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Deltek Pulse: Justice/Public Safety and Homeland Security August review

The most common technologies and services procured across states and localities in August were security systems, surveillance, CCTV and other camera systems and fire alarm and alerting systems. The word cloud below provides a visual interpretation of key-term frequency.

  • Security System: 20 solicitations
  • Surveillance and Camera systems: 12 solicitations
  • Fire Alarm or Alerting Systems: 12 solicitations


After a slow spring and early summer, there was a significant increase in the number of solicitations released for justice and public safety technologies in August. Despite the large influx of RFPs, there were very few technological trends across the states. Solicitations ran the gamut from Florida’s RFP for an automated fingerprint-based applicant processing system, Spotsylvania County, Virginia’s RFP for a new 800MHz radio system, to Los Angeles County’s offender monitoring system RFP.

Several radio system and consultant solicitations were also released, though this was expected given the looming narrowbanding deadline. Arkansas’ Garland County and the city of Hot Springs released a rebid request for qualifications (RFQ) for a public safety radio communications system needs assessment after the original solicitation was canceled. Hot Springs was not the only location to release and then cancel a solicitation for a radio-related project. The Colorado Department of Public Safety released a solicitation for narrowband base station parts that was canceled on August 13 due to inadequate and ambiguous specifications. At this point, the state plans to release a new solicitation or possibly use a statewide price agreement to procure the products.

Many of the other solicitations in August seemed to be related to courts and corrections technologies. Despite the fact that Los Angeles County’s offender management system project moved forward, WSCA’s electronic monitoring and GPS project spent another month on hold as the original solicitation released in April is still being redrafted. Solano County, Calif., released a solicitation for its inmate telephone system. Massachusetts made a decision to rebid its own statewide inmate telephone system, and hopes to release a solicitation in October.

The budget cycle that began July 1, 2012, seems to have spurred departments to make decisions on all sorts of projects. In some cases, decisions were made to cancel projects; while in other cases, decisions were made to perform the work in house. After releasing a request for information (RFI), many purchasing entities decided to create systems in house, either due to the prohibitive costs of purchasing an outside system or because it was determined that no single vendor could provide the required solution. 

New York state decided to use a prescription drug monitoring program system developed in house rather than releasing a solicitation, and Delaware is leaning toward moving its laboratory information management system in house as well after results of an RFI were not what the state was hoping for. Still, other counties and states made the decision to sole source their projects like Kentucky did with its AFIS project after determining that only the current vendor would be able to provide a system that would work with the state’s outdated backend system, which cannot be updated due to budget constraints.

Analyst’s Take

As things begin to move forward again, it would behoove vendors to check in on projects that may have been put on hold until this new budget cycle. As always, contacting the using departments at the earliest point possible will benefit vendors who can show interest in the project and share their expertise. 

With the narrowbanding deadline moving closer, states and localities are under extreme pressure to develop working systems or, at the very least, a plan in the next few months. In some cases, it seems as though this has caused some municipalities to jump the gun and release solicitations for projects before they are fully ready. Kentucky experienced problems with its next generation 911 system solicitation, and after receiving two non-responsive proposals, was forced to cancel the solicitation. The state is currently reevaluating the project.

It is important for purchasing offices to work closely with the using departments to ensure that the final solicitation covers all necessary requirements and clearly explains what the locality is seeking from vendors. Likewise, vendors should take every advantage when they know about a project prior to a solicitation release to work with and assist purchasing departments in determining specifications. They should also use the question and answer period to ensure that they not only meet all of the technical requirements, but that they understand the bureaucratic requirements as well.


