GTRI launches Trustmark website at identity ecosystem steering group meeting

February 11, 2014 by

The Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) hosted the 7th plenary of the Identity Ecosystem Steering Group (IDESG) Jan. 14-16, 2014 in support of the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC).

During the event, GTRI launched a new website on the Trustmark technology at https://trustmark.gtri.gatech.edu/. A trustmark is a rigorously defined, machine-readable statement of compliance with a specific set of technical or business/policy rules. The use of trustmarks has been pioneered by GTRI and developed with funding from the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC), a White House initiative to work collaboratively with the private sector, advocacy groups and public-sector agencies to create an “identity ecosystem” in which technologies, policies and consensus-based standards support greater choice, trust, security and privacy with online transactions.

IDESG has been established as a new organization led by the private sector in conjunction with, but independent of the federal government.

In October, GTRI was awarded an NSTIC pilot project grant. Under the grant, GTRI will develop and demonstrate a trustmark framework that facilitates cost-effective scaling of interoperable trust across multiple communities of interest within the identity ecosystem and enhances privacy through transparency and third-party validation.

Trustmarks have the potential to enable wide-scale trust and interoperability within the identity ecosystem by helping to foster transparency and widespread operational convergence on the specific requirements for each dimension of interoperability, including communication protocols and profiles, cryptographic algorithms, business-level user attributes for access control and audit purposes and various levels of policy such as privacy policies and practices.

Trustmarks can also reduce the complexity of the identity ecosystem’s trust landscape, and turn what would otherwise be a collection of poorly interconnected “federated identity siloes” into a more cohesive trust environment. In addition, trustmarks can enhance privacy within the identity ecosystem by helping communities of interest define clear, concise and rigorous privacy rules that participating agencies must follow.

“The concept of trustmarks and a trustmark framework mean different things to different stakeholders,” said John Wandelt, principle investigator for the GTRI NSTIC trustmark pilot.  “The vision of identity ecosystem where trustmarks can be broadly re-used and trusted across several communities of interest to satisfy interoperability, privacy, security and trust needs will require transparency, collaboration and sufficient engineering rigor to concretely specify.”

The new website will facilitate a common understanding of trustmarks and a trustmark framework.  Artifacts resulting from the GTRI pilot project will be posted at this website along with blogs and other related information.

“The objective is to solicit comments from the IDESG, other NSTIC pilots, and the community at large while maintaining the integrity of our pilot schedule,” said Wandelt.

“Trustmarks and Trust Frameworks are a common theme across multiple pilots and discussions in the IDESG,” said Jeremy Grant, Senior Executive for the NSTIC Program Office.

“GTRI’s decision to provide visibility into their trustmark pilot artifacts and findings early on is a great example of the type of collaboration we are encouraging between NSTIC pilots and the IDESG,” said Grant.  ”It should contribute to accelerating substantive discussion and progress in this important area.”

posted at: http://gtri.gatech.edu/casestudy/gtri-launches-trustmark-website-identity-ecosystemP

Consultant to veteran-owned small business, once suspended by SBA, says CEO provided inaccurate information

February 10, 2014 by

A consultant for MicroTechnologies LLC, one of the federal government’s most prominent small-business contractors, said the firm’s founder authorized him to submit information to the Small Business Administration in 2005 that the agency later said “appears to be a complete fabrication,” the consultant told The Washington Post.

Alanson R. Anderson said MicroTech founder Anthony R. Jimenez provided the material included in a successful SBA application for entrance into the SBA’s 8(a) program for small, disadvantaged businesses, qualifying for preferential treatment, including contracts awarded without competition.

At the time, Anderson was president of Sourcetec Corp., a small-business consultancy retained to guide Jimenez through the application process.

MicroTech’s application included statements in response to SBA questions about the firm’s ties to two other companies. One of the statements said the firm had “no link, relationship, or partnership of any kind” with a firm owned by two MicroTech investors. SBA rules prohibit small and disadvantaged contractors from being overly affiliated with larger firms.

In December, the SBA suspended MicroTech after agency officials said they had new information that Jimenez had provided “false and misleading statements” about the firm’s ownership, operations and ties to other companies. The suspension was triggered when the SBA began a process known as “debarment” that would block ­MicroTech from future contracts.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/consultant-for-microtech-said-he-vetted-inaccurate-information-with-firms-ceo/2014/01/30/9fb50e9c-89dc-11e3-a5bd-844629433ba3_story.html 

Outside relationships undermine service-disabled veteran-owned small biz, says SBA

February 7, 2014 by

A would-be SDVOSB’s relationships with a company controlled by the SDVOSB’s minority owner undermined the service-disabled veteran’s control – and cost the SDVOSB an Air Force contract.

In a recent decision, the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals ruled that a SDVOSB did not adequately control his company where the company (and the veteran) appeared to be unduly dependent on an outside firm.

SBA OHA’s decision in Battalion, LLC, SBA No. VET-242 (2013) involved an Air Force solicitation seeking a contractor to repair exterior building walls.  The Air Force set aside the procurement for SDVOSBs under NAICS code 238140 (Masonry Contractors).

Keep reading this article at: http://smallgovcon.com/service-disabled-veteran-owned-small-businesses/sdvosb-protests-outside-relationships-undermined-sdvs-control-says-sba-oha 

DoD and GSA say Federal contractors should implement cybersecurity in operations and products

February 6, 2014 by

Federal contractors should incorporate baseline cybersecurity measures into their operations as well as their products or services, recommends a joint Defense Department and General Services Administration committee.

Using the federal acquisition system to force contractors into better cybersecurity practices isn’t a new idea, acknowledges the report  – which is dated November but was made public only on Jan. 24. In December, the Pentagon finalized a rule requiring contractor protections over unclassified defense information and instituting intrusion reporting requirements.

