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Raytheon and Pivotal to accelerate cloud migration and speed software development for the Federal Government

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 5, 2017 -- Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) and Pivotal Software, Inc., today announced that Raytheon has joined the Pivotal Ready Partner Program to assist the Department of Defense to develop software capabilities to more rapidly bring new technology to the military. The agreement establishes an important relationship that will help the DoD migrate legacy applications to the cloud and accelerate software development and delivery timelines.

"This partnership marks the end of 'business as usual' for defense contractors," said Todd Probert, vice president of mission support and modernization at Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services. "The software enabled battlefield of the future demands new tools for the modern warfighter. Raytheon's deep mission knowledge and expertise in systems and software combined with Pivotal's innovative processes, tools and speed will change the way our military harnesses the power of technology."


Pivotal Cloud Foundry brings a software-led digital transformation to its customers. Through its cloud-native platform, Pivotal has helped hundreds of commercial customers, and recently the DoD, modernize their legacy systems, significantly improving delivery time and generating millions in cost savings.


"Today we are seeing government organizations embrace software as a strategic asset to rapidly respond to change, and Pivotal is helping enable that shift," said Nick Cayou, vice president, global alliances at Pivotal. "Since moving at startup speed is on the minds of every government organization, the collaboration between Pivotal and Raytheon will help customers drastically improve cycle time and go from idea to production software in days and weeks, not months and years."


About Pivotal Software, Inc.
Pivotal's cloud-native platform drives software innovation for many of the world's most admired brands. With millions of developers in communities around the world, Pivotal technology touches billions of users every day. After shaping the software development culture of Silicon Valley's most valuable companies for over a decade, today Pivotal leads a global technology movement transforming how the world builds software.
About Raytheon
Raytheon Company, with 2016 sales of $24 billion and 63,000 employees, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, civil government and cybersecurity solutions. With a history of innovation spanning 95 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration, C5I™ products and services, sensing, effects, and mission support for customers in more than 80 countries. Raytheon is headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts. Follow us on Twitter.

Votiro Earns Common Criteria Certification to Provide Superior Cybersecurity to Governments Worldwide

Votiro, global leader in content disarm and reconstruction technology, a solution that protects organizations against undisclosed, zero-day exploits and other ongoing cyber threats, announced today that it has received the Common Criteria Certification from the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), following evaluation by BAE Systems, a provider of some of the world's most advanced, technology-led defense, aerospace and security solutions.  This new certification will allow Votiro to deliver its products, including its Advanced Content Disarm and Reconstruction technology, to government offices worldwide, demonstrating the reliability of their technology.
Common Criteria Certification provides independent, objective validation of the reliability, quality, and trustworthiness of IT products, and is a standard that customers can rely on to help them make informed decisions about their IT purchases.  It's also a requirement of hardware and software devices used by the federal government on national security systems.
To achieve common criteria certification, Votiro's technology went through a rigorous process lead by a third-party lab, recognized by the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP) to ensure it met the security requirements based on predefined Evaluations Assurance Levels (EALs). Votiro was granted Evaluation Assurance Level (EAL) 2-- the highest evaluation for software-demonstrating to governments worldwide that they can place their trust in Votiro's secure technology.
The certification was obtained through the Australasian Information Security Evaluation Program (AISEP), overseen by the Australasian Certification Authority. This certification is recognized among the twenty-seven countries, including the US and Canada, that have signed the Common Criteria Recognition Arrangement (CCRA), making it an exceptional measure of security for the international commerce of IT products.
"Hackers are continuously evolving and improving their tactics," said Aviv Grafi, CTO of Votiro.  "The Common Criteria's strict standards help ensure that governments worldwide are equipped with the most secure technologies on the market, allowing them to stay one step ahead of the hackers. We are proud to have earned this highly esteemed certification, which will allow us to expand our customer base around the world."
About Votiro
Votiro provides organizations with protection against undisclosed and zero-day exploits utilized in cyber-attacks. The company's Secure Gateways provide robust protection using patented Advanced Content Disarm and Reconstruction technology to sanitize files from potential cyber-threats. Founded in 2010, Votiro has sales offices in the United States, Singapore, and Australia and an R&D center in Tel Aviv, Israel.
For more information, visit http://www.votiro.com.

