Insider the Reporter’s Notebook – Six years of waiting, cyber bills abound

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. As always, we encourage you to submit ideas, suggestions and, of course, news to Jason via email. Be the first to know when a new Inside the Reporter’s Notebook is posted. Sign up today for our new Reporter’s Notebook email alert.


Six years of waiting, cyber bills abound

It would be nice to think that Congress finally got off its “you know what” to pass five cybersecurity bills over the last week because they finally realized their importance and necessity. Or maybe lawmakers finally moved on cyber because the White House signaled over the summer its acceptance that smaller may be better. All five of these bills, however, signal a long-coming and much needed change to how agencies defend their computer networks and hire the people to do that critical work so why complain how Congress got there and let’s celebrate the fact that after six years, they finally did.

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Time for OFPP to weigh in on use of reverse auctions

An interesting bid protest decision flew under the radar that signals yet another challenge to FedBid, the reverse auction contractor.

By the way, it’s growing ever more doubtful that FedBid will receive any “punishment” for its role in the Veterans Affairs contracting scandal involving Susan Taylor.

An expert source on how suspension and debarment says vendors, generally speaking, can’t be punished for alleged crimes of the past if they have made changes in the present. So the government tends not to go after companies with S&D if there is no evidence of an existing threat to agencies procurement actions.

A recent search on the System for Award Management (SAM) doesn’t list FedBid in the excluded parties list.

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Justice’s API release signals bigger win for open source

The Justice Department’s first foray into the open data world with the launch of two APIs is noteworthy. But the underlying reason why DoJ could release the software code is really the story here.

First, the APIs, or application programming interfaces, that Justice released are codes for Web developers to build mobile apps and other software more easily to find press releases and job openings.

Nothing ground breaking in terms of APIs.

Skip Bailey, a former chief information officer at the DoJ’s Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said the APIs are part of how Justice is moving to open source platform, Drupal. And that, he said, is the big accomplishment.

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DLA gives out gold stars to suppliers

Forty vendors now have a leg up in bidding on contracts with the Defense Logistics Agency.

DLA became the second major Defense Department agency or service to publicly announce its superior supplier list.

DoD officially launched the program in June when the Navy announced the results of its pilot program highlighting nine vendors. The idea of a superior supplier program first came from the Better Buying Power version 2.0.

The Navy plans to reward the nine companies by inviting them to examine their existing Navy contracts and propose how best to eliminate bureaucratic processes that add cost and reduce profit.

DLA’s list is much larger, 40 total companies, who were given ratings of gold, silver and bronze.

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