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NASA Tech Proves Windfall for Army

Under pressure to deliver cost savings and efficiency improvements, federal agencies are looking at each other’s achievements with increased interest. Through a recent technology transfer, the Army is getting a boost in software development from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

The Meteorology Calibration Laboratory (MCL) at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center is located on the Army’s Redstone Arsenal campus in Alabama. According to an announcement from NASA, Army officials “became aware” of NASA’s considerable work on automated software development during a tour of the MCL. Over the past decade, NASA has generated over 2,400 automated software procedures for calibration and testing. Around 1,700 were developed for the Space Shuttle Program and another 300 were produced for general use. In the last two years, an additional 400 have been developed for NASA projects and programs including the Space Launch System. By using a standardized set of procedures, the control of instrumentation can be automated. This automation minimizes risk by reducing the probability of errors related to human involvement. Limiting the necessary human interference, it also increases the consistency in the data recorded from technician to technician.

During a period of four months, programmers at the Army’s Test, Measurement and Diagnostic Equipment Activity completed around 25 automation procedures. (Assuming a constant rate, it would take several decades to amass a volume of procedures equal to the current size of NASA’s collection.) With the recent transfer from NASA, the Army benefits from over twelve years of work on calibration and testing, sparing them the costs of the software development. Government officials estimate that the move marks a potential savings of nearly $4 million. Beyond time and money, this represents a win for the service in terms improving the quality of the Army’s measurements.

NASA has shared these procedures between its centers, but this Army transfer is the first to a non-NASA recipient. The agency expects additional interest from other Defense Department organizations is likely to follow.  It’s no surprise that sharing technology is saving agencies time and money. Various initiatives like shared services and common standards (e.g. for security or for electronic reporting) are encouraging organizations to more closely consider potential existing solutions. Going forward, we’re likely to see more and more examples of agencies reaping benefits from other agency’s advances. As with other cost cutting moves, the trend will eat into the contractor addressable spending in some areas but may free up funds for other investments.

 

Originally published for Federal Industry Analysis: Analysts Perspectives Blog. Stay ahead of the competition by discovering more about GovWinIQ. Follow me on twitter @FIAGovWin.

 

FY 2016 Budget Request – Information Technology Highlights

Information Technology (IT) budgets are UP for fiscal year (FY) 2016 nearly across the board for major federal departments. The Obama Administration released its FY 2016 Budget request Monday morning, and around 6 p.m. the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) posted details on the Information Technology budget proposal, revealing a return to year-over-year budget increases for both the Defense and Civilian top-line numbers and net increases for most Executive Branch departments and agencies.

In a previous entry we looked at the overall FY 2016 discretionary budget highlights across the top agencies. Here, we will focus on IT.

According to the IT budget request for FY 2016, the overall IT budget for Executive Branch departments and agencies comes in at $86.3B, up 2.3% from the FY 2015 enacted level and 5.5% higher than the $81.7B spent in FY 2014. However, factoring out grants to state and local governments, the total IT budget for FY 2016 comes in at just over $79B, an increase of 4% from FY 2015, which was effectively flat from FY 2014. (See table below.)


 

AGENCY HIGHLIGHTS

In addition to the many budget increases for the next fiscal year, many agencies are also allocating greater funds to Development, Modernization, Enhancement (DME) efforts over Operations and Maintenance (O&M). These and other funding observations are included in the following agency highlights.

Department of Defense

The DoD is allocated a total of $37.3B in IT funds for FY 2016, a 3% increase over the FY 2015 enacted level of $36.3B. The total funds are split between classified and non-classified areas, $6.6B and $30.7B respectively. If enacted, this would mean a 2% increase in classified DOD IT and a 9% increase in non-classified DOD IT.

OMB released only top-line IT budget numbers for DoD and promised detailed updates in early March. This is fairly common practice each budget cycle, but shrouds DoD IT spending longer than any other department. Until then, we pursued what IT-related spending information could be gleaned from other DoD budget documentation.


Air Force

  • $1.8B in Procurement funds for Electronics and Telecom Equipment, an increase of more than $400M (30%) over FY 2015
  • $2.6B in Space Procurement funding, which budget materials note that FY 2016 marks the first year that such procurement are broken out.
  • $2.4B in Science and Technology RDT&E funds, an increase of $96M from FY 2015
  • $287M in Procurement funds for the Strategic Command And Control program, up from $140M (+105%) in FY 2015
  • $103.7M for AFNET, up 15% from the $90.5M level in FY 2015
  • $31.4M in Procurement funds for “General Information Technology,” down from $43M in FY 2015.
  • $9.6M for Integrated Strategic Planning & Analysis Network (ISPAN), an increase of $500K (6%) from the FY 2015 level

Army

  • $3.5B in Procurement funding for Communications and Electronics Equipment
  • $783M in O&M funding for upgrades to the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T)
  • $260M in Procurement funding for the Distributed Common Ground System-Army
  • $152.2M in Procurement funding for Automated Data Processing Equipment
  • $103M in Procurement funding for the Installation Information Infrastructure Modernization (IMOD) Program
  • $72.2M in Procurement funding for the Communications Security Program
  • $43.5M in Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation funding related to WIN-T for developing Network Operations software to meet the Army Network Convergence goals
  • $22M in Procurement funding for the Unified Command Suite

Navy

  • $17.9B in R&D funding, up nearly 12% from the FY 2015 level of $16.0B
  • $55M in R&D for Cyber (ORT/TFCA only), up from $3M in FY 2015
  • $2.4B in Navy Procurement funds for Communications and Electronics Equipment, up $158M (7%) from FY 2015
  • $279M in Procurement funds for CANES, down from $336M in FY 2015
  • $31.8M For the Distributed Common Ground System-Navy (DCGS-N), up from $23.7M in FY 2015
  • $135.7M for the Information Systems Security Program (ISSP), a 26% increase over the FY 2015 level of $108M
  • $740M in Marine Corps Procurement funds for Communications and Electronics Equipment, including $67M to support NGEN. The total is up from $570M in FY 2015

Defense-Wide

  • $12.3B in funding for the Science and Technology program for future technologies
  • $7.4B in funding for C4I systems
  • $7.1B for space-based systems
  • $800M for the MQ-9 Reaper Unmanned Aircraft System
  • $84.4M in Procurement funding for equipment for the Joint Information Environment, a 539% increase over the $13.3M invested in FY 2015
  • $57.7M in Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation funding for SOF Advanced Technology Development
  • $11.7M in Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation funding for Insider Threat detection

Agriculture

The USDA’s FY 2016 budget request for IT is $1.95B, 1.56% higher than the estimated level of $1.92B in Fiscal Year 2015.

