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GovWin Recon - March 29, 2013

GovWin Recon, produced by Deltek's Federal Industry Analysis (FIA) team, is designed to support awareness and understanding of the issues impacting the government and the contractors that serve it. Recon highlights key developments surrounding government technology, policy, budget and vendor activities.

Headlines beginning with an * include quotes from Deltek analysts. 

Sequestration / Budget:

Federal IT:

Agency News:

Vendor News:

Cloud Computing / Data Center Consolidation / Virtualization:

Health IT:

Big Data / Analytics:

Mobility:

Waste, Fraud and Abuse:

Defense / C4ISR / Embedded Technology:

Contracting / Acquisition:

State and Local:

GovWin Recon is Deltek's daily newsletter highlighting federal government contracting news and analysis from around the government contracting world. Get it delivered to your e-mail inbox, free!

 

Illinois FY 2014 Budget: Combating fiscal woes for a hopeful recovery

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn delivered his FY 2014 budget address to the Illinois General Assembly on March 6, 2013, revealing a promising road to recovery for the state. In efforts to restore fiscal stability, the state will continue implementing spending reductions, including the consolidation of state facilities, the closing of several mental health institutions, and the restructuring of the state’s Medicaid program. Despite these efforts, pension reform remains a critical issue. To date, the governor acknowledges there has been no vote on a comprehensive pension reform bill – a solution needed to drive Illinois’ economy forward and generate revenue for more important initiatives.
While the need for additional cuts remains, the state’s overall proposed FY 2014 budget reflects a roughly $5 billion increase from FY 2013. The top vertical segment increases are in health care, general government, and economic development and regulation.
Despite an overall budgetary increase, Governor Quinn remains committed to encouraging agencies to follow a “do the same with less” approach. Areas that received the biggest cuts include education (PK-12), public finance and homeland security, as seen below. Many of these department cuts may be attributed to the elimination and consolidation of 75 boards and commissions.
Figure 1: Illinois All-Funds Budget Vertical Comparison
Although budget projections reflect departmental cuts in education, early childhood education is a valued top priority. The state remains committed to investing in early childhood education as well as after-school programs to improve higher education rates. In addition, while justice and public safety spending remains stagnant, the governor outlined vital plans to tackle the violence epidemic that has plagued Chicago and other Illinois communities.   
Specifics regarding the state’s IT expenditures were not highlighted in Governor Quinn’s budgetary address; however, the overall IT budget is expected to drop from the previous year. While there continues to be a need to maintain and upgrade the state’s technology systems, a greater need to improve efficiencies and correct financial mismanagement has stunted spending allocations for additional IT projects.
 
Analyst’s Take
The theme of this year’s budget is centered on doing more with less in order to restore fiscal growth. The lack of action on pension reform has exerted much pressure on resources that could be utilized for other important programs and services within education, economic development, public safety and human services. The state has been looking to tackle the pension crisis for several years as it has begun to affect funding levels for other core priorities. Although overall economic recovery is still tenuous at this point, once pension reform is under control, it is likely that the state will be able allocate more funds for IT projects that have been cut.
A complete analysis of the Illinois FY 2014 proposed budget is available here. Non sub-scribers can gain access with a GovWin IQ free trial.

NASW’s Social Work Month coming to a close

This year’s annual Social Work Month and its theme of “Weaving Threads of Resilience and Advocacy” are coming to a close. The month-long event, which is spearheaded by the National Association of Social Workers (

NASW), has been celebrated each year since the 1960s, and is an opportunity for communities nationwide to highlight the profession and the important contributions social workers make each day. 
 
NASW is the largest membership organization of professional social workers in the nation. Its mission is to enhance professional growth and development of its members, create and maintain professional standards, and advance sound social policies. To honor Social Work Month, Deltek is taking a look at how New Mexico has immensely improved its Child Support Enforcement Division.
 
In June 2012, New Mexico was recognized by the National Child Support Enforcement Association (NCSEA) for having the most improved child support enforcement program in the country. The award is determined through an extensive look at a state’s child support program performance over three years to ensure consistent, broad-based improvement. In that time, New Mexico improved its Paternity Establishment Percentage (from 54th in the nation to 29th). The state’s child support enforcement system, eChild, is a Web-based solution that works in conjunction with the existing state legacy mainframe. New Mexico contracted with Health Management Systems in June 2012 to provide child support enforcement customer service.
 
New Mexico’s Child Support Enforcement Division (CSED) continues to provide child support enforcement services to the general public, as well as recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Medicaid. The mission of CSED is to reduce the impact of poverty on people living in New Mexico by providing support services that assist families in breaking the cycle of dependency on public assistance.
 
To learn more about New Mexico and other social services-related projects throughout the country, check out Deltek’s Vertical Profiles. Non-subscribers can learn more about GovWin IQ and sign up for a free trial here.

