Major DoD IT contract award unsurprisingly faces bid protest

In today's Federal Newscast, the Department of Defense is facing a protest of its $11 billion IT contract award.

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  • There are new cyber requirements for cloud services providers. The Federal Risk Authorization Management Program or FedRAMP is requiring contractors providing cloud services, to track vulnerabilities against the catalog of known exploited vulnerabilities managed by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. FedRAMP says this new requirement is to ensure cloud service providers are meeting the goals outlined by CISA in its Binding Operational Directive from November. CISA’s catalog now includes 489 known cyber vulnerabilities, but vendors only need to track the ones that matter to their cloud services.
  • Congress wants an update on how one agency is addressing cyber talent shortages. The omnibus spending bill requires the Department of Homeland Security to brief lawmakers within 60 days on its efforts to meet cybersecurity hiring goals. DHS identified more than 2,000 cybersecurity vacancies across the department last year. The agency initiated a hiring sprint that closed some of the gap. DHS also launched the Cyber Talent Management System in the fall. Lawmakers want to know whether the new system has been effective so far in helping DHS fill IT jobs.
  • No surprise, DoD is facing a protest of its $11 billion IT contract award. It would’ve been too easy for the Defense Information Systems Agency to make the award for the Defense Enclave Services program without having to survive a protest. General Dynamics IT, the only other vendor besides the eventual winner Leidos to reach the final around, filed a complaint with the Government Accountability Office on March 10. GDIT is challenging DISA’s conduct of discussions, technical evaluation, price evaluation, past performance evaluation and the resulting tradeoff decision. Under the DES program, DISA wants to consolidate and modernize networks and technology that support the Fourth Estate. GAO has until June 20 to make a decision on the protest.
  • Top Democrats on the House Oversight and Reform Committee are calling for a closer look at the Postal Service’s plans for a new vehicle fleet. Committee members want the USPS inspector general to investigate whether the agency’s plans to buy mostly gas-powered vehicles as part of its next generation fleet contract meets requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act. USPS expects electric vehicles will make up at least 10% of its new fleet, but is open to buying more if Congress appropriates money for the project. (Federal News Network)
  • The Air Force is getting more money than it bargained for to continue the development of the Advanced Battle Management System this year. The ABMS is a critical part of the Defense Department’s effort to converge data and weapons across multiple domains. The omnibus package gives the Air Force $269 million for the program. That’s $65 million more than the budget request.
  • A Commander in the Navy Reserves faces bribery charges involving special visas for Afghan nationals. The Justice Department says Jeromy Pittman of Florida took thousand of dollars in exchange for falsely verifying letters of recommendation for Afghan citizens who applied to the State Department for Special Immigrant Visas. He’s charged with accepting bribes and committing visa fraud. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.
  • Military service members aren’t getting assessed properly for alcohol abuse. Military clinics and hospitals are failing to perform proper intake screenings for alcohol misuse. The Defense Department Inspector General surveyed 270 service members and found 104 did not have an intake assessment for alcohol use disorder, 98 were diagnosed and did not receive treatment in a timely fashion and three never even received treatment. The report says those missteps could be costly to the health of troops. The report says heavy drinking is a prevalent issue in the military.
  • Veterans Affairs looks to do more with fewer outpatient facilities as it rethinks real estate needs. The VA is looking to reduce the total number of outpatient facilities that serve veterans, but says the relocation and expansion of facilities and services will increase veterans’ overall access to VA care. That’s just one takeaway from VA’s recommendations for the Asset and Infrastructure Review (AIR) Commission. The release of these recommendations to the AIR Commission report kicks off a year-long process that ends with President Joe Biden either approval or rejecting plans to reshape VA’s footprint in 2023. Last week, Biden announced that he expects to nominate eight members to the AIR Commission. The nominations require Senate confirmation. (Federal News Network)
  • Senior career feds looking for intensive professional development can now apply to the White House Leadership Development Program. The year-long program for GS-15 career employees and equivalent civil service employees places fellows outside their home agency to develop the skill sets and networks to address cross-agency challenges, and to build community. Fellows spend about 80% of their time with on-the-job training and about twenty percent of their time in leadership development. Employees can nominate themselves by April 15, or be nominated by an agency until May 16.
  • The annual FOIA rewards are in. The Department of Justice announced the accolades during an event to kick off Sunshine Week on Monday. FOIA teams from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Veterans Health Administration, and the Food and Nutrition Service were among those saluted for exceptional service. The Federal Bureau of Prisons, the Department of the Navy, U.S. Cyber Command and Indian Affairs were also recognized.

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