Funding highlights include: 

  • $431M in the USDA’s Working Capital Fund, with money in this account used to finance central services in the USDA, including automated data processing systems for payroll, personnel, and related services; telecommunications services; and information technology systems
  • $66.3M in funding for information technology related to Farm Service Agency IT programs, including work related to the Modernize and Innovate the Delivery of Agricultural Systems (MIDAS) program
  • $29.5M in DME funding for the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Conservation Delivery Streamline Initiative (CDSI)
  • $29M in DME funding for the Office of the Chief Information Officer’s Optimized Computing Environment (OCE)
  • $28M for the USDA’s cyber security requirements and programs
  • $7.6M to fund a USDA Digital Services team that will focus on transforming the department's digital services in line with the White House’s Smarter IT Delivery initiative
  • $4.25M for information technology infrastructure at the Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service
  • $3M to implement the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, including changes in business processes, work force, and/or information technology assets
  • $1M for the Common Computing Environment, a shared information technology platform for the Farm Service Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Rural Development

Commerce

The president’s budget request provides $2333.2M in funding for the Commerce Department’s information technology, an 8% increase over FY 2015 enacted levels. 62% of FY 2016 funds are dedicated to operations and maintenance, a 3% increase over the FY 2015 enacted levels. Funding to support development, modernization, and enhancement efforts totals over $880M for FY 2016, rising above the amount enacted in FY 2015 by 38%.

Funding highlights include:

  • The top ten investments by requested funding for FY 2016 combine to make up just over 57% of Commerce’s entire IT budget.
  • Includes $339.7M in new investments for FY 2016.
  • Funding for upgrades is set to receive $5.2M for FY 2016, level with the enacted amounts for FY 2015.
  • Mission delivery and management support efforts request an additional $84M, bringing the total for FY 2016 to $1,415.5M and marking a 9% increase over the enacted level from FY 2015.
  • Commerce aims to provide $798.3M in funding for infrastructure, office automation, and telecommunications, an increase of 8% over levels from FY 2015.
  • Increasing 27% over the enacted level for FY 2015, Commerce has identified $116.2M for efforts related to enterprise architecture, capital planning, and CIO functions.

Energy

The president’s budget request provides $1,469.1M in funding for the Energy Department’s information technology, a 1% drop from FY 2015 enacted levels. 92% of FY 2016 funds are dedicated to operations and maintenance, a 1% increase over the FY 2015 enacted levels. Funding to support development, modernization, and enhancement efforts decline below the amount enacted in FY 2015 by $25.M, marking a drop of 18%.

Funding highlights include:

  • With details for over 700 investments for FY 2016, the top ten investments by requested funding combine to make up around 11% of Energy’s IT budget.
  • Includes $72.7M in new investments for FY 2016.
  • Consolidation activities are set to receive $43.6M.
  • Funding for upgrades is set to receive $3.5M for FY 2016, level with the enacted amounts for FY 2015.
  • Energy is targeting $663.8M in funds for mission delivery and management support, marking a drop of 2% from FY 2015.
  • Maintaining the enacted funding level from FY 2015, Energy aims to provide $747.6M for infrastructure, office automation, and telecommunications.
  • Increasing 7% over the level for FY 2015, Energy is looking to provide $73.5M for efforts related to enterprise architecture, capital planning, and CIO functions.

Health and Human Services

The president’s budget request provides $11.4B in total IT funding to HHS, a 10% decrease over FY 2015 enacted levels. Grants account for $6.4B of the total IT budget.  HHS’ proposed IT budget without grants totals $4.9B which is a 2% decrease over FY 2015.

Funding highlights include (excludes grants):

  • DME accounts for $1.1B or 22% of the total IT budget, a 14% decrease from FY 2015 enacted levels
  • 545 total investments of which the top 10 represent 37% of the total IT budget at $1.8B
  • $149M slated for cloud investments, a 5.5% decrease from FY 2015
  • Notable changes in agency IT budgets include CMS $2.3B down 3%, NIH $781M down 2.4%, FDA $584 up 1%, and CDC $324M down 6.5%
  • Notable program changes include CMS IT Infrastructure – Ongoing down $95M, CMS Federally Facilitated Marketplace (FFM)down $60M, and CMS Beneficiary e-Services up $22M

Homeland Security

The budget request provides $6.2B for IT investments at DHS for FY 2016, a 4% increase over the FY 2015 enacted level of $5.9B.

Funding highlights include:

  • DME accounts for $1.0B or 16% of the total IT budget, a $76M increase from FY 2015 enacted levels
  • $150.3M in DME funds for USCIS Transformation, which makes up 83% of the total FY 2016 funding of $180.9M
  • $463.9M for the National Cybersecurity & Protection System (NCPS), including $95.8M in DME funds, 21% of the total
  • $102.7M for the Continuous Diagnostics & Mitigation (CDM) program, of which $91.4, or 89%, are DME funds
  • $88.5M in DME funds for the CBP Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) Systems Program, which represents 42% of the overall $209.3M for the year
  • $80.3M in funds for the NPPD Next Generation Networks Priority Services (NGN-PS), 100% of which is DME

Interior

The president’s budget request provides $1,098.5M in funding for the Department of the Interior’s information technology, a drop of less than one percent from FY 2015 enacted levels. 92% of FY 2016 funds provide operations and maintenance, a 2% increase over the FY 2015 enacted levels to $1014.2M. At less than $85M for FY 2016, support for development, modernization, and enhancement efforts drops 20% below the amount enacted in FY 2015.

Funding highlights include:

  • The top five investments by requested funding for FY 2016 combine to make up over 61% of Interior’s entire IT budget.
  • New investments receive $5.6M for FY 2016.
  • Requesting $402.1M for mission delivery and management support efforts, Interior looks to slightly raise the funding for these investments bumping the total up by 1% over the FY 2015 levels.
  • Interior’s request of $657.6M for investments targeting infrastructure, office automation, and telecommunications marks a 1% decrease from FY 2015 enacted levels.
  • Dropping 13% from the level enacted for FY 2015, Interior has identified $38.3M for investments related to enterprise architecture, capital planning, and CIO functions.

NASA

The president’s budget request provides $1,390.4M in funding for NASA’s information technology, a 2% decrease from FY 2015 enacted levels. 95% of FY 2016 funds are dedicated to operations and maintenance, maintaining the FY 2015 enacted levels at $1,323.1M. Funding to support development, modernization, and enhancement efforts takes a hit for FY 2016, dropping 27% below the amount enacted in FY 2015 to $67.3M.

