There are times in life when we receive news about someone that is wonderful for them, but sad for the rest of us. Such is the case for The Coalition for Government Procurement when we learned of Ted Buford’s decision to retire from his position at CACI this month.
Ted Buford is CACI’s Vice President and Program Manager, and his title does not tell the whole story about his influence in the contractor community and contributions to the Federal acquisition system as a whole. Ted founded the GSA Program at CACI, and from its beginning as a single Information Technology Schedule, his and the company’s work has grown. He now manages over 25 contract vehicles representing up to over one-third of CACI’s total of $6B in annual revenue. As CACI’s GSA/GWAC/IDIQ Program Manager, he leads, directs, and provides operational expertise in the management and use of those contracting channels. Under Ted’s leadership of CACI’s award-winning GSA Program Management Office, the company’s GSA Schedules have come to rank in the Top 20 in sales, and its GWACs rank in the Top 10, worldwide. In no way is it an overstatement to say that Ted played a key role in that success.
Ted has earned CACI’s highest award for sales excellence, the Pinnacle Award, along with awards for proposal excellence with the Wing Award and Aces Club, and CACI’s Character and Ethics Award. His contributions to the Coalition have been invaluable, whether as active member of the Board of Advisors, or as co-chair of the GWAC and IT Services committees. Over the years, he served as a meaningful participant on issue working groups too numerous to count. The Coalition, itself, has honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Award for support to the GSA Schedules Program.
Equal to his business success is Ted’s commitment to the health and vitality of the procurement community. Many of us remember a time when we entered this profession, wide-eyed, with lots of energy, little experience, and no institutional memory. Whether in an association meeting or at a conference, Ted was there, always collegial, always willing to share his knowledge based on an extensive background in Defense Spending, Resource Management, Budgeting, and Logistics, to provide substantive and historical context, along with business analysis, teaching the newcomers and the experienced alike. He has a reputation for being the first to arrive at meetings, and for those seeking to learn, he used those times as informal teaching sessions, helping develop understanding about government processes and the increasingly complex issues we face.
What is clear is that Ted’s professional life has been an exemplar of service. Ted spent 30 years in the Army, retiring as Colonel in 1989. During that time, he held various leadership positions at the U.S. Army Special Services Depot in Aschaffenburg, Germany; served two tours in Vietnam in US Army Depot Long Binh, the world’s largest depot at the time, as Depot Operations Officer and then Senior Logistics Advisor; was a senior logistician with U.S. forces in Korea; served in the Office of Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics as HQ DA Staff Level PM for retail logistics systems; and was the Army’s Resource Manager for Command and Control, Communications and Computers (C4) at the Pentagon, developing the plans and budget. Ted has been awarded the Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster (OLC); Bronze Star Medal with 2 OLC, Meritorious Service Medal with 5 OLC, and the Army Service Medal. He also received the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross, and numerous service ribbons.
We could go on talking about Ted’s deep substantive background, about his undergraduate education at Sam Houston State University and his graduate work at both Sam Houston and the University of Kansas, and about his outstanding achievements over the decades of his career. Still, his story would be incomplete without a recognition of his kindness, his decency, his fellowship, and his commitment to enriching all around him. Ted is a man of service, whether it be military service or service to the government agencies that serve the citizens of this nation. Coalition President Roger Waldron expressed his sincere gratitude for the support Ted provided him and countless others, stating, “Ted certainly has been a leading advocate of the Coalition’s mission to bring common sense to government procurement. Likewise, he supported me, both at the Coalition and throughout my career, and for his support I am forever grateful.”
Ted’s career and commitment to others have given life to the words of St. Paul, “I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.” Indeed, he has, and as we wish him a well-deserved joyous retirement. We hope he remains engaged with the Coalition, as his wisdom and experience are invaluable to our community.
Congratulations, Ted, on a well-deserved retirement! Our deepest gratitude for all you have contributed and accomplished over the years!
Thank You for Attending the “IT Category: Creating Small Opportunities for Small Business” Forum
Thank you to everyone who attended The IT Category: Creating Opportunities for Small Business forum yesterday! We were excited to see many small and large business IT contractors in attendance. Thank you to GSA for co-hosting the event. We sincerely appreciate our panelists from GSA, NASA, NITAAC, and industry for taking the time to share their key program and policy updates, as well as answer questions from the attendees. The dialogue was highly informative, engaging, and beneficial to strengthening the partnership between government and industry within the IT procurement community. In addition, we would like to thank CGI Federal for graciously hosting the event. We look forward to continuing the conversations at future engagements.