Concurrent Technologies Corporation Wins Contract to Support the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Identity, Credential, and Access Management Program

The Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO), Cyber Security Division, Identity, Credential, and Access Management (ICAM) team has awarded Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC) a one-year contract worth nearly $1.8 million to support a technology that CTC developed on previous FEMA contracts. The Accountability Tracking System (ATS) is a mobile, electronic validation system used to identify personnel during emergency response situations.

 

ATS (officially called the Federal [and Mutual Aid] Emergency Response Official Accountability Tracking System or F/ERO ATS) has become a baseline of the FEMA enterprise system. ATS was first used on a large scale during the 2017 Presidential Inauguration, where it provided a validation capability to DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency personnel, enabling unescorted facility access. ATS was also recently used for the FEMA response to hurricanes in Texas, Florida, and Alabama, as well as in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, where it tracked FEMA employees going on and off commercial and Navy ships deployed for disaster relief.

 

CTC is the prime contractor on this effort and will provide production, sustainment, and integration support for ATS, as well as support for FEMA disaster deployment and credential issuing and logistics.

 

"We are proud of CTC's work on this system; it exemplifies a core principal of creating breakthrough technologies that are successfully transitioned to meet real-world requirements or challenges," said Edward J. Sheehan, Jr., CTC President and CEO. "We look forward to continuing to support ATS, which plays an important role in disaster and other emergency responses."

 

 

CTC began providing expertise on this technology in 2010. This contract runs through September 14, 2018.

 

"We're very happy to continue to support and optimize the system that we developed," said Michael Glace, CTC Advisor, Information Technology. "While the original software tracked personnel based on their credentials, we're now able to track personnel as well as equipment assigned to them and help direct them where they need to be. This technology can be used anywhere that accountability tracking is needed.

 

Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC) is an independent, nonprofit, applied scientific research and development professional services organization. Together with our affiliates, Enterprise Ventures Corporation and CTC Foundation, we leverage research, development, test and evaluation work to provide transformative, full lifecycle solutions. To best serve our clients' needs, we offer the complete ability to fully design, develop, test, prototype and build. We support our clients' core mission objectives with customized solutions and strive to exceed expectations. For more information about CTC, visit www.ctc.com.

Oil drilling in ANWR moves ahead as part of Senate tax bill

Republicans took a major step forward early Saturday in their decades-long fight to open a piece of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.

Included as part of the sweeping tax reform bill passed by the Senate in a 51-to-49 vote is a highly controversial provision to allow energy exploration in a 1.5 million-acre swath of ANWR known as the “1002 area,” which lies along the coast. In total, ANWR spans more than 19 million acres.

The drilling provision was seen as key to getting Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Alaska Republican, on board with the tax bill.

“Opening the 1002 Area and tax reform both stand on their own, but combining them into the same bill, and then successfully passing that bill, makes this a great day to be an Alaskan,” she said in a statement after the measures passed. “I thank all of the senators who spent time learning about our opportunities and needs, and who joined us tonight in voting for Alaska. We are grateful for their support and eager to take the next steps for this pro-jobs, pro-growth, and pro-energy legislation.”

Drilling in ANWR has become of the most high-profile fights in history between energy advocates and environmentalists. Those who favor oil drilling say only a small portion of the pristine area will be affected, and that exploration can be done safely; environmentalists maintain that opening any piece of ANWR to drilling sets a dangerous precedent, and they contend that an ecologically disastrous spill is inevitable.

The issue has split Republicans. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine has previously voted against ANWR drilling, as has Sen. John McCain of Arizona. Both supported the measure Saturday.

There’s also notable Republican opposition in the House, which has already passed its own tax measure without an ANWR provision.