Funding highlights include:

  • The top five investments by requested funding for FY 2016 combine to make up nearly 59% of NASA’s entire IT budget.
  • NASA is looking to maintain its spending for mission delivery and management support, requesting $942.8M for FY2016.
  • $445.2M for Infrastructure, office automation, and telecommunications, a 2% drop from FY 2015 levels.
  • Maintaining the funding level enacted for FY 2015, FY 2016 would see $2.5M for efforts related to enterprise architecture, capital planning, and CIO functions.

Justice

The president’s budget request provides $2732.3M in funding for the Justice Department’s information technology, a 4% increase over FY 2015 enacted levels. Topping $2,250M for FY 2016, 83% of these funds are dedicated to operations and maintenance, marking a 5% increase over the FY 2015 enacted levels. At $476.1M for FY 2016, funding to support development, modernization, and enhancement efforts stay fairly level with the amount enacted in FY 2015, dropping by only 1%.

Funding highlights include:

  • The top ten investments by requested funding for FY 2016 combine to make up nearly 37% of Justice’s entire IT budget.
  • Includes $110.6M in new investments for FY 2016.
  • $478.6M is requested for system upgrades, an increase of around $5.5M over enacted levels for FY 2015.
  • Consolidation activities are set to receive $237.3M.
  • Dropping by 2% from the enacted FY 2015 levels, the request for mission delivery and management support activities totals $1,138.0M for FY 2016.
  • Justice aims to provide $1,413.8M in FY 2016 for infrastructure, office automation, and telecommunications, marking an increase of 10% from the level enacted for FY 2015.
  • Rising 23% above the FY 2015 level, Justice has identified $152.2M for efforts related to enterprise architecture, capital planning, and CIO functions.

Social Security Administration

SSA sees a 7% budget increase for FY 2016, growing to $1.7B from $1.6B in FY 2015.

Funding highlights include

  • At SSA DME accounts $705M or 42% of the total FY 2016 IT budget
  • $278.4M is allocated for Non-Major Infrastructure IT investments, of which 275.5M (99%) is DME
  • $55.0M in DME funds for the Disability Case Processing System (DCPS)      , which accounts for 92% of the total $60M budget
  • $68.5M slated for Non-Major IT Security Initiatives, 62% of which ($42.7M) is new development funds
  • $29.1M in new DME funding for the Intelligent Disability program, which makes up 84% of the $34.8M total

State

The State department receives $1.6B in IT funds for FY 2016, up 15% with an increase of $218M from FY 2015.

Funding highlights include

  • $140.4M of total agency DME funds account for 9% of the total FY 2016 IT budget and increases $3M from FY 2015
  • $28.5M for Consular Systems Modernization, of which $18.8M (66%) is DME funds
  • $13.3 in funding for the Architecture Services program, 100%        of which is DME
  • $11.0M in DME funding for Bureau IT Support, which accounts for 5% of the overall $230.3M allocated for FY 2016
  • $10.9M for DME efforts around the Global Foreign Affairs Compensation System (GFACS), or 35% of the total $30.8M in funds
  • $43.3M in total funding for the Integrated Personnel Management System (IPMS), $10.1M (23%) of which is DME
  • $31.6M in total funding for the Earnings Redesign initiative, $27.6M (88%) of which is DME

Transportation

The DOT’s FY 2016 budget request for IT is $3.3B, 6.4% higher than the estimated level of $3.1B in Fiscal Year 2015.

Funding highlights include:

  • $245M in DME funding for the FAA’s Terminal Automation Modernization and Replacement Program (TAMR-P)
  • $238M in DME funding for the FAA’s Data Communications NextGen Support (DataComm) program
  • $215M for the FAA’s Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) system
  • $200M for the FAA’s Facilities & Equipment account to finance major capital investments in FAA power systems, air route traffic control centers, air traffic control towers, terminal radar approach control facilities, and navigation and landing equipment
  • $3M to implement the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, including changes in business processes, work force, and/or information technology assets
  • $60M for NextGen operations planning activities at the FAA
  • $42.6M in funding through September 30, 2018 for information management related to Motor Carrier Safety Operations and Programs
  • $20M for FMCSA’s commercial vehicle information systems and networks deployment program and Information Technology Deployment (ITD) program
  • $9M to fund a DOT Digital Services team that will focus on transforming the department's digital services in line with the White House’s Smarter IT Delivery initiative
  • $8M for cyber security initiatives, including necessary upgrades to the DOT’s wide area network and information technology infrastructure
  • $4M for operation and maintenance of the FTA’s National Transit Database

Treasury

The president’s budget request provides $4.5B in total IT funding to Treasury, a 19% increase over FY 2015 enacted levels.    

Funding highlights include:

  • DME accounts for $933M or 21% of the total IT budget, a 4% increase from FY 2015 enacted levels
  • 280 total investments of which the top 10 represent 56% of the total IT budget at $2.5B
  • $330M slated for cloud investments, a 9.6% increase from FY 2015
  • Notable changes in agency IT budgets include IRS $3.2B up 30%, Fiscal Service $697 down 1%, and Departmental Offices $255M down 5%
  • Notable program changes include IRS Main Frames and Servers Services and Support (MSSS) up $219M, IRS Enterprise Services - PAC 9U up $204M, and IRS Applications Development Program Support (ADPS) up $60M

Veterans Affairs

The president’s budget request provides $4.4B in total IT funding to VA, a 5% increase over FY 2015 enacted levels.

Funding highlights include:

  • DME accounts for $639M or 15% of the total IT budget, a 11% decrease from FY 2015 enacted levels
  • 31 total investments of which the top 10 represent 92% of the total IT budget at $4B
  • $49M slated for cloud investments, a 32% decrease from FY 2015
  • Notable program changes include Benefits 21st Century Paperless Delivery of Veterans Benefits up $116M, Medical 21st Century Development Core down $81M, and Interagency 21st Century One Vet up $75M

We will be publishing our complete analysis of the FY 2016 budget request – including IT investments and initiatives – in the weeks to come.

Fellow GovWin Federal Industry Analysis (FIA) analysts Kyra Fussell, Deniece Peterson, Angela Petty and Alex Rossino contributed to this entry.

 

FY 2016 President’s Budget Request – GovWin FIA’s First Take

The White House released its FY 2016 Budget request today, perhaps the earliest annual budget release of the Obama Administration thus far. Several of my fellow GovWin Federal Industry Analysis (FIA) colleagues and I wasted no time in delving into this budget so that we could provide you with our first impressions of what we found noteworthy.

Similar to each presidential budget, the FY 2016 President’s Budget Request provides a blueprint for the administration’s policy and legislative agenda for the coming fiscal year and beyond. We reviewed the largest federal departments’ discretionary budgets to get a sense of direction and priorities for FY 2016, which begins October 1, 2015. Below is a summary table followed by key funding details and initiatives arranged by department.


