The White House’s updated top technologies for American innovation and national security

By Kevin P. Young, Principal Marketing Intelligence Analyst

The Biden-Harris White House earlier this year released an updated list of Critical and Emerging Technologies, also referred to as CETs, that can play an important role in our nation’s security. Last updated in 2020 under the Trump White House, this nonpartisan list of national priorities represents a subset of novel, advanced technologies with the potential to chart new pathways in American innovation and strengthen our national security.

They also represent a critical “roadmap” of strategic and tactical paths government contractors should consider in the areas of technologies, capabilities, solutions, products and services.

The National Security Strategic Guidance defines three key objectives:

  1. Protect the security of the American people
  2. Expand economic prosperity and opportunity
  3. Realize and defend democratic values.

At the recent Global Emerging Technology Summit, Lloyd J. Austin, U.S. Secretary of Defense said: “Innovation lies at the heart of American security. Nobody innovates better than the United States of America. But we can’t take that for granted … America’s integrated deterrence relies on both innovation and investment. Innovation requires the resources to develop new ideas and scale them appropriately. And investment pays off when it’s focused on the challenges of tomorrow, and not yesterday.”   

Alejandro N. Mayorkas, U.S. Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security comments on whitehouse.gov that: “Technology and homeland security are inextricably linked. A vast array of interdependent information technology networks, systems, services and resources enable communication, facilitate travel, power our homes, run our economy and provide essential government services. These systems provide enormous benefits to our society and economy, but they also create new risks and vulnerabilities. (We) must endeavor to keep pace with technology and leverage research and development toward homeland security goals.”

The Critical Technologies list identifies the technology areas that currently hold the greatest potential to further those objectives in the future–and, for the first time, it also includes several specific subfields under each technology area. A summary of the priorities includes:

  • Advanced Computing
  • Advanced Engineering Materials
  • Advanced Gas Turbine Engine Technologies
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Advanced and Networked Sensing and Signature Management
  • Advanced Nuclear Energy Technologies
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Autonomous Systems and Robotics
  • Biotechnologies
  • Communication and Networking Technologies
  • Directed Energy
  • Financial Technologies
  • Human-Machine Interfaces
  • Hypersonics
  • Networked Sensors and Sensing
  • Quantum Information Technologies
  • Renewable Energy Generation and Storage
  • Semiconductors and Microelectronics
  • Space Technologies and Systems

Wrote Dr. Heidi Shyu, DOD Under Secretary of Research & Engineering: “ (Our) priorities (also) include off-the-shelf systems wherever possible, both for cost and speed, rather than designing exquisite systems. … We have to pivot much faster …”

As always, the immixGroup Market Intelligence team is available to provide our government contractor channel partners with advice and counsel via tangible primary and secondary industry and academic research to help you “pivot faster.”

Keep up with the latest IT trends in public sector. Subscribe to immixGroup’s Government Sales Insider blog now.

Need help in identifying and targeting the right FY2023 opportunities? Connect with immixGroup’s Market Intelligence team to see how we can help.

Four SLED contracts to build out your sales toolbox

By Jessica Wilhelm, SLED Contracts Specialist

If your company is selling IT products or services to the state, local and education (SLED) market, it is extremely important to maintain and expand the statewide contracts and cooperative agreements that form the foundation of procurement at this level.

Why build out this SLED contracts toolbox?  Simply put: Ease of use. Using a SLED contract vehicle with competitive pricing and negotiated terms and conditions equals a shorter procurement process for you!

If you’re new to the SLED space, you need to know that not all contracts are a one-size-fits-all solution. Here are a few types of SLED contracts that you should have in your toolbox. Three are SLED-specific; one allows SLED organizations to make use of federal vehicles. Here’s what you need to know.

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Turn year-end disappointments into successful pursuits

By Kevin P. Young, Principal Market Intelligence Analyst

As we come into the last six weeks of the fiscal year, there are high expectations that the deals in your pipeline will come in before the clock strikes midnight on September 30. While many deals will undoubtedly come in – including an occasional bluebird or two — there will be some disappointments as well.

For the deals that did not come in, there’s also going to be a lot of after-the-fact analysis of why you did not win. Here are some of the most common reasons deals DO NOT come in:

  • You did not have a clear understanding of the client’s requirements and issues
  • Your technical solution was not a good fit
  • Your pricing was not competitive
  • You did not have strong relationships with the (1) key decision maker and/or influencer, (2) program office and/or (3) contracting officer
  • You assumed your potential client’s stakeholders were predisposed to YOU as “neutral” or “positive

What can you do better in the next fiscal year – besides righting the obvious alluded to above?

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Small businesses make headway in government: Are you properly registered?

By Kevin P. Young, Consulting Market Analyst

There’s good news for small business federal government contractors in the recent announcement from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) that the Biden-Harris Administration exceeded its small business federal contracting goal in 2021. According to the SBA, the administration awarded 27.2 percent, or $154.2 billion, in new contract dollars to small businesses – an increase of $8 billion increase from 2020.

The SBA has a goal of 23 percent to 26 percent of all System for Award Management (SAM)-registered federal procurements be targeted for small businesses – direct, via prime contractors and via procurement vehicles/channels.

