FY19 Top 20 Contracting Opportunities

Bloomberg Government has released a list of the 20 leading contracting opportunities for the fiscal year that begins October 1. The report covers contracts worth a total of about $130.9 billion for which a final request for proposal is likely by the close of fiscal 2019.

Highlights of the report:

  • In fiscal 2019, there are 13 contracts totaling $74.8 billion for information technology and seven programs totaling $26.7 billion for professional services.
  • There are 15 opportunities with civilian agencies in fiscal 2019, which is a significant shift from the eight civilian and 12 defense opportunities, that were featured last year in the fiscal 2018 top 20 list.
  • Three opportunities are classified as new requirements, while 17 are follow-on contracts.

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Top 20 Federal Opportunities: FY18

This year BGOV’s Top 20 Opportunities have a combined total estimated value of $207.6 billion. That includes 12 opportunities totaling $124.1 billion at the Defense Department and eight opportunities totaling $83.5 billion with civilian agencies.

Download the report of Top 20 Opportunities and summary of analysis findings.

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Top 20 Federal Opportunities: FY18

This year BGOV’s Top 20 Opportunities have a combined total estimated value of $207.6 billion. That includes 12 opportunities totaling $124.1 billion at the Defense Department and eight opportunities totaling $83.5 billion with civilian agencies.

Download the report of Top 20 Opportunities and summary of analysis findings.

This analysis was available first to Bloomberg Government clients.

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What’s New This Week:

There’s No Business Like Cloud Business

It has been more than a week since President Donald Trump signed a spending bill that provides full-year appropriations for federal agencies. But even with the prospect of another partial government shutdown behind us, tensions remain high over U.S.-Mexico border wall funding.

President Trump’s national emergency declaration would allow him to move nearly $7 billion from various military programs and other federal funds to pay for wall construction. Now Democrats are pushing back with a resolution that would terminate the national emergency, if passed by the Senate. However, Trump has sworn to veto it.

But the never-ending fight over funding isn’t stopping federal agencies from carrying on with their tech plans. They are constantly seeking ways to become more efficient. Take the Department of Homeland Security, which wants to overhaul its data centers and move to the cloud.

On Feb. 19, DHS released a request for information seeking industry advice on how to consolidate its two main data centers and develop a cloud-based infrastructure. Meanwhile, the Pentagon has allocated $10 billion to cloud computing, but the JEDI cloud contract keeps running into road blocks because of its single-vendor approach.

Last week, the Defense Department found new evidence of a possible conflict of interest in the bidding process. As a result, a federal judge delayed Oracle’s JEDI lawsuit while the Pentagon investigates.

Although the scope of DHS’s cloud strategy may resemble the Pentagon’s, the two approaches are very different, according to BGOV’s Chris Cornillie. For example, DHS plans to use multiple vendors and hybrid systems. Cornillie explains more in this week’s exclusive story.

Moving agencies to the cloud is a top priority for the federal government, which has awarded almost $60 million to four cloud projects through the Technology Modernization Fund. The fund was created to support critical IT modernization efforts, but the flow of money has been slow.

Only the Department of Housing and Urban Development has tapped into its cloud funding so far, according to one report.

There’s more news beyond the cloud, so keep reading!



DataWorks Summit: Ideas. Insights. Innovation.

DataWorks Summit Washington, DC promises to be the most valuable big data community event for the public sector of the year. We’ve selected 10 breakout sessions that will show you the latest in technology and how others are applying it to achieve mission critical breakthroughs. As an attendee, you’ll hear relevant stories from the Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Organization, Johns Hopkins University, University of Southern California, DOE Joint Genome Institute, The Ohio State University, and more. Register today.



Get Smart

“Not only would [DHS’s enterprise cloud strategy] be one of the government’s largest cloud computing contracts to date, but it would also provide a road map that differs from DOD’s JEDI strategy, showing how a large agency can execute an enterprise-scale digital transformation.”

—Chris Cornillie, federal market analyst with Bloomberg Government

Read more in this week’s exclusive from Bloomberg Government.

Beyond Legacy

Early Results Are In for VA.gov Relaunch

In the three months since the Veterans Affairs Department relaunched VA.gov, customer satisfaction with the redesigned website has gone up 20 percent. Veterans’ health-care applications filed online increased by 50 percent. Read more.