Ahead of Saturday’s vote, a dozen House Republicans wrote to House Speaker and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urging them to remove ANWR drilling from any tax-reform efforts, arguing that there’s simply no need to drill in such a sensitive area.

“After years of debate, the Arctic Refuge stands as a symbol of our nation’s strong and enduring legacy,” reads the letter, signed by Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Rep. Dave Reichert of Minnesota and other Republicans. “Any development footprint in the Refuge stands to disrupt this fragile, critically important landscape.”

Environmental groups vowed to continue their opposition, and a host of lawsuits are expected if the provision is signed into law by President Trump.

“Sen. Murkowski’s big sellout to the oil industry must be stopped. An international treasure and America’s conservation legacy are at stake. We’ve been fighting to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for more than 30 years. We won’t let it end like this,” said Jamie Rappaport Clark, president and CEO of the environmental group Defenders of Wildlife.

Approaching video forensics with fresh intelligence

New AI technology that mimics the human brain can help law enforcement and intelligence organizations rapidly identify patterns, objects and faces in large amounts of archived and live streaming video

 

Video is a critical element in crime prevention and investigation, yet current law enforcement systems are increasingly unable to cope. The sheer volume of surveillance material captured and stored every day is staggering, and set to rise dramatically. Adding more cameras to gather more information will only ever be useful if processes to search and analyze the mountain of data keep pace. As it stands vital information may be missed because the vast majority of video is simply never viewed. 

 

Information technology firm Cisco estimates than in 2021 it would take more than 5 million years to watch the amount of video traffic across the globe – each month. Market researcher IHS forecasts that 127 million surveillance cameras and 400,000 body-worn cameras will ship this year, in addition to the estimated 300 million cameras already deployed. By 2020 it is predicted there will be more than 1 billion cameras operated by smart cities worldwide, providing 30 billion frames of video per day. Internet video surveillance traffic alone increased 71 per cent in 2016 according to Cisco, and is set to increase sevenfold by 2021. Globally, 3.4 per cent of all video traffic crossing the internet will be video surveillance.

 

Give that a major problem for surveillance operators is directed attention fatigue, where the brain naturally alternates between periods of attention and distraction, it would require a superhuman effort to identify and classify all these images. What is required is a system that is never distracted and can work in conjunction with people to reduce errors, which is what artificial intelligence-driven video systems promise. 

 

AI in video surveillance can potentially deliver four times the performance of conventional video search – in contrast to human vigilance, which studies have shown can degrade by 95 per cent after about 20 minutes.

 

The cost of deep learning

 

Since 2012, when AI video analytics took off, the systems trained to recognize objects and facial IDs from different types of image have proved expensive to run and slow to compute, and require large datasets to generate results. These systems, which are based on convolutional neural networks (CNNs), employ an AI technique known as ‘deep learning’. They excel at churning through data but lack the ability to refine and react to streams of information gathered from the surrounding environment – which the human brain is extremely good at.

 

What’s more, CNNs exhibit limitations including poor noise immunity, particularly when random pixels appear in an image due to noisy sensors or lens contamination. They can serve false classifications if the network becomes confused – for example by someone wearing glasses, or if it cannot find a new face in a crowd without a large set of labelled images relating to that face being added to the database. The network parameters of CNNs need careful adjustment, and even then the accuracy rate for correct image classification may not be sufficient for video surveillance applications.

 

Spiking neural networks

 

A relatively new approach is the spiking neural network (SNN), which simulates and models the different aspects of the human brain’s operation much more closely than a CNN.

 

For instance, a police department that is looking for a suspect in live video streams does not have thousands of images of that suspect; nor does it have weeks to train a CNN system. In an SNN-based system, it can find patterns and people in videos in milliseconds and from a single image – which, importantly, can be as small as 24 x 24 pixels: it doesn’t need to be high definition. The system excels in recognition in low-light, low-resolution, noisy environments, making it ideal for the large amount of previously installed video surveillance systems.

