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Veterans Technology Services 2 (VETS 2) GWAC Awarded

If small businesses are the backbone to our economy, then veterans of the armed forces are the backbone of our country. Even after their sacrifices through military service, many veterans continue to serve our great nation by providing innovative information technology (IT) solutions to government.

GSA prides itself on delivering mission critical IT solutions that make a meaningful difference to the agencies we support and the citizens that count on them. This philosophy is at the center of our development of new IT contract vehicles and I’m proud that it played a vital role as GSA created our new Veterans Technology Services 2 (VETS 2) Governmentwide Acquisition Contract (GWAC).

VETS 2 – a unique acquisition vehicle

The new VETS 2 GWAC is a unique contribution to the federal acquisition community — the only GWAC set-aside exclusively for Service-Disabled, Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSB). VETS 2 is designed to be flexible enough to meet diverse agency IT requirements, including new and emerging technologies. VETS 2 also enables GSA to continue its support of the SDVOSB Procurement Program, while helping federal agencies achieve their socio-economic goals.

Contract development at its best

Lessons learned from our original VETS contract played a big role in building VETS 2, as did extensive market research. In conjunction with issuing a request for information (RFI) and draft request for proposal (RFP), we also surveyed hundreds of past and current GWAC ordering contracting officers, created a government customer working group, and utilized a GSA Interact page to collaborate with more than 1,000 members from industry and government to design VETS 2. The result is a multiple award indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract with a best-in-class designation and 70 of the world’s premier SDVOSB IT service providers.

What’s new with VETS 2

All of the team’s research and due diligence, coupled with VETS success resulted in a VETS 2 contract that is even better than its predecessor. New key features include:

  • The ability for cost-type contracts
  • An expanded scope for virtually any IT services-based solution – including cybersecurity and new, emerging technologies
  • An overall simplified contract through the elimination of functional areas – a simplified scope covering all IT services
  • A larger pool of suppliers — an even greater proportion of which now hold International Organization for Standardization (ISO)/Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) certifications, facility clearances levels, audited/approved cost accounting systems, and experience working with multiple agencies.

We couldn’t be more thrilled about the launch of VETS 2 as we continue our commitment to providing IT solutions with the ongoing help of the veteran community.

For more information, please visit www.gsa.gov/VETS2 or contact VETS2@gsa.gov.

Please follow us on Twitter @GSA_ITC and LinkedIn to join our ongoing conversations about government IT.

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OMB Marks More GSA Tech Solutions as “Best in Class”

GSA’s Office of Information Technology Category (ITC) received some exciting news at the end of Fiscal Year (FY) 2017: five more of GSA’s Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs) and one Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPA) based on IT Schedule 70 SIN 132-53 have been designated by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as “Best-in-Class” (BIC).

BIC designations signal to the acquisition community that these vehicles meet rigorous category management performance criteria and confirm that we’re offering solutions and processes necessary to meet government’s IT requirements not just today, but well into the future.

The six new additions to ITC’s BIC offerings are all pre-vetted, governmentwide contract solutions supporting the governmentwide move to mature, market-proven solutions:

With these additions, GSA has a total of eight BIC IT offerings—our Government-wide Strategic Solution (GSS) Laptop/Desktop and IT Schedule 70’s Hardware & Software SINs were part of the first group OMB recognized in the IT category.

We see these new BIC designations, as proof that GSA is developing the programs and contracts that will shape and lead future IT category management efforts. What’s more, they’re evidence that we use taxpayer funds efficiently and productively, enabling our customers to better fulfill their missions.

BIC Benefits

How does BIC benefit government agencies?

BIC contracts are recognized as being “good-for-government” purchasing solutions which should be used by all agencies. To be named BIC, contract vehicles must satisfy five key criteria defined by OMB:

  1. Rigorous requirements definitions and planning processes
  2. Appropriate pricing strategies
  3. Data-driven strategies to change buying and consumption behavior (i.e., demand management)
  4. Category and performance management strategies
  5. Independently validated reviews

BIC GWACs

Alliant, Alliant SB, and VETS 2 GWACs offer fixed-price, cost-reimbursement, labor-hour, and time-and-materials task order types, providing greater flexibility in procuring a broad range of IT services. These solutions provide access to new and emerging technologies designed to help government agencies meet their mission requirements. Our BIC GWACS can also help agencies save between 4 percent and 19 percent on average. Again, GSA expects to award the second iteration of Alliant and Alliant SB (Alliant 2 and Alliant 2 SB, respectively), by the end of the calendar year.

BIC BPA

Our FSSI Wireless BPAs are based in GSA’s IT Schedule 70 SIN 132-53, which improves the procurement and management of wireless services across government. And the good news is that the market opportunity for government wireless services is currently estimated to be $945 million annually.

