OTAs Are Heating Up in the DOD

Mark Wisinger_100x135By Mark Wisinger, senior analyst

Every program manager and acquisition professional in DOD has been leveraging the newest buzzword: OTA, which stands for Other Transaction Authority. OTAs have been in the acquisition arsenal for years, but Congress just recently relaxed rules and restrictions on their use, paving the way for OTAs to be the new hot method for rapid technology insertion and piloting. The Office of the Undersecretary of Acquisition and Sustainment recently has been working on an OTA handbook to help guide DOD acquisition professionals on the do’s and don’ts of this newly revitalized procurement method. It’s no surprise we’re starting to see the use of more and more OTAs.

According to Bloomberg Government, DOD accounted for $2.1B of $2.3B spent through OTAs in 2017. The Army has been a leader in DOD driving most of the OTA usage increases to date, concentrated in the Army Materiel Command, although the Army Cyber Command’s use of OTAs is growing. The Defensive Cyber Operations office, within Army’s PEO EIS is setting up a new OTA vehicle known as C-RAPID, which will be targeting rapid piloting and insertion of defensive cyber tools. Companies that sign on to the consortium will field between 6 and 24 Army technology requests a year for defensive cyber tools.

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New IoT Opportunities to be Found at DoD Facilities

Mark Wisinger_100x135Internet of Things

By Mark Wisinger, senior analyst

Facilities management continues to be the strongest use case for IoT solution sales, especially at the Department of Defense, which maintains thousands of facilities both within and outside the continental U.S. Each individual building contains a wide variety of sensors and devices that need to be actively monitored.

A single building may have systems for fire alarm reporting, closed-circuit TV, HVAC, lighting control, smart grid and physical access control and may include water management and power management devices. The massive amounts of data collected by these systems could help drive better decision making to help the DOD operate more efficiently, protect its assets and personnel, and save money.

Access to HVAC, utility and security system data can provide enormous benefits, but there is inevitable risk too. The DOD is trying to get beyond just worrying about data security compliance and instead wants to focus on managing an acceptable amount of risk.

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What you should know about the future of machines

machine learning, artificial intelligenceBy Mark Wisinger, senior analyst

2017 saw machine learning become the de-facto in-vogue technology, whether the conversation was about data, cybersecurity or even traditional business systems.

In December, Google’s AlphaZero chess engine, utilizing Google’s DeepMind AI, crushed the incumbent chess engine champion, Stockfish. Google’s DeepMind relies heavily on machine learning – the AlphaZero chess engine did not start with any human knowledge, yet was able to learn how to beat Stockfish in 400 hours through machine learning. It’s a clear victory for machine learning – but one that’s easy to simulate. This is a much easier use case than identifying noise from cyber threats or prioritizing and cleaning multiple forms of data.

At immixGroup’s Government IT Sales Summit, we hosted a discussion on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning with Ron Gula, president and co-founder of Gula Tech Adventures and former CEO and co-founder of Tenable Networks, Dr. William Vanderlinde, chief scientist at the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) and Rich Friedrich, senior director of cyber security analytics at Micro Focus Government Solutions.

Here are key takeaways to keep in mind when you discuss machine learning and AI with your government customers:

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When will CYBERCOM Split from NSA?

As soon as Congress passed the FY17 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the clock began to tick on CYBERCOM’s elevation to a fully-fledged combatant command.

The NDAA included a clause that mandated CYBERCOM’s elevation to full COCOM status, although there are a few provisions that give us a clue as to when that may occur. Before CYBERCOM can be formally split from Strategic Command, it must reach full operating capability and Congress must approve of CYBERCOM’s readiness.

So what does that mean for the IT industry? With CYBERCOM’s rising and sizeable budget, there’s a lot of opportunity for cybersecurity vendors. But first it’s important to understand what needs to happen for CYBERCOM to split from STRATCOM.

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How government is trying to get a more complete picture

By Mark Wisinger, senior analyst

It’s no secret there’s a vast amount of legacy systems still supporting government customers. Everyone has been talking about interoperability in government for years, but it remains a significant challenge as even more systems being used by agencies age past their initial life expectancy.

But despite the roadblocks, government agencies are working on different ways to enhance information sharing and incentivize interoperability, including using open APIs and architecture.

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3 challenges facing IoT adoption in government

By Kevin Shaker and Mark Wisinger, senior analysts

There’s no question that the internet of things market, whether government or commercial, is going to grow dramatically over the next few years.

We recently blogged about the federal market growing to $3 billion by 2018, which is a 20 percent jump from 2016. An even more dramatic prediction is that the number of devices connected to the internet will hit 20 billion by 2020.

“There’s going to be more IoT devices on the internet than everything else we’ve ever touched before,” said Stephen DiFranco, principal of the IoT Advisory Group, at immixGroup’s recent Market Intelligence event.

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Can data overload in the IC be tamed?

By Mark Wisinger, senior analyst

In an era with more sensors and data than ever before, how can intelligence agencies separate the significant data from the background noise?

Data management is an enormous challenge right now in the Department of Defense and Intelligence Community, especially as the internet of things emerges onto the scene. The big data challenges are linked hand-in-hand with cloud implementation, insider threats and cybersecurity, business intelligence and traditional IT infrastructure.

This data management challenge is an opportunity for big data vendors, with defense and intelligence agencies looking to the private sector for solutions in data access and search, data labeling and filtering and other management needs.

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