Veterans business training symposium planned for Virginia in June

April 24, 2015 by

The annual Veteran Entrepreneur Training Symposium (VETS) is being planned for June 11-15, 2015 in Norfolk, Virginia.  VETS brings together federal agencies, prime contractors, and veterans to network and discuss how to take full advantage of the federally-mandated contracting opportunities set aside for veteran owned small businesses (VOSBs).

VETS’ goal is to help build capacity in the veteran and service disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) community to help the federal government and large prime contractors meet and exceed the mandated goals. Sponsor of the event, the National Veteran Small Business Coalition (NVSBC), believes this can only happen with a strong and vibrant veteran small business community. The NVSBC is pleased to again join forces with AetherQuest Solutions, a Veteran-owned small business, to host VETS2015 in June of this year.

NVSBC plans to build on the success of previous VETS to host an intimate forum of Government and industry leaders as well as successful Veteran small business owners to shorten the learning curve and bring the next generation of Veteran small business owners success in the Federal marketplace. Each symposium has grown based on the success of the past and this year will be no different.

Attendance at VETS2015 will be limited to ensure the intimate atmosphere and ability to engage experts during the sessions and throughout the event.

For over 20 years various veteran small business groups have achieved success in advocating for veterans to be seen as a viable force in the Federal government acquisition landscape.

Beginning with the enactment of Public Law 106-50 in 1998, the nation began to understand the earned benefit of honorable military service and Veterans continuing to serve their nation through entrepreneurship and selling goods and services to the Federal government. Unfortunately, the federal government continues to fall short of the acquisition goals mandated by Congress. VETS provides a platform for all stakeholders to get closer to these goals and support our Veteran small businesses.

The agenda for VETS2015 can be seen at: http://www.veterantrainingsymposium.com/2015-conference-agenda

To register, visit: http://www.veterantrainingsymposium.com/2015-conference-registration

FBI warns of online scams posing as government services websites

April 24, 2015 by

From May 2012 to March 2015, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has received complaints regarding criminals hosting fraudulent government services websites in order to acquire Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and to collect fraudulent fees from consumers.

FBIAlthough the volume and loss amounts associated with these websites are minimal to date, the victims are having their PII data compromised which may be used by criminals for any number of other illicit activities, ranging from the creation of fraudulent IDs and passports to fraudulent loans and tax refunds. The PII can include the victim’s name, address, phone number, e-mail address, social security number, date of birth, and mother’s maiden name.

This is how the scheme usually happens: victims use a search engine to search for government services such as obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN) or replacement social security card. The fraudulent criminal websites are the first to appear in search results, prompting the victims to click on the fraudulent government services website. The victim completes the required fraudulently posted forms for the government service they need. The victim submits the form online, believing they are providing their PII to government agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service, Social Security Administration, or similar agency based on the service they need. Once the forms are completed and submitted, the fraudulent website usually requires a fee to complete the service requested. The fees typically range from $29 to $199 based on the government service requested. Once the fees are paid the victim is notified they need to send their birth certificate, driver’s license, employee badge, or other personal items to a specified address. The victim is then told to wait a few days to several weeks for processing. By the time the victim realizes it is a scam, they may have had extra charges billed to their credit/debit card, had a third-party designee added to their EIN card, and never received the service(s) or documents requested. Additionally, all of their PII data has been compromised by the criminals running the websites and can be used for any number of illicit purposes. The potential harm gets worse for those who send their birth certificate or other government-issued identification to the perpetrator.

Follow-up calls or e-mails to the perpetrator(s) are normally ignored and many victims report the customer service telephone numbers provided are out of service. The FBI recommends that consumers ensure they are communicating or requesting services/merchandise from a legitimate source by verifying the entity. When dealing with government websites, look for the .gov domain instead of a .com domain (e.g. www.ssa.gov and not www.ssa.com).

Below are some consumer tips when using government services or contacting agencies online:

  • Use search engines or other websites to research the advertised services or person/company you plan to deal with.
  • Search the Internet for any negative feedback or reviews on the government services company, their Web site, their e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, or other searchable identifiers.
  • Research the company policies before completing a transaction.
  • Be cautious when surfing the Internet or responding to advertisements and special offers.
  • Be cautious when dealing with persons/companies from outside the country.
  • Maintain records for all online transactions.

As a consumer, if you suspect you are a victim of an Internet-related crime, you may file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.IC3.gov.

Source: http://www.ic3.gov/media/2015/150407-2.aspx

GTRI assists Georgia National Guard members with ‘Cyber Shield 2015′

April 23, 2015 by

Members of the Georgia Army National Guard identified and thwarted cyber attackers, with some help from the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI).

GTRI logoGTRI’s Secure Collaborative Visualization Environment (SCoVE) again served as the site for the Georgia Guard’s Defensive Cyber Operations (DCO) team to participate in the National Guard’s annual Cyber Shield 2015 exercise. GTRI’s collaboration with the Georgia DCO team began in 2013 and has supported this event and Cyber Shield 2014.