Defense

DoD’s discretionary base budget request is up nearly 8% over FY 2015. The $534.3B in discretionary funding is $38.2B more than the FY 2015 enacted level.

Funding highlights include:

  • $126.53B for the Army (an increase of $7.B from the FY 2015 enacted level)
  • $161.0B for the Navy (an increase of $11.8B from the FY 2015 enacted level)
  • $152.9B for the Air Force (an increase of $16B from the FY 2015 enacted level)
  • $94.0B for Defense-Wide operations (an increase of $3.4B from the FY 2015 enacted level)
  • $51B in Oversees Contingency Operations (OCO) funding across all DoD (a decrease of $13.4B from the FY 2015 enacted level)
  • $209.9B for DoD operations and maintenance funding (an increase of $14.5B from the FY 2015 enacted level)
  • $107.7B for DoD procurement funding (an increase of $14.1B from the FY 2015 enacted level)
  • $69.8B in DoD RDT&E funding (an increase of $6.3B from the FY 2015 enacted level)
  • Invests $12.3B in DoD’s Science and Technology (S&T) Program, including $5.5B in Advanced Technology Development
  • Provides $7.4B for C4I systems
  • Includes $7.1B for DoD Space Investment Programs
  • Funds construction of the Joint Operations Center for U.S. Cyber Command at Fort Meade, Maryland
  • Funds ongoing investments in the DoD’s Joint Information Environment
  • Modestly increases the budget of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency from $2.9B to 3B
  • Allocates $32.3B for the Defense Health Program
  • Allocates $109.4M for communications upgrades at the new U.S. Strategic Air Command headquarters building

Agriculture

The president’s budget request includes $23.5B in discretionary appropriations for the Department of Agriculture, 1.25% below the enacted level of $23.8B in Fiscal Year 2015.

Funding highlights include:

  • $1B in financial assistance to rural businesses
  • $2.2B in community facility loans for rural areas
  • $6.4B for direct and guaranteed farm ownership and operating loans
  • $450M for competitive, peer-reviewed research for fundamental and applied agricultural sciences
  • $200M in funding for Watershed and Flood Preventions Operations
  • $206M to invest in the backlog of priority facility construction and renovation for the Agricultural Research Service
  • $60M to modernize the Headquarters South Building
  • $7.6M for a digital services team to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of USDA IT systems

Commerce

The president’s budget request provides $9.8B in base discretionary funding to Commerce, an 11% increase over FY 2015 enacted levels. These funds are intended to promote growth through trade, invest, and innovation as well as a data-driven economy.

Funding highlights include:

  • Provides funding to National Institute of Standards and Technology in support of advance in areas like cybersecurity and advanced manufacturing. Efforts to work with industry are called out in particular, such as implementing the Cybersecurity Framework of standards and best practices. Funding will also sustain work on initiatives like cybersecurity automation and the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC).
  • $1.5B to Census to support research, development, and implementation of the 2020 Census. The Census Bureau will also include planned increase for the Economic Census and advance initiatives to make data and resources publicly accessible.
  • Continues strong funding for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, including $2B for next generation weather satellites, including $380M for the Polar Follow-On satellites. $147M in funding is also provided for the construction of an ocean survey vessel.
  • $1.1B for National Weather Service includes increases in funding for critical infrastructure.
  • Includes $3M to establish an in-house Idea Lab to pursue innovative approaches to achieve the agency’s strategic goals and objectives.
  • Requests $6M to build a digital services team for Department of Commerce dedicated to improving IT systems and services.
  • $497M for the International Trade Administration includes $20M to expand SelectUSA efforts to grow business investment in the United States.
  • Auctions 500MHz of federal spectrum, aiming to reduce the deficit by $40B over the next decade and provide greater commercial access to spectrum.

Energy

The president’s budget request provides $29.9B in base discretionary funding to Energy, a 10% increase over FY 2015 enacted levels. These funds are intended to support nuclear security, clean energy, environmental cleanup, climate change response, as well as science and innovation.

Funding highlights include:

  • $5B in funding supports transformational research and development for critical technology areas such as nuclear safety, grid modernization, solar and renewable energy, and energy efficiency.
  • $5.3B to support scientific research, especially in the physical sciences.
  • $12.6B for National Nuclear Security Administration, an 11% increase over FY 2015 enacted levels.
  • $5.8B for critical nuclear legacy cleanup responsibilities.
  • Expands efficiency initiatives introduced in FY 2015 to advance key priorities and improve project integration.

Health and Human Services

The president’s budget request provides $79.9B in base discretionary budget authority to HHS, a 0.3% decrease over FY 2015 enacted levels. 

Funding highlights include:

  • Supports the Affordable Care Act and operation of the Health Insurance Marketplace.
  • Provides $4.2B to serve 28.6 million patients at more than 9,000 health center sites in medically underserved communities. $2.7B of this amount is new mandatory funding.
  • Funds reform of health care delivery by finding better ways to deliver care, pay providers, and distribute information.
  • Promotes innovative medical research to maintain the nation’s leadership in the life sciences including research into Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Advances product development efforts to support procurement of next-generation medical countermeasures against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats with a $522M investment.
  • Accelerates progress in scientific and public health efforts to detect, prevent, and control illness and death related to antibiotic-resistant infections with funding of $993M.
  • Proposes targeted reforms to Medicare and Medicaid which are projected to save more than $400B over the next decade.
  • Provides the Indian Health Service with $5.1B, an increase of $461M over FY 2015 enacted levels, to expand health care services and construct clinics and sanitation facilities.
  • Includes $1.6B to bolster food safety activities.    
  • Promotes continued efforts to cut waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid including removing social security numbers from Medicare beneficiary ID cards.

Homeland Security **

DHS would receive $41.2B in base discretionary funding in the president’s budget request, a 7.9% increase over the FY 2015 $38.2B budget request level. DHS is currently operating under continuing resolution (CR) at the FY 2014 enacted budget level of $39.8B. This CR expires on 2/27 by which time Congress is expected to pass appropriations to cover the remainder of FY 2015.

Funding highlights include:

  • $3.7B for Aviation Security and Screening at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) sustain aviation security and effectively align passenger screening resources based on risk. These risk-based security initiatives maximize security capabilities and expedite the screening process for low-risk travelers.
  • $132.3M for the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP) to provide expedited travel for pre-approved, low-risk travelers through dedicated lanes and kiosks.
  • $101M for Radiological and Nuclear Detection Equipment for detecting and interdicting illicit radioactive or nuclear materials by the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office and other DHS components.
  • $85.3M for the CBP Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) program for passive radiation scanning and X-ray/gamma-ray imaging of cargo and conveyances
  • $373.5M is provided to maintain necessary border security infrastructure and technology to improve CBP’s ability to detect and interdict illegal activity
  • $480M for network security, including the EINSTEIN3 Accelerated program to detect and prevent malicious traffic
  • $102.6M for the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) program for hardware, software, and services that strengthen the operational network security
  • $1B to replace aging Coast Guard cutters, aircraft, electronic systems and shore infrastructure
  • An increase of $86.7M to enhance U.S. Secret Service capacity to protect senior leaders

Justice

The president’s budget request provides $28.7B in base discretionary funding to Justice, a 5% increase over FY 2015 enacted levels. These funds are intended to support core law enforcement needs, safe and secure prisons, and other Federal, State, Tribal and local programs.

