February 11, 2014 by cs
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.”
January 24, 2014 by cs
Tensions are brewing in the defense contracting business over government efforts to secure rights to manufacturers’ intellectual property. The clash pits military buyers who want to break up suppliers’ monopolies against companies whose livelihood depends on keeping tight control over their designs.
With the Defense Department under pressure to slash costs as budgets shrink, officials are targeting weapons programs for potential savings. They are particularly keen on reducing the cost of weapons maintenance and production by opening up the market to new competitors.
To do that in a market that is dominated by single-source manufacturers, the Defense Department needs what is known as “rights in technical data.” When the Pentagon buys a weapon system, it retains unlimited rights to the data if the item was designed with government funds. But when a product is financed by a private company, the firm keeps full control of the intellectual property and the government is simply a buyer.
Except in limited circumstances, contracting officials cannot disclose a private company’s proprietary data outside the government.
As the Pentagon in recent decades has become more dependent on the private sector for high-tech equipment, it now realizes that many of the existing arrangements restrict the government from seeking competing bids for maintenance or production of that equipment unless the manufacturers grant data rights. For most suppliers, that equates to killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/archive/2014/January/Pages/DoDClashesWithSuppliersOverDataRights.aspx
January 22, 2014 by cs
[Note: This article was written by Steve Towns, executive editor of Governing magazine.]
Nobel Prize-winning physicist Niels Bohr famously said, “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.” I tend to agree with him, but as we enter the New Year there are three interrelated technology issues that we can’t ignore. They’ll demand more attention from state and local leaders in 2014.
1. Data Analytics - Governments are great at collecting information, but they often do a lousy job of using it effectively.
2. Civic Innovation - While governments are struggling to get a handle on analytics, many have done a good job of opening data for public consumption.
3. Procurement Reform - One of the biggest barriers to harnessing the growing momentum around civic technology is government procurement.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.governing.com/columns/tech-talk/gov-government-technology-trends-to-watch-in-2014.html
January 14, 2014 by cs
[Note: This article was written by Terry Verigan, vice president of CompuCure.]
Hurricane Katrina nearly killed CompuCure. In the wake of the storm, just three of us remained by Oct. 1, 2005, and the weeks ahead promised to be grim for our New Orleans-based IT services firm — what was left of it anyway. But we weren’t going to let that damn storm chase us away from our city.
By September 2013, eight long years after Katrina wiped out so many lives and businesses, CompuCure had rebounded sufficiently to make Inc. Magazine’s list of the fastest growing businesses in America. With a talented staff of 30 delivering projects that had achieved national recognition for quality and value, it was tempting to think we’d made it to some sort of safe high ground, economically speaking. But by late September, our president and owner, Angelina Parker, faced another storm, this one political. The federal shutdown nearly took down the business again.
While we had become accustomed to the disruptions that stemmed from continuing resolutions — the stop-gap budgets lawmakers typically adopted while they continued to disagree over larger spending questions — those rarely impacted our work at federal sites. Employees would clock in while budgets were frozen and eventually CompuCure would be reimbursed. Our line of credit was more than sufficient to carry on. Interest charges eat away at profitability, but we could keep going, knowing that our people and their families felt secure. Our most valuable resources, our employees, would still be on the job.
But the shutdown was different. It meant lost revenue to CompuCure, not just a delay in getting invoices paid. Disturbing questions emerged, notably: How would we keep our talented employees from moving to other companies less dependent on federal contracts?
January 6, 2014 by cs
CGI Federal, the company responsible for building the problem-plagued Web site for the Affordable Care Act, won the job because of what federal officials deemed a “technically superior” proposal, according to government documents and people familiar with the decision.
Not considered in the 2011 selection process was the history of numerous executives at CGI Federal, who had come from another company that had mishandled at least 20 other government information technology projects more than a decade ago. But federal officials were not required to examine that long-term track record, which included a highly publicized failure to automate retirement benefits for millions of federal workers.
By 2011, CGI Federal already had been cleared to do government work at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the agency overseeing the rollout of the new health-care law.
The company had been included in a pool of pre-screened, approved contractors in 2007, during the George W. Bush administration, and only firms in that pool were later allowed to bid for the Affordable Care Act work. It was at that earlier time that the problems at American Management Systems, the Fairfax County IT contractor acquired by CGI, would have figured into the assessment of CGI Federal, contracting experts say.
In hindsight, one former CMS official said, the AMS record “could well have knocked [CGI Federal] out of the competition, and probably should have.”
Keep reading this article at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/healthcaregov-contract-politics-not-a-factor-but-neither-were-firms-ties-to-failed-projects/2013/12/22/61728fca-6753-11e3-a0b9-249bbb34602c_story.html
November 19, 2013 by cs
Contractors are readying for the release of a sprawling new contract program worth up to $20 billion over 10 years to provide government agencies with technology hardware, software and other infrastructure.