It’s Time to Manage Documents Electronically

The National Archives and Records Administration will accept only electronic records from agencies after Dec. 31, 2022. In preparation for the deadline, agencies should start working toward “large-scale digitization” of their documents, according to NARA’s David Miller. Read more.

Strategy & Leadership

CIO Shuffle: Two Agencies Get New Leaders

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has appointed Henry “Jamie” Holcombe as its new CIO, replacing John Owens, who left in November 2017. And the U.S. International Trade Commission filled its CIO position with an internal candidate, Keith Vaughn. Read more.

OPM Wants to See ‘Modern Workforce’ Progress

The Office of Personnel Management issued a memo asking agencies to prepare for the upcoming Human Capital Review, a new data-based audit that tracks agencies’ progress on personnel initiatives. Technology and reskilling the federal workforce are a big part of it. Read more.



Identify Opportunities Arising From Cloud Adoption

Join BGOV for a free webinar to track the federal government’s spending and progress on adopting cloud technologies. Hear how cloud services open up a host of possibilities for streamlining security procedures and simplifying acquisition processes, and learn what hurdles agencies still face in the journey to the cloud.

Click here to view our speaker lineup, agenda- and to register.

This free 60-minute webinar will cover:

This webinar is the first in a series of connected Technocrat programming.
This presentation is sponsored by Cloudera.



Eye on Security

Cyber Command Has Big Tech Plans This Year

In 2019, the U.S. Cyber Command plans to spend as much as $75 million to arm its cybersecurity forces with essential tech. But instead of borrowing equipment from the National Security Agency as it has in the past, the Cyber Command wants to develop its own tools. Read more.

FDIC Faces Cyber Oversight Challenges

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has fallen short in conducting effective cybersecurity oversight of banks and establishing strong internal information security policies, according to a new inspector general report on top challenges for the agency. Read more.

Next Tech

Army Explores Virtual Health Capabilities

There is a new office within the Army that’s tasked with finding ways of deploying virtual health technologies on the battlefield. The Virtual Health Research Task Area is looking for solutions that can blend “traditional point of injury health care delivery” with innovative tech. Read more.

Blockchain in Transportation Gets Funding

Attention small businesses with expertise in emerging technology applications, including automation and blockchain: The Department of Transportation needs you. DOT just opened a solicitation for its research program with contracts valued at $150,000 to $2 million. Read more.

Read more editions of Technocrat

The government shutdown has forced the Federal Bureau of Investigation to delay its release of a final request for quote for the ITSSS-2 contract until at least March, according to a Jan. 31 agency announcement.

Information Technology Supplies and Support Services, or ITSSS-2, is the focus of this week’s update to Bloomberg Government’s Top 20 Opportunities. The contract will deliver information technology services to the FBI for the next 10 years.

According to the FBI announcement, the shutdown “delayed Information Technology Acquisition Unit (ITAU) by more than a month. The previous schedule will be adjusted accordingly.” That schedule, established on Dec. 3, had proposed a final RFQ release on Feb. 1.

Acquisition Plan

The predecessor, Information Technology Supplies and Support Services (ITSSS), was competed under a blanket purchase agreement (BPA) on the General Services Administration’s Schedule IT-70. Although the FBI earlier in April 2018 proposed establishing its own stand-alone enterprise-wide contract to compete orders on the follow-on contract, the bureau will continue to use IT-70 for ITSSS-2.

According to an April agency announcement, ITSSS-2 would provide such services as agile development; cloud; cybersecurity; operations and maintenance; and telecommunications. The FBI awarded 46 contracts on ITSSS in October 2010.

Services under the contract will be structured slightly differently than what was outlined in the stand-alone proposal. According to a Dec. 3 update it will have six tracks, not 12: end-user services; business application services; delivery services; platform services; infrastructure services; and emerging services. The FBI has realigned the tracks to better map to a Technology Business Management Council framework, which chief information officers and chief technology officers generally endorse as a best practice.

There will be about 15 to 22 awards per track: 10 to 15 for large businesses, and five to seven for small businesses. The FBI held an industry day in April, which estimated that the total obligations through ITSSS were about $2 billion. Click here for the industry day slides.

Agency Spending

The FBI, the agency responsible for protecting the U.S. from crimes ranging from terrorist attacks, cyberattacks, espionage, and corruption, spends about $718 millionper year on information technology. Once established, it’s likely that most of those orders would flow to ITSSS-2.

Using BGOV

The majority of spending obligations on the ITSSS vehicle aren’t tagged as being on ITSSS. But there are some ways to get a sense of the type of activity flowing through it.