Going Forward

These BIC designations let agencies and industry know we are meeting our own high standards of customer service and acquisition expertise. Whether they are using contracts officially recognized as “Best-in-Class” or another solution, our customers and partners can expect the same quality and excellence in all of our products and services. As I wrote in an earlier blog, “We believe a BIC designation is not the end state, but rather an important milestone on a journey to help agencies improve their buying strategies.”

Learn more about GSA’s BIC designations on Acquisition Gateway.

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Reducing Cybersecurity Risks in Supply Chain Risk Management

Shon Lyublanovits, IT Security Subcategory Manager and Director of the Security Services Division

[Editorial note: This blog is the last of a three part series by Shon Lyublanovits, GSA’s IT Security Subcategory Manager and Director of the Office of IT Security Services for Office of Information Technology Category (ITC). Designed to help build awareness of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) annual October National Cyber Security Awareness Month, this blog series describes a suite of cybersecurity products, services and solutions provided by GSA, outlining the unique benefits each provides to government].

Federal Information and Communications Technology (ICT) systems rely on a complex, globally distributed, and interconnected supply chain ecosystem encompassing geographically diverse routes and multiple tiers of outsourcing. Managing ICT systems is a difficult and complex task for government agencies — especially when these system are affected by various laws, trust models, interests, and national/international supply chains. It becomes even more difficult when criminals constantly introduce proprietary counterfeits and malware, conduct data tampering, and access sensitive information.

To protect ICT systems from criminals, we are working with government agencies to reduce cybersecurity risks through the acquisition of IT hardware and software. We’re also helping government leaders, chief information officers, and IT experts develop and implement sound policy guidance to deploy Supply Chain Risk Management (SCRM) activities throughout the entire acquisition lifecycle.

Challenges for government and industry

The federal government is facing significant cybersecurity challenges when procuring IT products or services resulting from inadequate in-built cybersecurity controls in the supply chain. An increase in the use of ready made, off-the shelf products, plus a rise in outsourced computer and communications operations make it more difficult to manage the supply chain.

Our industry partners are facing challenges as well. Companies require agile, elastic business models to remain competitive and keep pace with emerging technologies, but they also need to protect themselves against volatile cybersecurity threats, especially in the supply chain. From a national security perspective, when large components of these business models become vulnerable to cyber threats, the private sector becomes a target of nation states.

Enhancement of IT procurement through sound policy drives

Within the global marketplace, particularly the supply networks, criminals have more opportunities to penetrate and potentially manipulate information and technology. In order to mitigate these threats, GSA supports various statutory, regulatory, and policy requirements that address the current challenges of the global marketplace.

We are currently developing a Business Due Diligence Information Service that will give agencies a common government-wide capability for identifying, assessing, and managing cyber and supply chain risk throughout the acquisition process.

GSA is also leading the implementation of an IT policy that enhances IT acquisition vehicles, resulting in increased security of customers systems and networks. We are working with federal agencies to address supply chain risks by:

  • Reviewing base ITC acquisition vehicle contract language
  • Developing an acquisition assurance baseline by identifying provisions and clauses that are related to IT security and SCRM to use in IT product and service solicitations
  • Creating a repeatable, scalable SCRM response process for ICT to effectively respond to SCRM incidents and issues of public interest. This includes a description of various roles, responsibilities, and definitions for six phases of the ICT Supply Chain Threat Event (SCTE) Incident
  • Using Response Life Cycle — i.e., notification, escalation, evaluation and validation, reporting, response, and closure activities
  • Establishing a Vendor Risk Assessment Program to provide a well-defined process and robust capability to evaluate known or potential risks related to suppliers of products and services using open source information

Comprehensive SCRM cybersecurity regulations and requirements

ICT systems need the best IT solutions to protect against proprietary counterfeits and malware, data tampering, and unauthorized access to sensitive information. We ensure that our IT products and services in the supply chain are deemed cyber low-risk by complying with cybersecurity regulations and requirements specific to SCRM. This will establish sound policy safeguards, so that when government agencies purchase IT products and develop systems, they do so knowing that we worked with suppliers to determine if SCRM capabilities have been applied to acquired products and services.

We’re also establishing a comprehensive SCRM capability that will ensure government agencies procure IT hardware and software from original equipment manufacturers, including authorized resellers or other trusted sources. Furthermore, GSA is:

  • Managing incidents within IT contracts
  • Establishing and maintaining contact with both internal GSA stakeholders and external agencies on cyber incidents
  • Maintaining awareness of government-wide supply chain policy/trends

GSA remains committed to helping government leaders, chief information officers, and IT experts improve cybersecurity through SCRM. Read the first and second blogs in this series to learn more about our cybersecurity products, services and solutions and how they can help you focus on your mission, while maintaining quality, reducing costs, and minimizing duplications and redundancies.

