GSA to agencies: Don’t use FedRAMP to screen-out potential bidders

Some federal agencies are beginning to require that contracting vendors have FedRAMP authorizations before bidding on cloud computing contracts.

FedRAMPAt first blush, it seems like a good thing that agencies would require contractors to adhere to the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Act, the government’s standardized approach to ensuring security in cloud computing.

Yet because FedRAMP is still only a few years old, making compliance with FedRAMP a prerequisite to bidding on contracts could limit competition.

“Agencies – contracting officers – are starting to require FedRAMP authorizations as a condition for bidding on work,” said Stan Kaczmarczyk, director of the Cloud Computing Services Program Management Office in the General Services Administration’s Federal Acquisition Service.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.nextgov.com/emerging-tech/emerging-tech-blog/2015/06/gsa-agencies-dont-use-fedramp-screen-out-potential-bidders/114256

White House contracting officer talks about flexible way for agencies to procure software

A White House contracting officer is working with the General Services Administration (GSA) to provide agencies with a “simple, quick and flexible” approach to get software applications developed faster through an iterative approach using top industry experts and with less administrative burden.

The contracting officer, Traci Walker, who is also a founding member of the U.S. Digital Service procurement team, talked about how she helped establish the method in which the White House could get a technology platform without locking itself into a service provider through a traditional contract. That success is leading to an effort to push this model out governmentwide.

executive office of the presidentShe talked about her experience during a May 14 “Behind the Buy” podcast interview with Anne Rung, the administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP). The podcast series, which debuted in March and has had three episodes, features stories from federal contracting officers about using effective IT contracting strategies to help agencies get what they need.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernmentit.com/story/white-house-contracting-officer-talks-about-flexible-way-agencies-procure-s/2015-05-18

Does FITARA guidance go far enough in optimizing software licenses?

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee recently held a hearing titled Government Accountability Office’s “Duplication Report at Five Years: Recommendations Remain Unaddressed.”

At the hearing, Beth Cobert, deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget, testified. She was questioned by committee member, Rep. Tammy Duckworth, from Illinois’ 8th District, who honed in very quickly on the subject of software license optimization:

“I noted that better management of software licenses is an area where savings can be achieved.  Can you please help me understand in OMB’s view how agencies can better manage their software licenses?  Specifically, I’d like to hear how OMB believes agencies should inventory that software to see how much of it is actually deployed to end users, and how much of what’s deployed is actually being put to use.”

US CongressMs. Cobert’s response illustrates the depths of the federal government’s lack of progress in controlling waste due to poor software license management practices. In her testimony, Ms. Colbert noted that the government is developing a system for managing and inventorying its software licenses, which are procured on a highly decentralized basis.

She noted that the recently passed Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act legislation will give the federal CIO more authority in getting agencies to better coordinate and consolidate their buying.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.nextgov.com/technology-news/tech-insider/2015/05/why-fitara-guidance-needs-address-software-license-optimization/111814/

Clearing up confusion about data on nonfederal systems

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is looking for input on a government guide on how to handle sensitive federal information that resides in nonfederal systems and organizations.

NISTLast fall, NIST issued recommendations for securing sensitive data on IT systems at companies that work for the government. The draft standards, released Nov. 18, are aimed at contractors and other nonfederal organizations that store controlled but unclassified information (CUI) in the course of their work.

At the time, NIST officials told FCW that nonfederal organizations must try to meet a wide range of contract clauses. “Conflicting guidance” from multiple agencies can lead to “confusion and inefficiencies” about how to handle sensitive federal information in nonfederal information systems that include contractors, state and local governments, and colleges and universities.

Keep reading this article at: http://fcw.com/articles/2015/04/07/nist-data-guidance.aspx

Navy launches ‘Innovation Cell’ to speed IT acquisition

It’s almost accepted as a truism in the modern era that the federal acquisition system simply isn’t up to the challenge of buying information technology. But IT leaders in the Navy suspect the problem isn’t so much the regulatory scheme itself, but the way it’s historically been applied to technology purchases.

Navy logoTo test that premise, on Thursday, the Navy’s program executive office for enterprise information systems will formally launch what it terms its Innovation Cell, a nascent effort to begin rapidly inserting relevant commercial technologies into Navy networks without a single change to the Federal Acquisition Regulation. PEO- EIS will begin by presenting industry with three “enterprise challenge statements” at an industry day in Tysons Corner, Virginia, one focused on big data analytics, another on enhanced virtual desktops and one seeking an end-user productivity suite.

“There are too many products that you can go down to Best Buy and purchase today, but we don’t have in our enterprise,” Capt. Paul Ghyzel, the deputy program executive officer, said in an interview with Federal News Radio previewing the innovation cell. “It’s for various reasons. Some of them, like security, are valid, but in other cases, it’s just that the model we use to acquire them today doesn’t lend itself to taking advantage to what’s already in the marketplace. When we build the next generation of aircraft carrier, we have to make the investment. In IT, the commercial companies are already making the investment, and we need to leverage that.”

The “cell” is more a framework than a physical place, and will serve several functions in the Navy’s acquisition ecosystem, officials said.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.federalnewsradio.com/885/3824927/On-DoD-Navy-launches-Innovation-Cell-to-speed-IT-acquisition