September 11, 2023

DOI mixed reality for parks, DHS ICE ESC Mod RFI, IRS crackdown, FedRAMP guidance, CMMC 2.0 rule, USSC new CDO, young students don’t remember 911


  • New FedRamp guidance forthcoming as the cloud marketplace evolves: SaaS and PaaS dominates the landscape.

  • Federal agencies are running up against an IT security deadline: CIOs face CDM program deadline amid shutdown anxiety.

  • Uncertainty at the top blurs Marines Corps’ work on FY25 budget: As a result of hold on approval of nominations.

  • White House nominates FAA administrator: He is presently the COO of a Hyundai affiliate developing an air taxi.


Eric Schmidt-led panel pushing for new defense experimentation unit to drive military adoption of generative AI.

National security experts are calling on the Pentagon to establish a new “Defense Experimentation Unit” to more deliberately enable deep and accelerated exploration of generative AI capabilities — particularly as China pursues its own rapid adoption of the powerful and still-unpredictable emerging tech. Read more

The Navy is drowning with data it doesn’t know what to do with.

The Navy hasn’t yet figured out how to make best use of the data it collects—and transmitting it while at sea is a chief concern. “Transport is still that one thing that we kind of take for granted in this equation,” when talking about operationalizing data and artificial intelligence, Chris Cleary, the Navy’s principal cyber advisor said. Read more

DISA’s Skinner: Embrace AI but proceed with caution.

While it’s clear that AI is here to stay, a top DOD tech official said this week that DOD must embrace the technology, but also proceed with caution. Lt. Gen. Robert Skinner said there are specific use cases for AI that the dept should consider implementing now, such as taking over repetitive tasks. Read more

ICYMI Snippets

Defense Contract Awards

  • Air Force chooses ELB Services/Summit Tech JV for $600M mission software support contract.

  • DARPA picks RTX, Draper Labs, and BEAM to help develop wireless energy web for drones.

  • Serco awarded $125M contract to deliver naval ship design integration.

  • Northrop Grumman awarded $47M Littoral Combat Ship Mission Module engineering and sustainment support contract.

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Defense Job Openings



ULA's Atlas 5 launches National Reconnaissance Office mission.

A National Reconnaissance Office mission flew to geostationary Earth orbit Sept. 10 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket. The rocket lifted off at 8:47 a.m. Eastern from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Read more

ICYMI Snippets

  • SOCOM awards $161M ISR Support contract ceiling increase to three vendors.

  • ManTech drops another protest involving $4.5 billion AF intelligence contract.

  • Dorrean wins $14M FBI Administrative and Professional Support contract.

  • RFI: DHS ICE - ECS Modernization Stabilization, Enhancements, and Sustainment Support (SESS), Due Sept. 21.


DATA/ CHART: Llya Strebulaev, Venture Capital Initiative, Stanford Graduate School of Business (08/2023)

Government, non-profit, and military organizations that produce unicorn 🦄 founders

What’s a unicorn founder? A unicorn founder is a privately held startup company that has achieved a valuation of over $1 billion.

Although IDF vets are way more likely to start unicorns than civilians, it’s important to note that military service is mandatory in Israel. Regardless, the numbers that Professor Llya Strebulaev pulled together are fascinating.

Here’s a breakdown of the odds:

  • Israel Defense Forces 3.1

  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory 2.1

  • U.S. Air Force 1.7

  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute 1.6

  • NASA 1.2

  • The White House 0.9

  • United States Dept of Defense 0.8

  • U.S. Army 0.6

  • National Institute of Health (NIH) 0.3

  • U.S. Navy 0.3

Interested in seeing the full analysis? Check it out here on Linkedin.


Interior eyes Microsoft’s mixed reality tool for national parks tours.

The “smart parks” concept would potentially use Microsoft’s HoloLens, a goggle-like tool that projects images in a user’s visual display, to allow visitors to view things like historical reenactments, dinosaurs, or aliens while in the park. Maybe we can use augmented reality to live out our “127 Hours” rock climbing dreams? DOI’s Andrea Brandon calls it “aspirational” but we say it definitely needs to happen. Read more

State Department looks to satellite communications for emergencies in embassies around the world.

The State Department is focused on building out satellite communications that would allow it to have affordable and reliable communications via phones and laptops, particularly during emergencies, in U.S. embassies around the world, CIO Kelly Fletcher said. Read more

IRS to crack down on wealthy, seeks hundreds of millions in back taxes.

With an increase in funding enabling the agency to hire new agents and invest in resources such as AI tools, IRS officials plan to aggressively pursue 1,600 millionaires and 75 large business partnerships that owe hundreds of millions in back taxes. Read more

ICYMI Snippets

  • “Our labs can totally do this research...if you give us lots of money for it.” DOE officials say they can lead fed approach for AI R&D efforts.

  • HHS looks to improve cybersecurity coordination.

  • Social Security Advisory Board urges quick action on SSA nominee, end to 6-year terms.

  • PMA survey finds feds only 'somewhat' satisfied with IT.

  • CIRCIA, CMMC inch closer with rulemaking marathons nearing crucial stage.

Civilian Contracts Awards

  • Deloitte wrestles away $93M TSA Computer Network Defense and IT Support BPA.

  • USDA ARS awards $75M AFM Financial Support Services Multiple-Award BPA.

  • Dynamic Government Resources (a SDVOSB JV) wins VA JAL Federal Health Care IT Ops, Sustainment, and Infrastructure Support contract.

  • USDA ARS awards $75M AFM Financial Support Services BPA to NextStep Techn, Pembroke, and TFC Consulting.

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Civilian Job Openings


Saab completes acquisition of CrowdAI in the U.S.

Saab has acquired CrowdAI to enhance the company’s capabilities in emerging and disruptive technologies such as AI and machine learning. The acquisition of CrowdAI will enable Saab to integrate AI / ML technologies within Saab’s portfolio. Read more

Dcode venture capital fund gets JP Morgan backing.

Dcode Capital, a women-led venture capital fund based in Washington, D.C., has secured an investment from J.P. Morgan Asset Management to help accelerate its own investments into tech startups focused on serving government agencies. Read more


How better forecasts can separate your company from the field.

When companies talk about differentiation, they mostly talk about a technology offering or methodology that helps them stand out from their competitors. But the results of Unanet’s 2023 GAUGE report identify another area of differentiation that many companies overlook: forecasting. Read more

Here’s what OpenAI really wants.

OpenAI’s road to relevance really started with its hire of an as-yet-unheralded researcher named Alec Radford, who joined in 2016, leaving the small Boston AI company he’d cofounded in his dorm room. After accepting OpenAI’s offer, he told his high school alumni magazine that taking this new role was “kind of similar to joining a graduate program”—an open-ended, low-pressure perch to research AI. The role he would actually play was more like Larry Page inventing PageRank. Radford, who is press-shy and hasn’t given interviews on his work, responds to questions about his early days at OpenAI via a long email exchange. His biggest interest was in getting neural nets to interact with humans in lucid conversation. This was a departure from the traditional scripted model of making a chatbot, an approach used in everything from the primitive ELIZA to the popular assistants Siri and Alexa—all of which kind of sucked. Read more

None of my students remember 9/11.

It’s been so long since 9/11 that the younger generation doesn’t remember it. For them, it’s all ancient history…like the Vietnam War was for most of us. Read about how this college professor has tried to teach about the momentus day in our nation’s history, including how to talk about terrorism or about how intelligence failures led to the day. Read more

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