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Why acquisitions should care about cyber-security – Plus the 7 Gov Stories

On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:

  • The Internet of Things is slowly making its way into the government space. But what is the Internet of Things exactly? How can the government optimize the technological advances to help the government run more effectively and efficiently? We talk with two Presidential Innovation Fellows.

You can find all of our programs online: DorobekINSIDER.com and GovLoop Insights at http://insights.govloop.com.

But up front: Why acquisitions should care about cyber-security

Cyber-security has always been a subject of discussion, yet somehow it is less of a topic of discussion in procurement and acquisition circles. It sometimes feels like there is a chasm between cyber-security and acquisition teams.

On Thursday, at the Acquisition Excellence 2014 conference here in Washington, DC, we are going to try to change that… and based on our pre-event call, I think it is going to be a fascinating discussion. (One person noted that the now infamous Target hack is worrisome because, among other things, they were able to essentially hack into the retailers systems through a totally unrelated system.)

First, the specifics of the event.. and then what we will be talking about:

The Acquisition Excellence 2014 conference sponsored by the American Council on Technology and the Industry Advisory Council on Thursday, March 20 at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC.

The conference goes all day, but my panel is from 1:45 pm – 3:00 pm

Here is how it is described on the Web site [I’ve added the links]

Being an Acquisition Superhero: Your Role in Protecting the Nation’s Cyber Infrastructure

On February 12, 2013, the President issued Executive Order (EO) 13636 [PDF] directing Federal agencies to provide stronger protections for cyber-based systems that are critical to our national and economic security. Section 8(e) of the EO required the General Services Administration and the Defense Department, in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Acquisition Regulation Council, to: “… make recommendations to the President, … on the feasibility, security benefits, and relative merits of incorporating security standards into acquisition planning and contract administration.” Through a collaborative effort between GSA, DoD, OFPP, DHS, and NIST, including over 60 private sector stakeholder outreach engagements and a request for public comment published in the Federal Register, the agencies recommended six acquisition reforms that will improve the nation’s cyber security and resilience.

A panel of subject matter experts will explore the policy and practical changes required to implement the recommendations, and how these reforms will impact the Federal Acquisition System.


  • Joe Jarzombek, Director for Software & Supply Chain Assurance, Stakeholder Engagement & Cyber Infrastructure, Department of Homeland Security

  • Donald Johnson, Defense Department’s Acquisition, Technology & Logistics

  • Emile Monette, General Services Administration Office of Mission Assurance’s Senior Advisor for Cybersecurity

  • John Pistolessi, Supply Chain Risk Management Program Manager DIA/MSX, Department of Defense


More background:

The discussion:

Typically I like to have a discussion be an actually discussion, but in this case, given that there is SO much going on and it represents a fairly significant change in the way government will buy… and given that we have the experts there on the panel, the start of our ‘discussion’ will be more explainer.

So… in the first third of our time will focus on the nature of the challenge — what is the cyber-security challenge these days — in short, the background on why this executive order came about.

The second third will focus on the executive order and the recently released implementation plan. We will focus on what it means to government agencies… and what it means to contractors.

The third part of our time will focus on questions — and I imagine there will be a lot of them. Some of the questions I have already:

  • The impact on small businesses?
  • The impact on contracting officers?
  • The impact on the goal of broadening the companies doing business with the government?

I think it will be a fascinating discussion. I hope you will join us. And we will have highlights here on GovLoop’s DorobekINSIDER.

The SEVEN stories that impact your life

  1. Washington Post:: Navy Yard shooting might have been prevented, Pentagon review shows – “A Pentagon review of the Sept. 16 mass shooting at the Navy Yard revealed “missed opportunities for intervention” that could have stopped gunman Aaron Alexis from keeping his security clearance and unfettered access to military facilities.”

  2. GovExec: Republican Lawmakers Want to Cut 115,000 Civilian Defense Jobs – “A group of Republican lawmakers are proposing to slash the civilian workforce at the Defense Department by 15 percent, a move they estimate will save $82.5 billion over five years.”

  3. Federal News Radio: Is discrimination to blame for employees’ sinking satisfaction with training opportunities? – “Conventional wisdom points to the declining agency budget and the deep cuts to training budgets resulting from the across-the-board sequestration cuts. But budget cuts, alone, can’t explain employees’ sinking satisfaction with training, according to a new analysis prepared by the Tully Rinckey law firm in Washington, D.C., which specializes in federal employment law.”

  4. NYT: After Years in Politics and Prison, Louisiana ex-Governor Will Run for Congress – “After seven years in Congress, 16 years as governor, eight years in the federal penitentiary and several weeks of coyly prodding the speculation of political reporters, Edwin Edwards, 86, announced on Monday that he would be running as a Democrat to represent Louisiana’s Sixth Congressional District.”

  5. NextGov: U.S. Government to Give Up Key Internet Powers – “The Commerce Department will no longer oversee the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers, a nonprofit group that manages the Internet’s address system.”

  6. Federal News Radio: U.S. goes high-tech to help with oversee Afghan aid work – “The main U.S. foreign assistance agency wants to step up use of smartphones, satellite imagery and GPS cameras to oversee tax-funded development projects in Afghanistan that aid workers no longer will be able to observe firsthand as American troops leave the country.”

  7. GovExec: Not Many College Students Are Interested in Federal Service – “Less than 6 percent of college students list the federal government as their ideal career, according to a new survey.”

DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder… yes, we’re trying to help you make your water-cooler time better too…

  • Obama Needs A New National Security Strategy [Politico]: This year’s drafters, as they prepare for this month’s release of the 2014 NSS, have a particularly steep hill to climb. Virtually all of the threats we face have evolved significantly since the administration’s last version in 2010, says. A contribution from director of the strategy and statecraft program at the Center for a New American Security, Julianne Smith, and research associate at CNAS, Jacob Stokes.

  • Facebook and the NSA should team up to put data to good use – The Washington Post oped by Catherine Rampell: Mark Zuckerberg is angry that the National Security Agency is violating Facebook users’ privacy, which is a bit like the Silicon Valley equivalent of “Get your government hands off my Medicare.” He thinks users should be upset about this, too. But you know what? I’m not particularly fazed. Rather than having a turf war over who gets to surveil whom, maybe Facebook and the NSA should team up. The NSA probably already has a rich database of my calls, texts, travels, toenail clippings and repressed childhood memories; maybe, aided by such additional Big Data, Facebook could finally figure out how to show me ads for things I actually want to buy. Allegedly the best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click on ads (well, that or how to help teenagers swap naked pictures of themselves). But if the ads I’m seeing today represent our best minds’ best work with the best Big Data available, color me unimpressed.

  • Views from the front lines of the data-analytics revolution [McKinsey Quarterly] At a unique gathering of data-analytics leaders, new solutions began emerging to vexing privacy, talent, organizational, and frontline-adoption challenges.

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