Defense must ramp up recruitment of IT acquisition workforce, consultant says

The Defense Department should create an incentive program to lure information technology acquisition professionals from industry and establish a defined career path for them, according to an internal briefing on necessary improvements to the Defense IT acquisition workforce.

The briefing by Thomas Hickok, a consultant to the Defense Chief Information Officer, said the Pentagon also should establish critical positions in all IT disciplines throughout the military departments and agencies and target superior program and project managers for recruitment. He also suggested Defense creates an exchange program with industry for IT professionals.

The department budgeted $68.9 billion for IT spending in 2010, but the Defense Science Board noted in a March 2009 report that “IT expertise is scarce and the competition for talent is increasing.” That report also stated the Pentagon and the military services need IT acquisition staff with extensive experience in large-scale, embedded and commercial IT.

In addition, the House Armed Services Committee called for a beefed up and more skilled IT workforce in its March report on Defense acquisition reform and said the Pentagon should “develop a plan for how to strengthen the IT acquisition workforce as it increases the size of the overall acquisition workforce in the coming years.”

The 2010 Defense Authorization Act in a section on IT acquisition called on the Pentagon to develop an acquisition process for IT systems based on the Defense Science Board report and directed the process be outlined in a report due this past July. That report has not been submitted yet, but the Hickok briefing is a draft of the language Defense plans to present in its report to Congress. The Pentagon did not respond to queries on the status of the report and plans for the IT acquisition workforce.

Trey Hodgkins, vice president for national security and procurement policy for the IT industry association TechAmerica, said Defense definitely needs to boost the skills of its IT acquisition workforce, which lacks comprehensive understanding of commercial IT trends and technology.

To recruit highly skilled IT acquisition professionals, Defense should provide incentives such as bonuses and entry into the workforce at a high grade, he said. Beyond that, Hodgkins said Defense should design a clear career path for these professionals — something the Pentagon currently lacks, which diminishes its ability to recruit the people needed to manage the IT systems key to the operation of networked forces.

Hodgkins endorsed the idea of an exchange program between industry and the Pentagon, suggesting that it start at the National Defense University and the Defense Acquisition University.

The Pentagon and Congress also need to dust off and ramp up the formal Information Technology Exchange Program, Hodgkins said. Only one person, John Moore, director of global strategic development, global security solutions at Lockheed Martin Corp., went through that program before authorizing legislation expired in 2008.

— By Bob Brewin – – 10/15/2010

Aerospace Annual Requirements Symposium Nov. 16-18 in Perry, GA

The Warner Robins Chamber of Commerce Aerospace Industry Committee (AIC) 8th Annual Requirements Symposium is being held November 16 – 18, 2010 at the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter in Perry, Georgia.  

The “Requirements Symposium” is a unique 3-day event where senior leaders and managers at Robins Air Force Base share their current and future requirements and organizational vision of the future. This insight into requirements at Robins AFB and the Air Logistics Center allows aerospace industries and businesses to appropriately plan for capabilities to meet the needs at Robins AFB and the Warfighters they service, today and tomorrow.

You can find registration links to this event — and to many more upcoming events of interest to government contractors — at   This same link contains many tips to consider when preparing to attend vendor events.

GSA hosts annual veterans business event Nov. 10th in Atlanta

The Region IV Office of the General Services Administration (GSA) is holding its 6th Annual Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB)  Forum in Atlanta on Nov. 10, 2010.  

This half-day event focuses on bringing local buyers and agency small business experts to meet, greet and share information about their respective agency’s FY2011 award opportunities, and how to gain access to same.  The targeted audience is the Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses community.  

Representatives of several federal agencies — including the US Dept. of Labor, Housing & Urban Development, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Small Business Administration, and Fort McPherson — are scheduled to be in attendance.   Prime contractors like IBM and Skanska also will be there.

This event will be held in the Sam Nunn Conference Center; 61 Forsyth Street, Atlanta from 8:00 a.m. until noon.  The conference rooms are on the second level.   

Registration details and the agenda may be found right here: SDVOSB Forum 11.10.2010                        



“Contacts & Contracts” event scheduled Oct. 27 in Atlanta

The Georgia Supplier Council of the National Association of Small Business Contractors and the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce are presenting a full day of connections to federal contracting opportunities.  The event is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2010 and is being held at the Georgia Tech Research Institute.

There is a fee for registration:  $45 for members, $90 for non-members.  Registration can be accomplished by going to

“Contacts & Contracts” is totally focused on bringing businesses up to date on current contracting opportunities and connecting businesses with federal agency and prime contractor representatives.  During the morning session, a focused overview of opportunities in the region is planned.  The afternoon session is matchmaking between small businesses and representatives from federal agencies and prime contractors.

DoD industry day on Nov. 9 in Biloxi to focus on shipbuilding industry

The Department of Defense (DoD) is planning an “Industry Day” focusing on the shipbuilding industry along the Gulf Coast. 

This event will be held Novemeber 9, 2010 in Biloxi, Mississippi and will afford companies with the opportunity to meet and network with both government officials and other businesses. 

It’s important to note that even though the focus of this event is shipbuilding, there will be exhibitors from government agencies and prime contractors available. 

Attendees will have the opportunity to network with an anticipated 30-40 government agencies and prime exhibitors, plus as many as 400 attendees.

Details and registartion information may be found at:

SBA lifts suspension of technology contractor

The Small Business Administration has reached an agreement with recently suspended technology contractor GTSI Corp. that will allow the systems integrator to resume most of its business with the federal government during an ongoing investigation, subject to strict oversight.

According to the pact announced Tuesday, GTSI will once again be eligible to compete for non-small business contracts. The Herndon, Va., company will remain temporarily barred from SBA’s mentor-protege program, joint ventures with small firms and circumstances where it serves as a subcontractor to a small business.

The agreement lifts SBA’s Oct. 1 temporary suspension of GTSI amid allegations the company manipulated small business set-aside rules to inappropriately win government work. The deal is contingent on GTSI’s cooperation with the SBA inspector general’s ongoing investigation of those allegations, and will remain in effect for a maximum of three years. It will end earlier if the IG completes the probe sooner, or if SBA proposes debarring GTSI.

The company also must adhere to several oversight requirements. For example, an independent, SBA-approved monitor will track GTSI’s business practices and ensure it is fulfilling the requirements of the agreement. GTSI also must institute SBA-approved ethics and contracting rules training.

“The lifting of the suspension gives GTSI, its vendors and clients the ability to move forward,” John Toups, chairman of the contractor’s board of directors, said in a statement. “The cloud of uncertainty that was hanging over our employees, creditors, shareholders and partners has been removed, and we can get back to the business of serving our government clients.”

Toups noted the company — which has about 525 employees and ranked 106 on Government Executive‘s list of top 200 contractors for fiscal 2009, with nearly $540 million in prime contract awards — in recent years has earned less than 15 percent of its annual revenue from working with small businesses serving as prime contractors.

The agreement with the government did take a toll on the contractor’s leadership team. It required GTSI’s chief executive officer and general counsel to step down; several other high-ranking company officials will be suspended while the pact is in effect.

– by Amelia Gruber – – October 19, 2010