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.

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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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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Vaccine requirements for federal contractors: The latest Task Force guidance basics

By Jeff Ellinport, Division Counsel

As anticipated in my last blog, on September 24, 2021, the White House’s Safer Federal Workforce Task Force issued its expected guidance implementing the vaccination requirements for federal prime contractors and subcontractors. This action was pursuant to Executive Order 14042 (Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors) that President Biden issued on September 9.

While the guidance directly answered some questions posed in my last blog, it also created others. Here are the basics.

Requirements

The guidance sets out three main requirements:

  1. COVID-19 vaccination of covered contractor employees, except in limited circumstances where an employee is legally entitled to an accommodation
  2. Compliance by individuals, including covered contractor employees and visitors, with the guidance related to masking and physical distancing while in covered contractor workplaces
  3. Designation by covered contractors of a person or persons to coordinate COVID-19 workplace safety efforts at covered contractor workplaces
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Vaccine requirements for federal contractors: What we know today

By Jeff Ellinport, Division Counsel

In the next 10 days, expect specific guidance on how federal contractors will need to respond to the COVID vaccine mandate from the Biden administration.

On September 9, 2021, President Biden issued an Executive Order “Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors” (the “EO”). This order will require many federal contractors to have their employees either fully vaccinated or subject to regular COVID-19 testing.

Here is what we know 

The EO leaves some of the details regarding the requirements for federal contractors to others. Specifically, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) in a few weeks, and the recently created Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (the “Task Force”) is to issue specific federal contractor guidance by September 24.

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GSA and Consumption-Based Cloud Pricing … Stay Tuned!

By Tara Franzonello, GSA Programs Consultant

The consumption-based approach is already widely used in the private sector and GSA hopes to leverage a similar model to recognize the same efficiencies, increase cyber security, foster competition and provide cost savings and transparency — benefits that are being realized today by commercial companies.

Cloud computing is offered in various models (i.e. consumption-based with not to exceed ceiling, subscription based, on-demand, per-use-based, tier-based) as well as pay-as-you go and fixed price combinations in the private sector. Each has its own advantages based on the customer’s specific needs (environment, consumption usage, usage term, etc.). The ideal procurement path for consumption-based cloud computing would provide agencies with a flexibility across both funding and consumption models that promotes cost efficiency and private sector best practices.  Read more of this post

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