Innovate and Create Opportunities!

A number of federal agencies are updating their acquisition strategies to attract small technology businesses and innovators, in an effort to speed up the time-to-market of technology solutions. (Fedscoop, April 2019) Here’s a breakdown:

  •  The National Science Foundation (NSF) – In 2017, the NSF published “Ten Big Ideas” for investing in tech pilots. The first two of these — harnessing the data revolution (a proprietary type Siri)  and the future of work — are moving forward. NSF is shaking things up a bit by looking at startups and nonprofits to award a $1 million planning grant toward phase two delivery. Past proposals were only accepted from academia. (ibid)
  • The Department of Homeland Security (DHS)  – The Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP) within DHS operates like a startup, including in its acquisition process and a similar talent pool. SVIP has shortened their proposals to just 10 pages with a 15-minute pitch followed by a 15-minute question/answer period. Awards are now made within 24 hours as opposed to the month-long timeframe previously experienced by potential awardees. (ibid)
  • The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – Customs and Border Protection are currently involved with the Internet of Things security interacting with blockchain and distributed ledger tech. Recently SVIP issued an RFP for a solution to issue credentials, using blockchain or ledger technology. (ibid)
  • The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) – TSA is hoping to speed up the checkpoint process. Using similar solutions, Customs will track the movement of oil from Canadian pipelines. (ibid)
  • The Cyber Apex Solutions Consortium (CASC) – CASC is working with DHS within the financial services sector to identify cybersecurity solutions. With varying budgets, generally due to the size financial entities, they plan on pulling together tech components to create solutions. DHS takes into consideration the consortium’s recommendations, then chooses the solutions to fund in order to solve the issue. (ibid)

With the time to respond to RFPs growing shorter and technology changing so quickly, contractors must be more nimble than ever in their ability to resolve federal agency issues.

Are you aware of the many new strategies federal agencies are deploying to solve their tech issues? Give us a call at 301-913-5000 if you’re interested in discussing some.

 

TSA = Try Speedy Action?

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) powers that be can stress out, just like TSA lines can stress us all out, especially running late for a flight. But to keep lines short and travelers safe, TSA requires the latest technology, which often becomes antiquated while in testing/evaluation. (Nextgov, April 2019Now the agency is turning to contractors to help speed the timeline.

In 2014 TSA began work on a third-party testing program, finalizing it this January. (Prior to 2014 TSA relied on the Homeland Security Department’s Science and Technology Directorate to provide testing teams and data.) The new third-party testing allows TSA to review and accept data from external data sources and includes third-party testing organizations for use in system evaluation, per a Request For Information (RFI) posted in Fedbizopps last week. (ibid)

TSA wants to step away from the process, handing it off to a contractor that can handle the entire testing lifecycle, including managing cooperation between the manufacturer, industry provider, and testing organization. According to the RFI, bidding companies must already maintain a stable of pre-vetted/qualified testing organizations for all required areas, prior to their bid submission. (ibid)

Fedbizopps shows that TSA will consider small businesses and consortiums of multiple complementing firms and of potential third-party testing organizations. (ibid)

Questions are due by 29 April, RFI responses by noon on 22 May.

Interesting, huh? This could be worth a lot of money to the right contractors. Call us at 301-913-5000 if you’d like to discuss the RFI requirements further.

Couple of Specifics in 00Corp Refresh

The latest Refresh 34 of the Solicitation introduced some major changes in the requirements for the PSS (00CORP) schedule.

The Solicitation added a new Clause SCP-FSS-008 applicable only to offers under 00CORP. Below is directly from the Solicitation:

      1. Add new Provision SCP-FSS-008 Specific Proposal Submission Instructions for Schedule 00CORP – PSS. Provision SCP-FSS-002 no longer applies to offers submitted under 00CORP – PSS. SCP FSS-008 makes the following changes to proposal instruction requirements:
      2. Only one project experience is required per each SIN
      3. No project substitutions are allowed
      4. All training courses proposed must have training course descriptions; all products or ODCs must have descriptions
      5. All additional proposal instructions specific to PSS SINs are removed from the SIN descriptions and included in SCP-FSS-008.

We’ll continue looking into the changes, but call us in the mean time at 301-913-5000 if you have any questions.

Veterans Affairs is Getting Cloud-y

The Department of Veterans Affairs is moving all of its new and current applications to the cloud. At the recent ACT-IAC’s Health Innovation Summit, a spokesman said, “the target is 350 applications, which is about roughly half of our portfolio, [to be] moved to the cloud by 2024.”(Fedscoop, April 10, 2019)

This announcement follows the VA’s recent move toward a modernized electronic health record and secure tele-health capabilities. Each of these actions will give veterans the ability to access their information faster and more efficiently. (ibid)

At the recent summit, an example of the importance of moving to the cloud was provided: in 2017  Hurricane Harvey left a number of Veterans Benefits Administration regional offices closed in southern Texas. VA “had just migrated some Veterans Benefits resources and materials into the cloud, and when all of those regional offices and sub-offices were shut down, every one of those rating specialists and the folks in Veterans Benefits Administration was able to continue their work without the facility being in operation.” (ibid)

The Subcommittee on Technology Modernization, within the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee continues to closely watch VA modernization efforts. As recently as last week, the House committee asked about the progress of the tool being developed to give veterans better access to non-VA community care. The representative testified that the tool will be ready by June. (ibid)

Have questions about the Department of Veterans Affairs move to the cloud? Give us a call at 301-913-5000.

GSA is bumping up cybersecurity offerings

GSA recently announced a restructure of the Highly Adaptive Cybersecurity Services (HACS) Special Item Number (SIN) to include a greater range of cyber services. The new format addresses the government’s need to protect high-value assets and enables federal agencies to purchase proactive and reactive cybersecurity services.  (Fifth Domain, April 2, 2019)

According to GSA Acting Assistant Commissioner Bill Zielinski, “The restructured HACS solution on IT Schedule 70 will provide federal agencies with easier access to services and solutions to protect large complex network and data systems, including [high-value assets] that hold sensitive information critical to national and economic security.” (ibid)

GSA is consolidating the four original SINs under HACS into a single SIN with the following five subcategories:

  • High-Value Asset Assessments
  • Risk and Vulnerability Assessment
  • Cyber Hunt
  • Incident Response
  • Penetration Testing (ibid)

Have questions about the restructuring of IT Schedule 70 or if you are affected by the change? Give us a call at 301-913-5000.