To contact the analyst: Daniel Snyder at dsnyder@bgov.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jodie Morris at jmorris@bgov.com

What’s New This Week:

JEDI Leads the Way

Things had been fairly quiet on the JEDI front since the Government Accountability Office denied Oracle’s bid protest of the Pentagon’s $10 billion cloud contract. In return, Oracle filed a pre-award injunction with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims back in December. Now, finally, there’s been a big development in this ongoing saga.

On Feb. 4, the Defense Department released an all-encompassing cloud computing strategy with plans for the JEDI program. Although cloud computing has been on the Pentagon’s agenda for several years, CIO Dana Deasy said it has never had a comprehensive strategy until now.

JEDI will play a key role in aggregating and analyzing data in a common repository, as well as providing computer power to personnel in the U.S. and those deployed overseas. In addition to JEDI, the Pentagon wants to make use of “fit-for-purpose” clouds for specialized missions. BGOV’s Chris Cornillie has your exclusive take on what’s ahead for the Pentagon’s cloud programs.

In a separate announcement, the DOD released a draft solicitation for its immense cloud back-office email and collaboration platform. The details are fuzzy, but likely bidders for the $8.2 billion Defense Enterprise Office Solutions contract include Microsoft and Google.

Speaking of Microsoft—which submitted a bid for JEDI in October—the tech giant had news of its own, perfectly timed with the Pentagon’s cloud strategy, when it unveiled new products that can enable its Azure Government cloud in connectivity-limited places.

Meanwhile, Amazon Web Services has been promoting the Snowball Edge, a similar device that can help the military collect and analyze data in remote locations.

Looks like everyone is trying to jump on the military cloud train as the DOD prepares to award the JEDI contract later this spring. The agency has been vocal about the fact that it requires “tactical edge computing for the warfighter,” so vendors with those capabilities will have a major selling point.

There’s more news where that came from, so keep reading!


Keep Your Eye on AI: Big Data in Government

Listen to Mike Olson, Chief Strategy Officer at Cloudera, answer questions about the potential opportunities and ethical risks AI and ML have in the government. Click here to listen.


Get Smart

“Imagine a world where we can take that compute power with new applications on top of it and put the cloud right into the hands of the tactical fighter on the edge. That’s why the cloud is so important to us.”

—Dana Deasy, CIO at the Department of Defense

Read more in this week’s exclusive from Bloomberg Government.

Strategy & Leadership

White House Fills Vacant IT Director Role

President Donald Trump has appointed Roger L. Stone as the new director of IT for the White House. Stone—not to be confused with the indicted Trump adviser—previously served as the deputy senior director of resilience policy at the National Security Council. Read more.

Meet FCC’s New Chief Information Officer

Christine Calvosa has been named CIO of the Federal Communications Commission. Calvosa, who served as acting CIO for the FCC since 2017, has extensive expertise in “all aspects of IT development, deployment, and information security,” the agency said. Read more.

Big Contracts

GSA to Handle Another Major DHS Contract

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services isn’t looking for a full and open competition when it comes to its $100 million Enterprise Gateway and Integration Services contract. Instead, the agency is turning to the General Services Administration’s IT Schedule 70 for the acquisition. Read more.

How the Shutdown Will Impact EIS Deadlines

The partial government shutdown is likely to cause deadline delays on solicitations for the Enterprise Infrastructure Solution, or EIS—a five-year, $50 billion government-wide contract that provides agencies with telecommunications, infrastructure, and IT services. Read more.


Identify Opportunities Arising From Cloud Adoption

Join BGOV for a free webinar to track the federal government’s spending and progress on adopting cloud technologies. Hear how cloud services open up a host of possibilities for streamlining security procedures and simplifying acquisition processes, and learn what hurdles agencies still face in the journey to the cloud.

Click here to view our speaker lineup, agenda- and to register.

This free 60-minute webinar will cover:

This webinar is the first in a series of connected Technocrat programming.
This presentation is sponsored by Cloudera.


Beyond Legacy

VA Faces Challenges with Scheduling Software

While the Department of Veterans Affairs is determined to accelerate new patient-scheduling software, it could take years before nationwide appointment services for veterans have updated functionality. VA chose to forgo progress previously made during a pilot. Read more.

What Data Sharing Means for Agencies

Lawmakers have called on agencies to release data to the public in a machine-readable format without compromising privacy. As a result, agencies will have to build a “data entourage” around chief data officers, according to Homeland Security’s Donna Roy. Read more.

