business

February 8, 2021
By Maryann Lawlor
Lisa Shea Mundt, co-founder of The Pulse of GovCon, led the small business mergers and acquisitions discussion with (l-r) Kristjan Kornmayer, the senior director at the Chertoff Group LLC; Josh Heacock, director of CSP Associates; and Bob Kipps, founder, KippsDeSanto & Co.

Residential real estate isn’t the only hot market these days. While the pandemic has negatively affected hundreds of industry sectors, it has had little to no effect on mergers and acquisitions in the government contractor arena.

Experts in the fields of business strategy, transaction due diligence, finances and investments discussed the mergers and acquisitions (M&A) topic during a member-only AFCEA webinar presented in an “ask the expert” format. Lisa Shea Mundt, co-founder of The Pulse of GovCon, moderated the discussion about topics based on questions collected from registrants prior to the event.

November 25, 2020
By Maryann Lawlor
A traveler inserts her driver’s license into a new credential authentication technology unit at BWI Airport. In response to COVID-19, the TSA has purchased and continues to contract for innovative technologies that protect its personnel and data as well as travelers. Credit: Photo courtesy of TSA

When COVID-19 started ravaging the U.S. travel industry economically, the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA's) contracting and procurement division had to put gear into place to prevent the spread of the virus in environments that are literally the hub for millions of customers every day. Bill Weinberg, the assistant administrator for contracting and procurement, who began at the agency this month, understands the organization must continue to move quickly to ensure both the security and the safety of both its passengers and the agency’s workforce.

October 4, 2018
By Maryann Lawlor
The RoboCup competitions are an opportunity for the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate to work with other government agencies to bring emerging technologies to fruition faster. Courtesy of DHS S&T.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has reorganized its research and development (R&D) structure to more rapidly transition technology capabilities into operations and respond to emerging threats.

William N. Bryan, the senior official performing the duties of the undersecretary for science and technology, DHS, explains the revitalized configuration enhances the focus on the needs of the DHS operational components and homeland security operators across all levels of government.

October 3, 2017
By Theresa Payton
Nearly every business has an app, and if the app is not secure, neither is the business.

Apps are one of the main channels consumers use to interact with your business, and nearly every business has one. Because of this, apps are an evident touch point of vulnerability. Cybercriminals have become increasingly sophisticated over the past few years, making app hacks difficult to spot. In fact, most organizations find out too late they’ve been hacked and are left to deal with damage control.

But how can you tell if your company’s app has been compromised? Keep an eye out for these three clues in your everyday operation:

The app isn’t acting by design.

January 14, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
Antonio Doss (l), district director of the SBA’s Washington Metropolitan Area District Office, talks about a major rule change during AFCEA's Small Business Committee meeting.

A Small Business Administration (SBA) venture slated to kick off this summer could bring about substantial changes for all small businesses as the agency establishes a governmentwide mentor-protege program. 

SBA officials are putting the finishing touches on rule changes that essentially would clone the agency’s 8(a) Business Development mentor-protege program and offer it to the rest of the nation’s small businesses, said Antonio Doss, district director of the SBA’s Washington Metropolitan Area District Office.

November 12, 2015
Maryann Lawlor
Simon Sinek encourages organizations to "start with why" in his TED talk.

The other day a colleague and I were in getting our morning coffee, and we started talking about AFCEA’s purpose. We don’t work in the same department, so we bring different perspectives to the topic.

I said all associations needed to ask themselves why they exist. I brought up a TED talk I’d seen a while ago about the reasons some businesses succeed and some don’t. The presenter, Simon Sinek, proposes that businesses that succeed ask why they are doing something: “What’s your purpose? What’s your cause? What’s your belief? … Why does your organization exist, and why should anyone care?”

April 28, 2015
By Maryann Lawlor

Although cybersecurity has been getting a lot of well-deserved attention lately, 90 percent of companies recently surveyed admit that their organizations have invested in a security technology that was ultimately discontinued or scrapped before or soon after deployment. The survey also revealed that the most important metrics are the least reliable. For example, although 70 percent of respondents said return on investment and total cost of ownership are critical metrics for investment and measurement of a technology’s economic benefits, the same number said it is difficult to calculate these metrics.