Funding highlights include:

  • Strengthening investment in cybersecurity through over $200M in IT upgrades and tools to detect and deter cyber-attacks. Funds also support plans for a Federal Cyber Campus to co-locate critical civilian cybersecurity agencies.
  • Provides $97M to expand training and oversight for local law enforcement, increase the use of body worn cameras, and provide additional opportunities for reform through technical assistance and training.
  • $482M in funds to address the back log of immigration cases at the Executive Office of Immigration Review. These funds will support hiring judges and legal representation as well as expanding the Legal Orientation Program.
  • Efforts to combat violent extremism include $4M for research, $6M for model development, $2M for technical assistance, and $3M for projects to enhance collaboration between law enforcement, communities, and other stakeholders.
  • Credits applied to Justice’s discretionary budget authority for FY 2016 include $13.5B from the Crime Victims Fund (CVF) and $304M from the Assets Forfeiture Fund (AFF). Both of these figures are up from the FY 2015 enacted levels. The CVF is up 39% over FY 2015, while AFF is up 58% for the same period.

Transportation

The president’s budget request includes $14.3B in discretionary appropriations for the Department of Transportation, 3.5% less than the $13.8B enacted in Fiscal Year 2015.

Funding highlights include:

  • Creates a new Office of Safety Oversight to coordinate and improve safety efforts across all modes of transportation
  • Provides $956M in discretionary funding for modernization of the Next Generation Air Transportation System
  • Provides $478B in mandatory and discretionary funding over six years for a surface transportation reauthorization proposal, including:
    • $1.25B per year for the TIGER Grant program
    • $18B over six years for the President’s National Export Initiative
    • $23B for transit and passenger rail programs and $144B over six years to expand transit capital investment grants
    • $6B over six years to provide credit assistance for nationally or regionally significant transportation projects through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act Program
  • Provides $29.4B in mandatory and discretionary funding over six years for a Critical Immediate Safety Investments Program to provide targeted infrastructure investments
  • Provides nearly $6B in mandatory and discretionary funding over six years for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • Invests $935M in mandatory and discretionary funding over six years for vehicle safety and innovation, including vehicle automation and vehicle-to-vehicle technologies

Treasury

The president’s budget request provides $12.8B in base discretionary budget authority to Treasury, a 4.9% increase over FY 2015 enacted levels.   

Funding highlights include:

  • Includes $2.9B for Treasury’s international assistance programs to promote economic growth, poverty reduction, action on climate change, and security through Multilateral Development Bank (MDB) investments in developing and emerging economies.
  • Funds increases in transparency and accountability in federal financial management and implements the Digital Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act). 
  • Proposes funding to transform Treasury’s digital services with the greatest impact to taxpayers and businesses so they are easier to use and more cost-effective to build and maintain.
  • Provides IRS with $12.3B in base discretionary resources, an increase of $1.3B from FY 2015, to restore taxpayer services to acceptable levels.  Funds are also provided to continue major IT projects, which aim to protect taxpayer information, modernize antiquated systems, continue development of a state-of-the-art online taxpayer experience. 

Veterans Affairs

The president’s budget request provides $70.2B in base discretionary budget authority to VA, a 7.8% increase over FY 2015 enacted levels. VA also received $15B in the Veteran Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014.

Funding highlights include:

  • Continues the largest department-wide transformation in VA’s history through MyVA, an effort to reorient the department around the needs of veterans.
  • Improves veterans’ access to medical care by investing $60B.
  • Supports improvements in veterans’ mental health care, telehealth care, life-saving treatment for Hepatitis C, specialized care for women veterans, long-term care, and benefits for veterans’ caregivers.
  • Provides $1.4B for programs aimed at ending veteran homelessness in 2015.
  • Strengthens veterans benefit programs by proposing an increase of $85M to hire 770 new staff to improve timeliness of non-rating claims, reduce the inventory of veterans’ appeals, strengthen the fiduciary program and further enhance disability claims processing accuracy and efficiency through centralized mail and the national work queue.

FY 2016 Federal Information Technology Budget Request

As of publishing time, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) had not yet published IT budget specifics, but topline numbers show a 2.5% increase for FY 2016. This puts the total IT request (including state and local grants and classified defense spending) at $86.4 billion compared to the FY 2015 estimate of $83.4B.

The administration’s priorities fall in line with many of the initiatives discussed in the FY 2015 request along with those launched by OMB and the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP).  Focus areas include:

  • $450 million to drive forward progress on cross-agency management priorities such as the U.S. Digital Service (USDS), PortfolioStat, Freeze the Footprint, and Open Data.
  • Providing funding to 25 agencies for the development of their own agency digital services teams.
  • Piloting new initiatives in IT acquisition that will increase digital acquisition capability within agencies, train agency personnel in digital IT acquisitions, and test innovative contracting models.
  • Increasing the use of Shared Services
  • Funding that will allow agencies to make progress in implementing the DATA Act and increase Federal spending transparency
  • Continue development of the government’s Category Management initiative to include:
    • Proposing legislation making it easier for vendors to bid on modestly-sized procurements and bringing more new companies into the Federal marketplace.
    • broadening the range of purchases that can be accomplished with minimal complexity and Government-unique requirements by requesting authority to raise the simplified acquisition threshold from $150,000 to $500,000.
    • Seeking new pilot authority to make it easier for agencies to set aside work for new small businesses and other firms with cutting edge/creative solutions that have limited experience selling to the federal government

Stay tuned to FIA as we will be publishing our complete analysis of the FY 2016 budget request in the coming weeks, where we will go into greater detail on the key initiatives, IT investments and contractor implications that will shape the federal IT marketplace for FY 2016.

Fellow GovWin Federal Industry Analysis (FIA) analysts Kyra Fussell, Deniece Peterson, Angela Petty and Alex Rossino contributed to this entry.

 

New JIE Requirements May Help the “Internet of Things” at the DoD

The “Internet of Things” (IoT) is a pretty common phrase these days, with the rapid-expanding interconnectivity of devices and sensors sending information across communications networks, all to achieve greater capabilities, effectiveness, efficiency, and flexibility.  The Department of Defense (DoD) clearly links the growth of emerging, interconnected technologies to the sustained superiority of U.S. defense capabilities, on and off the battlefield, so you could say that the IoT impacts defense IT at all levels.

