August 14, 2018
Military and civilian agencies must have the most modern and effective systems to support the mission. Having a trusted source to identify best practices can be a pivotal factor for driving success. Credit: Shutterstock, Gorodenkoff Visuals

The federal government is increasingly dependent on commercial technologies ranging from infrastructure to the cloud to security solutions. Identifying and incorporating the appropriate complex commercial solutions, however, can be overwhelming when the number of options and the level of risk are significant. 

In the case of military operations, warfighters’ lives depend on having the right products with effective security. The best technologies must be found, potential cyber holes must be identified, and security gaps must be filled. 

July 19, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
At a recent Association of the United States Army event, Lt. Gen. Paul Ostrowski, USA, outlines how the Army’s new Futures Command will work with the service’s acquisition community. Photo credit: Anna Neubauer

Lt. Gen. Paul Ostrowski, the principal military deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, a division known as ASA(ALT), joked that this July was a slow month for the U.S. Army. When in fact, the service is pursuing the establishment of its fourth command. “Everybody knows how busy the Army is,” the general said. The new Austin, Texas-based Army Futures Command—the location of which was announced last week by Army leaders at the Pentagon—will be spearheading the service’s modernization efforts.

July 13, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
The Internal Revenue Service must include technological innovation as it tackles its Congressional mandates, such as tax reform, says Kevin Bierschenk, acting director, Enterprise Program Controls, IRS.

Faced with a decreasing workforce, budgetary challenges and the annual mammoth effort of collecting, processing and enforcing the nation’s taxation, U.S. Department of Treasury’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is also implementing the tax reform Congress mandated in December under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the largest tax reform in 30 years. At the same time, the bureau must innovate to continuously improve the taxpayer experience and lessen the burden of filing taxes, said IRS leaders at the IRS Fiscal Year 2018 Industry Conversation event on July 10 in Washington, DC.

April 6, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
The IRS is working to improve communication with industry throughout the procurement process, says Harrison Smith, IRS deputy chief procurement officer, and a former industry liaison at DHS.

For an agency that awarded $2.5 billion in contract obligations in fiscal year 2017, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is a big player in federal procurement. And as the IRS begins to implement the major tax reform mandated by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed by Congress in late December, not to mention handling federal information technology modernization efforts, the agency is tackling another challenge: procurement improvements.

The IRS understands that any improvement in procurement efficiencies will help the agency in terms of increased competition in bidding and driving down prices, while providing more innovative solutions for its internal customers who are carrying out the IRS’ mission, according to officials.

By Beverly Cooper
The DHS has a multitude of components and missions that pull together to protect the nation.

Small business contracts and opportunities within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) encompass all facets of the agency’s mission, from preventing terrorism to providing border security, managing immigration, ensuring cybersecurity and providing disaster relief. In the last fiscal year, small businesses—in the role of prime contractors—received 47 percent of all strategically sourced contracts for products and services supporting the agency, explains Carla Thomas, DHS industry liaison.

January 1, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
As part of its information technology modernization effort, the U.S. Army aims to harness agile software development and cut software patching costs and software lines, says Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford, USA, the Army’s chief information officer (CIO)/G-6, at MILCOM 2017 in Baltimore.

The U.S. Department of Defense is seeing the nation’s adversaries use capabilities better than the American military, but change is underway. In particular, the Army recognizes that it must dust off some of its aging procurement processes and leverage commercial technology to regain an advantage over its enemies, said Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford, USA, the Army’s chief information officer/G-6, at the MILCOM 2017 conference in Baltimore.

October 25, 2017
By Kimberly Underwood
Panelists at MILCOM discuss contracting vehicles for the Defense Department.

Working to slough off the culture of archaic contracting processes, certain offices within the Defense Department are implementing innovative procurement processes, especially for information technology (IT) products and services. The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), which is responsible for building, operating and securing the DOD Information Network (DODIN) for U.S. forces, has taken some proactive measures to introduce improvements into its contracting processes, according to Rear Adm. Nancy Norton, USN, vice director, DISA.

July 10, 2017

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) will host two proposers’ day conferences later this month in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area in anticipation of new solicitations. 

The first, for the Homomorphic Encryption Computing Techniques with Overhead Reduction (HECTOR) program, will be held on July 26. The second, for the Finding Engineering-Linked Indicators (FELIX) program, will be held the next day. Both will begin at 9:00 a.m.

June 28, 2017
By Maryann Lawlor
Officials from eight Army organizations told the GAO that the numerous organizational changes that have taken place have disrupted contracting operations and caused confusion.

U.S. Army leaders have not consistently evaluated the efficiency and effectiveness of the department’s contracting operations, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has concluded. To amend the situation, the office recommends developing metrics to assess contracting operations for timeliness, cost savings and contract quality; documenting rationales for key decisions; and establishing measurable objectives to assess the effects of organizational changes on contracting operations.

September 14, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
Jonathan Williams, an attorney with PilieroMazza PLLC, discusses new rules of the SBA's mentor-protege program during a meeting of AFCEA International’s Small Business Committee.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has simplified several rules for its government-wide federal mentor-protege program, but introduced changes that could be too constraining for both big and small businesses.

Throughout the summer, the SBA worked on rule changes that largely clones the agency’s 8(a) Business Development mentor-protege program after Congress granted the agency authority to streamline the program across all government agencies as part of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act.