Friday Flash 09/30/22

Register Now for the 2022 Fall Training Conference

Autumn is officially here, which means the Coalition’s Annual Fall Training Conference is quickly approaching! We are pleased to announce that the 2022 Fall Training Conference – Expectations for Fiscal Year 2023, is open for registration. This hybrid two-day conference will be held on November 16-17 at the Fairview Park Marriott in Falls Church, Virginia, with virtual attendance available, as well. This year’s conference highlights the expectations for Federal procurement policies and programs across the government in the new fiscal year. Join us to hear about the latest updates and future developments affecting the procurement community from government executives and acquisition experts.

On November 16, sessions will include a governmentwide focus. Representatives from the Department of Defense (DoD), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), General Services Administration (GSA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Small Business Administration (SBA), and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have been invited to participate. We are excited to share that this year’s conference will open with a Keynote Address from Tom Davis, former Congressman and current Holland & Knight Partner, who will provide analysis of the election results, detailing what happened and what these results mean for the Federal government.

Following Congressman Davis’ remarks, the morning panels will begin with the return of the popular “Rogers Awards,” which will cover recent procurement-related legal matters. Next up is the Acquisition Policy Expectations session, which features an interagency panel of Procurement Executives sharing their respective agency’s outlook for fiscal year 2023. During the networking lunch, we have invited GSA Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) Commissioner Sonny Hashmi to deliver a Keynote Address on his vision for FAS in the new fiscal year and thoughts on customer service for both industry and agency partners. After lunch, attendees will have the opportunity to decide to hear from a panel of GSA FAS Assistant Commissioners on their expectations for FAS procurement programs, or a panel on cybersecurity policies that impact both government and industry. As always, participants will have various Business Intelligence Panel options to choose from, with sessions that include acquisition system updates, the cloud marketplace, e-commerce, expectations from the Hill, the latest developments on contract vehicles such as SEWP, OASIS+, Alliant, and CIO-SP, and more. The full day one draft agenda can be viewed here.

Day two of the conference will focus specifically on healthcare procurement, with the Defense Health Agency (DHA), Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and VA sharing their initiatives for fiscal year 2023. Michael Parrish, VA Principal Executive and Chief Acquisition Officer, has been invited to deliver the morning’s Keynote Address on the department’s acquisition priorities and programs. Participants can look forward to learning from agency executives and industry leaders throughout the day during the Expectations for VA Logistics and Procurement, Expectations for DHA, DLA, and VA Policy, and Healthcare Legal Panels. We are fortunate to have Moshe Schwartz, President of Etherton and Associates, wrap up the networking lunch by providing his insights on the healthcare supply chain and legislation. The afternoon Business Intelligent Panels will dive into a number of topics, such as the medical supply chain, pharmaceutical programs, DLA and VA Medical Surgical Prime Vendor (MSPV) programs, and prosthetics. For additional details, view the full agenda for day two here.

Ask the PMO

We are thrilled to share that the very popular ‘Ask the PMO’ table will return at the Fall Training Conference. Ask the PMO, which debuted at the 2022 Spring Training Conference, gives attendees the opportunity to engage in dialogue with Program Managers from GSA’s Multiple Award Schedule Program Management Office and the VA’s Federal Supply Schedule (FSS). Attendees can schedule one-on-one meetings throughout the day to ask questions and have their concerns addressed. On November 16, Stephanie Shutt, MAS PMO Director, Steve Sizemore, MAS PMO Deputy Director, and Stacy Lowe, IT Schedule 70 Contracting Officer will be available at the table. We have invited VA FSS Leadership to participate on day two.

Make sure to stick around at the end of the conference, as both days will end with an in-person networking reception to allow for participants to connect with one another and continue their discussions on key topics of the day.

Register for the Fall Training Conference here. For questions about the conference or sponsorship opportunities, please contact Matt Cahill, Vice President of Membership & Marketing, at mcahill@thecgp.org. We look forward to seeing you in November for another informative and successful conference!

Calling All IT Contractors – Register for The IT Category: Creating Opportunities for Small Business

IT contracting community, don’t miss out on the opportunity to learn about the latest crucial developments related to programs and policies impacting small businesses within the federal IT market! On October 6, the Coalition is hosting a new forum in conjunction with GSA, The IT Category: Creating Opportunities for Small Business. Hear from IT program managers from multiple federal agencies, as well as recognized industry experts in matters shaping small business procurement.