The key to leveraging the IoT is in harnessing and integrating three key areas:

  • Information – Data from devices and sensors, (e.g. phone, camera, appliance, vehicle, GPS, etc.) and information from applications and systems, (e.g. social media, eCommerce, industrial systems, etc.) provide the content input.
  • Connectivity – Network connections via various wireless capabilities and communications backbones provide the transport links for aggregation and distribution. This facilitates the environment where data meets the power to use that data.
  • Processing – The computational capacity and capabilities to make the data content useful.  This may reside at the device and/or back end and ranges in complexity, (e.g. data analytics, etc.)

 


DoD Implications

The use of integrated networks to connect data with processing capacity to affect outcomes is far from a new idea at the DoD – it gave us much of the warfighting capabilities we have today. But technological evolution has resulted in a growing IoT mentality that goes beyond combat operations. One example is the establishment of the Air Force Installation Service Management Command (AFISMC) to coordinate management and maintenance of resources across Air Force bases and facilities. According to Air Force CTO Frank Konieczny, potential uses of IoT include facilities and vehicle management, logistics and transportation, integrated security, and robotics.

But pervasive connectivity is also creating security ramifications.  In the wake of a network security incident last year, the Navy launched Task Force Cyber Awakening (TFCA) in an effort to protect hardware and software Navy-wide as IoT engulfs everything from weapons systems to shipboard PA systems.

Importance of the JIE

The drive to leverage sensor technologies and data analytics that these technologies enable is a driving force behind the DoD’s Joint Information Environment (JIE) network modernization efforts, so the pace of sensor-based innovation is tied to the success of JIE efforts. Adding potentially tens of thousands of diverse Internet-connected objects to a network that then need to be managed and secured will require proactive IT governance policies to ensure effectiveness, and some provisions in recent law apply.

The FY 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), passed just last month, requires the DoD CIO to develop processes and metrics within the next six months for measuring the operational effectiveness and efficiency of the JIE. Further, Congress is having the CIO identify a baseline architecture for the JIE and any information technology programs or other investments that support that architecture.

These requirements may stem, in part, from a desire to help formalize and oversee JIE as an investment program, but the resulting baseline architecture will help pave the way to further implement greater IoT capabilities. The data from sensor-based devices will only continue to grow, but to maximize its utility the DoD will need a successful JIE to connect and carry the information.

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Originally published for Federal Industry Analysis: Analysts Perspectives Blog. Stay ahead of the competition by discovering more about 
GovWin FIA. Follow me on Twitter @GovWinSlye.

 

Army FY 2015 Omnibus Funding: Highlights and Observations

Just before the holidays Congress passed the “Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2015.”  Shortly thereafter, Federal Industry Analysis posted a quick analysis of the Defense portion of the bill that highlighted some of the legislation’s high-level funding plusses and minuses.  This post dives a little deeper into the Army portion of the FY 2015 Omnibus bill to unearth some additional details and outline some of Army’s IT spending priorities over what remains of the fiscal year.

Top Level Numbers

Recapping the Army top-level budget numbers from the earlier blog, we can see that the Service’s budget didn’t take as hard a hit as may have been expected.

 

Operations and Maintenance Funding

Receiving $1.2 billion less for Operations and Maintenance will hurt programs in progress.  This includes IT programs, the funding for which was cut by $71.7 million compared to the Army’s FY 2015 request in the President’s Budget.  A $5 million reduction in the non-Cyber IT programs run by the Army National Guard is also called out specifically in the bill.  Similarly, the budget for Army Service-Wide Communications will receive a haircut, dropping from a requested $1.62 billion to $1.61 billion.  The $100 million cut is made in the budget of the Integrated Personnel and Pay – Army (IPPS-A) program thanks to what Congress deemed an “excessive” amount requested compared to the actual requirement for IPPS-A.

The news in O&M is not all bad, however, as the Army’s Facilities, Sustainment, Restoration, and Modernization Budget receives a $400 million increase from $2 billion to $2.4 billion.  Some work centered on the installation of cyber-physical systems for energy management at Army facilities is likely to be funded from this budget line.

Procurement Funding

The addition of $400 million to the Army’s procurement budget will provide a boost for vendors chasing new business.  Most of the largest Army programs in procurement will be funded 100% in FY 2015, so anticipate that the next 3 fiscal quarters will be busy as Army contracting shops rush to push out acquisitions in a “shortened” year.  As the following list shows, however, the picture is not rosy for every program.

  • Aerial Common Sensor Program – $130 million vs. $185 million requested
  • Network and Mission Plan – $105.4 million vs. $114.2 million requested
  • WIN-T Ground Forces Tactical Network – $664 million vs. $763 million requested
  • Defense Enterprise Wideband SatCom Systems – $3.5 million vs. $5.4 million requested
  • IPPS-A – $17 million vs. $33 million requested
  • Joint Battle Command – Platform (JBC-P) – $88 million vs. $98 million requested
  • Total Communications and Electronics Equipment – $2.83 billion vs. $3.24 billion requested

Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation Funding

Lastly, RDT&E funding will be up slightly.  This is good news for some initiatives and programs, including the following:

  • Basic Research – $460 million vs. $424 million requested. This will benefit vendors who maintain research facilities and are part of research consortia.
  • Sensors and Electronic Survivability – $46.3 million vs. $33.5 million requested. The increase includes $7.7 million for cyber security training funding and $5 million for Force Protection Radar Development
  • Advanced Weapons Technology – $38.5 million vs. $28.5 million requested
  • High Performance Computing Modernization Program - $221.6 million vs. $181.2 million requested. FIA has been forecasting that HPC is an area where increased investment would be made.

And the not so good news for other programs:

  • Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System – $1.3 million vs. $22.4 requested.  The reduction of $21 is due in part to Increment II program delays.
  • Army Integrated Military Human Resources System – $68.5 million vs. $138.5 million requested
  • Technology Maturation Initiatives – $44.5 million vs. $74.7 million requested
  • Combined Arms Tactical Trainer (CATT) Core – $34.7 million vs. $42.4 million requested
  • Brigade Analysis, Integration, and Evaluation – $85.3 million vs. $105.3 million requested
  • Army Integrated Military Human Resources System (A-IMHRS) – $68.5 million vs. $138.5 million requested

 

Predictive Analytics Use at the Department of Defense

 

Back in September, an organization at the National Defense University called the Center for Technology and National Security Policy published a research paper entitled Policy Challenges of Accelerating Technological Change: Security Policy and Strategy Implications of Parallel Scientific Revolutions. Looking past the long title, one finds an in-depth consideration of the implications of emerging technologies for U.S. national security and the DoD. Considering the CTNSP is part of the defense establishment, I believe it is worth taking a few minutes to examine what the authors say, particularly since their comments fit seamlessly with the recently announced Defense Innovation Initiative (DII). Papers like this can point to areas of investment and in a time of falling budgets, any insight is welcome.

