New cyber authorities in new DHS legislation

Tom O'Keefecybersecurity, department of homeland securityBy Tom O’Keefe, consultant

A bill that has just made its way through the House would finally reauthorize the Department of Homeland Security, which has only been authorized once, in 2002.

There are several cyber provisions included in the House bill, which could mean a lot of opportunity for cybersecurity vendors if it ends up passing in the Senate (where it has, unfortunately, stalled before). But there’s a good chance that even if the bill doesn’t pass, we’ll see some of the additional authorities and responsibilities making their way to DHS components anyway.

Most of the specific provisions in the bill of interest here are ones that require certain components to own responsibility for cybersecurity of various locations. For example, the Transportation Security Administration would be responsible for assessing the cybersecurity of aviation systems, including airports and airlines, developing an information sharing project across the airline industry and assessing the vulnerabilities of the systems that house TSA PreCheck.

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Are commercial online marketplaces in the government’s future?

By Steve Charles, immixGroup co-founder

Proposed legislation out of the House Armed Services Committee would give the Department of Defense and other federal agencies the ability to buy commercial items (COTS) via online marketplaces without contracting officers having to determine price reasonableness before ordering. To make sure prices paid are competitive at the time, the marketplaces would provide all kinds of data to the government, including posted prices for similar, competitive items on the system at the time of sale. Suppliers would be able to update pricing in real-time.

DOD has long complained about GSA Schedule contracts, as well as GSA’s online marketplace, GSA Advantage, arguing that it’s not a real marketplace.  Product catalogs are not current, pricing is not maintained in real-time and many of the contractors lack strategic relationships with the manufacturers of the products represented.  Agencies put in orders on GSA Advantage, only to learn two weeks later that those ordered items are not actually available. Even people at GSA have told me that it’s much more reliable and cheaper for them to leverage the micro-purchase rules and use commercial shopping sites.

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What you need to know about Trump’s plan for government

Chris Wiedemann_65 x 85

By Chris Wiedemann, consultant

Trying to read the tea leaves on the Trump administration’s technology priorities has been a challenge for all of us in the industry. But we got a little more clarity on how the new administration would like to manage the executive branch with a report last week outlining a new budget, including appropriations language that President Trump plans to submit in “mid to late April.”

While we haven’t seen the budget itself (and, as always, the appropriations committees will have significant input into the process), reading the Heritage Foundation report that Trump’s budget is purportedly based on reveals some potentially dramatic changes to executive agencies, particularly in the civilian sector. Those potential changes include:

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Will You Be Able to Tame the Transition?

Allan Rubin 65x85summit-white-houseBy Allan Rubin, Vice President of Marketing, Arrow Enterprise Computing Solutions

A new administration always brings change in Washington. But how will a Trump or Clinton White House affect the government IT market? We won’t know for sure until a few months in, maybe even a year.

That’s exactly why immixGroup’s upcoming Government IT Sales Summit includes a session on Taming the Transition: Marketing & Sales Tactics for a Year of Turnover. I’ll be moderating a panel of speakers with years of experience in government marketing and navigating presidential transitions.

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The Time for IT Modernization is Now; Can Congress Make It Happen?

Chris Wiedemann_65 x 85CongressBy Chris Wiedemann, Consultant

Those of you who have been following our blog (or the myriad news sources surrounding federal IT) will be familiar with the many challenges facing government IT managers: cybersecurity, cloud migration, enabling mobility, providing more effective and efficient services to the American public…the list goes on.

As if that wasn’t difficult enough, federal customers are faced with flat or shrinking budgets, an increasing share of which goes to maintaining costly legacy systems instead of the modernization that federal technology desperately needs. According to estimates by US CIO Tony Scott, roughly 80% of total federal IT expenditure goes to steady state, or operations and maintenance – and that share is only going to increase. We’ve often heard about legal, cultural, or regulatory barriers to IT modernization and cloud adoption, but the question underpinning everything else remains: How can government actually pay for the modern technology it needs to execute its mission?

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The State of DOD Funding

Lloyd McCoy Jr.StateofDODFunding_052416By Lloyd McCoy Jr., DOD Manager

As always, my Market Intelligence colleagues and I are keeping close tabs on federal funding for upcoming fiscal years. And some recent action on a Defense bill caught our eye.

The House approved 277-147 the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, a $610 billion policy bill that’s $27 billion more than what President Obama had requested and more than the Pentagon even said it needed.

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Five Tips for a Successful Selling Season

Sales FunnelSteve Headshot 65 x 85 by Steve Charles, Co-founder

Every year around this time I’m approached by technology companies looking for quick tips on how to make their September successful. I start off by saying that in a typical government fiscal year, we see the feds spending about a third of their budgets in the last quarter. However, the steps for completing the acquisition packages began six to nine months ago. 

As we wind down to the last week or two of the year, program managers pick and choose purchase requests like puzzle pieces to get to zero by midnight, September 30.  So, to make sure you’re in the mix at the 11th hour, make sure to ask your government customer one critical question: is the right amount of money in the right account?

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