We are pleased to share that our government participants include Laura Stanton, Governmentwide IT Category Manager and Assistant Commissioner of GSA’s IT Category; Jim Ghiloni, Group Manager, IDIQ Labs/Innovation Sector, GSA; Joanne Woytek, SEWP Program Director, NASA; Ricky Clark, Deputy Director, NITAAC; and Cheryl Thornton-Cameron, Executive Director, Office of Acquisition Operations, GSA.

We are also fortunate to be joined by four industry acquisition experts, who will share their knowledge on the legal and policy regulations affecting small business procurement. These accomplished experts include Ken Dodds, Government Contracting Industry Expert, Live Oak Bank; David Black, Partner, Holland & Knight; Jon Williams, Partner, PilieroMazza; and John Shoraka, Co-Founder and Managing Director, GovContractPros.

During the event, attendees will have the opportunity to learn about:

  • The customer base and utilization for contract programs
  • GSA’s efforts to support small businesses within the IT market from the perspective of the Assistant Commissioner of the IT Category
  • The latest updates on the NASA SEWP VI program
  • Developments on GSA’s family of small business Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs)
  • Updates on to the CIO-SP contracting program
  • GSA’s Office of IT Category’s strategy to create opportunities for small businesses
  • Opportunities for small business IT contractors through the Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) program
  • How the Assisted Acquisition Services (AAS) are supporting small businesses
  • Key policies and legal issues affecting IT small businesses

This event is complimentary for all attendees. Both Coalition members and non-members are welcome to join the forum. In-person and virtual attendance will be offered to registrants. Registration is available HERE!

The full agenda, along with speaker bios, can be found below.

The IT Category: Creating Opportunities for Small Business
Location: Holland & Knight – 1650 Tysons Blvd., 16th Floor, Tysons, VA 22102

8:00-9:00 am: Registration Opens, Networking

9:00-9:20 am: Opening Remarks
Laura Stanton, Governmentwide IT Category Manager, Assistant Commissioner, Information Technology Category, GSA

5 Min Break

9:25-10:30 am: Governmentwide Contracting Opportunities through NASA, NIH and GSA
Jim Ghiloni, Group Manager, IDIQ Labs/Innovation Sector, GSA
Joanne Woytek, SEWP Program Director, NASA
Ricky Clark, Deputy Director, NITAAC
Cheryl Thornton-Cameron, Executive Director, Office of Acquisition Operations, GSA

10:30: Break

10:45-11:45 am: Small Business Policy and Legal Update
John Shoraka, Co-Founder and Managing Director, GovContractPros
David Black, Partner, Holland & Knight
Ken Dodds, Government Contracting Industry Expert, Live Oak Bank
Jon Williams, Partner, PilieroMazza

Please Respond to the Coalition’s Survey on TDR

As the Coalition prepares to submit comments to GSA in response to its Request for Information (RFI) about Transactional Data Reporting (TDR), we are conducting a survey to learn more about our members’ experiences with TDR. The RFI seeks to understand the burden of collecting TDR data, the validity and usefulness of the data, and how data collection can be improved. This survey is primarily for companies that currently participate in TDR or previously participated. The deadline to respond to the survey is October 3, 2022.

To take the survey, please click here. Please direct all questions about this survey to Ian Bell at ibell@thecgp.org. If you would like to speak to a member of our staff about TDR in more detail, please reach out to jsnyderwine@thecgp.org.

Continuing Resolution Passes Senate, House to Vote Today

The Continuing Resolution (CR) needed to avert a government shutdown at midnight on September 30th has passed the Senate in a 75-25 vote, Roll Call reports. It will now head to the House today, where, barring the unforeseen, it is expected to pass on the strength of that chamber’s Democratic majority. The CR will freeze funding levels for most programs at Fiscal Year 2022 levels, but does include 17 billion dollars in emergency spending, mostly for further military aid to Ukraine, and 19 billion dollars for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to engage in disaster relief. 

The bill cleared the final two hurdles to its passage on Thursday. President Joe Biden amended an emergency declaration to allow Alaska to receive more federal funds for typhoon relief, eliminating Sen. Dan Sullivan’s (R-AK) “hold” on the bill. Then, Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) did not offer a planned amendment that would have required notifying Congress when enough states had called for balanced-budget and Congressional term limits amendments to trigger a constitutional convention. Earlier in the week, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) abandoned his effort to tack a controversial provision easing permitting for energy projects onto the CR, which was widely considered the “biggest obstacle” to its passage.

