed.

Defense Contract Awards

  • ManTech‘s Advanced Systems subsidiary snags potential $22.95M DHA IT support contract.
  • Armed Forces Services Corp, DBA as Magellan Federal, won a bridge extension worth $11M from DHA for Recovery Coordination Program services.
  • Collins Aerospace lands $708M IDIQ for AF propeller manufacturing, engineering.

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Defense Job Openings

CHART (LAST WEEK’S SURVEY RESULTS)

(We don’t have a survey this week, but we will soon! We’re just taking a breather to enjoy all the awesome results we’ve had in the last few weeks!)

INTEL COMMUNITY

These pre-V Day romance scams are bound to break some hearts.

The FBI El Paso office is warning of romance scams this Valentine’s Day, and it wants to educate the public aboout them to protect your heart — and your wallet. “Romance scammers are liars and thieves, but they’re also master manipulators,” said the special agent in charge of the FBI El Paso Field Office. Read more

This man was the head of Mexico’s FBI — now he’s on trial for accepting cartel bribes.

Garcia Luna served as both the head of Mexico’s FBI and then in the president’s cabinet as secretary of Public Security — now, he stands accused of accepting millions of dollars at secret meetings with cartel bosses. Read more

ICYMI Snippets

  • More spying? An Iranian American was sentenced to 30 months in prison for attempting to illegally export US goods and technology to users in Iran, including the sanctioned Central Bank of Iran.
  • Day & Zimmerman has added for four CIA executives to its Strategic Advisory Board to help provide guidance on the company’s public sector work.
  • DARPA awarded Galois a $4.6M contract through Phase 3 of the Safety Documents program.
  • Innoplex names new VP of Intelligence.

 

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CIVILIAN

Top Senator says that not modernizing EHR is ‘not optional.’

Well, I guess that settles that. Amid the controversy swirling around the VA’s EHR rollout with Oracle Cerner, which has included House members calling the program’s funding into question, some have said that funding EHR is ‘not optional.’ But I remember learning in high school government class that the House holds the purse strings, so let’s see how this one plays out. Read more

Identity management, automation, common themes among four agencies move to zero trust.

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing, DHS Science and Technology Directorate, GSA, Technology Transformation Service, and the Army Software Factory have different paths toward the goal of zero trust, but the three organizations have common themes. Read more

What DOJ’s 2022 recovery stats reveal about FCA enforcement trends.

Earlier this month, the DOJ issued the False Claims Act (FCA) recovery statistics for fiscal 2022. While the $2.2B recovered by the Department and qui tam relators was down from the prior year, 2022 saw a record number of new FCA matters initiated. Read more

ICYMI Snippets

  • New GSA public benefits hub to test text notification.
  • Protest is ‘last resort’ to get GSA’s commercial platforms program to comply with the JWOD Act.
  • FDA Sources Sought: Enterprise Document and Record Management Platform (EDRMP)

Civilian Contracts Awards

Follow Civilian Leaders

  • OMB hires Partnership for Public Service executive for leadership role.
  • DSFederal, a woman-owned contractor focused on health IT and data analytics, named a former Leidos executive as CEO.
  • Cubic promotes an executive to serve as VP, GM of Secure Communications.
  • SeKON names a new CTO, who has years of experience with Navy.

Civilian Job Openings

M&A CORNER

Boecore acquires space scheduling provider Orbit Logic.

Colorado-based Boecore, an aerospace and defense contractor that is owned by private equity firm Enlightenment Capital, has acquired Orbit Logic, a provider of mission planning and scheduling software for satellite ground systems. Boecore focuses on systems engineering, cybersecurity, and software services. Read more

Tick Tock: How L3Harris won the race for Aerojet.

Count on us to help you with the “story behind the story.” New financial documents detail how Aerojet Rocketdyne’s second sale process essentially began with a boardroom split and ended with one last phone call to ensure it got the best price possible. Read more

End to End Enterprise Solutions targets AI/ML market with D2L Technologies purchase.