August 14, 2014
By George I. Seffers

Some of the hackers who have persistently attacked Lockheed Martin’s networks have “gone quiet” in recent months, officials told reporters yesterday at an Arlington, Virginia, media summit hosted by the company’s recently restructured Defense and Intelligence Solutions division. “We’ve seen a number of the adversaries—I wouldn’t say they’ve disappeared—but they’ve gone quiet,” said Darrell Durst, Lockheed Martin’s vice president, cyber solutions. “I think we have been able to counter a number of the adversaries relative to our networks.”

July 31, 2014
By Jessica Gulick

Innovation comes in many forms. From gradual evolution or through disruptive processes; as a result of revolutionary thinking or from a confluence of ideas from different entities that share a common goal. Today, we’re seeing more and more innovation blossoming from partnerships among seemingly disparate groups all looking for similar outcomes, whether they concern peace, productivity or profit.

July 21, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Office of Information and Technology awarded its fourth and final contract for its Transformation Twenty-One Total Technology (T4) contract to help veterans navigate technical access to health care services.

July 16, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Information and Technology awarded a contract for technical management support services for its Health Products Support (HPS), an effort to provide seamless benefits and services to U.S. veterans.

Under the contract, Creative Computing Solutions Incorporated (CCSi) will provide the VA with two teams of subject matter experts to improve processes and manage the system workload and increased operational tempo.

The contract is part of the VA’s Transformation Twenty-One Total Technology (T4) contract vehicle. CCSi won the contract with a one-year base period of performance and the option of extending for two more years.

July 10, 2014
By Maryann Lawlor

Research on the state of cybersecurity of the U.S. critical infrastructure companies reveals that 67 percent have experienced at least one security compromise that led to the loss of confidential information or disruption to operations during the past year. In addition, 24 percent of a survey’s respondents said the compromises involved insider attacks or negligent privileged information technology users. Only 6 percent provide cybersecurity training for all employees.

July 9, 2014
By Maryann Lawlor

Kent Schneider, AFCEA’s president and chief executive officer, has called the 2013 U.S. Defense Department’s budget woes “the perfect storm.” Budget cuts, travel restrictions and sequestration converged to create an atmosphere of uncertainty and indecision. For the services, this meant a bit of scrambling to determine how reduced funding could have the least impact on national security. For the defense industry, it became a time of reaction and cutbacks, or at least flat budgets.

July 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The inertial navigation system (INS) market size is estimated to be $2.75 billion in 2014 and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 10.98 percent to reach $4.63 billion by 2019, according to Research and Markets, a Dublin-based market analysis firm. Though North America and Europe have the largest market for INS in terms of commercial and defense aviation, military and naval applications, a lot of INS development programs have been launched in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East.

May 15, 2014
By Maryann Lawlor

The late Vice Adm. Arthur K. Cebrowski, USN (Ret.), looks over my shoulder as I work in my home office. His picture graced the May 2003 cover of SIGNAL Magazine, highlighting an article Clarence A. Robinson Jr., wrote based on an interview with the admiral. I was lucky enough to escort SIGNAL’s freelance photographer to take the photo of Adm. Cebrowski when he led the charge for change as the director of the U.S. Defense Department’s Office of Force Transformation. I received a cover photo plaque that hangs in my home office for my effort, though it really wasn’t necessary.

January 15, 2014
By Maryann Lawlor

Year-in-review news features are a staple when New Year’s Eve rolls around and are a nice walk down memory lane. But as 2014 dawned, another trend came over the horizon: a plethora of predictions. It could be that social media inspires the urge to share more opinions, or maybe people are just feeling more optimistic about the future with the U.S. budget woes finally being addressed—at least to some degree.

December 3, 2013
 

Eight emerging cybersecurity technologies developed by the Department of Energy’s National Laboratories will be featured at the Transition-to-Practice Technology Demonstration Day for Investors, Integrators and IT Companies East event on December 18 in Washington, D.C. The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate will unveil new capabilities for intrusion detection, removable media protection, software assurance and malware forensics.