Follow us on Twitter @GSA_ITC to join the conversation.

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Helping Agencies Strengthen Cyber Networks through Strategically Sourced Tools and Services

Shon Lyublanovits, IT Security Subcategory Manager and Director of the Security Services Division

[Editorial note: This blog is the second of a three part series by Shon Lyublanovits, GSA’s IT Security Subcategory Manager and Director of the Office of IT Security Services for Office of Information Technology Category (ITC). Designed to raise awareness of the Department of Homeland Security’s annual October National Cyber Security Awareness Month campaign, this blog series highlights a suite of cybersecurity enhancing products, services and solutions provided by GSA, outlining the unique benefits each provides to government].

In today’s cyber ecosystem many, if not all, government mission requirements depend upon IT systems. Government agencies need to go beyond simply knowing who and what is on their networks. Senior leaders, chief information officers, and IT experts across government must be ready to face all potential cyber threats and it is critical that all information be secure. The latest IT tools and associated services are essential if agencies are to effectively and proactively identify, manage, and respond to new vulnerabilities and evolving threats. Agencies must also be able to keep up with and anticipate constant change in the enterprise architecture and operational environment.

GSA remains committed to helping agencies meet these ever-evolving challenges by offering a suite of pre-vetted cybersecurity products, services, and solutions that help agencies comply with mandates and IT requirements, while also addressing cyberattacks. This includes working with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to establish a new Special Item Number (SIN) for IT Schedule 70: Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) Tools. With CDM tools, we’re able to meet the government’s need for stronger cyber networks with strategically sourced tools and associated services.

New SIN offers agencies improved flexibility in IT procurement and cybersecurity

Our IT products on the CDM Tools SIN are prequalified and approved by DHS. And by leveraging the buying power of the government and streamlining the procurement process, we’ve made it easier and less expensive for our government partners to get the flexible solutions they need to effectively mitigate ever-changing cybersecurity threats.

Furthermore, these flexibilities on the CDM Tools SIN give government customers — federal, state, local, regional, tribal and territorial government entities — even easier access to a governmentwide set of information security continuous monitoring (ISCM) tools. The new CDM SIN also:

  • Enhances and automates existing continuous network monitoring capabilities
  • Strengthens the security posture of government networks
  • Improves risk-based decision making at the agency and federal enterprise level

CDM Tools SIN enhances existing continuous network monitoring capabilities

The CDM Tools SIN gives government agencies the ability to identify cybersecurity risks, prioritize them based upon potential impacts, and enable cybersecurity personnel to mitigate the most significant problems first.

We’ve organized the capabilities and tools into five subcategories:

  1. Manage “What is on the network?” — Identifies the existence of hardware, software, configuration characteristics, and known security vulnerabilities.
  2. Manage “Who is on the network?” — Identifies and determines the users or systems with access authorization, authenticated permissions, and granted resource rights.
  3. Manage “How is the network protected?” — Determines the user/system actions and behavior at the network boundaries and within the computing infrastructure.
  4. Manage “What is happening on the network?” — Prepares for events/incidents, gathers data from appropriate sources, and identifies incidents through analysis of data.
  5. Emerging tools and technology — Includes CDM cybersecurity tools and technology not in any other subcategory.

CDM strengthens government networks

We want to help government fight cyberattacks by providing tools to help detect vulnerabilities and protect agencies from threats. These tools enhance government network security through automated control testing and progress tracking. This approach:

  • Provides services to implement sensors and dashboards
  • Delivers near-real time results
  • Prioritizes the worst problems within minutes (not quarterly or annually)
  • Enables defenders to identify and mitigate flaws at network speed
  • Lowers operational risk and exploitation of government IT systems and networks

Easy Ordering

Purchasing officers can buy from the CDM Tools SIN through eBuy and GSA Advantage!®. Issue a request for information (RFI) or request for quotation (RFQ), and let vendors respond to your requirements. Likewise, government agencies can purchase products, services, and solutions through IT Schedule 70’s Cooperative Purchasing Program.

For more information

If you have questions about the CDM Tools SIN, contact the IT Customer Service Center at (855) ITaid4U/(855) 482-4348 or schedule70cdmsin@gsa.gov. Representatives are available Sunday at 8:00 p.m. through Friday at 8:30 p.m.

Learn more about GSA’s CDM Program.

Please follow us on Twitter @GSA_ITC and LinkedIn to join our ongoing conversations about government IT.