GovWin Recon - March 28, 2013

GovWin Recon, produced by Deltek's Federal Industry Analysis (FIA) team, is designed to support awareness and understanding of the issues impacting the government and the contractors that serve it. Recon highlights key developments surrounding government technology, policy, budget and vendor activities.

Headlines beginning with an * include quotes from Deltek analysts. 

Sequestration / Budget:

Federal IT:

Agency News:

Vendor News:

Cybersecurity:

Cloud Computing / Data Center Consolidation / Virtualization:

Health IT:

Big Data / Analytics:

Defense / C4ISR / Embedded Technology:

Contracting / Acquisition:

State and Local:

GovWin Recon is Deltek's daily newsletter highlighting federal government contracting news and analysis from around the government contracting world. Get it delivered to your e-mail inbox, free!

 

 

GovWin Recon - March 27, 2013

GovWin Recon, produced by Deltek's Federal Industry Analysis (FIA) team, is designed to support awareness and understanding of the issues impacting the government and the contractors that serve it. Recon highlights key developments surrounding government technology, policy, budget and vendor activities.

Headlines beginning with an * include quotes from Deltek analysts. 

Sequestration / Budget:

Federal IT:

Agency News:

Vendor News:

Cybersecurity:

Cloud Computing / Data Center Consolidation / Virtualization:

Big Data / Analytics:

Waste, Fraud and Abuse:

Defense / C4ISR / Embedded Technology:

Legislation:

State and Local:

GovWin Recon is Deltek's daily newsletter highlighting federal government contracting news and analysis from around the government contracting world. Get it delivered to your e-mail inbox, free!

 

Latest FISMA Report Reveals Federal Cyber Challenges are Mostly Internal

The current season of federal budget uncertainty, exacerbated by sequestration, raises concerns of how federal departments and agencies will allocate funds to implement and improve their information security. As OMB describes in the latest Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) report to Congress, agencies continue to be the target of increased attacks. But digging a little deeper reveals that many of the challenges may stem from internal practices rather than external attacks.
 
The latest OMB FY 2012 FISMA report provides OMB’s FY 2012 assessment on what agencies have achieved in FISMA-related information security in the previous fiscal year. Of particular interest is the number of security incidents that are being reported to the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT). (See chart below.) 
 
 
 
  
From FY 2011 to FY 2012 agencies report an increase of 11%, which is more than the 5% increase they reported from 2010 to 2011 but less than the 40% reported from 2009 to 2010. Reported incidents are up 200% since FY 2008. In an earlier blog I mentioned comments by a former CIA CISO who noted that the counting method used by FISMA actually understates the threat levels, so these numbers are more like baselines than actualities.
 
A deeper look into the specific types of security incidents and their frequency reveals that the vast majority of these incidents fall into 5 categories:
 
  • Non Cyber – Non Cyber is used for filing all reports of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) spillages or possible mishandling of PII which involve hard copies or printed material as opposed to digital records.

  • Policy Violation – This subset of Improper Usage is primarily used to categorize incidents of mishandling data in storage or transit, such as digital PII records or procurement sensitive information found unsecured or PII being emailed without proper encryption.

  • Malicious Code – Used for all successful executions or installations of malicious software which are not immediately quarantined and cleaned by preventative measures such as anti-virus tools.

  • Equipment – This subset of Unauthorized Access is used for all incidents involving lost, stolen or confiscated equipment, including mobile devices, laptops, backup disks or removable media.

  • Suspicious Network Activity – This category is primarily utilized for incident reports and notifications created from EINSTEIN and EINSTEIN 2 data analyzed by US-CERT.

These top 5 categories account for 87% of all incidents reported by federal agencies. Factoring out the Non Cyber category, the remaining top 4 make up nearly 60% of all reported federal security incidents. (See chart below.) 

 

 

Delving into the data a bit further shows where these incidents are most widely occurring among the 15 departments spending the most on their IT security, according to their FISMA submissions. (See table below.)

 

Implications

While a data comparison among categories and agencies has its limitations, it does lead us to ask further questions and draw some possible conclusions. The most obvious to me is noticing the clustering of incidents within categories that relate to internal behaviors.

Combining the frequency of Policy Violations, lost or stolen Equipment, and Non-Cyber (non-digital) incidents consisting of the physical spillage or mishandling of PII in paper form drives home that there appears to be much left to do in the area of cybersecurity training for IT users at these departments. If the Malicious Code category accounts for much in the way of code insertion through unsafe user practices then that incident frequency too underscores the ongoing training need. OMB notes in the report that federal agencies spent less than 1% of their IT security budgets in FY 2012 on training. In previous FISMA reports training accounted for roughly 2.5% in FY 2010 and FY 2011, but according to OMB, the DOD portion of the data for those years was incomplete so adjusting for DOD might show that 1% is consistent across all of these years.