October 24, 2013
 

Defense sector-specific solutions are driving growth in the cybersecurity market and will continue to do so through 2016. According to a Research and Markets report, the escalating amount of data stored in defense information systems and the increased number of cyberthreats are a major driver of this trend. As a result, companies are focusing on developing security products dedicated specifically to the defense sector.

September 30, 2013
 

Industry and government personnel believe that event cancellations and travel restrictions are having a negative impact on innovation and collaboration. According to one survey, the massive decrease in conferences that facilitate intelligence gathering and networking will adversely affect government contractors’ abilities to provide the most up-to-date information, solutions and best practices that government agencies require.

August 20, 2013
 

 

August 21, 2013
 

 

The U.S. Army is conducting a full and open competition to acquire more quantities of the Rifleman Radio and also will soon open competition for purchasing additional Manpack radios. The draft request for proposals (RFP) seeking solutions from all industry partners for the Rifleman is now available, and an informational industry day will be followed by the release of the formal RFP.

July 29, 2013
 

To facilitate innovation development, Sandia National Laboratories is building a portfolio of intellectual property (IP) that businesses can license in as little as an hour. The ready-to-sign licenses feature simplified language and pared-down terms, conditions and reporting requirements. Up-front fees are in the $3,000 range, and royalty percentages are low.

July 18, 2013
 

General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems has created a portal to facilitate collaboration among experts from multiple industries in a secure, controlled, cooperative environment. GDNexus matches innovative solutions to customer requirements across the defense, federal government, intelligence community and commercial markets.

June 13, 2013
 

Women who use technology in their professional lives as well as make significant contributions to their communities will be honored at the 13th Annual Heroines in Technology Gala, on November 8, 2013 at the Hilton McLean of Tysons Corner, Virginia. Award winners will be announced in five categories: Rising Heroine, Individual Heroine, Corporate Heroine, AFCEA International Government and Lifetime Achievement.

May 3, 2013
 

The U.S. Army is expanding its Range Radar Replacement Program (RRRP) with a high/medium power close-in radar system. The new mobile system will provide fine detail when tracking munitions and other targets at a range of at least 37 miles. The close-in radar system joins the fly-out radar system, the first range instrumentation radar system developed as part of the RRRP. The program aims to help the Army modernize test ranges through cost-effective, digital technologies.

The new radar system is a contract modification with General Dynamics C4 Systems valued at $16 million.

March 27, 2013
 

Sandia National Laboratories has signed an umbrella Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with Caterpillar Incorporated that covers multiple projects over the next three years. Though Caterpillar is best known for large construction and mining equipment, the CRADA authorizes work in computer and computational science, information and data analysis, mathematics, engineering science and high-performance computing. Technical categories covered by the agreement include simulation design exploration, advanced analytics, multiphysics engineering modeling and simulation, and high-performance computing.

March 13, 2013
 

Nominations now are being accepted for the Greater Washington Government Contractor Awards. Presented by the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce and the Professional Services Council, these awards recognize excellence in several size categories, from companies with an annual revenue of less than $25 million to those with more than $300 million in annual revenue.

February 26, 2013
By George I. Seffers

The hotel industry has seen a greater increase in terrorist attacks than any other industry in recent years, according to Alan Orlob, vice president of global safety and security for Marriott International. Orlob offered a first-hand account of the attacks on two hotels in Jarkarta, Indonesia, in 2009.

Orlob, the luncheon keynote speaker at the AFCEA Homeland Security Conference in Washington, D.C., was staying at a Ritz Carlton hotel, which is owned by Marriott, at the time of the attack.

September 1, 2009
By Henry Kenyon

The 2010 Coalition Warrior Interoperability Demonstration (CWID) cycle has begun. Organizations interested in participating in the event can go to the Federal Business Opportunity site for details about how to participate.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff sponsors the annual event, which supports the U.S. Defense Department and homeland defense and security acquisition decisions. Federal, state and local government organizations identify the technology solutions they are seeking.

November 1, 2014
By Sandra Jontz
The SBA's Boots to Business endeavor helps military personnel leaving the service develop plans to start their own companies.

