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Interior CIO steps down

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Sylvia Burns took over the reins Monday as Interior Department’s acting chief information officer, following Bernie Mazer’s decision to step down as CIO and retire this summer.

Mazer’s last day as CIO was March 28, but “the department has asked Bernie to stay on for several months to assist in the selection of a successor, in addition to advising on several time-sensitive and high priority projects,” Andrew Jackson, Interior’s deputy assistant secretary for technology, information and business services, said in an email to employees. The department could not confirm Mazer’s new title.

Federal News Radio first reported Mazer’s departure and said  he will be retiring in July. Burns will serve as acting CIO until a permanent replacement is chosen.

In his email, Jackson highlighted several of Mazer’s accomplishments:

- Spearheaded DOI’s successful migration of widely-dispersed employees from 14 different legacy email systems to Google Apps for Government.

- Led the vision, development, and release of the $10 billion, 10-year DOI Foundation Cloud Hosting Services (FCHS) contract.

- Guided the implementation of DOI’s cloud-based Email Enterprise Records & Document Management System (eERDMS), enabling efficient big data management of documents and records. It’s the largest records and information management program in the federal government.

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HP, Oracle among companies in FedRAMP pipeline

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Century Link, HP and CA Technologies are among the companies with cloud solutions awaiting final approval under a governmentwide security program.
Specifically, these companies are working to obtain a  Joint Authorization Board Provisional Authorization for a specific cloud offering. That’s basically a seal of approval from an interagency board of chief information officers at the General Services Administration, Homeland Security and Defense departments, acknowledging that companies have met minimum federal standards for securing cloud solutions.
See a complete list of companies awaiting JAB approval here.
As required by the Federal Risk and Authorization program (FedRAMP), the cloud vendors first hired an independent assessment organization to review and validate that they implemented the security standards.
GSA is working with IT networking group Meritalk to make the FedRAMP process more transparent by providing data on the companies awaiting approval and the performance of independent assessment organizations.

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Top federal occupations that could see high turnover in 2017

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Federal agencies may have a tough time holding on to their program managers come 2017.

A new Government Accountability Office report ranked program management as the occupational category with the highest percentage of employees eligible to retire by 2017. For mid-sized agencies like the General Services Administration, Housing and Urban Development Department and Office of Personnel Management, 56 percent of employees involved in program management will be eligible to retire in the next three years, the report found.

At larger agencies that number is nearly 44 percent.

As more employees become eligible to retire, GAO noted that occupations like program management may face significantly higher turnover rates than others. For mid-sized agencies, here are the occupations with the highest percentage of employees eligible to retire by 2017:

1. Program Management

2. Secretary

3. General business and industry

4. Misc. clerk and assistant

5. General arts and information

6. General engineering

7. Misc. administration and program

8. Financial administration and program

9. Human resource management

10. Information technology management

For large agencies, custodial work and air traffic control topped the list of occupations with the highest number of employees who are approaching retirement. Read page 21 of the GAO report for more details.

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Four companies awarded work on $6B cyber contract

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Four companies have been awarded work under the Department of Homeland Security’s $6 billion cybersecurity contract.

Winners include Knowledge Consulting Group, Northrop Grumman, Technica and HP. The RFQ was for continuous monitoring tools, not services. The goal was to increase or extend software licenses that agencies already have in place, at a discounted price.

Read more here.

Services told to budget for JIE initiative

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The military services have been directed to include funding for the Joint Information Environment in their 2015 budgets, according to a Pentagon official.

Defense Department Chief Information Officer Teri Takai said she is working with DoD acquisition officials to figure out how JIE funding should be characterized in the services’ budgets, and how to manage JIE implementation plans and ensure future programs align with JIE engineering specifications, the American Forces Press Service reported earlier this month.

DoD would not provide more details on the budget guidance issued by Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter. “The direction by the Secretary of Defense was given in the department’s formal guidance, which remains classified,” DoD spokesman Lt. Col. Damien Pickart said in a statement.

JIE is a massive restructuring of DoD information technology, which will include consolidating and standardizing disparate networks and systems and providing more enterprise IT services. Read more here.

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NASA extends deadline for SEWP contract — again

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NASA has once again extended the deadline for bids on its $20 billion Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement (SEWP) V contract, the agency announced Friday.

The due date for bid proposals has been extended several times and is now set for Dec. 10, according to a notice on fbo.gov. The 16-day government shutdown in October played a role in earlier delays, the agency said.

In a Q&A document also released Friday, one vendor requested an extension to the due date following amendments to the RFP earlier this month. NASA is giving vendors an additional week from its most recent  Dec. 3 deadline.