A service-disabled veteran-owned IT services company, End to End Enterprise Solutions has acquired D2K Technologies in a move to gain a share of the AI and ML market, ideally a “one stop shop” for customers to access advanced technology offerings such as autonomous and computer programming platforms. Read more

SHOWER THOUGHTS 🚿

Is it time to supercharge data infrastructure spending?

Data are valuable resources that when made accessible to researchers and leaders can be used to arm cities to boost their digital intelligence and bring essential services online, or to democratize AI by ensuring communities can take control of their own data and how it is shared. On the flip side, data access had disparate impacts on communities at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, where access to quality data and computing resources was limited. Read more

The generative AI race has a dirty secret: energy.

Large tech companies like Google and Microsoft are spending big money on buying generative AI tools to (hopefully) give users a richer, more accurate experience. But the excitement over these new tools could be concealing a dirty secret. The race to build high-performance, AI-powered search engines is likely to require a dramatic rise in computing power, and with it a massive increase in the amount of energy that tech companies require and the amount of carbon they emit. Read more

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🏛 IRS reconsiders $2.6B award, top VA EHR PEO leaving…apply now!, APBI save the date, GSA’s contracts oversight issues, HHS RFP updates,

QUICK HITS
  • IBM, Booz Allen get second shot at $2.6B IRS contract: after protests, discussions reopened with rejected bidders on modernization contract.
  • One more step away from the acquisition regulation that most vendors hate: GSA wants more use of Transactional Data Reporting.
  • How SBOMs can eventually help to secure government’s software supply chain: they are not yet required by any agency.
  • A top VA EHR official leaving position: Terry Adirim, PEO for VA’s Modernization Integration Office, will depart on Feb. 25.

PODCAST

GovBrew’s Shane Prosser is on this week’s episode of GovCon Giants! He talks about “Buying a small business versus starting one from scratch.”

DEFENSE & AEROSPACE

Defense inflation, workforce issues challenge defense contractors amid security pivot.

The U.S. defense and security establishment is refocusing on great power competition, as Russia’s war on Ukraine rages and as China asserts itself as a superpower in the Asia-Pacific region. For the defense industrial base, this challenge is compounded by adverse market conditions, industry officials told the House Armed Services Committee. Read more

Pentagon to release cyber workforce policy ‘any day now.’

The check is in the mail. The policy is about to be released. Take my word for it! With a recognition of job market realities, new cyber workforce initiatives that DOD officials plan to release soon will minimize education and certification requirement in favor of cyber knowledge and performance. Read more

Raj Iyer says next Army CIO needs more oversight power.

As he approaches his final days as Army CIO after more than two years in the position, Raj Iyer says that the next CIO needs to have more oversight power within the service. Iyer is the first civilian. An ideal candidate would be someone who “will ask a lot of tough questions,” he said. Read more

ICYMI Snippets

Defense Contract Awards

  • C3 AI, Intelligent Waves to provide solutions for AF crowd-sourced flight data program.
  • nTSI, LLC, a small business, was awarded a $637M MDA contract for MDS support and advance concpets.
  • Valiant books $530M DLA follow-on contract to support military food distribution operations.
  • AM General wins 10-year, $8.66B Army Joint Light Tactical Vehicle Production contract.

Follow the Defense Leaders

Defense Job Openings

  • DOD is hiring a program analyst for the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Threat Reduction and Arms Control.
  • Defense Threat Reduction Agency wants a director, Research and Development Directorate.
  • DOD is hiring a deputy director, Program and Financial Control.

INTEL COMMUNITY

APG releases APBI Save the Date.

Aberdeen Proving Ground officials have released the save the date for the Advanced Planning Brief to Industry (APBI) 2023: April 25-27, 2023. The goal of the APG APBI is to describe for industry potential future contracting opportunities for FY24-25 for mission areas, such as Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance; Research and Development; Test and Evaluation; Chemical and Biological Defense; and APG Garrison. Read more

ICYMI Snippets

 

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CIVILIAN

Leaky roofs, power outages are symptoms of deferred maintenance at NIST.