Veterans who long since have left military service soon might be eligible to partake in a popular Small Business Administration program aimed at aiding them to enter the world of entrepreneurship. Agency officials are finalizing details on a nascent effort to broaden its Boots to Business program, once restricted to the confines of U.S. military installations and to active duty personnel separating from military service.

November 1, 2014
By Rita Boland
Experts attending APCTT’s consultativeworkshop on Open Innovation in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, learn about the latest information and communications technology (ICT) products developed by MIMOS National Research and Development Centre in ICT, Malaysia.

The United Nations is running an Asia-Pacific technology transfer program that puts necessary capabilities in the hands of developing countries while improving international relations in the region. Efforts assist large and small states to harness the potential of technology to create a better future for their citizens.

November 1, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

It can be daunting to transition from a life of taking orders to one of giving them. So business leaders in Virginia are stepping in to help transitioning veterans not only network for jobs, but also launch a business.

The Alexandria Veterans Business Enterprise Center (AVBEC) is opening an incubator space this month with roughly 3,900 square feet that boasts training rooms, meeting rooms and a workspace to serve as a home base for 10 to 15 veterans seeking to start their own businesses.

September 1, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is looking toward small business to provide vital technologies as the agency confronts budget constraints. Enticement efforts include targeted outreach, reshaped acquisition patterns and improved networking among potential contractors.

The relationship between small business and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is growing, says Sandra Broadnax, the small business director for the NGA. “We’re doing a lot more to embrace and bring industry to the table so that they can better understand our processes,” she states.

July 31, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

A resurgence of activity has hit the mergers and acquisition market this year, with companies operating in big data analytics and cybersecurity seeing a lot of the action, experts say.

"We believe [big data analytics] is going to be an enduring problem," said David Wodlinger, principal with Arlington Capital Partners, a leading investor firm in defense technology and the aerospace market. "Data is getting created at such an astronomical rate, the quality of sensors are getting so much better … that the market for companies that have the capabilities to analyze these massive amounts of data is going to be hot now and going to be hot for the foreseeable future.

July 16, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

Where human analysis might fail in the intelligence community, technological solutions are at the ready to fill the void. Companies are ginning up software programs that can prove to be key for intelligence analysts as they track the bad guys, so to speak—be they insider threats or an outside enemy.

The amount of data produced in the increasingly connected and virtual world makes it difficult for human beings to scour, catalog and process and mounting information and produce actionable intelligence. So industry is devising technological workarounds or complementary programs to ease the workload and make their efforts more effective.

June 1, 2014
By Rita Boland
Virginia National Guard soldiers from the Fairfax-based Data Processing Unit respond to a simulated cyber attack during a cyberdefense exercise.

Cybersecurity remains a priority for the U.S. Defense Department, with officials protecting resources for it in the face of overall budget constraints. Guidance from the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 directs a mission analysis of cybercapabilities not only in the active military, but also across partners, to help forces maintain their edge in protecting the nation.

March 1, 2014
By Henry S. Kenyon

Europe’s defense markets have been contracting for the past decade because of the continent’s financial crisis and national priorities shifting away from military spending. But while fewer tanks and fighter jets are being acquired, money is being spent on modernizing computers and communications equipment—a trend that will continue into the foreseeable future, according to an industry analyst.

January 1, 2014
By Rita Boland

Fiscal constraints and technology evolution are forcing the government to re-evaluate procurement efforts with a renewed vigor. Industry has suggestions for improving processes, but progress will require a different level of dialogue between companies and their public-sector clients. Company leaders believe they can help government overcome some of its issues because they understand both realistic technical solutions as well as the effect policies have on acquisition cycles. But they need the opportunity to show what is available. Government personnel increasingly are calling for that knowledge; however, legal and fair competition concerns often limit meaningful discussion, resulting in misunderstanding and frustration.

January 1, 2014
By Kent R. Schneider

In past years, the January edition of SIGNAL Magazine would have been labeled “The Source Book,” the print directory of all of AFCEA’s corporate members. This year, we have eliminated the print version and are presenting the AFCEA Corporate Member Directory along with five functional directories that are fully searchable.

AFCEA’s primary mission is to promote an ethical dialogue among government, industry and academia. These digital directories further that mission by making all of our members aware of everyone else in the market and by promoting teaming.