Although the news is good and, despite the overall increase in the dollar value of small business awards, the absolute number of small businesses receiving prime contracts with the federal government decreased again in FY21.

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How IT vendors can get a piece of the $1.2T infrastructure bill

By Kevin P. Young, Senior Market Intelligence Analyst

When the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act was signed into law late last year by President Biden, many of us in the GovCon community started to think about how this five-year, $1.2 trillion might lead to additional business for us.

Here is some basic information that should provide enough background to get you started in evaluating whether or not your company should pursue business in this area. Small businesses might especially want to take note.

Isn’t this money for roads and bridges? What about:

  • Transit and rail?
  • Airports, seaports and waterways?
  • Electric vehicles?
  • Power and water systems and supplies?
  • Broadband?
  • Environmental remediation?
  • Plus – hazardous waste, hospitals and lighthouses?
  • And parks, pipeline transport and public housing?

YES, they all are — but your company could have an important role to play.

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New to federal sales? What you need to know about our GSA MAS contract extension

By Gina Brown, Federal Contracts Manager

EC America was recently awarded a GSA contract extension for GS-35F-0511T. The award grants five additional years on this extremely valuable procurement contract, which now expires June 26, 2027.

The GSA MAS contract is one of the largest and most widely used government procurement vehicles, generating over $19 billion for the Information Technology “large” category every year. The contract is open to all federal agencies as well as to state and local government agencies.

What is GSA MAS?

The GSA MAS is an IDIQ (Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quality) government-wide, 20-year-long contract that provides government buyers access to commercial products, services and solutions at pre-negotiated pricing. Many state and local agencies look to GSA MAS as their vehicle of choice or as a base contract to govern their own vehicles. Federal agencies may also use the GSA MAS as a foundation to establish Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs) for repetitive requirements for supplies or services.

Why is this important to our channel partners and suppliers?

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The rise of DPAS rated orders and how to handle them

By Skyler Handl, Corporate Counsel, Public Sector

Your marketing strategy may focus on one thing, but the government’s increasing application of the Defense Production Act may have other plans for you. If your government business has a manufacturing component, it’s important to be able to navigate this legislation.

The COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing supply chain shortages have put a spotlight on Defense Production Act (DPA) 15 C.F.R. Part 700.  Enacted in 1950, this post World War II era legislation grants the U.S. government authority to jump to the front of the line in acquiring goods or services required to meet national defense requirements and promote “emergency preparedness.” The Department of Defense issues approximately 300,000 DPAS (Defense Priorities and Allocation Systems) rated orders annually. While traditionally used for military and national security acquisitions, the DPA recently made national news for its use by the U.S. government to acquire personal protective equipment (PPE) and baby formula. It has even been invoked as a possible way to get gas and oil prices under control.

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EO 14028 uncertainty offers opportunities in event logging, zero trust, Part 2 of 2

By Ryan Nelson, Market Intelligence Manager

Uncertainty at the agency level about what constitutes compliance with EO 14028’s requirements regarding event logging (EL) and zero trust architecture (ZTA) offers vendors with those technological capabilities an opportunity to support agencies as they try to meet the demands of the order.

In the first part of this two-part series, we looked at event logging. This time we’ll turn our attention to ZTA.

As mentioned in our first installment, agencies have requested significant funding for the zero trust architecture and event logging requirements in the Executive Order, typically to the tune of $25 million per agency to achieve both goals.

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EO 14028 uncertainty offers opportunities in event logging, zero trust (Part 1 of 2)

By Ryan Nelson, Market Intelligence Manager

The Executive Order on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity, along with timelines and compliance guidance from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), is causing some confusion among agencies as to what actually constitutes compliance. Agencies have requested significant funding for zero trust architecture (ZTA) and event logging (EL) requirements in the Executive Order, often around $25 million per agency to achieve both goals.

Vendors that can help agencies comply with the order and meet OMB’s timelines will be of extreme interest to these organizations.

Background

Signed on May 12, 2021, EO 14028 contains specific directives to achieve improve agency visibility on network activity and cybersecurity. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) then released clarifying guidance in memos to define what agencies must accomplish. These include:

  • OMB 21-31: Improving the Federal Government’s Investigative and Remediation Capabilities Related to Cybersecurity Incidents
  • OMB 22-09: Moving the U.S. Government Toward Zero Trust Cybersecurity Principles

EO 14028 requires agencies to determine their strategy for achieving a zero trust architecture within 60 days of release, while OMB 22-09 requires specific security goals be achieved by the end of FY24.

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ESG contract stipulations are becoming common. Are you prepared?

By Skyler Handl, Corporate Counsel, Public Sector

How familiar are you with new Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) policies in the U.S. and abroad? For public sector companies, staying current with these new requirements will be an important part of remaining competitive.

ESG has become popular recently in the commercial investor market, but it actually has been a long-time staple in government contracting. For decades the U.S. government promoted public policy aligned to ESG objectives through the inclusion of contract and subcontract requirements to combat human trafficking (FAR 52.222-50), promote small and diverse business (FAR 52.219-9) and to utilize energy efficient products (FAR 52.223-15). Social and Governance objectives have historically impacted contractor responsibility and qualification under FAR Part 9, and have been weighted factors in evaluation criteria during best value competitions with specific attention for exceptional small and diverse business plans.

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