Next Tech

Pentagon Launching First-Ever AI Strategy

The Defense Department is unveiling a new artificial intelligence strategy, which will focus on immediate, operational applications of AI, instead of theoretical or future applications. It will also involve building an “AI-ready workforce,” said a Pentagon official. Read more.

DISA Explores Blockchain as a Service

The Defense Information Systems Agency wants to find ways of incorporating cloud-based blockchain offerings into the Defense Department’s infrastructure. DISA hasn’t yet committed to anything specific and is looking to other agencies for guidance. Read more.

Read more editions of Technocrat

What’s New This Week:

The Aftermath

Things appear to be back to normal (for now) since the government has reopened after the month-long partial shutdown. But many federal agencies and their employees are still recovering–and may be for a while.

Industry observer Michael Fischetti notes the shutdown has caused various contractual delays—including new awards, modifications, solicitations, requests for information, and of course, funding. The delivery of products and services also has been affected. “Industry firms and their staff lost a month of income, spent inordinate energy managing cash flow and contingency plans,” Fischetti wrote in the Federal Times.

Cybersecurity was also jeopardized. Moira Bergin, director for the House Homeland Security subcommittee on Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection, listed a number of Homeland Security initiatives that came to a standstill during the shutdown. They include pipeline security, election security, and activities related to the new National Risk Management Center.

At the Jan. 29 State of the Net conference in Washington D.C., Bergin said the shutdown couldn’t have come at a worse time, since Congress just recently passed legislation to create the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

The shutdown forced vital agencies like the National Science Foundation to temporarily close their doors. As a result, the NSF canceled more than 80 review panels that cover everything from molecular biology to cyber infrastructure. And that’s just one of many consequences outlined in a Bloomberg report by Christopher Flavelle and Jennifer Dlouhy.

That said, one conflicting report claims the shutdown actually boosted cybersecurity. New research by Security Scorecard found there was an increase in both endpoint security and patching during that five-week period. Since many computers were turned off and .gov traffic was down, the federal government became an undesirable target for cyberattacks, according to Security Scorecard.

Even before the shutdown, public opinion of government services had dropped 1.1 percent in the American Customer Satisfaction Index. The governmentwide average was 68.9 on a 0-to-100-point scale.

After two consecutive years of improvement, government agencies declined in four major areas: process, information, customer service, and website. In fact, some of the major agencies had the lowest scores of more than 380 organizations. ASCI officials said the prolonged shutdown is likely to contribute to growing citizen dissatisfaction with government services.

Hungry for more? Your weekly dose of key issues affecting federal technology leaders awaits.


Free Live Webcast

Hear BGOV’s 2020 Federal IT Spending Breakdown and Explore How the DoD Used Modern Innovation to Improve Systems Management

Register today and join Bloomberg Government on February 12th to hear the Federal IT spending breakdown. BGOV’s federal market analyst, Chris Cornillie, will breakdown government spending on cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, other transaction agreements (OTAs), and more.

Following BGOV’s update, Red Hat and Amazon Web Services will look at innovative applications and cloud services that can better manage complex projects. Recently, a department at the DoD used DevOps methodologies to manage a research and development effort with ease and efficiency.

Sign up today to learn:

Sign up today to stream the live webcast.


Get Smart

“Now [agencies] will be extra stressed to get back the time that was lost, compress previously identified schedules and clean up whatever messes occurred during the shutdown.”

—Elizabeth Klein, former Interior Department official

Read more at Bloomberg.com.

In the Cloud

Air Force Migrates Email Accounts to Office 365 Cloud

The Air Force has moved 555,000 email accounts to the Microsoft Office 365 cloud, as part of its $1 billion Cloud Hosted Enterprise Services program. It’s one of the largest Microsoft Office 365 deployments, according to the Air Force team heading the effort. Read more.

DISA Leads Reforms Mandated by Defense Secretary

The Defense Information Systems Agency is taking center stage for all department-wide cloud initiatives. One of those key initiatives is MilCloud 2.0, a new on-premises commercial cloud service that aims to reduce the Defense Department’s data center footprint. Read more.

Next Tech

Intel Leaders Voice Concerns About ‘Disruptive’ Tech

While emerging technologies are expected to benefit the government in many ways, “adversaries are investing and are likely to make use of these things, too,” said top U.S. intelligence officials during a recent Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing. Read more.

