Big IT Opportunities at Small Defense Agency


Defense Security Service’s Second Annual Technology Industry Day.

mark-wisinger_65x85By Mark Wisinger, Analyst

The Defense Security Service (DSS) is a small agency with a big job—the Quantico-based Department of Defense organization provides the military services, defense agencies, 30 federal agencies, and 13,500 cleared contract facilities with security support services.

It’s also an agency with a significant need for technology. At its second annual Technology Industry Day earlier this month, DSS chief information officer, Craig Kaucher (pictured, red tie), cited four key mission areas: industrial security, education and training, insider threat, and IT support.

Here are other takeaways from the event:

  • In FY17, vendors should keep a close eye on the upcoming IT Services contract re-compete. The current contract, whose incumbent is a small business, ends September 2017. The contract has grown 50 percent since its last iteration, and will likely be earmarked for another small business set-aside; the agency does about half of its contracting through small businesses. Kaucher is openly encouraging partnering, so technology companies may want to connect with small businesses.
  • Cyber vendors should note that as part of the industrial operations mission, specifically the counter-intelligence mission, DSS assesses and authorizes contractor cybersecurity systems. There’s naturally a major requirement for vulnerability assessment tools. DSS particularly emphasizes a desire for automated tools—a trend we’re beginning to see in the DOD. DSS is challenged by its restricted headcount.
  • As far as cloud architectures, DSS is less gun-shy compared to other agencies about commercial cloud environments. It’s looking for Software-as-a-Service solutions, as well as Infrastructure-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service solutions. DSS is interested in approved, classified cloud with FedRAMP level 4 or 5 approval. Note that DSS is not interested in serving as a sponsor for an uncertified solution—the agency is just not large enough to warrant it.
  • One final note—Kaucher works closely with IT leaders at the Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID), the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI), and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS). Any technology company experiencing success in those agencies will have a foot in the DSS door.

Looking for more guidance on navigating IT requirements at DSS and other federal agencies? Reach out to immixGroup’s Market Intelligence team

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