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.