October 24, 2013
By Rita Boland

Lowest price technically acceptable (LPTA) procurement might not give government the best solutions, and it definitely causes consternation for industry, but it is here to stay at least for a while. A survey released this week reveals deep concerns about the LPTA business deals and why current fiscal demands will keep them around.

September 1, 2013
By Max Cacas

 

In the next few years, usernames and passwords could gradually fade from popular use as a way to conduct business online. A public/private coalition is working on a new policy and technical framework for identity authentication that could make online transactions less dependent on these increasingly compromised identity management tools. A second round of federal grants from the group, expected this fall, will lead to continued work on what is expected to become a private sector-operated identity management industry.

September 1, 2013
By Rita Boland

 

The exponential expansion of geolocation technology throughout all levels of society is presenting a range of challenges for policy makers eager to take advantage of the benefits while protecting personal privacy. Unfortunately, much of the discussion surrounding the challenges is fragmented or lacking in authority.

August 1, 2013
By Michael A. Robinson

With the nation facing a new atmosphere of austerity and mandated budget cuts, now would seem to be the absolute worst time to target the federal government for defense-related technology contracts. Yet, for one business, tight government funding is more of an opportunity than a challenge.

July 1, 2013
By Max Cacas
Online meeting attendees using a collaboration tool can see presentations, a list of other attendees and attendee chats.

The U.S. Navy uses a popular online collaboration tool 
to change course around last-minute travel restrictions.

The U.S. Naval Safety and Environmental Training Center, charged with conducting safety and environmental training worldwide, successfully is circumventing hurriedly imposed government travel restrictions by using an online application to conduct safety and environmental training. The tool recently enabled the center to conduct an annual conference with more than 1,000 attendees.

July 1, 2013
By Max Cacas
Eric Forsythe, Ph.D., team leader and flexible electronics display deputy project manager  with the Army Research Laboratory, poses with some of the equipment used to produce the flexible displays at the Army's Flexible Display Center at Arizona State University.

Recent developments in advanced materials bring the Army closer to next-generation displays for a new breed of warfighter mobile devices.

A coalition of military, academic and industry scientists is approximately one year away from the first working prototypes of mobile devices using newly developed flexible display technologies. The goal is to demonstrate that manufacturing the displays can be done economically, and in quantity, so that they can be widely adopted by mobile device makers, benefitting both the military and consumers. Project managers ultimately hope to introduce mobile devices that are lighter, more reliable and less expensive.

April 1, 2013
By Lt. Ben Kohlmann, USN

As conflicts become more complex and uncertain in the 21st century, quick pivots to new technologies will become increasingly important. The starting point for this rapid fielding must begin with more frequent, and more relational, lower level warfighter-technologist interaction.

March 21, 2013
 

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is searching for companies to participate in its recently launched Probabilistic Programming for Advanced Machine Learning (PPAML) program. Probabilistic programming is an innovative approach to manage the uncertain information that computers use to understand data, manage results and infer insights. The PPAML seeks to increase the number of people who can successfully build machine learning applications as well as boost the effectiveness of current machine learning experts. In addition, the project will focus on creating more economical, robust and powerful applications that require less data to produce more accurate results.

March 1, 2013
by Kent R. Schneider

Anyone who has attended an AFCEA conference in the past two months has heard the constant drumbeat from senior government leadership on the limitations on operations and readiness likely to occur in defense, intelligence and homeland security. At the AFCEA/USNI West 2013 Conference in San Diego January 29-31, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told a packed audience that the U.S. Defense Department did not know how much money it would receive, when it would receive it or what the restrictions on its use would be.

October 1, 2012
By Max Cacas

A new computing architecture emphasizes shared resources.

The nation’s intelligence community has embarked on a path toward a common computer desktop and a cloud computing environment designed to facilitate both timely sharing of information and cost savings. The implementation could result in budget savings of 20 to 25 percent over existing information technology spending within six years, but the ramifications could include large cultural changes that result both in lost jobs and business for industry partners.

August 2012
By Michael A. Robinson, SIGNAL Magazine

 
Military budget cuts do not deter a longtime aircraft builder.