The SEWP V contract will provide agencies with desktops, laptops, servers and other information technology equipment.

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DoD launches mobile device management training

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The Defense Department is rolling out training for end users and systems administrators on how to operate its new mobile-device management software.

Enterprise mobile security firm PaRaBaL is designing, building and delivering the training for all of DoD, said CEO Peter Coddington. “On this contract, our task is to make sure that all the DISA or DoD employees that will use the solution are fully versed and trained,” he said.

The small-business firm is a subcontractor to Bethesda, Md., technology company DMI, which was awarded a potential $16 million, three-year contract in June for mobile application store services and an MDM solution to centrally manage DoD smartphones and tablet computers.

Coddington couldn’t say how many users have been or will be trained other than noting, “we are well along in the process.” A performance work statement on fbo.gov, said the MDM software will be designed to support at least 162,500 devices, with the potential of 262,500 mobile devices by the end of the contract.

For DoD components that use DISA’s mobile services, users will learn how to activate the management solution on their devices and how to safely operate devices according to security guidelines, said Coddington, who declined to provide further details on the contract. Systems administrators will learn how to use the MDM solution.

The four-year-old company is also working with one of the military services to test software code used for developing mobile apps.

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Competition underway on $6 billion DHS cyber contract

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The Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday released the first request for quote under its $6 billion continuous monitoring contract, according to industry sources.

The RFQ is for cyber tools and equipment, not services. The goal is to increase or extend software licenses that agencies already have in place, at a discounted price, said James Yeager, director of federal civilian sales at McAfee.  As of last month, 12 of the 17 vendors on the contract included McAfee products as part of their tool set available to agencies.

The RFQ will provide tools for 33 departments and agencies and range in value between $37.5 million and $60 million, Yeager said. One or multiple vendors will be selected based on lowest-price, technically acceptable bids.

Contractors have until Friday to submit questions about the RFQ. Responses are due Nov. 22, unless DHS is flooded with questions and opts to extend the deadline, Yeager said. An award is expected within 60 days.

“This task order is not where departments or agencies say ‘I have something, I don’t like it and I want to use something else,’” Yeager said. ”There’s not an option to say, ‘I don’t have anything that meets this requirement, let me tell you want I want.’”

All of the large civilian agencies have signed on to use the contract, which was awarded in August, John Streufert, director of DHS’ Federal Network Resilience division, said at a conference last month. The General Services Administration awarded the blanket purchase agreement on behalf of DHS.

“Our objective is to form up and choose those tools of best value and begin deploying them across some 120 of the largest dot-gov organizations,” Streufert said. He noted that the first proposals would be for commodities, but he expects task orders for services will follow soon after.

Subsequent task orders under the contract are expected in the first half of 2014, Yeager said.

While last month’s 16-day government shutdown delayed work, Streufert doesn’t expect it will impact the overall schedule of the five-year program. And it appears there isn’t too much concern about the program’s viability under the current continuing resolution.

DHS has already spent some of the program’s $185 million fiscal 2013 funds to develop the procurement, Streufert said in a separate interview.

Some agencies are looking to get a more competitive price for existing scanning tools, procure more software licenses or replace tools that didn’t function well in their IT environments, Streufert said.

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NASA sets due date for $20B IT contract

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NASA has extended the deadline for bids on its $20 billion Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement (SEWP) V contract, following last month’s government shutdown.

The agency has extended the due date to Nov. 15, according to an online notice. Originally, companies had until Oct. 14 to bid.

NASA said the 16-day shutdown delayed its response to industry’s questions as well as changes to the solicitation.

The contract will provide agencies with desktops, laptops, servers and other information technology equipment.

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NIST cancels conference as shutdown looms

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At least one federal conference is being postponed this week because of a potential government shutdown.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology is postponing its Cloud Computing and Mobility Forum this week “because we could not guarantee NIST’s facility would be open on the first day of the meeting, Oct. 1,” according to an agency spokeswoman. “The meeting has not been rescheduled.”

More than 500 people had registered for the conference, including about 130 federal employees. Many federal employees would be forced to stay home without pay if Congress doesn’t strike a budget deal by midnight.

Just at DoD, some 400,000 employees — or about half of the civilian workforce — will be sent home on unpaid furloughs if a partial shutdown begins Tuesday, Comptroller Robert Hale said late last week. During a Sept. 27 news briefing, Hale said a shutdown would halt travel and training plans for activities not deemed excepted.

“As of today, no other conferences have been postponed,” according to NIST. “Some scheduled conferences could be affected by a shutdown, depending on the duration of the shutdown and how much lead time each conference requires.”

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