New OMB Reporting Guidance Hopes to Clarify Agency Cloud Investments

New guidance from OMB will affect how agencies report cloud computing investments in their FY14 Exhibit 53 and Exhibit 300 reports. Come next February we should have a much better idea of both the status of cloud adoption across the federal government and how agencies are planning to proceed.
Earlier this week the Office of Management and Budget released new guidance for agencies concerning how they should complete IT Exhibit 53 and Exhibit 300 reports for FY14.  For those unfamiliar with these reports, the Exhibit 53 provides a line-item listing of IT investments, including planned funding for the Project Year.  The Exhibit 300 is the detailed business case for each investment, describing what it is, the goals it accomplishes, and the contracts for it that are in place.  In recent years, the Exhibit 300s have also provided tantalizing, if fragmentary, information concerning how agencies were planning to use emerging technology approaches like cloud computing.  Now, instructions in the new OMB guidance will push agencies to provide the most detailed insight yet into how they are moving to the cloud.   
The format of the Exhibit 300s has changed annually since the Obama Administration took office, usually to accommodate one reporting requirement or another.  In FY12, for example, OMB directed agencies to “describe the progress of evaluating cloud computing alternatives for service delivery to support this investment.”  Since very few agencies had made public statements about cloud computing, the responses in the Exhibit 300s provided industry with at least a sense of what agency leadership was thinking.  That changed in FY13.  To all intents and purposes, the term “cloud” disappeared from the Exhibit 300s, replaced instead with detailed explanations of the mission critical role that each investment played in the agency’s IT environment.  Concerning the Exhibit 53, the word “cloud” either appeared in the investment’s title or it did not, end of story.
This situation will change again in FY14.  The OMB has instructed agencies to report their cloud investments in both the Exhibit 53 and Exhibit 300 reports.  For the 53, the guidance adds a new “Exhibit 53C” detailing the “Agency Cloud Computing Portfolio” and adds a field to the “Exhibit 53A” for reporting the results/progress of cloud alternatives analysis.  The information contained in the Exhibit 53C will include details on the deployment model and service delivery type used.  To eliminate confusion, agencies are required to use the NIST definitions for deployment model and service delivery type that are outlined in NIST Special Publication 800-146 “Cloud Computing Synopsis and Recommendations”.  Per the graphic below, agency costs for both the deployment model and service delivery type will be laid out by Project Year, Calendar Year, and Budget Year.

Elaboration on how agencies are moving toward the cloud is also likely to pop up in Exhibit 53D “Agency IT Reductions and Reinvestments.”  As part of explaining how agencies will reduce 10% of their overall IT spending and reinvest “at least 5%, and up to 10%,” of these savings, agencies are required to describe “innovative investments consistent with policy initiatives such as cloud computing.
Assuming OMB makes the reported data public, we should have a much better idea of both the status of cloud adoption across the federal government and how agencies are planning to proceed.


Deltek's straight dope on state budgets - Part 2: 2013 revenues continue to climb

The National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO) and the National Governor’s Association (NGA) recently published their annual spring report outlining the fiscal condition of the states. Deltek finished its annual analysis of state all funds budgets in May. Often, media outlets present conflicting information from these national reports. This article is a continuation of a Deltek analysis series that examines both the NASBO and Deltek data in black and white. As always, Deltek believes in presenting the straight dope.

From the NASBO report, general funds (GF) revenue gains in the states’ continue to illustrate economic recovery. Notably, GF revenues increased from FY 2012 to 2013 by $27.4 billion, or 4.1 percent. This is the third straight year of revenue increases and an overall gain of $80.4 billion, or 13.1 percent since 2010. All told, this is great news both for the states and contractors. See Figure 1, below, for more detail.
Figure 1

Source: Deltek and NASBO
Click on the image above for a full-sized version.

Digging deeper into GF revenues, 43 states lost ground in 2009 and 41 lost in 2010. From 2011 to 2013, growth out of the recession becomes evident, with 47 states gaining revenue in 2011, 40 gaining in 2012, and 49 gaining in 2013. Overall GF revenues increased 6.82 percent from FY 2010 to 2011, 1.75 percent from FY 2011 to 2012, and 4.14 percent from 2012 to 2013. Not only is revenue growth solidified with three years of positive gains, but it even improved at a faster rate in 2013 than it did 2012.
Subscribers have access to the full article here, including expanded analysis and recommendations for contractors.
Follow Chris Cotner on twitter @govwinccotner


Oregon takes actuarial risk with new parole system

The state of Oregon recently announced that probation and parole officers will have access to a new tool developed by the Oregon Department of Corrections and the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission, called the Public Safety Checklist (PSC). The PSC is an actuarial tool developed to help judges, prosecutors, parole boards and others involved in the legal system determine the likelihood of offenders committing a new crime if/when they are released on parole. The model is similar to those used by insurance companies to determine the risk in insuring individuals. 

Currently, the state is using a system called the Oregon Case Management System (OCMS), which was developed in the late 1970s to determine the risk of a paroled or released offender re-offending within three years of their release.

