Tag Archives: IT Modernization

Trends In Federal IT For 2020

Image: FCW

FCW” By Mark Forman

“**IT organizations are shifting focus to modernizing programs. **Modernization will not take over Operation & Maintenance as the primary IT spending focus in 2020. **Cybersecurity will be a growing area of focus.


“IT organizations shifting focus to modernizing programs

OMB has now updated major IT policy guidance and focused on the Cloud Smart Strategy, and the CIO role is shifting from running the infrastructure to identifying how technologies benefit mission performance. Consequently, this will be the year when IT governance practices drive a new wave of mission benefits, rather than just better control over IT infrastructure spending. The result: This year, agencies will gain and share understanding on how to smartly use cloud computing: e.g. taking advantage of rapid advances in serverless computing and low code/no code application development tools. While Technology Business Management is a necessity, the primary improvement driver will be the OMB M-19-23 evidence-based decision-making initiatives calling on agencies to use tools like AI/machine learning, data analytics and third party/Commerce Department data sources.

Modernization will not take over Operation & Maintenance as the primary IT spending focus in 2020

The Federal IT budget is changing very slowly.Based on what I read in the 2020 Appropriations Act, this will be a year of experimentation, plan development, incremental modernization efforts and cybersecurity improvement. Overall IT spending should go up slightly, as the roughly 4% increase in federal program budgets always pull in more IT support. But no civilian agency received anything near $1 billion for modernization. The Technology Modernization Fund, with $25 million in 2020 appropriations, reflects Congressional skepticism that agencies will be able to pay back the borrowed funds. That skepticism is warranted because the return on digital technology is now due to productivity and cybersecurity gains, not IT infrastructure savings. The recent Unisys Cloud Success Barometer™ survey of 1,000 commercial and government executives found that government security gains from moving to the cloud were about on par with private companies, but government was far below in cost savings and productivity improvements. Respondents said incorporating cloud in the business strategy is key to seeing benefits, underscoring the need for investments that provide strategic benefits as opposed to legacy systems maintenance.

Cybersecurity will be a growing area of focus.

With election security and ransomware concerns growing, Congress increased the proposed budget for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to $2 billion. CISA’s major initiatives include relationship building and the Trusted Internet Connection 3.0 guidance, encompassing key concepts of zero trust, cyber kill chain and risk management for cloud. Moreover, the National Security and Telecommunications Advisory Committee’s Cybersecurity Moonshot is now well underway with workshops set up around country and the first in November 2019 at Auburn University’s McCrary Institute. Moreover, the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification V.1.0 is nearing release and expected to be inserted into government contract clauses before end of year. This year’s National Defense Authorization Act provisions indicate strong Congressional support. It is good that Congress is paying close attention and is open to hearing from stakeholders as the process unfolds. Finally, the Solarium Commission, with tight congressional involvement, will report fast track recommendations in early spring.

While IT governance has been strengthened, as measured by the FITARA scores, it is not clear that the appropriators agree on the role of the CIO, with only the CIOs at the Departments of Agriculture and State required by the appropriators to concur/approve IT systems spending, and CIO-specific budget authority is still generally a fraction of total agency IT spending. I hope that they are supportive of the CIOs taking a leadership role in the shift from infrastructure to mission application of IT.Another key item is that more than 40% of IT spending is up for contract renewal over the next two years, based on IT analyst assessments. That will create the opportunity for major shifts to modern computing platforms, including the shift of funding IT as a capital expense (i.e. hardware and software) to IT-as-a-Service contracts built using the Cloud Smart strategy with a mix of serverless computing and low code/no code applications.”


USAF Pushes Public-Private Partnerships With Enterprise IT-As-A-Service Contracts



The Air Force has extended its Enterprise IT-as-a-Service initiative with a third contract designed to shift enterprise IT services to commercial companies.

Other branches are interested as well. The Army announced in February it will move in that direction. The U.S. Marine Corps is figuring out where the model “makes sense“.


“The Air Force has extended its Enterprise IT-as-a-Service initiative with a third contract designed to shift enterprise IT services to commercial companies, this time with Accenture Federal Services.

The new contract will require Accenture to provide enterprise IT services to eight Air Force bases. The initiative known as EITaaS is designed to contract out basic IT infrastructure and services to commercial vendors to free up service members for cyber-focused missions. The Air Force has pushed the idea as a way to improve public-private partnerships and streamline its cyber efforts.

