AFCEA International Chapter News

Small Business IT Day Features Defense Agency Senior Leaders

The chapter hosted its annual day-long Small Business Enterprise IT Day 2022 in May. The theme "Transforming Technology and Advancing Capabilities for Tomorrow" drove the agenda, confirming more than 20 senior leaders from defense agencies as speakers to address strategic priorities. The chapter hosted two keynote sessions and several panels designed specifically for the small business audience with the goal of fostering collaboration and communication between the government and small businesses.

Caroline Kuharske, acting director, Office of the Chief Data Officer (CDO) at the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), presented the morning keynote. As the agency responsible for Department of Defense Information Networks operations, DISA's strategic plan has established several lines of effort, including "Leverage Data as a Center of Gravity." She shared that the CDO strategy will invest in data as a vital strategic asset in today's data-centric culture, integrate artificial intelligence/machine learning as an important part of the enterprise-level "data fabric" and optimize the use of data as a strategic asset.

The afternoon agenda kicked off with a keynote address by Kelly Fletcher, principal deputy, Senior Executive Service, and Stacy Bostjanick, chief of implementation and policy, Senior Executive Service, an energetic duo from the Defense Department's chief information officer. They provided an update on how the Defense Department has revamped its approach to securing controlled unclassified information and security requirements for government contractors. One critical added step is the introduction of tabletop exercises, where the Defense Industrial Base will participate to ensure the program's components are understood and executable. The revisions are currently going through the federal rulemaking process, with an anticipated launch date for Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification in 2023. The session was followed by an overview of the revamped cybersecurity tools and resources available through Project Spectrum, a Defense Department-supported cybersecurity initiative.

The U.S. Air Force Program Executive Office (PEO)-Business Enterprise Systems, Life Cycle Management Center, joined the conversation addressing the agile methodology, development and the secret to the speed of Balloon Ejection Student Prototype Investigation (BESPIN) Project delivery.

The U.S. Department of the Army panel brought together speakers from various organizations to address pivoting (and re-pivoting) operations through the pandemic, IDIQs [indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity] and encouraging small businesses to respond to requests for information to help maximize small business acquisitions.

The Defense Logistics Agency delivered an overview of the J-6 Enterprise Technology Services (JETS) IDIQ, statistics and award data, advancements, and what's ahead for JETS 2.0.

The U.S. Department of the Navy was represented by the PEO Manpower, Logistics and Business Solutions (MLB) and PEO Digital Technical Directors, who tag-teamed to present how the realignment focuses on services versus a portfolio of programs. PEO MLB's technical vision encompasses four efforts where services are aligned along a radar, while PEO Digital's efforts filter through patterns.

The event closed with concurrent Matchmaking Segment and Networking Reception in the Exhibit Hall. For Matchmaking, the chapter organized introductions between small business representatives and matchmaking hosts from government agencies and large primes. Overall, more than 100 "matches" met during the 90-minute segment.

The hybrid event, organized by the chapter's Small Business Committee, reached nearly 250 in-person and virtual attendees.

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