 

Unlike current CNN technologies that require extensive pre-labelled datasets and expensive cloud-based training and acceleration, an SNN system can be implemented in software with traditional computer processors (CPUs) and trained on-premises. The one-shot technology learns in real time and requires only modest processing power – typically a Windows- or Linux-based x86 desktop computer or server – as well as consuming little energy.

 

This enables a greater number of law enforcement organizations to capitalize on the opportunities offered by AI. It means AI algorithms can be used with legacy systems without requiring expensive hardware or infrastructure upgrades, and it can be deployed in the field in highly secure environments that may not have cloud connectivity.

 

Tasks that seemed impossible for machines just a few years ago are becoming almost routine, and SNN technology has perhaps the greatest potential to bring valuable new capabilities into mainstream automated video surveillance today.

 

About the author:

Bob Beachler is Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at BrainChip. He can be reached at: [email protected]

General Dynamics Awarded U.S. Army Mission Training Support Contract

FAIRFAX, VA. - General Dynamics Information Technology, a business unitof General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), was awarded the Mission Training Complex Capabilities Support contract by the U.S. Army Contracting Command. The
multiple award, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract has a ceiling value of approximately $975 million with a five year ordering period.

 Work under the contract will consist of simulation and training support including live, virtual, constructive and first-person gaming exercises.
Additional support will include technical, logistical and administrative services for designated mission training complexes.

 "As a leader in mission-command and integrated training capabilities,
General Dynamics is well positioned to support the active Army and the
National Guard in strengthening readiness," said Rich Farinacci, vice
president and general manager of General Dynamics Information
Technology's Professional Services and Training Solutions sector.

 For more than ten years, General Dynamics has supported the Army's
mission training complexes with integrated training capabilities. The
company continues to be a trusted partner in supporting the Department
of Defense and other federal agencies as a primary source of training,
network and system engineering, installation, maintenance and logistical
services.

 For more information about General Dynamics Information Technology,
please visit www.gdit.com [1].



Links:
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[1] https://gdit.com/

The Global Anti-Drone Market Is Expected To Grow With A CAGR Of 25.2% Over The Period Of 2017 - 2023

LONDON, Nov. 30, 2017 --The report on The global anti-drone Market provides qualitative and quantitative analysis for the period of 2015 to 2023.

Download the full report: https://www.reportbuyer.com/product/5223297

The report predicts The global anti-drone Market to grow with a CAGR of 25.2% over the period of 2017 - 2023. The study on anti-drone Market covers the analysis of the leading geographies such as North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and RoW for the period of 2015 to 2023.

The report on anti-drone Market is a comprehensive study and presentation of drivers, restraints, opportunities, demand factors, market size, forecasts, and trends in The global anti-drone Market over the period of 2015 to 2023. Moreover, the report is collective presentation of primary and secondary research findings.
Porter's five forces model in the report provides insights into the competitive rivalry, supplier and buyer positions in the market and opportunities for the new entrants in The global anti-drone Market over the period of 2015 – 2023. Further, IGR- Growth Matrix given in the report brings an insight on the investment areas that existing or new market players can consider.

Research methodology

• Primary Research
Our primary research involves extensive interviews and analysis of the opinions provided by the primary respondents. The primary research starts with identifying and approaching the primary respondents, the primary respondents are approached through

Key Opinion Leaders associated with Infinium The global Research
Internal and External subject matter experts
Professionals and participants from LinkedIn, Hoovers, Factiva and Bloggers
Our primary research respondents typically include

Executives working with leading companies in the market under review
Product/brand/marketing managers
CXO level executives
Regional/zonal/ country managers
Vice President level executives.
• Secondary Research
Secondary research involves extensive exploring through the secondary sources of information available in both public domain and paid sources. At Infinium The global Research, each research study is based on over 500 hours of secondary research accompanied by primary research. The information obtained through the secondary sources is validated through the crosscheck on various data sources. The secondary sources of the data typically include

Company reports and publications
Government/institutional publications
Trade and associations' journals
Databases such as WTO, OECD, World Bank, and among others.
Websites and publications by research agencies
Segments Covered
The global anti-drone Market is segmented on the basis of Application, Technology, and Vertical.