The new PSC system utilizes data from 2000-2005 (applied to and validated by 350,000 Oregonian felony offenders from 1980 to present) and predicative factors to classify offenders as being at high, medium or low risk to re-offend. Some of the information factored into the score includes demographic data such as age and gender, as well as criminal history such as how old an individual was when they were first arrested, number and type of previous crimes, and previous incarcerations. Fifteen factors go into determining a person’s risk, and according to studies that have been completed on the new tool, it is accurate 78 percent of the time, which is better than the 63 percent accuracy rate of the OCMS.

Analyst’s Take:

While establishing more accurate measurements of recidivism is certainly interesting, and has the potential to be highly useful to those involved in sentencing and release programs, it is by no means perfect. One of the most important limitations is that the system only takes into account previous crimes in Oregon and does not have the ability to consider crimes committed in other jurisdictions. Also, because a large portion of the information is taken from an individual’s previous arrest history, the system cannot predict recidivism rates for first-time offenders.

Legal issues also need to be considered, such as when the information can be used (as some of it can be considered one sided). There is also a risk of complacency among judges and parole boards, in which they do not fully review an individual’s case and simply use the statistics to determine how severely he or she should be punished. That said, since Oregon is already using a statistical tool, the state has worked hard to ensure the new system is accurate and far better than the older system.

This emerging technology has the potential to massively impact correctional systems around the country. As inmate populations continue to grow and crowding becomes an issue, more prisons are releasing non-violent offenders early, either under strict probation or on electronic monitoring bracelets. Systems like the PSC could help determine which offenders should be released and how they should be monitored. Corrections-focused vendors, particularly those involved in electronic monitoring, should keep a close eye on this type of system as it has the potential to indicate how many offenders are likely to be released on electronic monitoring systems, which may serve as a more accurate predictor of contract size. 

While many states currently utilize systems developed in house to assess inmates’ likelihood of re-offending, it would behoove vendors to begin developing integratable systems that can be used by multiple states and agencies. Vendors who currently provide other types of actuarial risk assessments should be willing to consider corrections departments as potential clients. Through the integration of these individual state systems, related parties will receive a more holistic view of an offender’s background and be able to make more informed decisions based on their past behavior.

For more information on corrections technologies, view the Corrections Term Contracts report released by Deltek last month!


VA's IT Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses Strategy

Of their total FY2013 IT budget of $3.2 billion, the Department of Veterans Affairs plans to spend over $2.5 billion with federal contractors and a large percentage of that will go to Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses, according to VA CIO, Roger Baker, at Deltek’s VA Industry Forum on August 15.
A large percentage of that $2.5 billion will be procured through the VA’s Technology Acquisition Center (TAC) run by Associate Executive Director Wendy McCutcheon. Last week, Baker and McCuthcheon also announced that 50% of all acquisitions through the TAC in FY2013 will be awarded to Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSB).  While that sounds like a huge percentage, in FY2012, the TAC’s awards to SDVOSB stands at about 45%.
Baker made it clear that the SDVOSB goal would not come at the expense of the discounts and the quality of service the VA expects and the VA is interested in strategic partnerships that go both ways, where both parties are fully invested and share risks.
The VA’s overall goal is to contract 10% of their total spending (not just IT) with Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSB).  Given that, it appears that an inordinate share of the SDVOSB goal will be borne in the area of IT procurement.
When questioned about the potential impact of the 50% SDVOSB goal on large businesses, McCutchen implied that there would be no major impact beyond what vendors are already experiencing and there would be no work stoppages with large business. However, at least one vendor from the audience challenged McCutchen based on with their own experience.  
The Technology Acquisition Center successfully awarded $2 billion in contracts in FY2011, plus the $12 billion multivendor Transformation Twenty-One Total Technology contract that seeks to modernize IT systems across the department. Half of the 14 vendors chosen for that program are small, veteran-owned businesses. It stands to reason that VA will strive to funnel a good deal of spending through that vehicle to those small, veteran-owned businesses. 
Given the strong reiteration of these goals by VA last week, partnering for business at VA will continue to be a key strategy for large businesses well into the future.


