DoD’s small biz office didn’t know about availability of cybersecurity resources

Hackers pummel small companies because they are easy targets, with poor security hygiene and network access to big business partners, say security specialists. That logic applies to small military contractors, too.

GAO-GovernmentAccountabilityOffice-SealBut the Pentagon’s Office of Small Business Programs has resources to help protect the little defense businesses – it just didn’t know it. That was the finding of a Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit released Thursday.

The office “had not identified or disseminated cybersecurity resources to defense small businesses that the businesses could use to understand cybersecurity and cyberthreats,” Joseph Kirschbaum, GAO director for defense capabilities and management, said in the report. Office employees “were not aware of existing cybersecurity resources such as those we identified when we met with them in June 2015.”

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Here are some cybersecurity training resources available to businesses:

SBA’s 8(a) certification workshop is Oct. 15 in Atlanta

The Georgia District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is conducting a workshop entitled “8(a) Business Development Certification Step by Step” on Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015.

The workshop will be held from 10 am until 1 pm at the SBA’s offices located at 233 Peachtree Street, Suite 1900, Peachtree Center – Harris Tower, Atlanta, GA, 30303.

The 8(a) Business Development program is a part of the SBA’s efforts to promote equal business access for socially and economically disadvantaged individuals including Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, subcontinent Asian Americans, and, in some cases, women business owners. Companies with an 8(a) Certification can benefit from the wide-range of services offered including government contracting opportunities, access to capital, management and technical assistance, and much more.

Pre-registration is required and can be accomplished at:

The event is co-sponsored by The University of Georgia Small Business Development Center, Office of Minority Business Development.

GSA issues RFP for new leasing support services contract

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.

DoD seeks 10-year extension of small business mentoring program

The Defense Department intends to request a 10-year extension of a program that improves the ability of socioeconomically disadvantaged small businesses to compete for defense contracts, the program’s manager said yesterday.

The Small Business Mentor-Protege Program began in 1991 as a way to foster small businesses and improve technology transfer between the Defense Department and industry, Robert Stewart said in a DoD News interview.

Despite having been in existence for nearly 25 years, the program is still categorized as a pilot and must be reauthorized in a National Defense Authorization Act every few years, he said.

Stewart said that through regular outreach with industry representatives, his office has learned that the periodic reauthorizations give the impression that the program isn’t permanent. This has a chilling effect on participation — particularly as the reauthorization period approaches, he said.

“Whenever we’re about a year, year and a half out from an authorization — since it’s a pilot program and it’s still crafted in language as a pilot program — industry does what’s called a chilling-off,” Stewart said. From the perspective of a business owner, he said, “If I’m not sure something’s going to be reauthorized, I’m going to be less apt to put business development dollars into helping facilitate small business.”

Extending the program’s authorization period would provide stability, reassure industry and save the department money, he said.

How to Participate

Small businesses seeking to become prime contractors with the department first choose a mentor from one of the more than 50 larger companies participating in the program, he explained. Part of that selection process is ensuring that the strategic goals of the two companies align, Stewart noted.

“We try to put them in a position to be as successful as possible,” he said.

The larger company provides training and mentorship, and in exchange, receives credit toward their small business contracting goals, Stewart said. If the training is provided through a procurement technical assistance center, a small business development center, minority institution or a historically black college or university, they can claim up to four times the amount spent for credit toward their actual small business participation levels.

The agreements may not last longer than three years, and once an agreement is fulfilled, the small business graduates from the program and is able to serve as a prime contractor for DoD contracts.

“Now you have a small business who’s a prime contractor [and] whose overhead is significantly lower than your traditional government contractors,” Stewart said. “They can do the exact same work, sometimes faster, sometimes cheaper, oftentimes better than larger, more cumbersome agencies or entities.”

This is a win-win situation for industry and the Defense Department, Stewart said. Larger businesses now have a pool of capable, responsive partners with which to team up and seek defense contracts, while small businesses gain better-trained employees and, by piggybacking on the capabilities of their larger partner, they can compete for contracts that they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to support.

“It works out in a lot of areas,” he said. “We’re helping grow the manufacturing-industrial base by ensuring that we’re going through our [procurement technical assistance centers], small business development centers, minority institutions and [Historically Black Colleges and Universities], but also identifying tech transfer companies that allow the United States government to be able to fight the threat that the Googles, the Amazons, the Microsofts, the Oracles face every day.”

The Way Ahead

“One of the things that we’re looking for going forward … [is that] we want to focus on the evaluation and criteria and factors to drive contracting commands across the DoD enterprise to utilize Mentor-Protege as a way to meet those subcontracting small business participation goals,” Stewart said.