It turns out that NIST is apparently better at defining standards for other agencies, not so good at meeting its own standards, particularly with physical maintenance. A National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report has found that about 63% of NIST research facilities failed to meet federally established standards for acceptable building conditions.  Read more

OIG finds oversight issues with GSA’s performance-based contracts.

GSA, this one isn’t looking good! A watchdog found that GSA is failing to adequately providing performance-based contract oversight, which can result in underperforming contractors and wasted government funds. GSA contracting personnel produced performance reports that were “often incomplete or not available at all,” according to a new inspector general’s audit. Read more

Feds say ROI, CFOs are key to IT modernization funding.

At the ATARC Federal IT Modernization Summit, federal officials and modernization experts shared their tips on how to secure funding for IT modernization, with OMB officials sharing what they look for in exchange for their approval: a return on investment. Read more

ICYMI Snippets

Civilian Contracts Awards

  • NIH National Library of Medicine has awarded a one-month, $3M task order for server platforms to CounterTrade Products.
  • OmniSync Inc. wins $3M SBIR STTR DOE support services contract.

Follow Civilian Leaders

  • Jennifer Wendel, formerly section chief for enterprise IT governance in the Office of the CIO at FBI, joins HHS as deputy CIO.
  • Jake Marcellus has become executive director of GSA’s Enterprise Technology Solutions office.
  • Tom Edson becomes new CFO at Alpha Omega Integration.
  • Pyramid Systems Inc. names a new Chief Growth Officer with Fortune 100 sales experience.
  • Maximus names a new SVP who is an Accenture and IBM veteran.

Civilian Job Openings

  • VA is seeking an Assistant Deputy Under Secretary Automated Benefits Delivery.
  • Executive Office of the President is seeking an Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for S.E. Asia and Pacific.
  • National Transportation Safety Board is seeking a deputy director, regional operations.
  • VA is hiring a deputy PEO in the Electronic Health Record Modernization Office.

SHOWER THOUGHTS 🚿

Congress told HHS to set up a health data network in 2006. The agency still hasn’t.

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted communications and data-sharing shortcomings between various levels of public health, from local, state, and federal levels in emergencies. Congress ordered HHS officials in 2006 to begin planning for a health data network to be used in such instances, but although more than 16 years have passed, not only has the network not been implemented, it isn’t even planned. Read more

He was selling used cars. Now, he’s calling a Super Bowl.

Talk about an unusual career trajectory! Kevin Burkhardt’s unlikely path took him from selling Malibus in New Jersey to the biggest game in football, as the lead play by play broadcaster for Fox, with a long stop in a spot where anything can happen: the New York Mets. Read more

Online ‘Sextortion’ scams up eightfold, FTC says.

Nearly 70,000 Americans fell prey to romance scammers in 2022, at a cost of $1.3B, according to the FTC. There’s been a significant increase in ‘sextortion’ tactics, through which a scammer coaxes a victim to share sexually explicit images of themselves and then turns around and threatens to share those images with the victim’s social media contacts, unless a ransom is paid. Read more

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🏛 DOD RFPs, T4NG comments due, CISA at the Superbowl, NIH bid protest, DOD EHR platform at 11 clinics, crypto ads at Superbowl

QUICK HITS

  • Industry urges POTUS to pounce on CHIPS Act impact: The semiconductor industry is urging POTUS to maximize the Act post-annual address.
  • A quick-and-dirty guide to HUBZone sole source contracts: All the info you could ever ask for when it comes to HUBZone set-asides.
  • Lawmakers clash over unemployment insurance fraud: House members point fingers over fraudulent payouts from COVID-era programs
  • What to expect from new IT/cyber/innovation House subcommittee: What does it mean for federal IT and cybersecurity innovation?