The sheer number of departments in the top 15 above that list Policy Violations and/or Equipment incidents in their top 2 or 3 for frequency suggests that some of the greatest information security challenges facing federal agencies are internal – whether through lack of awareness or training or through outright disregard for approved security practices. In a fiscally constrained environment where return on investment for each dollar is scrutinized agencies might actually save money that they would spend on cleaning up security mistakes by users if they could more effectively prevent many of these incidents in the first place.

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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.

Updated FITARA Legislation Strengthens Some Proposed Reforms and Waters Down Others

The updated Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), first proposed by Congressman Darryl Issa (R-CA) in September, now incorporates suggestions and comments from industry which strengthen the role of CIO, but limit requirements for centralized IT purchasing.

By some estimates, the legislation could save taxpayers as much as $20 billion annually by fundamentally reforming the way federal agencies purchase IT.  If passed, the FITARA would be the most significant reform to the IT acquisition landscape since the 2002 E-Government Act and the 1996 Clinger Cohen Act, which created the agency CIO function.  

Below is a brief summary of the updated legislation:

The Act would give more responsibility to agency CIOs by making them presidential appointees or designees, granting them greater budget authority and limiting agencies to one CIO for the whole agency; bureaus, offices, and subordinate agency organizations could not have their own CIO.

The updated bill promotes the use of “fixed price technical competition” or “bid to price” contracts, in which agencies would specify the price they planned to pay for IT products and/or services and contractors would compete to offer the best solution or service at that price.

After backlash from acquisition experts, the legislation was modified to eliminate plans for a government-wide IT Acquisition Center fearing that it might duplication services already provided by GSA.  Instead, the bill now calls for the establishment of the Federal Infrastructure and Common Application Collaboration Center to develop centralized program and technical management expertise to coordinate IT acquisition best practices.  The new Collaboration Center located within OMB, will assist agencies with challenging IT projects and support the CIO Council with TechStat reviews.

Congressman Issa plans to formally introduce the updated legislation soon.  According to NextGov, the legislation was likely discussed at a March 20th House Oversight and Government Reform Committee business meeting. 

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

 

 

 

 

WIC program funded through Appropriations Act

With last week’s passage of the Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013 (H.R. 933), the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s state-administrated Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) will receive $6.8 billion in discretionary funding. This will provide an additional $250 million for WIC and help alleviate the approximately $350 million cut from the program due to sequestration. Of this total, $35 million is appropriated for management information systems (MIS), and $14 million for infrastructure upgrades. The passage of H.R. 933 funds the government through September 30, 2013, and prevents a government shutdown.

According to the National WIC Association, “With this new higher funding allocation, WIC contingency funds, unspent SNAP transfer funds carried over from the previous year, and unspent recovered funds available for reallocation, WIC will likely be able to manage through the rest of the fiscal year without cutting any participants.” This is a turnaround from the 600,000 women and children projected to lose benefits as a result of the sequestration cuts that went into effect March 1.

Georgia, Indiana, and Rhode Island are just three of many states actively planning to replace or upgrade their MIS. As discussed in previous blogs, Montana and California are two states working to implement new or upgraded electronic benefits transfer (EBT) systems for WIC and other public benefit programs. Recently awarded WIC contracts include New Jersey’s Automated Client Centered Electronic Service System (WIC ACCESS) contract to CMA Consulting, Florida’s EBT contract to eFunds (FIS), and Indiana’s EBT planning services contract to JRW Service Corporation.

Deltek’s GovWin IQ database contains more than 80 pre-RFP opportunities relating to WIC information technology projects and related consulting and quality assurance (QA) services, as well as detailed award and contract information for nearly 100 awarded WIC contracts. Deltek is also closely tracking sequestration’s impact on government contracting and providing insight on how the vendor community can overcome the cuts and continue to win government business at the state, local and federal levels.

Non-subscribers can find out more about GovWin IQ and sign up for a free trial here!

 

NASA SEWP V Extends Performance Period, Raises Contract Ceiling-Value

Earlier this month, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) released the eagerly anticipated draft solicitation for the follow on for its Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement (SEWP). This competitive procurement will provide information technology and audio visual products as well as product based services. Industry comments on the draft document are due by May 3, 2013. The final solicitation is expected to be released this summer, on or around June 24, 2013.

Following release of the SEWP V  draft RFP, NASA hosted an industry event on March 11, 2013 to field questions from industry and to discuss changes from the current version of the contract. Among the changes noted are the number of competition groups, performance period and ceiling values. The performance period for the contract has increased to 10 years, and the ceiling value has risen to twenty billion dollars. At the same time, the number of competition Groups is being reduced (to the four shown below for SEWP V), a move that’s expected to reduce the costs to both industry and government.

