Clearance! Get Your Clearance Here!

An Executive Order (EO) proposed in June will transfer the governmentwide security clearance program from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the National Background Investigations Bureau (NBIB) to the Pentagon.

DoD is preparing to restructure and reorganize personnel and resources to take over the security clearance program. Their effort has been ongoing since Congress authorized the department to take responsibility for defense-only background investigations in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act.

DoD plans to merge the NBIB workforce with the Defense Security Service, along with several defense entities, to form a new security clearance organization. Although only Congress can create a new agency, DoD has the latitude to restructure existing functions.

The new agency, likely to be called the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA) will have upwards of 10,000 employees. The employees will include both federal and contracted investigators. Employees will come from NBIB and the Defense Security Service’s current workforce of approximately 900 employees. DCSA will have two additional “clearing arms”: a Critical Technology Protection Center and a Counterintelligence and Analysis Center. Ultimately DCSA will serve as the governmentwide security clearance provider.

The goal is to decrease waits for clearances, which is currently absurdly long. People graduating from college and offered a government job, pending a clearance, often are lost to other companies due to long waits for their clearances. The government wants a less expensive workforce and newer technologies,  but cannot get it until they have the cleared personnel.

If you have clearance questions, give us a call at 301-913-5000.

 

One and Done! – Highly Adaptive Cybersecurity Services (HACS) update to Schedule 70

The field of cybersecurity has grown substantially since the initial launching of the four HACS in 2016. This growth has led GSA to restructure the original HACS SINS 132-45 (A-D) into a single HACS SIN, 132-45, with subcategories of cybersecurity services.

Federal agencies use large complex network and data systems to maintain and manage many forms of data and information, including High Value Assets that hold sensitive information critical to national and economic security. As a result, the proposed restructure will include the following full set of HACS SIN services:

• High-Value Asset Assessments

• Risk and Vulnerability Assessment (RVA)

• Incident Response

• Penetration Testing

• Cyber Hunt

The four current HACS SINs will be deleted from the solicitation and added as subcategories under the new HACS SIN 132-45.

Please feel free to give us a call at 301-913-5000 if you’d like to discuss your cybersecurity solutions for GSA Schedule 70.

 

!!!! E Pluribus Unum (Schedule) !!!!

GSA announced it will modernize federal acquisition by consolidating the agency’s 24 Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) into one single Schedule (!!!!) for products and services. This sole Schedule will have one set of terms and conditions, bringing consistency in contracting practices, across the board.

Can it be true? We’re not quite sure how they will implement this. Will there still be individual acquisition centers? Will this be kind of like the current OOCorp system, wherein MOBIS-like services remain in Washington, video products are out of Philadelphia, etc.? That’s our bet. But we also believe that this will not be a smooth transition for contracting officers, let alone contractors!

Consolidating Schedules is part of GSA’s Federal Marketplace strategy to make the government buying and selling experience easy, efficient, and modern.  GSA’s strategic goal is to establish the agency as the premier provider of efficient and effective acquisition solutions across the government.

The consolidation is supposed to make it easier for government agencies to obtain products and services because the purchasing agents won’t have to search multiple Schedules. GSA states that this means industry can bring their offerings to the federal marketplace using a solutions-based approach, which more closely aligns with the way agencies are buying.

Consolidating to one Schedule reflects this feedback obtained by GSA from stakeholders who shared their ideas to improve the Schedules experience.

GSA is taking a measured and phased approach (!!)  over two years to transform the Schedules. They promise to incorporate stakeholder feedback throughout the consolidation process.

EZGSA is here to answer all of your questions or just chat about the big announcement at 301-913-5000.

 

 

HUBZone Relief!

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is proposing major changes to the Historically Underutilized Business Zone or HUBZone program. The Federal Register defines a HUBZone as, “small business concerns are those that have a principal place of business located in a HUBZone and 35 percent of their employees residing in one or more HUBZones. After SBA certifies eligible businesses into the program, they become eligible for HUBZone contracting preferences. HUBZone areas are generally defined as areas with low income levels, high poverty and unemployment rates, Indian reservations, closed military bases, or disaster areas.”

SBA is seeking comments on the following:

  • eliminating the burden on HUBZone small businesses to continually demonstrate that they meet all eligibility requirements at the time of each offer and award for any HUBZone contract;
  • requiring only annual recertification;
  • allowing small firms to count employees as living in a HUBZone if they move out of the area after initial certification or if the area no longer qualifies as a HUBZone.

You have more than a month to comment, so let SBA know what you think. Submit all comments with the identifier RIN 3245-AG38 by either the Federal eRulemaking Portal or mail (for written, CD, or disk submissions) to Mariana Pardo, Director, HUBZone Program, 409 Third Street SW, Washington, DC 20416.   (Federal Register)

Give us a call for assistance with your comments at 301-913-5000.

Looking Down from the Cloud

Cloud.gov offers federal agencies one-stop access to a secure platform for web application development. Since its inception three years ago, GSA has managed the back-end server infrastructure; now they want to come down off the cloud. GSA is looking for a vendor to support the platform, which in turn offers a platform support to other agencies.

A RFI has been released to gather information from industry about the best means to support the cloud.gov system.

The current cloud.gov product offers agencies three tiers of service:

  • a free “sandbox” platform to experiment with fresh ideas;
  • a “prototyping” backend platform for $1,250 a month per office or program; and
  • a full “production” platform, where apps can be pushed out to users.

The latter offering includes an authority to operate—a verified cybersecurity posture—at a low level for $1,667 a month and at the moderate level for $7,500 a month.

The RFI lists 14 specific tasks the vendor will be asked to perform, including maintaining the front- and back-end infrastructure, using agile methods to develop and deploy code, monitoring GitHub pull requests and fixing issues, and improving the site’s automated monitoring and alert system for identifying operational failures and potential security issues.

The contract will be awarded quickly with a start date of October 2019 and options to extend through October 2020.

In a twist, the RFI template for Cloud.gov itself rests in the cloud. Contracting officers posted the RFI as a Google doc survey with just nine questions for respondents. Responses are due by 4 p.m. Nov. 20.

If you need help pulling together your responses, give us a call at 301-913-5000.