TRIVIA

DEFENSE & AEROSPACE

To reach interoperability, Army strives for ‘persistent modernization’.

One Lt. Gen emphasizes the importance of software in his organization’s modernization efforts launched in order to work with the private sector to “iterate in real time” — goals like these are in keeping with his overarching strategy of “persistent modernization.” Read more

DOD’s EHR platform rolled out to 11 new clinics.

The DOD’s electronic health records system MHS Genesis has been implemented at 11 new military health clinics on the East Coast. The system, which uses Oracle Cerner Corp.’s Millennium platform, has been deployed by Leidos to military treatment facilities in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Virginia. Read more

How the Navy is creating the “nirvana of one combat system.”

The Navy is considering how best to equip ships and sailors to take advantage of fleetwide connectivity provided by Project Overmatch. The Integrated Combat System, a single hardware-agnostic software suite which all ships can tap into, will allow ships to conduct missions alone or in a group. Read more

ICYMI Snippets

Defense Contract Awards

Follow the Defense Leaders

  • Former director of Peraton’s NAVSEA programs promoted to Maritime Solutions VP.

Defense Job Openings

INTEL COMMUNITY

Azure Red Hat OpenShift for Microsoft Azure government launched.

Red Hat announced the general availability of Azure Red Hat OpenShift on Microsoft Azure for the Government, bringing together one of the industry’s leading enterprise Kubernetes platforms and the power and scale of Microsoft Azure to U.S. government agencies. Read more

Seven new members added to INSA board.

The Intelligence and National Security Alliance has welcomed seven new members to its 2023 Board of Directors. Led by Chairwoman Letitia A. Long, the 18-member board provides INSA with strategic guidance, direction, and business oversight. Read more

ICYMI Snippets

CIVILIAN

Chair of House VA Committee “open to any idea that holds VA and Oracle Cerner accountable.”

He’s seriously looking for proposals. One possibility: provide a more holistic approach to solving issues with the EHR system without reverting to its precursor system, the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture, known as VistA. Other ideas: scrape EHR program entirely. (That’ll teach ’em!) Read more

When picking IT projects to fund, OMB seeks evidence of zero trust.

Senior IT leaders at the White House assess a range of factors including an agency’s progress in adopting zero-trust architecture when deciding what technology projects to support as part of the larger federal budget request. Read more

Industry has just one week to weigh in on the next T4NG draft solicitation.

The VA isn’t paying much heed to contractors’ complaints that they do not have enough time to give meaningful comments on the first draft solicitation for this $60B IT services contract vehicle. Read more

ICYMI Snippets

Civilian Contracts Awards

Civilian Job Openings

Follow Civilian Leaders

SHOWER THOUGHTS 🚿

 

What’s the best way to close the Government’s digital divide?

Change is seldom easy. Yet for government and public sector executives, the need to modernize has never been greater, as there is a growing digital divide between constituent expectations and what many governments can offer. These five strategies may hold the answer for successful digital change in government. Read more

Are we going to see more crypto ads at this year’s Superbowl?

Super Bowl LVI was only a year ago, but when you look at some of those ads, it feels like a different era: one where the future of the internet was all about cryptocurrency, NFTs, and the metaverse. Companies that hadn’t even existed 10 or even three years prior spent big money promoting themselves as major Web3 players, and older, established companies tried to stake their claim in the same (crypto) world. That world wouldn’t last long. In the past year, Web3 fumbled and Big Tech stocks turned over. Now, AI is currently charging down the field as the hottest thing in a Silicon Valley that otherwise doesn’t have much to cheer for.  Read more

TRIVIA ANSWER

ANSWER: B

1981

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🏛 OPM wants to continuously vette feds, a rare protest happy ending, NSA wants laid off tech workers, Best proposal shops, FAA to modernize faster

QUICK HITS
  • Agencies seek public input on updates to guiding plan for cyber R&D: for the 2023 Federal Cybersecurity R&D Strategic Plan.
  • As Iyer exits, Army CIO holds more influence, authority: Iyer, who leaves the position this week, gave the CIO a greater seat at the table.
  • OPM aims to streamline fed employee screening with ‘continuous vetting:’ Feds would be subject to background investigations at any time.
  • White House digital theft EO expected to follow State of the Union address: EO will compel federal agencies to use Login.gov where possible.