The global anti-drone Market by Application

Detection and Disruption
Detection
Positive Displacement
The global anti-drone Market by Technology

Traditional Kinetic System
Laser System
Electronics System
The global anti-drone Market by Vertical

Military and Defence
Commercial
Homeland Security
The global anti-drone Market by Regions

North America
Europe
Asia-Pacific
RoW
Companies Profiled

Thales Group
Lockheed Martin Corp.
Dedrone Inc.
Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd.
Raytheon Co.
Droneshield Ltd.
Theiss Uav Solutions, LLC
Saab AB
Blighter Surveillance Systems Ltd.
How this report delivers?

Comprehensive analysis of The global as well as regional markets of anti-drone Market.
Complete coverage of all the segments in anti-drone Market to analyze the trends, developments in The global Market and forecast of market size up to 2023.
Comprehensive analysis of the companies operating in The global anti-drone Market. The company profile includes analysis of product portfolio, revenue, SWOT analysis and latest developments of the company.
IGR- Growth Matrix presents analysis of the product segments and geographies that market players should focus to invest, consolidate, expand and/or diversify.
Download the full report: https://www.reportbuyer.com/product/5223297

BlueteamGlobal Announces Corporate Name Change to BlueVoyant

NEW YORK, Dec. 1, 2017 -- BlueteamGlobal, a global cybersecurity services firm launched earlier this year, today announced that it is changing its name to BlueVoyant, effective immediately.

Co-founded by CEO Jim Rosenthal, former Chief Operating Officer at Morgan Stanley, and Executive Chairman Tom Glocer, former Chief Executive Officer at Thomson Reuters, BlueVoyant will provide Advanced Cyber Threat Intelligence for large companies and Managed Security Services for smaller businesses. The company expects to launch its new generation of commercial products in early 2018.

BlueVoyant, which has raised more than $125 million from institutional and individual investors, was formed in part by the acquisition of three cybersecurity technology businesses—BitVoyant, K2G and K2 Cyber Defense. The company, which has offices in the U.S., the U.K. and Israel, has assembled an 85-person team of leading experts from international intelligence, law enforcement and private sector organizations.  

CEO Jim Rosenthal said the company chose the name for three reasons: to reaffirm our dedication to the "blue" side of cyber defense and to protecting company networks; to celebrate "voyant" and the successful integration of BitVoyant and our portfolio companies; and to create a shorter and more fully memorable name.

"Our new name embodies our purpose—to help defend businesses around the world against agile and well-financed cyber attackers by providing unparalleled visibility and insight," Rosenthal said. "Through our unique data assets, world-class human intelligence experts, and managed security services, BlueVoyant offers the private sector exceptional cyber defense capabilities."


The company's founding senior leadership team includes:

  • Daniel Ennis, Head of Threat Intelligence; he was formerly Director of the NSA's Threat Operations Center.
  • Ron Feler, Deputy Head of Threat Intelligence; he previously served as Deputy Commander of the Israel Defense Forces's Unit 8200 cyberintelligence unit.
  • Gad Goldstein, Head of Dark Web Intelligence; he served as a division head in the Israel Security Agency,
  • Shin Bet, in the rank equivalent to Major General.
  • Austin Berglas, Co-Head of Managed Security Service; he was formerly head of the FBI's New York Cyber Branch.
  • Milan Patel, Co-Head of Managed Security Service; he was formerly CTO for the Cyber Division at the FBI.
    The company today announced the addition of six senior executives to its leadership team.