And in August 2012, the federal government already proposed requiring contractor information systems to adopt basic safeguards.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernmentit.com/story/federal-contractors-should-implement-cybersecurity-operations-and-products/2014-01-27 

Beltway firms dominate DHS services contracting

February 5, 2014 by

Familiar Beltway company names and places dominate an inventory of Homeland Security Department services contracts obligated during the last fiscal year.

Each year, DHS and other departments release data on their services contracting; the Office of Management and Budget in 2011 called on agencies to reduce services spending.

The newly released fiscal 2013 DHS inventory shows the department obligating $9.35 billion on services during that fiscal year with 16 percent of it dedicated to guard services.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercehomelandsecurity.com/story/beltway-firms-dominate-dhs-services-contracting/2014-02-03Top 15 DHS Services Contractors - FY13

 

5 silver bullets for winning proposals

February 5, 2014 by

Is there one silver bullet that wins proposals? Yes (kinda). Trust is the closest factor I have found to being the silver bullet that wins proposals.

Our customer must trust that we can deliver the solution at the agreed-to price with little to no issues. (Do you make it a habit of buying from people or companies you do not trust?) No trust, no win.

Definitively, there is no one silver bullet factor that guarantees a win. There is no one thing that always works; nor is there one thing that offsets a sea of negative influencers (e.g., bad reputation, noncompliant or poorly executed proposal, lack of customer insight).

However, there are five silver bullet factors that greatly impact the likelihood of a win, and these factors require customer trust.

These five silver bullet factors historically tip the scales in favor of one solution provider over another. Which factor(s) to use varies according to circumstances. The five silver bullet factors can be cumulative. They are relative to one another and relative to other factors.

In other words, relative to all other aspects of proposal development, one could call these silver bullets because of the historic weighting of these five variables.

Keep reading this article at: http://washingtontechnology.com/articles/2014/01/22/insights-parkinson-silver-bullets.aspx 

GSA cancels 2014 Training and Expo conference, offers alternatives

February 4, 2014 by

For the second year in a row, the General Services Administration (GSA) has canceled its annual Training and Expo conference because of tight budgets and reduced travel spending.

“After careful review of projected attendance and continued travel budget reductions, GSA has made the decision to not hold an Expo in 2014,” GSA’s announcement states.  (See: http://www.expo.gsa.gov.)

As alternatives to the Training and Expo, GSA is referring industry and government representatives to two on-line resources and local customer service resources:

  • Interact - Interact offers free on demand and webinar training.  It also provides an online forum for interactions with industry partners.
  • GSA Training - gsa.gov offers free on demand, webinar and classroom training on a wide array of topics and offerings.
  • Customer Service Directors  - GSA’s local Customer Service Director’s are equipped to offer local training for your organization.

GSA’s announcement suggests that the Expo could return next year, but in a different form.  ”GSA remains committed to addressing the need for training,” the formal announcement continues, “and will identify the most effective way to offer Expo 2015 to deliver better value and savings for our government partners, our vendors, and the American people.”

 

GSA launches Alliant GWAC social community

February 3, 2014 by

The General Services Administration has launched a new social media tool on the Interact.gsa.gov website in an effort to gain feedback from other agencies and industry partners.

The community page is intended to facilitate “transparent and open” discussions pertaining to the Alliant II and Alliant Small Business II government-wide acquisition contract vehicles, GSA said last week.

GSA started the Alliant Interact community to follow OASIS Interact forum’s platform for feedback and dialogue on proposals and ideas.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.executivegov.com/2014/01/gsa-launches-alliant-gwac-social-community

 

Georgia firms win federal contracts in Jan. 2014

February 3, 2014 by

Ever wonder who’s winning federal contracts in Georgia?

Wouldn’t this information be helpful if you are looking for subcontracting prospects?  Or when you’re trying to figure out who your competitors are?  Or when considering who might be a good partner on an upcoming bid proposal?

Each month, the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) publishes a list of federal contracts awarded to Georgia businesses.  The list comes complete with point-of-contact information on the awardees, the name of the awarding agency, the dollar value of the contract, and much more.

Download the award winners for January 2014 right here: FEDERAL CONTRACT AWARDS IN GEORGIA – JAN. 2014

For information on Georgia businesses that won federal contracts in 2013, click here.

GSA schedules mentor-protege HUBZone conference in DC on Feb. 24

February 3, 2014 by

On February 24, 2014 small businesses are invited to obtain free training on HUBZone Certifications and the Mentor Protege Program.  This event will include matchmaking with the GSA Acquisition Workforce and representatives of GSA’s Mentor Protege Program. There also will be opportunities for counseling, on-site Mentor Protege applications, and a walk through the Forecast of Contracting Opportunities.

The event is being held at the General Services Administration, 1800 & F Street, NW, Room 1460, Washington, DC 20405.

GSA believes this conference will best benefit businesses in the following industries:

  • Utilities and housekeeping
  • Construction services
  • Maintenance, Repair and Rebuilding of Equipment
  • Professional Administrative and Management Support
  • Architect and Engineering Services
  • Information Technology Services including Telecommunication Services
  • Electrical
  • Janitorial

The agenda for the event is as follows:

  • Small Business Vendor training 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
  • Lunch on your own 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • Contracting and Mentor Matchmaking 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Closing Remarks 3 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

The registration deadline is February 10, 2014.  Register on-line here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1nTS9NHlpHUiT6X6xfXZsvLyIrM94mFEddwmzeh9sL9c/viewform

For questions, please contact Lucy Jenkins via email at: vog.asgnull@sniknej.ycul.