DEFENSE & AEROSPACE

“More people are going to die!” DOD civilians in Japan face crisis of health care access.

Some U.S. civilians and military dependents and Japan are reporting that it’s increasingly difficult to receive time-sensitive healthcare service because there is less space available for them in military healthcare facilities. There is a longstanding policy of placing active duty military as the top priority for care. There are more than 6,000 civilians and a significant number of DOD contractor employees in Japan, and their circumstances can vary somewhat from installation-to-installation. Read more

Competitors become teammates: A call center protest happy ending.

Chenega Services and Ivy Hill were on opposite sides of the table in the $58.8M recomplete of a DHA call center competition, which Chenega Services won in July 2022. After Ivy Hill and incumbent Koniag Management Solutions filed protest, DHA took corrective action, and they awarded the contract to Ivy Hill. While Koniag filed a protest on Feb. 1, Chenega Services and Ivy Hill took the unusual step of partnering, with Ivy Hill becoming the new prime and Chenega Services becoming their subcontractor. Read more

SASC chairman outlines top 4 priorities for the year.

The SASC has plans. And those plans are: (1) examining how the military will fight on future battlefields, (2) exploring new weapon programs, (3) looking for ways to shore up the industrial base, (3) and taking better care of troops. Read more

ICYMI Snippets

Defense Contract Awards

  • V2X awarded $265M contract mod for enhanced Army global logistic enterprise support.
  • Northrop awarded $92M to equip military aircraft with IR countermeasures system.
  • Valiant to support military joint training program under $67M contract.
  • CACI signs CRADA with Army Space and Missile Defense Tech Center.

Follow the Defense Leaders

Defense Job Openings

CHART (LAST WEEK’S SURVEY RESULTS)

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INTEL COMMUNITY

NSA bills itself as a ‘soft landing place’ for laid off tech workers.

As the tech sector continues to experience a massive wave of layoffs—with tens of thousands of workers let go over the past several months by behemoths like Alphabet, Amazon, Meta and Microsoft—the NSA is joining the ranks of other federal agencies positioning themselves to benefit from the industry’s contraction.  Read more

How 3D & 4D data is changing GEOINT.

The rapid growth of commercial space has unlocked exciting new opportunities for the U.S. federal government. Many of these possibilities lie in the field of geospatial intelligence and space-based imagery, especially with the recent development of 3D and 4D capabilities. Read more

ICYMI Snippets

 

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CIVILIAN

House panel presses FAA to speed up modernization.

The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure pressed an FAA official on what it would take for the agency to modernize faster, including FAA’s plans to update a system that caused a nationwide ground stop last month. Read more

IRS not capturing true cost of IT footprint.

IRS is spending an additional $80B in funding over 10 years provided through the Inflation Reduction Act, but a new GAO report finds that the tax agency lacks timelines for decommissioning decades-old legacy systems and isn’t tracking how much they are paying for upkeep of out-of-date software. Read more

ICYMI Snippets

  • VA onboards health care workers at a record rate but still “far from where we need to be.”
  • NNSA plans $800M tech deployment program to combat illicit nuclear materials.
  • White House’s OSTP Deputy Director is resigning.
  • HHS’ version of DARPA seeks half a million in technical support.

Civilian Contracts Awards

Follow Civilian Leaders

Civilian Job Openings

M&A CORNER

Lone Star Funds to acquire ship repair services company Titan.