Coordinated from Camp Atterbury-Muscatatuck, Indiana, more than 42 states and territories—including Army National Guard, Air National Guard and Reserve Component service members participated in the annual exercise. The purpose of the exercise is to develop, train and exercise the Guard’s DCO specialists.

As part of the DCO Blue Team, the Georgia Guard members worked to identify and thwart attacks from the rival Red Team, a group from other States’ Guard members. Sgt. Shari Simzyk, a network analyst on the Georgia DCO team, analyzed IDS (intrusion and detection systems) in real time and historical logs.

“As part of the network team, I worked to defend a network from intrusion,” Simzyk said. “The SCoVE allows our team to be able to communicate with the Windows team easily. By participating in this event at GTRI, we are able to use some of the open-source tools we don’t normally use.”

This exercise is part of a capstone event to test our skills; basically, showing how the State could deploy the Guard in the event of a cyber attack on government and critical infrastructure networks supporting the residents of Georgia or the Southeast.

“A cyber-security attack is just like a natural disaster,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Samuel Blaney, the Information Assurance Manager and Defensive Cyber Technician with the Georgia National Guard. “Exercises like these help build our team members’ skills, capabilities and knowledge in cyber incident response.”

Blaney said that this particular exercise allows Guard members to integrate with the state’s academic professionals, and that using GTRI’s facilities allowed his teams to go above and beyond mission parameters. With the teams able to work together and communicate more easily, Guard members went beyond just locating where “hackers” attacked the system, and identifying which files have been changed.

“Our teams today have worked to locate the hackers, and even prevent further intrusion,” Blaney said. “With the facilities here allowing ease of communications, the teams were able to identify, anticipate and ‘hunt’ the hackers.”

Blaney said the DCO team will use Cyber Shield to prepare for a tabletop exercise with Georgia state officials in April, labeled Cyber Defender 2015. GTRI, who works closely with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security (GEMA/HS), also will participate in that event.

Source: http://gtri.gatech.edu/casestudy/gtri-assists-georgia-guard-cyber-shield-2015

Contractor ‘meet-and-greet’ scheduled May 7 for Chatham County courthouse complex

April 23, 2015 by

Meetings are being held in Savannah on May 7, 2015 for contractors, both large and small, to share information on bid opportunities related to the design, construction, financing and maintenance of a 165,000 square foot addition to the Chatham County Courthouse complex for the trial courts.

The Chatham County Trial Court Building project also includes the demolition of the existing structure(s) as required.

Chatham Courthouse Partners include: Archer Western, Meridiam, Pioneer Construction, Collins Construction Services, Hutson Plumbing Co., Dewberry, Barnard Architects, Johnson Controls.

The May 7th event is free and no pre-registration is required.

Small Subcontractors Meet & Greet is scheduled from 9:00 am to 10:30 am, and Large Subcontractors Meet & Greet is from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm,

The event will be held at: Coastal Georgia Center, 305 Fahm Street, Savannah, GA 31401.

Agencies gave SBA the wrong data for small business research contract spending

April 23, 2015 by

Most agencies submitted incorrect data about Small Business Innovation Research programs for fiscal 2013, so the Small Business Administration can’t fully determine compliance with spending requirements for the programs, says an April 15 Government Accountability Office report.

Agencies are required to submit the actual amount obligated for research and development, which is generally conducted by nonfederal employees outside of federal facilities. Those obligations are the basis for calculating the agencies’ spending requirements for small business programs, the report says.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/agencies-gave-sba-wrong-data-small-business-research-contract-spending/2015-04-16

GSA issues RFP for new leasing support services contract

April 22, 2015 by

The General Services Administration (GSA) has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the third generation of its broker and leasing support services contract — formerly the National Broker Contract Program (NBC program), now GSA Leasing Support Services (GLS).  The new contract provides broker and leasing support services (i.e., market surveys, site visits, document preparation, negotiation) for GSA’s contracting officers, and is expected to generate approximately $100 million in rent credits to tenant agencies and significantly reduce lease cycle times by eliminating workload redundancy.

In November, GSA issued a draft solicitation for Leasing Support Services, which resulted in nearly 300 comments and questions from stakeholders. As a result of these comments, GSA revised the following components of the contract.

  • Strategic Planning Services: Revised strategic planning services language to give contractors more flexibility in reporting information about changes in market conditions, renegotiation opportunities, or changes in ownership rights within the shared portfolio.
  • Commission Agreements: Revised commission agreement language to make it more in line with normal broker industry practices.
  • Small Business: Added an additional evaluation factor so contractors who qualify as small businesses have more opportunities to compete.
  • Training: Clarified training language to specify who is required to take training, what type of training is required, and how the training will be offered.

“The stakeholder feedback we received on the draft solicitation was used to make GLS an even better contract for both the government and contractors,” comments GSA’s Assistant Commissioner for Leasing Chris Wisner.  “In addition to previous improvements made to GLS, contractors will now have even more flexibility when it comes to providing strategic planning services and commission agreements will be structured in accordance with normal broker industry practices. Small businesses will also have more opportunities to compete for prime awards.”

To submit a proposal, click here to find details.   The deadline for submitting proposals is Thursday, May 21, 2015. More information about previous improvements made to GLS can be found here.