DARPA Turns to Robots for Underground Navigation

The military sees tunnel detection and mapping as an important capability for future operations. So, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is on a mission to develop technology that can locate and map subterranean passages and infrastructure. Read more.


Free Technocrat Webinar

Identify Opportunities Arising From Cloud Adoption

Join BGOV for a free webinar to track the federal government’s spending and progress on adopting cloud technologies. Hear how cloud services open up a host of possibilities for streamlining security procedures and simplifying acquisition processes, and learn what hurdles agencies still face in the journey to the cloud.

Click here to view our speaker lineup, agenda- and to register.

This free 60-minute webinar will cover:

This webinar is the first in a series of connected Technocrat programming.
This presentation is sponsored by Cloudera.


Eye on Security

DOD Addresses Health Records System Security Flaws

The Defense Department has a new working group in charge of fixing cybersecurity vulnerabilities discovered last year by a hacker team in its Military Healthcare System Genesis. The DOD is spending $5.4 billion to update the electronic health records system. Read more.

Pentagon Reexamines Cybersecurity of Smaller Suppliers

The Pentagon wants to assist its lower-tier suppliers with improving security of their IT systems, which may entail a new regime of spot checks to ensure those suppliers are meeting the necessary regulations. The suggestions came from a Pentagon task force. Read more.

 

Strategy & Leadership

New GAO Office Tackles Science and Technology Issues

The Government Accountability Office is opening its first new office in 20 years to help lawmakers become more knowledgeable about key issues. The office of Science, Technology Assessment and Analytics combines existing in-house technologists and experts. Read more.

Survey: How Federal IT Leaders Can Accelerate Change

The government’s tech transformation is not as “forward-moving as perhaps everyone would want it to be,” according to Accenture Federal Services. Only half of executives surveyed by Accenture described changes in their IT strategy as significant or transformative. Read more.

  • Trump actions, program renewals helped K Street last year
  • Firms worry shutdown may be bad for business in 2019

(Updates with figures for additional lobbying firms in the final paragraph.)

Top lobbying shops saw a boost in revenue in 2018, kept busy by the Trump administration’s regulatory overhauls, moves on trade policy, and congressional action to reauthorize federal programs.

That growth could be stymied by the partial shutdown that has shuttered most government agencies, said Darrell Conner, the co-chair of the public policy and law group at K&L Gates.

This year “is off to an unusual start to say the least,” he said. “We’re entering the second month of a government shutdown with no end in sight.”

Fourth-quarter lobbying disclosure reports provided to Bloomberg Government ahead of a midnight filing deadline provide a picture of the lobbying industry performance in the past year.

K&L Gates has increased its revenue for the last two years, earning more than $18 million in 2018. But Conner says he’s already seeing the effects of the lapse in funding for portions of the government.

“It’s having some impact on client business. Some are having difficulty obtaining permits, regulatory approvals, or even achieving policy objectives,” Conner said in an interview. Clients run into problems “when government officials are either unavailable or the politicos who are around don’t have the support they need to move things forward,” he said.

2018 Performance

Lobbying firms with 2018 revenue increases of 15 percent or more over the previous year included BGR Group ($27.1 million reported for 2018), Cornerstone Government Affairs ($22.1 million), Hogan Lovells ($13.9 million), Invariant ($13.1 million) and Forbes-Tate ($12.8 million).

Ballard Partners, a Florida-based lobbying firm that set up shop in Washington in 2017, earned $18.5 million in 2018 — 87 percent more than the year before.

Ballard Partners this month hired former White House spokesman Raj Shah to start a public relations division and former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (R), who will lead a new corporate regulatory compliance practice.

For many lobbying firms, 2018 was busy because the 115th Congress was so active. New laws enacted included a criminal justice overhaul (Public Law 115-391), an anti-sex trafficking measure (Public Law 115-164 ), the farm program renewal ( Public Law 115-334) , the FAA reauthorization (Public Law 115-254 ), and a water resources renewal (Public Law 115-720) .

Trade lobbyists were busy, too, as the Trump administration negotiated an update of the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld — the highest grossing firm on K Street — reported making $37.6 million in 2018, a slight decline from the previous year.

Capitol Counsel, which was active for clients on the 2017 GOP tax overhaul (Public Law 115-97), saw its year-over-year lobbying revenues dip about 3 percent, to $17.6 million.

Divided Government

K Street is preparing to help clients navigate a divided government now that Democrats control the House.