Senate Passes SBIR/STTR Extension With New Requirements for Small Business Contractors

The Senate passed the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Extension Act of 2022 after months of delays caused by concerns that the programs could give rise to the improper use of funds. Specifically, lawmakers feared that small business contractors with foreign influence were receiving funds, and there was a lack of adequate performance standards for these companies with experience in the program. To address concerns over foreign influence, these contractors are now required to disclose the following:

“(A) the identity of all owners and covered individuals of the small business concern who are a party to any foreign talent recruitment program of any foreign country of concern, including the People’s Republic of China;

“(B) the existence of any joint venture or subsidiary of the small business concern that is based in, funded by, or has a foreign affiliation with any foreign country of concern, including the People’s Republic of China;

“(C) any current or pending contractual or financial obligation or other agreement specific to a business arrangement, or joint venture-like arrangement with an enterprise owned by a foreign state or any foreign entity;

“(D) whether the small business concern is wholly owned in the People’s Republic of China or another foreign country;

“(E) the percentage, if any, of venture capital or institutional investment by an entity that has a general partner or individual holding a leadership role in such entity who has a foreign affiliation with any foreign country of concern, including the People’s Republic of China;

“(F) any technology licensing or intellectual property sales to a foreign country of concern, including the People’s Republic of China, during the 5-year period preceding submission of the proposal; and

“(G) any foreign business entity, offshore entity, or entity outside the United States related to the small business concern.”

In addition to these disclosures, agencies may request further documentation and have the authority to deny an award if the disclosure presents a risk or conflict of interest between a foreign interest and agency interests. In addition to the clauses regarding foreign activities, new standards have been set for participating companies. To encourage progress in the development of small business contractors, new standards are being set requiring businesses with 50 or more Phase I awards over the previous five fiscal years to have two Phase II awards per four Phase I awards. If this ratio is not met, then the business will be limited to 20 awards for a year following the performance evaluation. In addition, companies with more than 15 Phase II awards over five years now must have $250,000 of aggregate sales, as opposed to $100,000. If the organization received more than 100 Phase II awards, the requirement is $450,000. The purpose of these reforms is to discourage the continual granting of awards to groups that fail to show growth.

GAO Study From Earlier This Year Offers Insight Into How Agencies Handle Continuing Resolutions

With the passage of a Continuing Resolution (CR) expected on Friday, Federal agencies are expected to be operating at 2022 funding levels through December 16. What will the enactment of the CR mean for agency planning and purchasing? In August, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) performed a study of the experience of three Federal agencies—the Departments of Agriculture, Education, and Health and Human Services—that sheds light on this question. GAO found that, for these agencies, “CRs can slow hiring, create funding uncertainty, and cause administrative burden,” but that they continued to “operate and provide services without major disruptions.” Officials interviewed at each of the agencies identified the following as the most common problems associated with operating under CRs:

● Each time a CR is passed, a new date is set for appropriations to expire, requiring officials to prepare for a lapse as that date is approached. This planning disrupts other activities.

● Some agencies cannot perform hiring during a CR or are unable to access travel funds.

● Agencies may have to delay contracting actions or grant disbursement until funding levels become certain.

Agency officials reported that several factors improved program performance during CRs, including prior experience, having stable funding year to year for programs (meaning that CRs did not impose uncertainty regarding the amount of program funding that would be available), and funding structures that provide multiple years’ worth of funding simultaneously. Although the report does not contain any formal recommendations for agencies, in discussion of the report with Federal News Network, Jeff Arkin, Director of Strategic Issues at GAO, emphasized the importance of planning for CRs and the need for agency leadership to lean on experienced career officials.

New FAR Amendment Issued on Joint Ventures

The Department of Defense, General Services Administration, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration issued a final rule amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to implement statutory and regulatory changes regarding joint ventures made by the Small Business Administration (SBA) in its final rule published in the Federal Register on July 25, 2016, and to clarify that 8(a) joint ventures are not certified into the 8(a) program. Additionally, the rule implements SBA’s statutory and regulatory changes that eliminated SBA approval of joint venture agreements for competitive 8(a) awards. These changes allow a joint venture composed of a protégé and its mentor to qualify as a small business or under a socioeconomic program (e.g., 8(a)) for which the protégé qualifies. Additionally, this rule implements SBA’s final rule published on October 16, 2020, at 85 FR 66146, which implemented statutory and regulatory changes that eliminated SBA approval of joint venture agreements for competitive 8(a) awards.

