Inside the Reporter’s Notebook – State of federal cloud remains optimistic with a chance of budget pessimism

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. 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.

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State of federal cloud remains optimistic with a chance of budget pessimism

Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas), chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on IT operations, asked an interesting question at a recent hearing in Austin, Texas: “What is the state of federal cloud computing?”

Not quite as enthralling as a President’s State of the Union — and of course a lot less standing ovations at Hurd’s hearing — but it brings up a timely question about just how much progress agencies have made since the Office of Management and Budget’s 2011 “cloud-first” mandate. This February will be five years since former federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra issued that mandate.

Nearly every CIO is moving something to the cloud — email, public websites and other basic technology services. Others such as the Federal Communications Commission, the Homeland Security Department and even the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) have done a lot more than these basics, putting entire infrastructures in the cloud.

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Cloud bill gains support as FedRAMP sets JAB approval cap

With Rep. Will Hurd’s (R-Texas) field hearing in Austin, Texas last week on the state of federal cloud computing, the challenges around contracting and budgeting for these services remains the biggest obstacle for a wider acceptance.

Most would agree the broad budgetary changes needed for agencies to change the way they buy isn’t happening anytime soon. But there is a growing acceptance that another approach to funding cloud computing is starting to get some attention on Capitol Hill.

Rich Beutel, a former House Oversight and Government Reform Committee senior staff member and one of the main forces behind the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), has been circulating a cloud bill  with lawmakers over the last six months. Beutel is modeling his cloud bill from a  funding perspective after the continuous diagnostics and mitigation (CDM) program run by the Homeland Security Department.

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DoD’s $1B contract proof new model for GWACs  is working

The General Services Administration’s announcement that it awarded nearly a $1 billion contract on behalf of the Defense Department under the One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services (OASIS) multiple award contract is noteworthy for several reasons.

Starting off, GSA’s award to Booz Allen Hamilton to provide a host of services under DoD’s Global Threat Mitigation Program is the largest one by dollar figure to date.

Second, it’s solid proof that the Army’s pledge to spend $500 million a year under OASIS in return for reduced fees is working. The Army committed to a high level of spending in March 2015 and this award, which will support an integrated coalition of joint commands, including the Army National Guard, Army Commands/Army Service Component Commands (ACOMs/ASCCs) and Combatant Commands (COCOMs), is part of that guarantee.

Finally, the OASIS model of lowering fees in exchange for a dollar figure commitment is working and likely will spread to future governmentwide contracts such as Alliant 2.

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