The program is the fourth iteration of a contracting vehicle managed by the National Institutes of Health’s Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center, or NITAAC, a body tasked with managing several major procurement programs.
This particular vehicle, known as the Chief Information Officer-Commodities and Solutions, or CIO-CS, program, will be used to buy IT commodities such as personal computers, servers and printers, said Robert Coen, acting program director of NITAAC.
This contracting program is meant to complement the center’s IT services contracting programs, which were awarded last year.
The previous iteration of CIO-CS was awarded in late 2002, and 66 vendors won spots on the program, said Stephen Morris, research analyst at Herndon-based Deltek, which analyzes the government contracting market.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/capitalbusiness/contractors-preparing-for-acquisition-vehicle-worth-up-to-20-billion/2013/11/08/982f8838-41ab-11e3-a751-f032898f2dbc_story.html
November 14, 2013 by cs
The Veterans Affairs Department awarded ASM Research a $162.5 million contract to improve the user experience for VA’s electronic health record system, a price more than triple two competitive bids, Nextgov has learned. The Sept. 30 contract award is for improvements to the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture, known as VistA.
HP Enterprise Services and Triple-I of Overland Park, Kansas, each submitted bids under $50 million on the contract won by ASM, two independent sources told Nextgov. The companies competed for the VistA work through task orders issued under a $12 billion IT umbrella contract known as Transformation Twenty-One Total Technology, or T4. The T4 contract, awarded to 16 companies in June 2011, is an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract that gives the department considerable flexibility in awarding technology deals.
The VistA enhancement contract calls for a new graphical user interface that will display a wide range of patient information. It also calls for other tasks one source described as so general it would allow the department to use ASM for a wide range of work without further competition.
On Oct. 28, a month after VA awarded the contract to ASM, David Waltman, a senior program officer within the Veterans Health Administration’s Office of Information and Analytics who had done preliminary work on that contract, sent an email to colleagues at VA and the Defense Department telling them he would leave government service Nov. 2 to take a job as chief strategy officer for ASM.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.nextgov.com/health/2013/11/va-awards-asm-research-health-it-contract-triple-price-competitors-bids/73223/
October 22, 2013 by cs
Total known and unclassified federal information technology spending will hover around $70 billion annually through fiscal 2019 when measured in today’s dollars, predicts the TechAmerica Foundation in its annual near-term forecast.
The forecast, based on federal budget data and interviews with federal IT executives, assumes an overall discretionary topline lower than the Office of Management and Budget’s projections but slightly greater in out-years than Budget Control Act caps. TechAmerica Foundation conducted the research before the House of Representatives reached an impasse with present year funding bills and so doesn’t take into account the government shutdown, now in its third week. The foundation is the nonprofit arm of technology firm lobbying group TechAmerica.
For fiscal 2014, the research finds (.pdf) that IT spending will add up to $70 billion, down considerably from the $86 billion (adjusted for inflation to be in today’s dollars) spent during fiscal 2009. This year’s figure will stay more or less steady through fiscal 2009, when it’ll reach $72.2 billion in constant dollars, or $78.5 billion in a number unadjusted for inflation.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernmentit.com/story/federal-it-spending-plateau-next-5-years-says-techamerica-foundation/2013-10-15
October 15, 2013 by cs
It is widely accepted that smartphones and tablets are vital business tools. But are there any apps built just for Government contractors? The answer is yes, and below you will find the best apps for companies active in Federal contracts. The title of each app is hyperlinked to the place on the Internet where you can download it.
Quickly understanding the competitive world of federal contracting is hard. Too much information in too many places makes for a frustrating and overwhelming experience. Not anymore. hōrd by GovTribe lets you easily subscribe to, or hōrd, the things you care about. The combined activity of these things is delivered to your iPhone in real time, letting you quickly evaluate opportunities, competitors, COs, and more.
GovConTrack provides the ability to easily search for government contracts and grants from your iPhone or iPad device. Data can be pulled directly from the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS-NG) using public data feeds, or from USASpending.gov. Network connection (WiFi, 3G, or Edge) required.
Now the entire Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) can be in the palm of your hand ready to email or reference. Completely searchable and indexed.
Read what government executives read. This mobile resource features all the updates and tools to help you understand how Government works.
USA.gov is government made easy. USA.gov — the U.S. government’s official web portal — is now available as a free app for your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch. It allows you to search tens of millions of web pages from federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal governments and to contact your government by phone or email.
This app allows travelers to look up Federal government per diem rates by city/state and ZIP code in locations throughout the United States and its territories. (Per diem is the daily allowance for lodging (excluding taxes), meals and incidental expenses. These rates are established by the General Services Administration for destinations in the lower 48 contiguous United States, and by the U.S. Department of Defense for locations in Alaska, Hawaii and the U.S. territories. The U.S. Department of State sets rates for foreign travel locations.)
This web app keeps you up-to-date on the General Services Administration, with news topics, compliance, and other information. There are YouTube videos and descriptions of GSA’s programs and services.