To accomplish this, he said, the Office of Small Business Programs plans to develop a defense acquisition regulation that would give participants in the Mentor-Protege Program greater weight during the bid solicitation process.

“You’re going to get credit toward being already involved in DoD — you know DoD’s business, you’ve already got an established working relationship with the DoD,” Stewart said.


More free government contracting seminars and webinars planned for 2015

The Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) has plenty of plans already made that are designed to assist Georgia businesses in the pursuit of winning government contracts.

For example, GTPAC has scheduled seven different webinars in the first few months of 2015 to help businesses understand topics as diverse as:

  • Understanding the GSA Schedule Process (Jan. 13th)
  • Introduction to Government Contracting (Feb. 11th)
  • Preparing Successful Bids and Proposals (Feb. 20th and April 9th)
  • The Woman Owned Small Business Program (Mar. 10th)
  • Subcontracting with Large Prime Contractors (Mar. 27th)
  • Selling to the Military (Apr. 24th)

In addition to webinars, GTPAC has scheduled 22 in-classroom seminars in the first quarter of 2015.  These sessions are being held in Atlanta, Warner Robins, Carrollton, Savannah, and Albany.

A complete list of seminar topics, locations, and dates can be found at:

Additional webinars and seminars are added to GTPAC’s training calendar frequently, so if you don’t see what interests you right now, be sure to check the calendar on a regular basis.

All GTPAC seminars are free of charge, but advance registration is required.  Simply hit the “Sign Up” button for the seminars of your choosing at

Step-by-step instruction on 8(a) certification on Jan. 15th

The Georgia District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), along with the Office of Minority Development of the University of Georgia’s Small Business Development Center, is presenting a three-hour seminar on the 8(a) certification process on Thursday, January 15, 2015 in Atlanta.

The SBA’s 8(a) Business Development program is a part of the federal government’s effort to promote equal business access for socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, including Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, subcontinent Asian Americans, and in in some cases, women business owners. Companies with an 8(a) certification can benefit from the wide-range of services offered including government contracting opportunities, access to capital, management and technical assistance, and more.

The Jan. 15th  seminar is being held at the Georgia District office of the SBA, 233 Peachtree Street, Suite 1900, Peachtree Center – Harris Tower, Atlanta, GA, 30303.

There is no cost associated with this event, and advance registration is required.  To register, visit:

AFCEA plans TechNet event in Augusta Sept. 9 – 11

The Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) is hosting TechNet Augusta 2014 on September 9 through 11, 2014.

The theme of this event is “Achieving Force 2025 Through Signals and Cyber.”   The overall focus is on Army ground forces, including Joint component interface, other Department of Defense Organizations, Inter-Agency, Industry, and Academia. 

 This conference will address the transformation of Fort Gordon to the Cyber Center of Excellence as well as highlight the continuation of Signal training.  Government, industry, and academia speakers will address a broad range of topics and focus on the importance of the network, security issues, and training to enable operational forces to modernize and be ready to meet emerging challenges in 2025 and beyond.

Presentations, panels, and track sessions will highlight empowerment of Soldiers on the battlefield through training, different methodologies for connecting through enhanced technology, and command and control functions to enable the U.S. Armed Forces to dominate the battlefield.

  • LTG Robert S. Ferrell, USA, CIO/G-6, U.S. Army, is confirmed to give the Tuesday keynote luncheon address. 
  • LTG Edward C. Cardon, USA, Commander, U.S. Army Cyber Command, is confirmed to give the Wednesday morning keynote address.
  • MG LaWarren V. Patterson, USA, Commander, U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon, is confirmed to give the opening keynote address on Tuesday morning.

AFCEA International, established in 1946, is a non-profit organization serving its members by providing a forum for the ethical exchange of information, and dedicated to increasing knowledge through the exploration of issues relevant to its members in information technology, communications and electronics for the defense, homeland security and intelligence communities.

Conference fee and registration details may be found at:

NDIA’s annual missile defense small business conference is July 23-24 in Huntsville, AL

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) Office of Small Business Programs has joined forces with National Defense Industry Association (NDIA) to bring you the NDIA Annual Missile Defense Small Business Conference to be held at the Von Braun Convention Center in Huntsville, Alabama on July 23 and 24, 2014.

This year’s conference will highlight information relevant to MDA’s Program requirements, an overview of MDA’s upcoming procurements, a “Successful Proposal Response Boot Camp,” and provide opportunities for matchmaking with MDA Program Offices, the MDA Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP), MDA Prime contractors, and other Agencies located on Redstone Arsenal.

More event information, including registration details, may be found at:

The official conference hotel is Embassy Suites in Huntsville.  The room block is closing soon for this event, and the room rate will increase at midnight on July 9.



GSA cancels 2014 Training and Expo conference, offers alternatives

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:

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 – 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.”