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Technology Contractor Implications of Trump’s First 100 Days

Published: October 26, 2016

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The GOP candidate firmed up some of his policy positions in Gettysburg on October 22nd and the implications for federal agencies are big.

On Saturday, October 22nd, Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump gave what was for him a remarkably detailed policy speech in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Deltek’s Federal Market Analysis team covered the issue of what industry might expect from a new presidential administration in its Impact of the Presidential Transition, 2016-2017 report published at the end of August, so those who need this information and data for planning purposes might consider taking a look. Back in August, Trump’s policy positions remained nebulous at best. Now, with the end of the election cycle closing in, the GOP candidate has firmed up some of his positions and after what he said in Gettysburg it is clear that a Trump administration would signal a major change of course for U.S. federal agencies.

Here are a few of Trump’s proposals that caught my eye from his “100-day action plan,” followed by my thoughts on what their implications might be for the technology industry.

A hiring freeze on all federal employees to reduce federal workforce through attrition (exempting military, public safety, and public health).

Implication – A smaller federal workforce bodes ill for vendors in the commodity IT space. Fewer employees means less spending on IT hardware and, potentially, software licenses, as well. Spending on mobility could be expected to drop. The impact on services, however, could be the reverse. With fewer feds working on mission goals, more contractor help could be required. This is of course contingent on how a Trump administration might approach the budget request of agencies that do not fall under the national security, public safety, and public health rubric. Lastly, unless he takes an unprecedented step to immediately alter the fiscal 2018 budget, Trump would not have the opportunity to shape agency requests until fiscal 2019. This would give vendors time to adjust to the new reality.

For every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated.

Implication – It would take time for the impact of this rule to trickle through the system, but once it did the burden of work on agency personnel would decline, which is good because so will their headcount. In general, less work enforcing and administering regulations should eventually translate into lower agency budgets and lower spending overall.

Begin removing more than 2 million criminal illegal immigrants from the country.

Implication – This is tantamount to a law enforcement and border patrol surge. In order to meet this goal, law enforcement agencies would need to grow their analytics capabilities and probably also those technologies that enable mobile identification and logging of suspects. This means spending on biometrics capabilities like those in use in Iraq and Afghanistan would need to increase.

Repeal and Replace Obama Care.

Implication – Ending Obama Care should translate into a reduction in the personnel required to administer related programs. Investment in relevant IT systems and databases would cease and technical service contracts supporting this work would probably be terminated. The implications for what comes after that are difficult to see at this point. Presumably, Health and Human Services, or another agency, would be tasked with regulating the health savings accounts that Trump proposes to replace Obama Care.

Ending Illegal Immigration.

Implication – Similar to the LEO/border control surge, this “act” would require significant investment in border control technologies by the Department of Homeland Security, including spending on cloud, big data, the Internet of Things, biometrics, and unmanned vehicles to police the southern border. Could revisiting SBInet be in the cards?

Restoring National Security

Implication – Trump proposes completely eliminating sequestration and “expanding military investment.” Although knowing which investments a Trump Department of Defense would have in mind is difficult, there are some plausible possibilities. Should Trump nominate former Defense Intelligence Agency chief, Adm. Michael Flynn, as his Secretary of Defense, we could probably expect to see a jump in spending on biometrics and big data analytics for intel gathering. Also, if industry partners know of programs that have been significantly delayed or canceled by budget shortfalls over the last few years, keep in mind that those programs might be resurrected. So, if you see a Trump victory declared on November 9th, touch base with your contacts in the DoD to ask about the potential for programs to restart.

All of these initiatives are contingent on a number of big developments. The biggest, of course, is Trump winning the election. Should he win, he would then need to get Congress to pass many of the legislative initiatives he intends to put forward. Success in this arena, however, is only partially dependent on which party controls Congress. If Democrats take control of the House and the Senate, expect Trump’s agenda to be dead in the water. If Republicans control both houses, Trump’s chances of getting some of this legislation through are better, but still not great because establishment Republicans may be reluctant to fall in behind a President Trump.