Former Colonel at Redstone Arsenal pleads guilty to federal charges related to inflated contract payments

April 22, 2015 by

A former colonel at Redstone Arsenal pleaded guilty April 20th to federal charges stemming from inflated contract payments for work on Russian-made helicopters bound for Afghanistan to be used by Afghan forces.

Now-retired Army Col. Norbert Vergez pleaded guilty today to two counts of false statements and one count of conflict of interest, in federal court in Tuscaloosa. No sentencing date has been set, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Birmingham said today.

U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance said Vergez “placed his own financial ambitions and personal loyalties above his duties as a member of the armed forces.

“In doing so, he betrayed the U.S. Army values of honesty, integrity and selfless service, which are hallmarks of military service,” Vance said. “This prosecution highlights our commitment to hold responsible those who, by word and deed, corrupt the government contracting process.”

Keep reading this article at: http://www.al.com/news/huntsville/index.ssf/2015/04/former_colonel_at_redstone_ars.html

Fort Gordon to host industry day on May 20

April 21, 2015 by

The Southern Regional Contracting Office – Fort Gordon Cell (SRCO-FGC) will host an Industry Day event May 20, 2015 from 8:00 am to 12 noon in order to provide interested parties with a forecast of SRCO-FGC requirements for the upcoming fiscal year.

The event will consist of program overviews including areas of current focus and emphasis for the coming year.  Presentations will be made by guest speakers from MEDCOM Small Business office, Fort Gordon Contracting Offices, and the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center.

The SRCO-FGC’s Industry Day specifically will focus on small business capabilities and opportunities, matching stakeholders with large and small business communities.  This event emphasizes business capabilities and promotes collaboration and integrates small businesses’ services, products, and technologies into the MEDCOM’s normal way of doing business.  SRCO-FGC’s Industry Day will provide a forum for contracting staff, government experts, small and large companies to ask questions, network and collaborate about forecasted opportunities in their respective areas of expertise.  The contracting forecast to be provided at this event is for planning purposes only and is not a commitment by the government to purchase the described products and services.

The Industry Day is a no-fee event.  Companies MUST pre-register to attend.

  • Event Date: Wednesday, May 20, 2015, 8:00 am – 12 noon, with check-in beginning at 7:30 am.
  • Event Location: Alexander Hall, Signal Towers, Bldg. 29805, Chamberlain Ave., Fort Gordon, GA 30905

To register:

  1. Complete one registration form per company.   Download the registration form here: Industry_Day_Registration_Ft._Gordon_May_20_2015
  2. Create a capabilities statement on your firm using this template: InsertYourCompanyName_ArmySmallBusinessCapabilityBriefing
  3. Submit completed documents to Ms. Edwonia Gates at lim.liamnull@vic.setag.s.ainowde or Mr Frederick Kmiecik at lim.liamnull@vic.kiceimk.m.kcirederf using the subject line “SRCO-FGC INDUSTRY DAY REGISTRATION”.

An e-mail confirmation will be sent upon receipt, and at a later date, the final agenda.

All attendees must have a current photo ID (driver’s license, military ID, company ID or passport).  All attendees should enter Fort Gordon through Gate 1, Visitor Center.  Attendees are encouraged to arrive early to permit sufficient time for parking and check-in.

 

 

GSA moves forward with overhaul of Multiple Award Schedules

April 20, 2015 by

The General Services Administration is moving forward with its plan to overhaul the Multiple Award Schedules, putting into action recommendations from the agency’s 2010 Multiple Award Schedules Advisory Panel, says an April 13 blog post by GSA Senior Procurement Executive Jeffrey Koses.

“The $33 billion program now demands transformation in order to maintain its status as a best acquisition solution in a fast-changing marketplace,” Koses says.

The transformation will include reducing price variability, minimizing burdensome regulations and processes and introducing additional flexibilities, the GSA blog post says.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/gsa-moves-forward-overhaul-multiple-award-schedules/2015-04-13

Read GSA’s complete blog post at: http://gsablogs.gsa.gov/gsablog/2015/04/13/gsa-seeks-to-transform-the-multiple-awards-schedule-program-to-deliver-better-value/

Order banning federal contractor LGBT workplace discrimination goes into effect

April 17, 2015 by

An executive order banning federal contractors from workplace discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers went into effect April 8, 2015.

The order prohibits federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in federal employment, and prohibits all companies that receive a contract from the federal government from discriminating against their LGBT employees, says an Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) statement.

“Citizens expect contracting professionals to provide these services on a superior scale while serving as responsible business models with respect to 21st century workplace equality,” says OFPP Administrator Anne Rung in the statement.

Though the order acts as a blanket safeguard, of the largest 50 federal contractors, which represent nearly half of all federal contracting dollars, 86 percent already prohibit sexual orientation discrimination and 61 percent prohibit discrimination based on gender identity.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/order-banning-federal-contractor-lgbt-workplace-discrimination-goes-effect/2015-04-08

Read OFPP’s blog posting at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/04/08/another-step-toward-more-inclusive-contracting-workforce