Register Now for the 2022 Fall Training Conference, November 16-17
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to seeing you in November for another informative and successful conference!
Coalition Comments on GSA Commercial Platforms Draft Solicitation
On September 30, the Coalition submitted comments to GSA regarding its Commercial Platforms Draft Request for Proposal (RFP). The Commercial Platforms program will offer Government Purchase Card holders the ability to access commercial, business-to-business online commerce platforms. In its comments, the Coalition offered its support for the general direction of the program and made some recommendations for the next iteration. The RFP’s comprehensive nature–which covers three different models per recent legislation–also promises to expand the number and type of platforms available to the Federal buyer through the program.
In addition to offering its general support, the Coalition also provided some observations and suggestions to GSA:
- Some elements of the draft RFP–specifically, those related to reporting requirements, categories and Live Test Demonstration–are at risk of creating mandatory requirements that are at odds with the goal of avoiding a government-unique platform.
- GSA should assess platforms and platform vendors based on how they have innovated to enhance the customer experience. Such an assessment should consider platform quality, how the platform fits its target market, the breadth of the platform’s customers, and whether the platform’s current customers resemble the government customers the platform will serve.
- GSA should require platforms to exclude “Essentially the Same” items.
- GSA should identify a responsible minimum order requirement to avoid the costs and environmental effects associated with large numbers of small orders.
Any questions or concerns regarding the content of these comments should be directed to Aubrey Woolley, Vice President, at email@example.com.
Section 889 Telecommunications Prohibition Effective for DoD Contractors October 1
PilieroMazza reports on its Client Alerts blog that as of October 1, the Department of Defense (DoD) may no longer enter, extend, or renew contracts with contractors who use telecommunications equipment and services from certain Chinese companies in any part of their business. On September 30, the Director of National Intelligence’s waiver of Part B of Section 889 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019 expired for DoD. It is also no longer possible for contractors to seek waivers at the agency level, as agency authority to grant waivers to the statute has lapsed.
Part B states that Federal agencies may not “enter into a contract (or extend or renew a contract) with an entity that uses any equipment, system, or service that uses covered telecommunications equipment or services as a substantial or essential component of any system, or as critical technology as part of any system.” The NDAA defines “covered telecommunications equipment or services” as equipment, services and/or video surveillance products from Huawei Technologies Company, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Company, Hytera Communications Company, Dahua Technology Company, ZTE Corporation or any entity controlled by the People’s Republic of China. Telecommunications equipment or services that cannot route, redirect or view user traffic are exempt from coverage.
Unlike for Part A of Section 889–which forbids the procurement of the same covered technology by the government–there is no final Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) governing the implementation of Part B, although a draft rule is expected before November 2, 2022. In the meantime, compliance with Part B will require contractors to follow the FAR Council’s interim rule. The interim rule requires that contractors provide a representation with an offer about their use of covered equipment or services after conducting a “reasonable inquiry.” As defined by the rule, a reasonable inquiry must be “designed to uncover any information in the entity’s possession about the identity of the producer or provider of covered telecommunications equipment or services” but need not incorporate an external audit or review.
The need to provide a representation extends to all contracts, including those at or below the Simplified Acquisition Threshold (SAT) and contracts for Commercially Available Off-The-Shelf (COTS) items. The regulation, however, does not “flow down” to subcontractors: Part B only applies to the entities that agencies directly contract with.
For further coverage of Section 889, please see the Coalition’s guide, What Federal Contractors Need to Know About Section 889.
Congress Passes Government Funding Through December 16
The President signed a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) into law last Friday funding the Federal government through December 16, reports Federal News Network. In addition to avoiding a government shutdown and providing FY23 funding for the government through mid-December, the bill allocates additional funding to several agencies and programs. Included within the CR is a reauthorization of the Food and Drug Administration’s user fee agreements for five more years, preventing the furlough of over 3,500 employees. The CR also included $18.8 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to respond to Hurricane Ian as well as future disasters. The Small Business Administration has been allocated an additional $1.1 billion for disaster loans, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development received $2 billion for disaster aid grants. The law also addresses two international matters: it transfers $3 billion from the Defense Department to the State Department to aid Afghan refugee resettlement and includes an additional $12 billion in aid to Ukraine, providing support for both the Ukrainian military and the civilian population.