2012 ISM Conference comes to a close

Today marked the last day of the 2012 ISM Conference in Baltimore, Md. This morning, attendees gathered for a business meeting-style breakfast where results from the Governing Magazine survey were released. Additionally, the location for the 2013 ISM Conference was announced – San Diego, Calif. – which is certainly something to look forward to!
Today consisted of two plenary sessions, one titled “Perspectives of Interoperability and Integration,” and the other was a federal state systems panel with representatives from the Food and Nutrition Service, the Children’s Bureau, the Office of Child Support Enforcement, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The first session stressed the incredible need for health and human service agencies to remove siloed system processes. This is still quite a challenge for states as it requires much time and assessment of current environments and infrastructure. However, it is crucial in order to improve the lives of citizens and delivery of services to those eligible for various programs under these agencies.
The second session provided various myths and “myth-busters” to common notions around health and human service initiatives and programs. For example, one of the notions was that agencies have to wait for policy changes from SNAP before they can determine how SNAP will fit into system architecture. The panel broke down the myth by explaining that even though some SNAP rules require action by Congress, some rules are already provided in state statutes. The panel also explained how changes would cost a lot of money, which is difficult during this time of strapped budgets. Panelists also encouraged the audience not to get caught up in policy, and to keep proposing pilots and demonstration projects.
Another myth revolved around privacy and confidentiality, and how rules prevent agencies from having a robust, meaningful data exchange or truly interoperable system. One of the panelists stated that institutional and cultural barriers are often as much to blame as the actual rules themselves. For that, some state statutes and regulations will go way beyond guidelines suggested under federal law.
If you were unable to attend this year’s ISM Conference and/or want an in-depth summary of the sessions, stay tuned! Deltek will be releasing an analyst recap shortly.


OMB’s FY 2014 IT Budget Guidance Takes Aim at IT Security Personnel Costs

The remaining weeks of the government fiscal year (FY) are known for their push to finish up IT acquisitions before the September 30th deadline and the beginning of fiscal 2013 on October 1st. But running in parallel with this is the development by federal departments and agencies of their FY 2014 budgets that will culminate in the annual request to Congress in February 2013. It is no news that IT budgets are expected to be pressed, but some IT budget guidance recently released by OMB suggests that even areas seemingly as safe as information security may not be immune to budget trimming.
In their latest annual Guidance on Exhibits 53 and 300 – Information Technology and E-Government, OMB gave the requisite federal departments and agencies updated directives on how they should prepare and submit their OMB IT budget artifacts for FY 2014, including specific new content elements and structures.
As part of their overall submission, each agency prepares an Agency IT Security Portfolio (Exhibit 53B). Included in the 53B, agencies report to OMB their average cost per government full-time equivalent (FTE) staff with information security responsibilities (53B, row 3) as well as the average cost per contractor FTE for information security responsibilities (53B, row 5). (Agencies also report the respective number of FTEs as well.)
Further, departments and agencies report individual cost estimates for the following IT security activities:
  • Costs for NIST 800-37 implementation (53B, row 7);
  • Costs for annual FISMA testing (53B, row 9);
  • Costs for network penetration testing activities (53B, row 10);
  • Security awareness training costs (53B, row 11); and
  • Security training costs for employees with significant security responsibilities (53B, row 12).
New IT Security Budget Reporting Elements for FY 2014
What is new in the FY 2014 guidance affecting each agency’s submissions of their Exhibit 53B is that OMB is requiring information that ties in IT security personnel costs – whether government or contractor personnel – with these specific IT security activities listed above. 
For FY 2014, OMB adds two new lines to the 53B that ask for:
  1. The number of government FTEs included in costs for each row above (i.e. NIST 800-37, etc.); and
  2. The number of contractor FTEs included in costs for each row above.
For both new lines (53B, rows 13 and 14) agencies are to report the number of FTEs with information security responsibilities, including the fractional portion of those who devote a percentage of their time to the responsibilities included in the costs reported in the above IT security activities (emphasis added). OMB goes on to say that the associated government and/or contractor FTE costs, based on the average costs reported by the agency (in 53B, rows 3 and 5), will be subtracted from the total IT security cost to avoid any double-counting.
Clearly, this is a move to drive out any potential inflation of IT security personnel costs in agencies’ IT budget requests. What is yet unclear is how this scrutiny will impact federal efforts to beef up their ranks of skilled IT security professionals and further improve the government’s overall security posture. Could it further underscore the need and bolster the budget rationale in support of these areas? Could it possibly be used to put further scrutiny on contracted services spending like we have seen in broader OMB policies? 
This latest element of OMB’s ongoing drive to push IT budget savings further underscores the budgetary environment in which we now exist. Areas that quite recently were viewed as relatively safe from the budget axe are appearing to receive greater and greater scrutiny.