The report discusses more subjects than I can cover here, so in today’s post I’ll zero in on its comments about big data analytics. Use of big data analytics in the DoD is nothing new. In fact, based on recent contract spending data (see chart below), we can see that defense customers spent nearly $138 million on big data analytics over the five years from fiscal 2010 to fiscal 2014.

 

Big data analytics in this context are defined as advanced analytics programs offering visualization and modeling capabilities that enable statistics-based prediction/forecasting. Think Mathematica, MATLAB, Splunk, Statistica, Tableau, etc. and you have an idea of the programs included in this data.

According to the CTNSP report, employing these kinds of analytics on a vastly greater scale will be the key to controlling and exploiting the data that defense organizations will be gathering from the expansion of unmanned systems, robotics, and the Internet Protocol-enabled “Internet of Things.” The uses for such analytics include the analysis of intelligence data, cyber security, and the transition to a “health maintenance-based, rather than a disease-based medical model,” that will enhance the operational readiness of U.S. military personnel. The report’s recommendations have a clear implication – that the DoD should greatly ramp up its spending on predictive analytics and the training of its personnel to use them.
In recent years, however, just the opposite has been taking place. Examining the data presented above from the perspective of spending per fiscal year (see chart below), we see that defense spending on PA peaked at $42 million in FY 2012 and has declined since.

Undoubtedly the recent pressure placed on DoD’s budget by sequestration is the primary reason for reduced spending on PA. The question is will this trend continue. My guess would be no, for the simple reason that the DoD cannot afford to neglect developing its PA capabilities. To do so at a time when more data is coming at defense analysts than ever before would be folly. Add the increasing use of automated systems to the mix and the answer is obvious – the DoD must spend more on PA. Currently the department is in a period of retrenchment as it struggles with new budget realities. Once this retrenchment has run its course, defense customers are likely to turn their attention back to acquiring PA capabilities. The DII points the way forward in this respect and for industry partners it’s a welcome signpost of spending ahead.

 

Top Information Security Contracts FY 2009 to 2014

Analysis of historic federal information security spending reveals where agencies are investing the most.

Methodology

As part of the research and analysis completed for the recent Federal Information Security Market, 2014 to 2019 report, the Federal Industry Analysis Team explored reported spending on information security across the government. Historic spending data was collected using a non-definitive selection of 24 information security related keyword searches on FPDS.gov. The resulting 224,297 contracts were culled down to 33,233 through further analysis. This analysis reviewed the initial set for IT-related product or spending (PSC) codes, duplicate entries, and as well as security related contract descriptions.

 

The report includes findings from the over 33,000 contracts, which provide an approximate baseline total contracted value for security contract awards that can be used to assess the overall size and composition of historical federal information security spending from FY 2009 to FY 2014. The discussion in this blog addresses findings associated with the top 50 contracts from that set.

Findings

The top 50 contracts spread nearly $1.4 billion in funds across 11 different federal agencies.

Conclusions

Over the past five years, agency top contracts have provided security related products and services including compliance with security mandates (e.g. HSPD-12), encryption devices, enterprise identity management, and technology support services. While some of these awards are through stand-alone contracts or dedicated security programs, a number are associated with agency preferred contract vehicles. Going forward, agencies aiming to implement enterprise solutions or streamline costs are likely to continue leveraging existing channels to address security capabilities.

 

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Originally published in the GovWin FIA Analysts Perspectives Blog. Follow me on Twitter @FIAGovWin.

FY 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Set to Pass

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2015 has crossed a major hurdle to passage before the end of the calendar year as a House-Senate compromise bill has emerged. The final bill has implications for information technology acquisition and management at the Pentagon and beyond.

The legislation is a combination of two bills that each passed last May: HR 4435, which passed the full House, and S 2410, which passed in the Senate Armed Services Committee. As is typical, this year’s NDAA goes well beyond funding of national defense operations to include organizational and acquisition reform efforts and information technology priorities. Below is an overview of the high points of the bill.

Overview

  • Authorizes $521.3 billion in base discretionary defense spending and an additional $63.7 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), reflecting the President’s initial request of $58.6 billion and the additional request of $5.1 billion to primarily cover counter-ISIL operations. The FY ‘15 NDAA is $48.0 billion less than the enacted FY ‘14 NDAA.
  • Does not reflect a proposed BRAC round as requested by the Administration, citing concerns that previous rounds did not yield the promised savings but rather imposed large up-front costs only to shift property between federal agencies. The current flux of military size and structure is also cited as a reason to postpone a BRAC round.
  • Selectively supports some White House proposals – like limited compensation increases for military personnel, including a for a pay freeze for General and Flag Officers – while adjusting others – like replacing a 5% reduction in basic allowance for housing (BAH) with a 1% decrease. This NDAA also blocks retirement of the A-10 aircraft, but provides for some reprogramming of those funds to higher priorities if needed.

Reform Efforts

  • Restores the Office of Net Assessment (ONA) to an independent status, reporting directly to the Secretary of Defense, and increases the ONA budget for FY ‘15 by $10 million to $18.9 million
  • Directs the SECDEF to report on the feasibility of reducing or consolidating combatant command functions by FY20 and a plan to implement a periodic review and analysis of management headquarters. This NDAA would also task GAO with assessing the DoD’s headquarter reduction efforts as part of GAO’s previous work assessing HQ growth.
  • Directs the Under Secretary for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, (USD (AT&L)) and senior acquisition executives for the Navy and the Air Force to issue DoD-wide policies implementing a standard checklist to be completed before issuing a solicitation for any new contract for services or exercising an option under an existing services contract. The FY ‘08 NDAA established an annual services contracts inventory requirement that DoD has yet to fully implement.
  • As a cost-control mechanism, the bill requires the Comptroller General to conduct a review of cases in which an acquisition program office believes that the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation has required testing above the required test plan.
  • Directs the SECDEF to provide the congressional defense committees with frequent reports on DoD’s damage assessment resulting from unauthorized disclosures of classified information and steps the Department is taking to mitigate the damage.
  • Provides for an overhaul of the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) process to produce a new Defense Strategy Review that is more long-term and strategic in nature and a more useful oversight tool.