An affiliate of private equity firm Lone Star Funds has agreed to buy ship repair services provider Titan Acquisition Holdings from Carlyle and Stellex Capital Management for an undisclosed sum. Read more

Sidus Space raises $5.2M for LEO constellation.

Sidus Space has raised $5.2M from the stock market to support LizzieSat, a multipurpose constellation it expects to start deploying in low Earth orbit this year. The company sold shares on NASDAQ for $0.30 each, a steep discount to their $5 initial offering price in December 2021 after declining for much of the year. Read more

SHOWER THOUGHTS 🚿

ChatGPT is great: you’re just using it wrong.

A computer scientist writes a commentary on ChatGPT, which he claims is “better for playacting than playing at finding facts.” ChatGPT is not a super-charged version of Google, he argues, using a ChatGPT search for books about Abraham Lincoln and a second president, William Henry Harrison, to illustrate his point. Read more

Displacement and replacement: How tech layoffs can help the federal market.

With layoffs from large tech companies such as Alphabet, Dell, and Meta in the news seemingly daily, there is a way for agencies and contractors to attract highly skilled tech experts to the stability and mission of the federal government, as OPM and VA officials are showing they are eager to do. Read more

How do you write a State of the Union speech?

Read drafts out loud in front of a small audience and get feedback. Sure, we all do that, even for shortlist interviews. But what other tricks do speech-writers and speech-givers use in drafting the State of the Union? This article has some ideas that you can use during your own speeches. For starters, NO ACRONYMS! It prevents people from understanding whatever the speaker is saying. For someone with a stutter, adding notations–such as when to take a breath–helps keep speaking even-keeled. Other presidents have used notecards, breaking out the speech into small chunks, or rewriting the speech in his own handwriting. Read more

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🏛 Cybersecurity rules are coming, DOD’s 5G competition, Army plays Warhammer, BlueAlly buys n2grate, Spaceflight’s new CEO, US Central Command RFI

QUICK HITS
  • Army wants ideas from industry about autonomous, anti-drone capabilities: Army Futures Command considers modernization needs.
  • Cyberattacks on DOE National Labs draw Congress’ scrutiny: The attacks, allegedly Russian-based, occurred in August and September 2022.
  • Is the government’s cyber policy moving from partnership to command-and-control?: Is the White House showing a shift and toward cyber regulations, mandates and oversight?
  • Tougher cybersecurity rules may be more than a year away, but get ready. Independent checks, more reporting coming for contractors.

DEFENSE & AEROSPACE

To protect satellites, secure your networks, Chief of Space Ops say.

Attacks on ground networks can be “backdoor” assaults on the space-based capabilities that are key to modern warfare, Chief of Space Operations Gen. Chance Saltzman said. “Satellites in space are not useful if the linkages to them and the ground network that moves the information around that you get from satellites is not assured, is not capable, is not accessible.” Read more

RFI: AI-powered surveillance sought for US Central Command.

USAF officials are seeing industry input into their plans to install “always-on” surveillance systems fueled by AI and other advanced computing technology at sites overseen by U.S. Central Command, such as at Al Udeld Air Base in Qatar, and other undisclosed “forward locations.” Read more | Get the RFI

Pentagon kicks off 5G competition to upgrade base communications.

DOD is launching the latest 5G competition with millions of dollars on the table, a move it anticipates will shape the rollout of communication upgrades at military bases. Coming less than a year after a similar context, the “2023 5G Challenge: Advanced Interoperability” is being run in partnership with the Commerce Department. Read more

ICYMI Snippets

Defense Contract Awards

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Defense Job Openings

INTEL COMMUNITY

ARL to host Tech Assess ’23 (also: a RFI).