 

In another change from previous versions, the draft references the impact of cloud computing on the SEWP V offerings. One industry attendee noted that there was only a single cloud service offering made available through SEWP (Virtual Storage Technology). Thus, it was suggested that the Categories be expanded to include a Group covering the full set cloud computing resources, including virtual machines, virtual storage, virtual networks, virtual databases, virtual data warehouses etc. A few points from the Statement of Work were highlighted in response to this suggestion: All Groups are to have the same scope of products available under them. Cloud computing offerings would fall under the “breadth and depth offerings that can be proposed as available components” by vendors in all Groups. At this time, there is no plan to increase the number or types of competition Groups.
As we explored previously, the SEWP contracts are utilized by all Federal Agencies. The 70 federal agencies, boards and organizations using the SEWP Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs) result in around 25,000 orders annually. At around of $90,000 per order, the contract vehicle averages $2 billion in reported spending each year for the past three years.  Moving forward, NASA plans to fully track orders through SEWP V. This data will help agencies understand their buying patterns, primarily in support of strategic sourcing. A cross-agency priority goal for strategic sourcing in both 2013 and 2014 aims to achieve a 10 percent savings by reducing the costs of acquiring common products and services. As budget pressure continues, agencies will look to further centralize buying through inter-agency strategic sourcing vehicles and establish cost-effective spending patterns. For vendors, securing a place on these strategic contracting vehicles will become increasingly important to maintaining market share.

For more information on SEWP V, visit the GovWin Opportunity Report.

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

Big Data in the Defense Intelligence Community: More Questions than Answers

Agencies across government are struggling these days to leverage rapidly evolving new technologies and approaches like advanced data analytics and cloud computing. Introducing these technologies and approaches into an IT enterprise that is not ready for them can be disruptive. This much is known. Less well understood is the fact that even planning for big data and cloud investments can be disruptive because of the requirements development needed.

Take for example the efforts of the Defense Intelligence Community to bring stand up the Intelligence Community IT Enterprise (ICITE), a platform for sharing information across agency clouds and organizational boundaries. The challenges facing the IC in this area were the subject of a recent panel on Big Data Analytics hosted by the DC chapter of the Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association (AFCEA). This panel brought together three speakers to offer insight into what is happening at their respective agencies, including Keith Barber, Director of the NSG Expeditionary Architecture Program Office at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), Agustin “Gus” Taveras, Jr., CTO in the Directorate for IT Management at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and John Marshall, CTO in the Intelligence Directorate of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The panel’s discussion swirled loosely around the challenges that the IC is facing when it comes to sharing data and employing new technologies. It is worth remembering that these agencies are out in front of adoption of big data tools and cloud computing, so their experience can prove valuable for understanding where other federal agencies are likely to encounter roadblocks. Mr. Barber began the discussion by noting that even the IC struggles to keep up with rapid technological evolution. Citing a recent article that appeared in the Harvard Business Review, Barber said that government must get a better handle on where the “big data economy” is headed so that it can leverage private sector developments. Most important in all of this is knowing simply where to start. As Barber sees it, the IC needs to begin asking the right questions to get the right answers; questions like which data sets do we go after, what tools do we need, and how do we best share data? Sharing the data is a key issue that Mr. Barber believes the IC will remain preoccupied with for years to come.

DIA CTO Gus Taveras agreed that data sharing is a critical piece of the evolving IC big data environment and he suggested the ICITE program is the answer. In general, ICITE is the IC’s version of “ruthless standardization” as it forces the Intel agencies to move to a common enterprise framework. Taveras noted ironically that Sequestration has helped accelerate the push toward ICITE. The biggest challenges Taveras sees are in the realms of procurement and requirements development. Here he referred back to the concept of asking the right questions. How do we pay industry for services, Taveras asked? Is a metering model the best or is there some other way to do it? As an aside, it was surreal to hear that even now, well into the adoption of cloud computing by the public sector, there is confusion about the best payment and contracting model.

Then there is the issue of requirements development. Taveras explained that as CTO the hardest thing about big data analytics is understanding what analysts and other customers need. Determining requirements is complicated by the fact that there is no “one tool fits all” solution available. In some cases, analysts may be happy with the capabilities the currently have, but they would like enhancements. This would be less expensive than buying an entirely new solution, but understanding how enhancements are acquired is a challenge. Underlying Mr. Taveras’ comments was a sense that analytics tools are evolving so rapidly that his personnel do not know what they can use.

Then there is the question of contracting. How does one contract for new capabilities when the requirements development process does not function effectively? How, indeed? This admission by Mr. Taveras raised the twin red flags of scope creep and shifting requirements that have plagued government contracts for decades. And if previous generations of contracted efforts faced these challenges imagine how much more daunting they could become as big data and cloud computing solutions grow in complexity and variety. Caveat venditor!

 

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