One noted concern about the rule was the possibility that, under the proposed rule, a large business affiliated with a small business under a joint venture can utilize a combined past performance record, making the small business a “front” for the large business. The response in the register addresses this concern by noting that, within the final rule, the small business protégé or 8(a) participant is required to perform at least 40 percent of the work done by the joint venture in accordance with 13 CFR 125.8. An additional effect of the amendment is that, in the consideration of past performance for the joint venture, agencies must consider the past performance of each party, as opposed to the joint venture alone. The purpose of these changes is to encourage joint ventures and reduce barriers of entry for small businesses into the Federal marketplaces.

AGA Survey of IGs Shows Need for Further Data Sharing Post Pandemic

Federal News Network reports from the Association of Government Accountants (AGA) Fraud 2022 Conference that the 10th annual survey of Inspectors Generals (IGs) showed that the greatest challenge to IGs is a lack of data sharing between organizations. Ann Ebberts, the CEO of AGA, said that if regulatory roadblocks were removed, Federal, state, and local auditors could improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their work through greater coordination of data. In an interview regarding the survey results, Ebberts said, “The biggest challenge is integrating these analytics capabilities. This agile oversight, this collaboration, these new communication channels and relationships, integrating that into the way oversight is performed in the future is really the challenge.”

Regarding the need for data sharing, a case was cited involving an individual who applied for unemployment insurance benefits with the same SSN across 29 states. Nearly one thousand such cases of this type of multi-state fraud, which can be detected by sharing data across states, have been documented. To supplement these efforts in data sharing, the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee released a data analytics platform, the “Pandemic Analytics Center of Excellence (PACE),” to provide analytic, audit, and investigation support to the oversight community to assist the dispersal of more than $5 trillion in pandemic-related emergency spending.

The Inflation Reduction Act: A New Role For Green Procurement?

By Nathaniel Green & Christopher Yukins

The 2022 Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA) (H.R. 5376, now P.L. 117-169) marks one of the most significant steps forward in U.S. environmental policy in decades. The IRA provides for hundreds of billions of dollars in energy and climate spending. While federal procurement provisions do not play a central role in the IRA, the legislation does include significant provisions related to federal spending, for example regarding federal purchases of environmentally sound building products. Even more importantly, taken in context, the IRA follows a number of other steps taken to advance “green” procurement by the Biden administration. The legislation thus helps define an upward trajectory in environmental initiatives, several of which have been accompanied by corresponding developments in federal procurement regulations.

Read More (Links to External Site)

EHR Rollout Frozen Until Risks Resolved, Questions about Upgrades and Costs Continue

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)’s Electronic Healthcare Records (EHR) system, buffeted by criticism from lawmakers, VA officials, and oversight bodies, is now officially on pause. VA Secretary Denis McDonough told reporters at an event Monday that the agency will not “roll out the EHR in any of the other hospitals until we have a go-live checklist addressed and until we have our patient safety concerns [addressed],” echoing Deputy Secretary’s Donald Remy comments at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing last week.

The current pause comes after the VA decided earlier this year to push EHR implementation back to 2023, following a draft report from the VA’s Office of the Inspector General that found the new EHR had caused harm to at least 148 veterans at the Mann-Grandstaff Hospital VA Medical Center in Spokane, Washington.

During the rollout pause, work on other aspects of the EHR will continue, but there remain ongoing questions about the project’s cost and timeline.

At the Wednesday hearing, the Appropriations committee heard testimony from a private-sector executive working on the EHR. He testified that the “unknown queue” problem that had endangered veterans at Mann-Grandstaff had been largely resolved. Calling the EHR modernization program “the largest health IT modernization project in history,” he submitted written testimony stating that the EHR would be moved–pending VA, DoD, and Coast Guard approval–to a cloud-based platform that would improve security and performance. The testimony also detailed design and functionality improvements that would address end user complaints about basic issues, like slow appointment check-ins. The testimony further states that despite the additional improvements, the EHR contract will cost no more than the current 10.7 billion dollars allotted.