Welcome Coalition CFO, Maureen Thomas
The Coalition is pleased to welcome Maureen Thomas as our new Chief Financial Officer. As Chief Financial Officer, Maureen is responsible for the daily operational accounting transactions, payroll, employee benefits, cash-flow budgeting and forecasting at the Coalition. Maureen has more than 20 years’ experience in accounting for small businesses in multiple industries including government contracting, construction and home healthcare. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh.
Air Force Publishes Solicitation for Enterprise Cyber Capabilities (EC2)
FCW reports that the Air Force has released the final solicitation for its Enterprise Cyber Capabilities (EC2) contract. In a statement posted to SAM.gov, the Air Force said that EC2’s goal is to allow “AMIC [Acquisition Management and Integration Center] customers to build, operate, support, defend, extend, and engage in cyberspace.” Per FCW, specific services and products available under EC2 will include “command-and-control, planning and operations, vulnerability research, full-spectrum testing, software and tool development, modeling and simulation, and threat assessment.”
The contract is a multiple-award Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract which is set to run for 10 years with a ceiling of $5.3 billion. Although there will be no small business pools under EC2, it is considered a partial small business set aside because contracting officers will establish set asides at the task-order level. Responses are due on or before October 26, with awards expected before the end of the year.
White House Releases Artificial Intelligence Bill of Rights
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released its Blueprint for an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Bill of Rights, a framework designed to protect the rights of the American public as the use of AI in government develops. The five principles that make up the Blueprint are:
Safe and Effective Systems: Automated Systems should be developed with consultation from stakeholders and experts to mitigate risks and concerns.
Algorithmic Discrimination Protections: It is unacceptable for the American public to face discrimination from algorithms and efforts should be taken to avoid inequitable treatment from automated systems.
Data Privacy: The American public deserves protection from design choices that default to unreasonable data collection. Data collection should be limited to specific context. End users have a right to agency over the use of their data.
Notice and Explanation: The American public has a right to be notified that an automated system is being used and if an automated system’s decision impacts an end user, they deserve to know why such a system was used.
Human Alternatives, Consideration and Fallback: The American public has the right to opt out of automated systems for a human alternative. If challenges with the system arise, end users have a right to access human support to handle challenges.
The AI Bill of Rights features a technical companion elaborating on examples of the problems the principles aim to solve. The companion’s purpose is to provide a framework for anyone developing, designing, deploying, evaluating or making policy to govern the use of an automated system.
The Inflation Reduction Act: A New Role For Green Procurement?
By Nathaniel Green & Christopher Yukins, George Washington University Law School
The Legal Corner provides the legal community with an opportunity to share insights and comments on legal issues of the day. The comments herein do not necessarily reflect the views of The Coalition for Government Procurement.
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.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report last week examining the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) acquisition workforce. In 2019, the VA’s acquisition workforce was added to GAO’s High Risk List. In the report, GAO assessed the VA’s data on its acquisition workforce, workforce perspectives on performing responsibilities, and how leadership manages issues facing the acquisition workforce. GAO found that the VA does not have comprehensive data on its acquisition workforce. Particularly, the VA lacks accurate counts on the number of contracting officers, contracting officer representatives, and program managers, as well as their locations and certifications. Currently, the VA relies on multiple data systems to track its acquisition workforce. These systems contain data that are outdated and inaccurate. Improving the accuracy of the data will help the VA better understand their acquisition workforce and address workforce challenges.
In response to a GAO survey, the VA’s acquisition workforce provided their perspectives on multiple work duties and experiences, including performance management, retention, telework, and workload. Most respondents indicated that they were satisfied with their ability to telework and the environment that their supervisor creates. However, the majority also said that their roles and responsibilities were not clearly established and that there were issues with performance management, retention, and workload.
GAO found that the VA’s acquisition leadership has taken some steps to acknowledge workforce concerns. For example, several Heads of Contracting Activity (HCA) have asked their managers to meet with staff more frequently to discuss performance. However, there is a lack of documentation of the roles and responsibilities for HCAs which makes it difficult for them to manage the workforce. GAO thus recommended that the VA take the necessary steps to ensure that its data is accurate and up to date. Additionally, GAO recommended that the VA clearly documents the roles and responsibilities of HCAs for the management of the acquisition workforce. The VA agreed with GAO’s recommendations.
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
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. The FAR will also be updated to reflect SBA changes to the HUBZone program concerning eligibility for award. 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.
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. Contracts like OASIS small that are split into pools are technically seven separate multiple award contracts.
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. 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. 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.” 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
 87 FR 58219.
 87 FR 58232.
 87 FR 58237.
 87 FR 58243.
 SOLICITATION NO.: GS00Q-13-DR-0002, Clause H.4.1, page 45.
