Faced with a complex year amid a pandemic, the leader of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is proud of the way the organization continued to provide crucial communications and network capabilities to warfighters. The agency is thankful for the support from industry in supplying global solutions in such a unique time. However, with a never-ending 24/7/365 mission and adversaries continuing to attack its networks without pause, DISA cannot relent on providing cyber-secure yet scalable tools. And for this, the agency needs the industry’s best efforts, said Vice Adm Nancy Norton, USN, DISA director and commander, Joint Force Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Network (JFHQ-DODIN).
In addition to institutions such as NATO and the European Union (EU), one of the biggest players in North Atlantic defense is data, say European experts. Yet, nations often overlook the lessons generated by the private sector and not always pursuing effective investments in military information technology.
Those points were discussed at the AFCEA Europe Joint Support and Enabling Command (JSEC) virtual event in late September. Maj. Gen. Erich Staudacher, GEAF (Ret.), AFCEA Europe general manager, offered that data increasingly sprawls into military mobility. He recited an old Latin saying that navigation is necessary, all the more in this sea of data.
Speed is of the essence as the U.S. Army works earnestly with industry to equip the force with the latest tools to combat cyber attacks. Yet rapid acquisition must be weighed against wasteful haste as the service aims to deliver combat-effective capabilities without breaking stride.
These capabilities include a revamped tool suite, a portable cyber defense system and advanced cyber situational awareness. At the forefront of these efforts is the project manager, defensive cyber operations (PM DCO), part of the Army’s Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Chief Procurement Officer Soraya Correa announced this week that DHS will follow a new strategy for obtaining information technology services. Rather than pursue a re-competition of the Enterprise Acquisition Gateway for Leading-Edge Solutions (EAGLE) II, the department will offer an array of options for industry, including greater opportunity for small businesses, under EAGLE Next Generation.
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.
Small businesses often lead the pack in innovation and agility, but cumbersome acquisition processes can stall the way forward when working with government agencies. The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) hopes to grease the skids between ingenuity and warfighters by offering a streamlined method for carrying out prototype projects and transitioning successes into follow-on production.
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.
In our real-world, show-and-tell environment, an ability to develop agile software solutions won't guarantee wins in the latest government programs. Companies and individual tech teams must tailor their approaches to meeting customer needs by using open source practices and assuming an agile warrior mindset: a single-minded determination to achieve goals and declare victory on the battlefield of government procurement.
We all appreciate and value the opportunities to hear from government. The AFCEA Homeland Security Conference afforded industry and government officials alike the chance to talk and share ideas. One topic of conversation piqued my interest that I think will resonate with both industry and government.
While many conferences suffer from waning interest as panel session after panel session and speaker after speaker present valuable information over two days, this year's AFCEA Homeland Security conference proved to be quite the opposite. The Thursday afternoon sessions were nearly as full as the presentations that took place on Wednesday, at least in part because of the last topic discussion: procurement.