Inside the Reporter’s Notebook – NASA, Energy, Commerce rearrange seats in CIO’s office

Inside the Reporter’s Notebook is a biweekly dispatch of news and information you may have missed or that slipped through the cracks at conferences, hearings and other events.

Jason Miller
Jason Miller

This is not a column or commentary — it’s news tidbits, strongly-sourced buzz, and other items of interest that have happened or are happening in the federal IT and acquisition communities.

As always, we encourage you to submit ideas, suggestions and, of course, news to Jason via email.

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NASA, Energy, Commerce rearrange seats in CIO’s office

NASA and the Energy Department are going through major changes in their chief information officer’s shop.

Let’s start with Energy. Rod Turk, the department’s chief information security officer for about year, is heading back to the Commerce Department in the same capacity. Turk came to Energy from Commerce in August 2014.

Sources say the opportunity to work for Commerce CIO Steve Cooper was too good for Turk to pass up.

But other sources say there may be something more going on at Energy.

Michael Johnson, Energy CIO since March, is looking to be doing a major reorganization of his office. Sources say other long-time Energy IT officials may be on the move as well or at least changing roles in a significant way.

Turk is at least the second senior executive to leave Energy since April when Don Adcock, the deputy CIO at the time, took a job with the private sector. Adcock now is executive director of global operations at ActioNet, an IT security and software company.

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A bid-protest decision impacting mergers and acquisitions

An interesting bid protest decision came down from the Government Accountability Office recently that could have broad repercussions, especially in the wake of all the mergers and acquisitions happening in the federal marketplace.

First the basics of what happened:

GAO ruled in favor of FCI Federal in its protest of a $209 million contract award to USIS’ Professional Services Division in July 2014 to support 68 Homeland Security Department Citizenship and Immigration Services field offices and 10 asylum offices throughout the United States.

FCI Federal claimed CIS didn’t reasonably consider and document how it reviewed the allegations of fraud against the awardee’s parent company in determining USIS PSD’s responsibility.

“We sustained the protest, finding that the record showed that the contracting officer failed to obtain and consider the specific allegations of fraud alleged by the Department of Justice (DOJ) against the awardee’s parent, relying instead on general media reports,” GAO wrote in its decision on Aug. 5, which was posted later in the month. “We also found that the contracting officer failed to consider the close relationship between the awardee and its then parent company, USIS LLC, with respect to the contemplated approach to contract performance, mistakenly believed that the two companies were separate, and misunderstood the legal standards related to affirmative responsibility determinations.”

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GSA plays Captain Ahab in latest effort to streamline schedules

The General Services Administration has been taking small steps to modernize its schedule contracts for much of the last five years.

But now GSA is going after the white whale of schedule contracts: the IT Schedule, known as Schedule 70.

Schedule 70 accounted for $14 billion out of $32 billion in agency spending against all the GSA schedules in 2014.

And the agency is looking for help.

GSA issued a request for information Sept. 3 asking if the requirement for vendors to have at least two years of experience is necessary anymore to be included on Schedule 70 for IT products and services. GSA also wants to know whether this requirement is preventing cutting-edge IT firms from providing products or services to the government.

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