A new era for Hawaii

The state of Hawaii is in the midst of revamping its entire enterprise resource planning system, and is making several key upgrades along the way. A preliminary draft report published in May details the state’s enterprise architecture and many other ambitious plans, including a tax modernization system. The state wants to increase the number of citizens filing and paying taxes online, and improve the case management process for audits. Ultimately, modernizing the tax system is part of a larger effort to improve the broader financial management processes.
Additionally, the state is planning a Hawaii Broadband Initiative to provide high-speed Internet access to all public schools, universities, libraries, and community colleges. The expanded access will ease government communications between smaller and more remote islands in the state. A source in the state of Hawaii advised Deltek that most of the funds for this project will come from the state legislature, with a portion funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. However, legislative support appears to be strong.
Requests for proposals for Hawaii’s projects are expected in the next 12 months, once funding has been secured. A final draft plan with more project details is expected in the coming weeks.
Analyst’s Take
Hawaii’s ambitious endeavors represent a new direction that will become more prevalent as technology becomes cheaper. The state is aiming to exercise greater control over income and spending, public safety and health, the environment, and interstate and federal government relations. It is clear that the technology to make this happen has already arrived, and the state is willing to spend the money to obtain it.

Day 2 of the 2012 ISM Conference

We continue the 2012 ISM Conference blog series today by covering a session given this morning by CGI, titled “Eligibility or Exchange – Chicken or Egg?” The session spent a great deal of time discussing the functionalities of the federally-facilitated exchange (FFE). The representative from CGI who led the discussion ensured audience members that CGI is doing its best to make sure that the federal exchange is sustainable enough to support all states that may have to vouch for this option.
There was great emphasis on plan management and its role in the exchange initiative. As for CGI, the company is working on this element in addition to enrollment, eligibility and different risk assessment models that will be incorporated into the exchange. Even states that will be running their own exchanges can choose to employ federal risk assessment models in determining eligibility. States will be responsible for building the software for the exchange, in which the account is then transferred over to the FFE. The feds would then determine the eligibility of a given candidate and send the information back to the state. At that point, it will be up to the state to determine whether or not the person is accepted for enrollment into the program. For that, CGI stressed the need for states to make the decision as to whether they will accept the information as an “initial assessment” or a “determination.” If a state chooses to take the results as an initial assessment, then its eligibility system will have to do the final determination. If the state takes the results from the FFE as final determination, then the state must enroll the applicant into the appropriate program.
Tomorrow marks the last day of the 2012 ISM Conference, so be on the lookout for Deltek’s wrap-up blog!

APCO International 2012 Conference Recap

Last week, Deltek attended the 2012 Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) Conference in Minnesota at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The conference included educational training sessions on a variety of topics that are essential to the public safety communications industry. The training sessions offered a wealth of material that covered the following nine tracks: Telecommunicator Topics; Training for Today and Tomorrow; Supervision and Leadership; Communications Center Management; Projects, Planning and Practices; Current Events/Hot Topics; Technology Management; Information Technology; and Radio Techno Talk and Solutions for Today’s Leaders.
Deltek was unable to attend sessions from each track due to overlap in some presentation schedules, but opted to attend many sessions in the technology management track that sought to tackle the, “What’s coming and how do we prepare” questions asked by industry leaders and public safety providers alike. These sessions provided a glimpse into the future and detailed how to prepare for emerging technologies or technologies already on the verge of breaking through to everyday usage.
When looking at the sessions in this technology management track alongside the opening ceremonies and keynote speakers, we see that several technology changes are on the horizon. Public safety answering points (PSAPs) across the country are looking at 911 services and determining how to better serve the ever-changing technological world, particularly with the rise of next generation 911 (NG911) and long-term evolution (LTE). LTE will allow states and localities nationwide to become one interconnected entity with the capability of heavily advancing communication efforts.
For more information on the conference and the sessions information, visit the GovWin IQ research library to download the full analyst recap. For more industry information and insight from the Justice/Public Safety and Homeland Security team, follow us on twitter @GovWinPubSafety.


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