U.S. Army Research Lab (ARL) posted a RFI for the DEVCOM ARL Tech Assess ‘23: Evaluation of Unmanned Systems and Related Capabilities for Enhanced Mobility, Detection, and Teaming in Operational Environments. The goal if this RFI is to inform and accelerate Army modernization through innovation discovery, demonstration, and experimentation of autonomy/robotic technologies.  The intent is to accelerate the delivery of innovative capabilities to the warfighter by assessing the capabilities and technologies in operationally relevant environments. RFI packages are due February 22.  Read more

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CIVILIAN

Interior CIO says outdated policymaking hampering adoption of new tech.

Interior CIO Darren Ash said that outdated policies and processes shaped by wider political forces are hampering the adoption of new technology at federal agencies such as his. Ash became Interior’s CIO in September 2022 and has been focused on adopting a hybrid cloud environment and modernizing Interior’s IT infrastructure. Read more

Rep. Mace appointed chairwoman of House Oversight and Accountability Committee Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Information Technology and Government Innovation.

Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., has been appointed chairwoman of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee’s Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Information Technology, and Government Innovation for the 118th Congress. Say that three times fast! Read more

USCIS PACTS III $1.95B set-aside IDIQ: draft solicitation expected in late February.

Might as well start getting ready now! A senior advisory consultant said that he expects the USCIS Programmatics, Administration, Clerical & Technical Services (PACTS) III IDIQ draft solicitation to come out late this month. Following a virtual industry day in March, the final solicitation should come in early June, he wrote. Read more

ICYMI Snippets

  • SBA announces informational webinars for 2023 Growth Accelerator Fund competition, a $13M opportunity for STEM-related startups.
  • GSA seeks a builder for the CISA headquarters.
  • AFFIRM is hosting a virtual monthly speakers series, with the latest on Feb. 15 at 12 Noon on “Accelerating Acquisition in Government through Data.” Moderated by Jason Miller, executive editor of Federal New Network, the event features four federal speakers.

Civilian Contracts Awards

  • GovCIO books $139M Commodity Futures Trading Commission IT infrastructure support contract.
  • VHA awards $143M Office of Regulations, Appeals, and Policy Support Services task order to Aptive HTG: a JV between Aptive and ERPi (new ECS).
  • NIH awards $2M OEPR Knowledge Management System Support Services IDIQ.
  • VA awards $5M, one-year contract for Office of Acquisitions and Logistics support services to Echo Five Group. The contract is a SDVOSB.

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DAILY FUNNY

M&A CORNER

BlueAlly expands federal market footprint with n2grate acquisition.

BlueAlly Technology Solutions, a Source Capital portfolio company, announced that it has acquired n2grate Government Technology Solutions, an IT solutions firm specialized in delivering strategic information technology services for large commercial and government clients. Read more

Investment firm Highlander buys counter-UAS tech maker Black Sage.

 Highlander Partners, L.P. announced the acquisition of Black Sage Technologies from Acorn Growth Companies. Black Sage is a multi-mission platform provider of Counter Unmanned Aircraft Systems and security solutions for military, internal security, and critical infrastructure industries. Read more

SHOWER THOUGHTS 🚿

Limits to computing: A computer scientist explains why even in the age of AI, some problems are just too difficult.

There are two aspects to a computer’s power: the number of operations its hardware can execute per second and the efficiency of the algorithms it runs. The hardware speed is limited by the laws of physics. Algorithms – basically sets of instructions – are written by humans and translated into a sequence of operations that computer hardware can execute. Even if a computer’s speed could reach the physical limit, computational hurdles remain due to the limits of algorithms. Read more

NIST researcher calls for further evaluation of AI impact on humans.

As artificial intelligence chatbots and platforms become increasingly available for public use, a leading government researcher is urging the technology community to adopt a risk-based approach and look beyond technical specifications and further study the impact AI can have on individuals and society, including its potential misused by criminals. Read more

New Pentagon rules keep many military court records secret.

Despite a 2016 law requiring transparency, wouldn’t you know it, but the Pentagon is limiting public access to court records in the military justice system. A recent ProPublica lawsuit appears to have spurred the new Pentagon guidance. Read more

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