Information Technology and Cyber Operations

  • Directs the President to maintain a list of nation-states or individuals that engage in economic or industrial espionage using cyber tools, and allows for the President to impose sanctions on such individuals or nation-states
  • Directs the SECDEF to designate an executive agency for cyber test ranges and another for cyber training ranges to better coordinate and resource each
  • Requires the development of a Major Force Program for cyber to better account for the budgeting and resourcing of cyber operations capabilities
  • Requires mandatory reporting on penetrations of operationally critical contractor networks
  • Requires the development and implementation of operational metrics for the performance of the Joint Information Environment (JIE)
  • Implements the Federal Information Technology Reform Act (FITARA) that has stalled and been removed from last year’s NDAA, according to Nextgov. FITARA will give additional budgetary and management authorities to agency CIOs, although no so much in the DoD. Nextgov also notes that the NDAA also supports federal data center consolidation efforts, the DoD’s move to cloud computing, and a plan to expand the use special IT acquisition experts.

While the final bill still needs to pass both the full House and Senate and be signed by the president, the FITARA provisions should not be a major reason for a presidential veto, according to a Federal News Radio interview with some members of Congress.  

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Originally published for Federal Industry Analysis: Analysts Perspectives Blog. Stay ahead of the competition by discovering more about 
GovWin FIA. Follow me on Twitter @GovWinSlye.

 

Is DOD Changing Its Approach to a Common Data System?

A key roadblock for defense contract inventory efforts revolves around the dearth of accurate and reliable data. This hindrance is linked to unresolved issues with implementation of the planned common data system. A review launched in September 2014 aims to identify and develop data collection approaches, sparking questions as to whether the DOD will abandon plans to implement a common data system modelled  after the Army’s.

In November 2011, the DOD released a plan to develop a common technology solution to compile and review its inventory of contracted services. This plan leveraged existing data collection approaches, like the Army’s Contractor Manpower Reporting Application (CMRA). The DOD plan outlined objectives for meeting inventory requirements in both the short and long term. The long range elements of the plan included comprehensive guidance for components for the development, review, and use of the contracting inventories. It also provided for the formation of a working group to develop and implement a common data system for collecting and housing the information required for the inventory, including contractor manpower data. Although the plan did not include a detailed timeline or required resources, DOD expected this data system to be operational and for defense components to be reporting on their service contracts by FY 2016.

Varying requirements across the military departments and agencies have posed a challenge for developing a common data system. In September 2013, DOD fielded a system to support DOD components. Like the ones fielded for the Air Force and Navy, this system was also based on the Army’s CMRA. Each of the four CMRA systems is accessible via the Enterprise wide Contractor Manpower Reporting Application, which provides a common webpage. The four systems, however, are independent of one another with their own interface and separate log-ins. Currently, the department is evaluating business processes and guidance needed to standardize the approach to collecting and using inventory data.

Another factor that officials have called out as a hurdle in these efforts is the lack of dedicated resources and business processes to support the development and implementation. While the Army’s program has seen a rise in funding over the past few years, this has been entirely under operations and maintenance work. In FY 2013, the Army’s CMRA received $0.411 million in operations and maintenance. That figure rose to $0.879 million in FY 2014. The requested funding level for FY 2015 is just over half a percent higher at $0.884 million. The move to a common approach for data collection and reporting would likely require resources for development, modernization, and enhancement. For the Army, that would be either modest amounts to make minor adjustments to align with the rest of the DOD, or it would need to be a sum large enough to support a major overhaul. Results from the DOD’s September 2014 review are expected to be reported in December 2014.

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Originally published in the GovWin FIA Analysts Perspectives Blog. Follow me on Twitter @FIAGovWin.

 

Observations from TTC’s Internet of Things for Defense Symposium

The Department of Defense and U.S. federal law enforcement community are increasingly interested in what has come to be called the “Internet of Things.”  Labeled the “IoT” for short, the Internet of things consists of a growing network of small, low power, low bandwidth, low cost sensors and devices that are connected to networks and which send and receive data.  Think of the sensors that automatically turn on room lights or flush toilets and you have an idea of some of the uses for IoT technology.  Additional uses for IoT technology, however, are about as varied as one can imagine.  For example, the General Services Administration recently awarded a contract to IBM to outfit its facilities with sensor technology that will allow more efficient monitoring of energy use.  Similarly, tiny sensors can be used to monitor jet engine performance, or just about any other structure in the world.

As many of the speakers at the Technology Training Corporation’s IoT symposium discussed, the DoD is eyeing sensor technology to determine how it might best be used.  There are even several use cases already in progress.  Rear Admiral Scott Jerabek, Director of Command, Control, Communications and Computer Systems, at U.S. Southern Command kicked off the symposium by listing a few of these uses in his area of responsibility.  Noting that USSOUTHCOM employs IoT technology in its GeoShare program for humanitarian assistance, Jerabek also explained that the Navy is investigating a “nano-satellite network,” in addition to developing a Deep Sea Web of low observable, wide area capabilities to track dark targets at sea.

Subsequent speakers, like Air Force CTO Frank Konieczny, detailed multiple other uses for IoT technology that the defense establishment is considering. These include:

  • Base Facilities Maintenance – trash pickup, light replacement, food replenishment
  • Vehicle management – maintenance prediction, location tracking
  • Secured, smart workplace – presence for workers integrated with facilities management
  • Logistics and transportation – inventory/tracking, automated assembly/packing, geo-location in supply chain
  • Robotics – autonomous drones and vehicles, sensor based maneuvering

Needless to say, the expansion of networks to everyday items carries with it tremendous risks as well as benefits.  Multiple speakers mentioned the need to build security protocols into IoT devices so that they could be resistant to hacking.  Enhanced network security will be necessary as well given the vast expansion of data that networks will be handling.  Advanced analytics for continuous monitoring will be required, but not only that, analytics will need to be deployed to make sense of all the data and make decisions based on it.  In short, IoT will render the already big data world in which we live even bigger.

Herein lay other challenges.  Chief Warrant Officer 5, Ricardo Pina, Chief Technology Officer and Senior Technical Advisor to the Army CIO/G-6, pointed out that an organization like the Army currently does not have the network infrastructure required to handle the flow of data that an Army IoT would create.  This is one of the primary factors driving the Army’s modernization of its networks using multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) technology.  A standardized protocol will be required to enable seamless integration and use of IoT and the DoD is betting that this standard will be Internet Protocol.  Effectively, the new IP-based Joint Information Environment will enable the DoD to vastly expand its use of IoT technologies.  This expansion will in turn drive investment in the analytics and any attendant services required for IoT implementation.  Vendors therefore take note.  The business opportunity in the area of IoT is growing, particularly among informed defense customers.

For more information on upcoming symposia, visit the Technology Training Corporation. I’ll see you at the one on Software-Defined Networking scheduled for December 9-10, 2014.

 

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