Other witnesses at the hearing, however, cast doubt on this claim. Brian Riekst, a researcher at the independent Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA), which was commissioned by the VA to produce an independent assessment of the costs of the new EHR, testified that just the implementation of the EHR would cost $32.7 billion and would take 13 years. By contrast, the VA has projected that implementation will cost $16.1 billion and take place over 10 years. Asked to comment on the discrepancy, David Case, the VA’s Deputy Inspector General, referred to the IDA’s assessment as a “serious document” which accounted for several possible costs not considered by the VA. He stated that the lack of a master schedule for the project and the fact that the system had not been rolled out to complex facilities made it difficult to comment on the difference in timing estimates.

A View From Main Street
This week’s A View From Main Street features guest author Ken Dodds of Live Oak Bank. The comments herein do not necessarily reflect the views of The Coalition for Government Procurement.

FAR Part 19 Updates; 8(a) Waivers

FAR Part 19 Updates

Effective October 28, 2022, the FAR will be updated to align with SBA rules from 2016 concerning joint ventures, including clarifying that 8(a) joint ventures do not need to be certified to receive 8(a) contract awards and that SBA approval of a joint venture is not required for competitive 8(a) contracts.[1] The FAR will also be updated to reflect SBA changes to the HUBZone program concerning eligibility for award.[2] Finally, the FAR will be updated to reflect the requirement for certification in order to be eligible for WOSB/EDWOSB set-asides or sole source awards.[3]

Effective September 23, 2022, the FAR was amended to delay, until October 1, 2025, implementation of a policy that would allow contracting officers to assign multiple NAICS codes and size standards to a solicitation for a multiple award contract and then assign NAICS codes to orders.[4] Contracts like OASIS small that are split into pools are technically seven separate multiple award contracts.[5]

8(a) Waivers

On September 9, 2022, SBA requested comment on whether a request for a waiver in connection with the sale of an 8(a) concern should be submitted to the head of the 8(a) program instead of the district office.[6] The 8(a) program is unique in that if there is an acquisition of a current or graduated 8(a) concern with 8(a) contracts, the 8(a) contracts must be terminated for the convenience of the government unless the Administrator of SBA issues a waiver. This statutory requirement applies even if the acquiring concern is also 8(a). The waiver process begins in the District Office and eventually makes its way to the 8(a) program office and then the Administrator. Cutting out the District Office should expedite the waiver process which typically takes one year or more. Disadvantaged individuals are penalized in this waiver process because it is difficult to negotiate a price for a business that will be acquired a year or more into the future. In addition to starting the waiver process in the 8(a) program office, SBA could do several things that would benefit disadvantaged business owners. First, SBA should provide a 60-day time limit for the waiver process, similar to the time limit for change of ownership reviews.[7] Second, SBA’s rules provide, “SBA will not grant a waiver for any contract if the work to be performed under the contract is not similar to the type of work previously performed by the acquiring concern.”[8] Women-owned, veteran-owned, HUBZone, small, mid-size and large businesses acquire firms everyday to obtain past performance and experience and expand their capabilities. The employees performing the contracts are the reason the acquisition target is attractive, and those capabilities typically remain after the ownership change. SBA certified the 8(a) buyer based on its potential for success and if the concern has the wherewithal to purchase a business, SBA should not concern itself with whether the buyer has previously performed the work. All that matters is whether the contract will be successfully performed after the acquisition by the buyer, considering the combined assets, past performance, experience and capabilities of the buyer and the acquired concern. Requiring past performance for a disadvantaged business to acquire another business is another inequitable burden on disadvantaged individuals.

Have a topic you wish to be covered or a question on how Live Oak Bank can support your business? Email me at ken.dodds@liveoak.bank.

[1] 87 FR 58219.

[2] 87 FR 58232.

[3] 87 FR 58237.

[4] 87 FR 58243.

[5] SOLICITATION NO.: GS00Q-13-DR-0002, Clause H.4.1, page 45.

[6] 87 FR 55642, 55655.

[7] 13 CFR 124.105(i).

[8] 13 CFR 124.515(d).

Off the Shelf: Procurement & Compliance Trends in the Federal Marketplace

This week on Off the Shelf, Coalition President Roger Waldron hosts Jeff Clayton, Leo Alvarez, and Julia Smith of law firm Baker Tilly for a discussion of compliance, procurement, and market trends in the federal marketplace. Roger and the Baker Tilly team review the oversight of the Paycheck Protection Program, supply chain risk management, OASIS+ and mergers and acquisitions in the federal marketplace.
To listen to the episode, click here or search for “Off the Shelf” on your preferred podcasting platform.