“Corporate oversight in the House is going to be huge,” said Stewart Verdery, the founder of Monument Advocacy. “Any industry that could be portrayed as ‘big’ is going to have a problem with the Democratic House,” he said.

The firm, which recently changed its name from Monument Policy Group, brought in more than $8.2 million in 2018, a 10 percent increase over 2017.

“With a Democratic-controlled House now seated, I think there are real opportunities for bipartisan legislation on issues such as privacy, infrastructure and trade, and I’m optimistic as I look ahead to the rest of the year,” said Brian Pomper, the co-head of Akin Gump’s public law and policy practice.

Marc Lampkin, the managing partner of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck’s Washington office, isn’t as optimistic.

“We’re going to have some hangover from the government shutdown, there seems to be a real lack of ability on both sides to have direct conversations about meaningful policy issues,” he said. “And every day there seems to be a new candidate running for president, many of whom already hold elected office, which inevitably advances the electoral calendar.”

Brownstein earned $31.6 million in 2018, an 8 percent bump over 2017. The firm has been inching up in revenue and trailed Akin Gump in earnings by $6 million. In 2017, there was a $10 million gulf between the lobbying revenues of the two firms.

Among the firms adding top talent to their rosters prior to the fourth quarter of last year were Akin Gump, which hired Brendan Dunn, former policy adviser and counsel to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.); and Brownstein, which brought on Nadeam Elshami, former chief of staff to newly selected Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

2020 Election

Even if gridlock in Congress leads to a lack of legislation that lands on the president’s desk over the next year, clients will still need to be at the table for those policy discussions, lobbying executives say.

For example, Democrats could try to write their own tax bill, said Verdery of Monument Advocacy.

“It’s not a worry for this Congress, but if the Democrats were to win back everything in 2020, whatever they pass in 2019 is going to be the blueprint for their 2021 agenda,” he said. “You ignore what they’re doing at your own peril, even if you know it’s unlikely to have a bill signed into law this year.”

How some other firms fared in 2018 and the change in revenue from 2017:

  • Holland & Knight: $24.5 million (+10%)
  • Squire Patton Boggs: $24.3 million (0%)
  • Van Scoyoc Associates: $18 milion (-3%)
  • Covington & Burling: $16.7 million (-7%)
  • Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas: $15.6 million (+3%)
  • Cassidy & Associates: $14.6 million (+2%)
  • Fierce Government Affairs: $13.2 million (0%)
  • Crossroads Strategies $12.5 million (+7%)
  • CGCN Group: $9.0 million (+8%)

To contact the reporter on this story: Megan R. Wilson in Washington at mwilson@bgov.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Katherine Rizzo at krizzo@bgov.com; Bennett Roth at broth@bgov.com

What’s New This Week:

Big Spenders

After dragging on for more than a month, the partial government shutdown ended (temporarily) on Friday. But federal workers were already struggling and everyone from banks to cellphone companies offered some type of assistance to those affected. Even GoFundMe launched a campaign in partnership with restaurants to serve free meals to furloughed workers in Washington, D.C. See for yourselves under the hashtag #ChefsForFeds.

At the center of the deadlock was the battle over allocating $5.7 billion to President Donald Trump’s border wall. Trump finally conceded and signed a three-week stopgap measure to reopen government. He warned, however, that the government could close again on February 15 if an agreement isn’t reached on border wall funding.

There is some good news on the federal information technology front. In fiscal 2018, the government spent an all-time high of $64.7 billion on IT contracts. That’s a 9.5 percent increase from the previous year, according to analysis by Bloomberg Government. The Defense Department grew its IT contract expenditures by more than 12 percent last year, while civilian agencies saw a 6.6 percent increase. BGOV’s Chris Cornillie explains the significance of these numbers in this week’s exclusive story.

Do you know who else is spending big? Google and Facebook—both of which have dedicated millions to lobbying the U.S. government. Google disclosed in a quarterly filing that it spent a record $21.2 million on lobbying efforts in Washington last year, and Facebook spent $12.62 million. That’s more than ever before, as regulatory scrutiny of these companies continues to grow.

Let’s go back to the shutdown for a minute. Cornillie notes that although government spending in key tech markets like cybersecurity, cloud computing, and AI is expected to rise in 2019, federal agency leaders face many challenges when funding is on the line. “Millions in IT contracts are at risk every day” during a shutdown, Cornillie said. For now, there’s a resolution. Let’s see what happens in three weeks.