Tal Blaustein recently joined the company as Head of Security Operations Center (SOC) Operations in Israel. The former Head of Cyber Defense Operations of the Israeli Defense Forces, Blaustein served in the IDF's J6/C4i information services unit and the Cyber Defense Directorate for 13 years, and previously served as the IDF's Home Front Command Chief IT Architect.
David Lessing is Head of New Products and Partnerships. He joins BlueVoyant from Beechwood Bermuda, a wealth management firm, where he was most recently Interim CEO. Previously, Lessing served at Morgan Stanley as Chief Operating Officer of its U.S. Wealth Management Group.
Brian Miller was named Head of Integration Engineering and Product Manager within BlueVoyant's Managed Security Services division. Miller joins the team from Secureworks, where he created new solutions in the Managed Security Services market.
Steven Spadaccini has been named Head of Threat Intelligence Products. Spadaccini joins BlueVoyant from FireEye, where he was responsible for product and marketing programs for intelligence, services and products.
Ed Martin was appointed Head of Technical Product Management for Managed Security Services. Martin comes to BlueVoyant from Secureworks, where he served as Senior Product Manager focused on the company's counter threat platform.
Chris Teekema has been named Head of Client Implementation and Quality Measurement. He comes to BlueVoyant from Dell SecureWorks, where he was Senior Network Security Manager for Managed Security Services.
About BlueVoyant
BlueVoyant is a provider of Advanced Threat Intelligence and Managed Security Services with offices in New York, the Washington D.C. area, London and Tel Aviv. More information on BlueVoyant can be found online at www.bluevoyant.com.

Defense Contracting: DOD’s Use of Lowest Price Technically Acceptable Source Selection Procedures to Acquire Selected Services

The Department of Defense (DOD) obligated about $300 billion through contracts for goods and services in fiscal year 2016. When awarding a contract competitively, DOD has several source selection procedures it can use to evaluate firms’ proposals. For example, DOD may use a best value, lowest price technically acceptable (LPTA) process. In the LPTA process, DOD awards the contract to the firm presenting the lowest priced proposal that is technically acceptable, and no tradeoffs are permitted. Alternatively, it can use a best value tradeoff process, in which it can vary the relative importance of cost or price to other factors such as
technical capability or past performance in its solicitations to firms. In these cases, DOD may award a contract to a firm presenting other than the lowest-priced proposal if it determines that a higher-priced firm provides a greater benefit to the department, and this greater benefit is worth paying an additional cost.

Section 813 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2017 calls for DOD to avoid using LPTA procedures when doing so would deny DOD the benefits of making cost and technical tradeoffs in the source selection process. To implement this policy, Section 813 requires that DOD revise the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) to allow the use of LPTA procedures only when  certain criteria are met. For example, one criterion is that contracting officials must determine that no, or little, value would be gained from a proposal exceeding the solicitation’s minimum technical requirements. The specific criteria are discussed in the background section of this report.

Section 813 also requires that LPTA procedures must be avoided to the “maximum extent practicable” in procurements of:

  • Information technology (IT) services, cybersecurity services, systems engineering and technical assistance services, advanced electronic testing, audit or audit readiness services, or other knowledge-based professional services
  • Personal protective equipment, such as body armor;
  • and Knowledge-based training or logistics services in contingency or other  operations outside the United States


Further, Section 813 included a provision that we report on the number of instances where DOD used LPTA procedures for contracts exceeding $10 million, as well as an explanation of how acquisition officials considered the new criteria identified in Section 813. The objectives of this report were to assess the (1) extent to which DOD used LPTA procedures for contracts awarded in the first half of fiscal year 2017 for certain services and products identified in Section 813 valued at 10 million and above, and (2) factors that contracting officials considered when deciding to use LPTA procedures for these contracts. We selected the first half of fiscal year 2017 because that was the most recent time period for which data were available. To determine the extent to which DOD used LPTA source selection procedures in the first half of fiscal year 2017, we used data from the Federal procurement Data System-Next Generation (FPDS-NG) to identify a population of contracts valued at $10 million or above that were
awarded between October 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017 by the Departments of the Army, Navy, and Air Force.



These military departments represented almost 80 percent of DOD procurement spending in fiscal year 2016, and collectively accounted for 781, or over 64 percent, of DOD’s 1,212 new contracts reported in FPDS-NG with total estimated values of $10 million or above awarded during the 6-month period we reviewed. We determined that FPDS-NG was sufficiently reliable for the purposes of identifying these contracts by tracing relevant FPDS-NG data to the contracts we reviewed and related documents. We identified a population of 781 new contract awards that were within the scope of our review. Our scope includes stand-alone contracts and the initial award of indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contracts, but excludes subsequent orders issued under these contracts because solicitation data is not readily available for orders.Our scope also excluded blanket purchase agreements and basic ordering agreements.

