FY19 Advice From DISA Industry Day

By Ryan Granato, Analyst

At their recent forecast to industry, DISA outlined a future built around mobility, cybersecurity, small businesses and the importance of targeted industry pitches. Here are key insights from DISA leaders for securing FY19 business:

Selling to DISA
When selling to DISA, it is paramount for industry to tailor their pitch to how their solutions can work specifically for outlined requirements and referenced pain points. According to Dave Bennett, director of DISA’s operations center, nine out of ten times what worked for industry commercially will not work for DISA. Even more so, he says that any pitches that reference past performance for industry will not be met with open arms. Bennett goes so far as to say, “I will zero my mind out. I will be singing la la la in the back of my head.” For best practices, Bennett says that industry must come armed with knowledge directly associated to the area they are looking to support.

Mobility Services
In an environment increasingly focused on rapid procurement, DISA announced that they plan to award all three of their mobility services procurement vehicles before 2020. Expect to see the final RFPs for the classified part of the Mobility Enterprises Services (MES-C) shortly. For the unclassified part (MES-U), expect an RFP in Q2 FY19. The third and final contract to be awarded by the mobility program office is the Mobile Content Management (MCM) with an expected RFP in Q1 FY19 for a single award IDIQ in mid Q2 FY19. According to Jacob Marcellus, portfolio manager for mobility program office, MCM will be built on top of a commercial-based cloud mobile solution that can handle large data transfers and will be available to all service branches. MES, alongside the Mobile Content Management (MCM), will support all the mobility solutions offered through DISA.

In the wake of increased near-peer adversary cyberattacks, DISA is looking to change the Defense Department’s cybersecurity posture. According to Vice Adm. Nancy Norton, DISA director and Joint Force Headquarters DODIN commander, a new strategy to reduce attacks is by implementing a cloud-based internet isolation solution to protect the network from internet-born threats. By isolating internet browsing to a remote cloud-based server outside of the DoDIN, DISA will have the ability to securely monitor traffic and proactively respond to threats before they breach internal networks. Norton went on to say that DISA is ready to hear about any industry solutions that are applicable.

Small Business
According to DISA, the agency surpassed its small business goal of 28 percent, with spending hovering around $1.7 billion for FY18. In August, Carlen Capenos, director of the Office of Small Business Programs at DISA, spoke in an interview with Brandon Knapp, a contributor at C4ISRNET.com, on best practices for small businesses trying to do business with DISA.

First and foremost, attending the monthly DISA group meeting for small businesses is important for understanding the execution of DISA contracts and upcoming programs. When asked what small businesses can do to improve, Capenos harped on the importance of responding to sources-sought notices. Additionally, Capenos believes that with increased budgets and requirements, it is becoming more likely that a small business will earn a prime contract award.

When approaching DISA it is important to know mission specific details and how any given solution will fit into their vast entanglement of systems. With a wide array of government customers, DISA is ripe with opportunity. The key is just knowing the mission details.

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