Meanwhile, here’s what else is happening in the world of government tech.

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Join BGOV and C_TEC for a free webinar on lessons learned from blockchain innovators in government and industry. Hear about how these two sectors work together to improve the delivery of public services, and learn about how blockchain advances efficiency and security along with significant challenges to mitigate.

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• The most promising areas for public sector blockchain use
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Get Smart

“The federal government is making substantial investments to modernize its IT infrastructure, to improve the quality of the digital services it offers citizens, to upgrade its information security capabilities, and to enable data-driven decision making.”

—Chris Cornillie, federal market analyst at Bloomberg Government
Read more in this week’s exclusive from Bloomberg Government.

Beyond Legacy

House IT Subcommittee Is No More
In a major shakeup for federal tech oversight, Rep. Gerry Connolly revealed that the House IT Subcommittee will be absorbed into a larger Government Operations panel. Connolly said the goal remains the same: “continue to drive modernization in government.” Read more.

VA Selects Mobile Cloud Provider
The Department of Veterans Affairs has tapped Booz Allen Hamilton to migrate its mobile applications to a cloud platform. The $9.8 million contract includes development, staging, and production environments for 20 to 30 of the agency’s mobile apps. Read more.

Eye on Security

DHS Issues Emergency Cyber Directive
Federal agencies were given 10 days to complete a four-step action plan to stop hijacking attacks on computer systems. The emergency directive was issued by Homeland Security to address domain name system infrastructure tampering and “imminent risks” to government data. Read more.

What to Expect from CDM This Year
This could be a big year for Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation, as Homeland Security rolls out new tools to safeguard federal IT and more agencies adopt those tools. The CDM program is designed to help administrators understand their networks in real time. Read more.

Free Live Webcast

Hear BGOV’s 2020 Federal IT Budget Request Breakdown and Explore How the DoD Used Modern Innovation to Improve Systems Management.

Register today and join Bloomberg Government on February 12 for its 2020 Federal IT Budget Request Breakdown. BGOV’s federal market analyst, Chris Cornillie, will provide an overview of the 2020 information technology budget request; discuss agency-by-agency spending in key markets, including cloud and cybersecurity; and highlight some of the top upcoming opportunities for federal contractors.

Following BGOV’s update, Red Hat and Amazon Web Services will look at innovative applications and cloud services that can better manage complex projects. Recently, a department at the DoD used DevOps methodologies to manage a research and development effort with ease and efficiency.

Sign up today to learn:
• How using the OpenShift Container Platform can produce instant benefits
• How the DoD is using Cloud Regions to deliver application transformations
• How OpenShift and automated software can help to implement an effective DevOps culture

Sign up today to stream the live webcast.

Strategy & Leadership

Air Force Restructures IT Functions

The Air Force is merging several offices in charge of IT, cybersecurity, and intelligence to create a new organization called A2/A6. The organizational changes come as the Air Force rethinks its IT functions and looks to outsource network administration jobs. Read more.

Tech Experts Join AI Advisory Group

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt is joining 14 other tech experts on the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence. The commission is required by law to review the state of AI and produce reports on advancing the technology in government. Read more.

Next Tech

2019 Priorities: Chatbots and Virtual Assistants

Chatbots, virtual assistants, and robotic process automation can help agencies become more efficient, as outlined by the National Association of State Chief Information Officers in its list of members’ 10 top priorities. Here’s a look at how agencies are using these technologies. Read more.

Intelligence Community Wants to Protect AI

The federal Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity is on a mission to find tools that can predict when AI systems have been compromised. Its TrojAI program is tasked with creating software that can inspect AI systems, thus making them more secure and resilient. Read more.

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Ten Markets to Watch in 2019

Bloomberg Government tracks dozens of federal markets in its Contracts Intelligence Tool, and for the start of a new year, we chose 10 markets where we expect agencies to spend more money in 2019.

Of the 10 markets, seven are IT-related and three involve professional services, areas with a large amount of client interest. But information technology also overlaps with professional services markets. For example, the training, modeling, and simulation market includes simulations of cyberattacks.

For each of the 10 markets, BGOV provides historical contract spending and estimated obligations for fiscal 2019. The briefing also explains why BGOV expects growth in each market this year, discussing agency and administration strategies and priorities, current and upcoming opportunities, the fiscal 2019 budget request, and recently enacted or proposed legislation.

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