 

 

These military departments represented almost 80 percent of DOD procurement spending in fiscal year 2016, and collectively accounted for 781, or over 64 percent, of DOD’s 1,212 new contracts reported in FPDS-NG with total estimated values of $10 million or above awarded during the 6-month period we reviewed. We determined that FPDS-NG was sufficiently reliable for the purposes of identifying these contracts by tracing relevant FPDS-NG data to the contracts we reviewed and related documents. We identified a population of 781 new contract awards that were within the scope of our review. Our scope includes stand-alone contracts and the initial award of indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contracts, but excludes subsequent orders issued under these contracts because solicitation data is not readily available for orders.Our scope also excluded blanket purchase agreements and basic ordering agreements.We focused our review on contracts for categories of products and services that could include those listed in Section 813 of the fiscal year 2017 NDAA for which DOD should, to the maximum extent practicable, avoid using LPTA source selection procedures.

Through analysis of FPDS-NG product and service code information, we identified the following four categories which could contain such products or services:

  • Information technology and telecommunications;
  • Support services, which include professional/administrative/management services;
  • Ammunition and explosives, which include tactical sets that may include personal protective equipment; and
  • Clothing and individual equipment, which includes protective clothing and personal armor (or in other words, personal protective equipment)

From the 781 contracts that were within the scope of our review, we identified 147 contracts in one of these four categories. Fourteen of these were in the ammunition category. We did not identify any contracts in the clothing category. We reviewed descriptions of what was purchased under these 14 awards and also requested that DOD identify any contracts that included the purchase of personal protective equipment. The Army, Navy, and Air Force confirmed that none of the 14 contracts in the ammunition category included personal protective equipment. The remaining 133 contracts identified were for services coded as IT or support services, which include knowledge-based professional services.

 

Full report at http://www.gao.gov/assets/690/688680.pdf

OPM Increases the Federal Academic Alliance to 15 Colleges and Universities

 

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has entered into academic agreements with four additional schools bringing the total number of colleges and universities in the Federal Academic Alliance to 15. The newest additions of Catholic University of America Metropolitan School of Professional Studies, Pace University iPace Program, Park University, and Utica College all joined the Alliance to offer tuition discounts to Federal Employees.  

“This Federal Academic Alliance provides Federal Government employees and their families with access to opportunities to earn a variety of bachelor and master degrees,” said OPM Acting Director Kathy McGettigan. “We will continue to work with colleges and universities to provide the Federal workforce with opportunities to obtain the education they need to meet today’s Federal workplace challenges. The Alliance will also help agencies close critical skills gaps, enabling the Federal workforce to fulfill its mission to serve the American people.”

The Federal Academic Alliance provides an additional tool for agencies to address their respective critical skills shortages, retirement, and attrition exacerbating these skill gaps, hiring freezes, and anticipated reductions in most agency budgets. The academic agreements provide reduced tuition rates from 5 percent to 70 percent and/or scholarships to Federal employees. Some of the agreements also extend benefits to spouses and legal dependents of Federal employees. 

The portfolio of these institutions include programs that address some of the Federal Government’s mission-critical occupation skills in the areas of Acquisition, Human Resources, Financial Auditing, Economics, Information Technology with an emphasis on Cybersecurity, and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

OPM continues the effort to close skills gaps, increase Federal employees’ access to high-quality, affordable educational resources, and further develop and sustain the Federal workforce.

For more information about the programs, admissions, and contact information for each school, visit the Federal Academic Alliance wiki page. Please follow us on our main social media channels to learn the latest OPM news, campaigns and programs: https://twitter.com/USOPM, https://www.facebook.com/USOPM/, and https://www.linkedin.com/company/opm.

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