 87 FR 55642, 55655.
 13 CFR 124.105(i).
 13 CFR 124.515(d).
Off the Shelf: Leveraging the Power of Consortia
This week on Off the Shelf, Coalition President Roger Waldron sits down with Stephanie Halcrow, President of the Halcrow Group and Senior Fellow at George Mason University’s Center for Government Contracting and Moshe Schwartz, President of Etherton and Associates, to discuss consortia–groups of firms working together on a single challenge or assignment–and their importance for defense procurement. Roger and his guests discuss the history of the Other Transaction Authority (OTA) and the key advantage of consortia that allow them to drive innovation, before turning to recommendations for how consortia can be made more effective. Halcrow and Schwartz also discuss a report on consortia they co-authored in July, “The Power of Many: Leveraging Consortia to Promote Innovation, Expand the Defense Industrial Base, and Accelerate Acquisition.”
To listen to Off the Shelf, click here, or simply search for “Off the Shelf” on your preferred podcasting platform.
OMB Releases Memo to Increase Small Disadvantaged Business Procurement
On Wednesday, October 5, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released a memorandum directing Federal agencies to increase the proportion of contracts awarded to small disadvantaged businesses (SDB) in Fiscal Year 2023. Noting that 11.01 percent of all contract spending went to SDBs in FY 2021, OMB asked agencies to work with the SBA to set SDB contracting goals that will ensure 12 percent of all Federal prime procurement dollars go to SDBs. The OMB aims to continue increasing the proportion of SDB awards beyond 12 percent and has set a final goal of achieving at least a 15 percent share of procurement dollars for SDBs by FY 2025. The OMB’s memo is one part of the Biden administration’s larger push to address inequities in Federal procurement and increase small business entry, which declined 60 percent over the past decade.
GAO Recommends Greater Focus on Technology Business Management
On September 29, GAO released a report on joint efforts by OMB and GSA to implement the Technology Business Management (TBM) framework. According to the report, the TBM was designed to “help agencies manage the cost, quality,and value of their IT resources” and “to increase the granularity in reporting of agency IT budget and spending data.” OMB announced its plan to improve understanding of governmentwide IT spending in 2017 through the TBM framework. The framework consists of four “layers,” which include cost pools, IT towers, products and services, and business units and capabilities. Each layer consists of spending categories and subcategories.
Initially, OMB required agencies to report IT spending using categories in the cost pools and IT towers layers. Five years later, OMB has not yet expanded the implementation plan to require the other layers, or subcategories for all layers. GAO also found that while OMB and GSA developed implementation guidance and a maturity model assessment tool, they did not assess agency maturity or analyze the quality of data reported in the first two years. In the agency-reported data released by OMB and GSA, GAO found that they did not disclose that approximately $31 billion in fiscal year 2021 investments were not included. Additionally, they had not yet analyzed inconsistencies in fiscal year 2022 data. GAO made seven recommendations to OMB and GSA, including establishing requirements for the remaining layers and assessing the maturity of agencies’ implementation.
NASA SEWP VI Reverse Industry Day, November 15
The NASA Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement (SEWP) Program Management Office (PMO) will be hosting its East Coast industry day on November 15. The event will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Falls Church Marriott Fairview Park—the same location as the Coalition’s Fall Training Conference, which will be November 16-17. The purpose of the NASA SEWP event is for industry representatives to provide feedback on the upcoming SEWP VI Government-Wide Acquisition Contract (GWAC). The industry day will provide an overview of the intended changes for areas such as:
- Contract Type(s)
- Small Business Participation
- Scope of Technology Products, Solutions, and Services
- Overall Structure
- Business Capabilities
In addition to Industry Q&A, there will be time set aside for one-on-one engagement with the SEWP PMO on the new GWAC. Interested contractors can register for the event here, register for a one-on-one meeting here, and submit questions for the presentation here.
National Cyber Director Requests Industry Feedback on Cybersecurity Talent
With more than 700,000 cybersecurity unfilled job openings, the U.S. faces a significant shortfall in cyber talent. In response, the Office of the National Cyber Director (ONCD) has issued a Request for Information (RFI) on its upcoming national strategy to address cyber training and education, digital awareness, and the cyber workforce. The RFI covers areas such as recruitment and hiring, career development and retention, diversity, and education. Interested parties have until October 12 to submit their questions about the RFI by contacting email@example.com. The ONCD will publish its answers to select questions on October 19. Interested parties can provide comments regarding the topics for the national strategy, listed in the RFI, through November 3.