VA Looks to Strengthen Workforce for Veteran Care

Federal News Network reported that the VA Secretary Denis McDonough stated that the Department will need to hire about 45,000 nurses over the next three years as the number of patients in its healthcare network continues to grow. The VA is preparing to bring an additional 3.5 million veterans into its healthcare network. The agency is looking to expand the scope of its training program in order to recruit additional staff. Currently, the VA provides training to approximately 1,500 nurse and nurse residency programs across the Department. Secretary McDonough added that the VA is also considering transitioning active-duty service members with the appropriate skills and certification into its workforce. In August, the President signed the PACT Act which gives the agency new tools to incentivize healthcare workers to join the VA, such as recruitment and retention bonuses. Additionally, the PACT Act requires the VA to submit a plan to the House and Senate committees within one year on its efforts to recruit and retain human resources employees.

Secretary McDonough said that the VA is also facing a shortage in human resources professionals internally. The VA currently has the lowest ratio of human resources professionals to employees across the Federal government. The Department previously launched a program to centralize human resources functions of different hospitals into their respective Veterans Integrated Services Networks (VISN). Secretary McDonough addressed the issue by saying “HR modernization has, let’s say, underperformed in the last several years, and it’s been a source of considerable agitation for our VA medical centers. So, we are intensifying focus on and resources to the VISNs to ensure that they’re hiring using these authorities and getting them out the door.” Through its clinical resource hubs, the VA has begun using telehealth to provide mental health services to veterans in areas with a shortage of mental health professionals.

GSA Hosts First GAP FAC Public Meeting

Last Thursday, members of GSA’s newly created Acquisition Policy Federal Advisory Committee (GAP FAC) gathered for the committee’s first public meeting. Chairperson Troy Cribb, Co-Chairperson Cassius Butts, and Senior Procurement Executive Jeff Koses outlined the vision of each subcommittee, presented pre-meeting input from committee members, and facilitated a dialogue about various acquisition matters related to the subcommittees.

Following the meeting, members were asked to submit requests to join the created subcommittees: the Policy Subcommittee, the Industry Partners Subcommittee, and the Acquisition Workforce Subcommittee. Each subcommittee will focus on two recommendations, one short-term and one long-term, for GSA. Subcommittees will meet every two weeks, and the full committee will meet quarterly. Initial subcommittee meetings are expected to begin in late October of this year. GAP FAC meeting announcements will be communicated through the Federal Register, and meetings will be open to public comment.

NASA Looks to Industry for Emerging Tech

Fedscoop reported that NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) is looking to increase its partnership with industry involving emerging technologies, particularly for projects related to human space exploration. When forming a project’s strategy, the JSC considers utilizing an industry partner and commercial technology to help with mission success. Currently, the JSC is focused on early-stage human landing systems, extravehicular activities projects, and technologies that will make landing and living on the moon possible.
JSC’s Chief Technology Officer Nick Skytland is working to strengthen the JSC’s cybersecurity over the next few years to prepare for increased collaboration with industry. A Zero Trust framework will allow for the JSC to authorize, authenticate, and “securely collaborate with users in industry.” The JSC also holds external open challenges that invite individuals outside of the agency to develop systems and technologies that can be used for internal programs. Its Office of Technology Transfer puts technologies in a patent database for licensing by companies and individuals. Skytland also is responsible for NASA’s Open Innovation Program aimed at recruiting new data engineers and scientists to the agency. Recruiting talent to work on digital transformation is one of NASA’s top priorities.

GSA to Study Demographic Equity in Remote Identity Tech

GSA’s Technology Transformation Service submitted a request for comment to the Office of Management and Budget to have new information collection requirements approved in order to study how race, ethnicity, gender, age, income, educational level, and other demographic data can impact remote identity-proofing solutions. The study will take a random sample of Americans, collect demographic data, and observe participants as they use the study’s web-based platform. This study comes as a response to warnings from advocacy groups and legislators over concerns regarding discrimination and invasion of privacy. Public comments are invited on the necessity of the data, the estimate of the public burden of this collection of information, the validity of the assumptions made, and methodology.