The new contract is a “Computer and Store” agreement. Accenture will provide edge cloud computing and artificial intelligence initiative support, according to a news release.

The eight Air Force bases include Buckley Air Force Base in Colorado, Maxwell AFB in Alabama, Offutt AFB in Nebraska, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska, Cannon AFB in New Mexico and Hurlburt Field in Florida.

This agreement comes as the Air Force said it completed an overseas expansion of the Cloud Hosted Enterprise Service program, which hosts email and other enterprise tools through Microsoft’s Office 365 environment, the release said.

The Air Force has been expanding EITaaS to new bases during the past few months. In February, a $76.3 million contract gave up to 20 basesthe opportunity to shift end-user services to the EITaaS model.

Other branches are interested in EITaaS as well. The Army announced in February it will move in that direction. The U.S. Marine Corps is interested, but still figuring out where the model “makes sense,” FedScoop previously reported.”

Army To Kick Off IT-As-A-Service Procurement



“The Army has issued a request for information to help guide its development of an Enterprise IT-as-a-Service (EITaaS) procurement pilot

EITaaS will leverage industry best practices and capabilities from the private sector to assess whether commercial solutions can provide standardized, innovative, and agile IT services to the Army.”


“The service issued the solicitation earlier this month in search of commercial, vendor-owned IT services, rather than building out and maintaining the tech on its own. The pilot will apply to network, end user and compute and storage needs.

“With the assumption that a wholly service-owned and service-operated model could sub-optimize Army operational readiness, the Army is exploring a new approach for delivering enterprise network and core IT services: Enterprise IT as a Service (EITaaS). The EITaaS pilot will assess feasibility and deploy commercial solutions for data transport, end-user device provision, and cloud services for selected Army installations,” the RFI states. “An initial EITaaS pilot will allow the Army to evaluate commercial solutions and their ability to strengthen enterprise IT service delivery, improve user experience and integrate with existing government-only systems, architecture, processes and facilities, while maintaining an aggressive cybersecurity posture.”

The Army plans to host an industry day at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, May 7, to provide an overview of the procurement and the planned use of other transaction agreements (OTAs) for pilots to test the concept. Those who wish to attend have until April 29 to register.

Other Transaction Authority (OTA), which has existed for decades but was expanded in the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, allows the military to grant relatively small contracts for the development of prototypes and then follow on with an additional contract for production if and when the pilot is successful.

During the pilot, the Army looks to conduct “site assessment surveys at three Army installations and the implementation of assessable services at Army Futures Command (AFC) Headquarters in Austin, Texas” in fiscal 2019. If the first pilots go accordingly, the Army hopes to also expand to another two bases in 2019, and five more in fiscal 2020. In total, over the first three years, the Army says it could launch up to 15 pilots at bases of varying sizes.

Army CIO Bruce Crawford broadly detailed the plan in a recent appearance. The Army, he said, will “move from an incremental approach at 288 different posts, camps and stations to more of a prioritized approach at about 50 of our most important and significant readiness-related, power-projection platforms.”

Crawford said it would “take beyond the year 2030 if we stayed on the current path to modernize the enterprise,” building out Army-owned systems and IT infrastructure, which comes at a massive cost and investment in time.

[The RFI] says. “Upon successful implementation, EITaaS enables the transfer of government resources to focus on core cyberspace operations, increase readiness and cyberspace effectiveness while enhancing security to ensure successful completion of Army missions.”

The Army’s EITaaS model of launching pilots sounds a lot like the Air Force’s, which also used OTAs to test the concept. It awarded OTA contracts to AT&T, Microsoft and Unisys in 2018 and 2019.”

Army to kick off IT-as-a-Service procurement with industry day

$40 Million SBA Modernization Services Request for Proposal (RFP) to 8(a) Firms



8A IT Mod Opportunity


“The Small Business Administration [SBA] issued a solicitation Monday worth up to $40 million to 8(a) companies for  IT professional services to support the Office of the CIO’s modernization initiatives over five years.

SBA hopes to make up to three awards to 8(a) small businesses on the multiple-award indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract “to provide the SBA’s OCIO with technical professional services…”


[RFP QUOTE] “……..provide the SBA’s OCIO with technical professional services to support the Chief Information Officer (CIO)’s strategic planning and engineering efforts for FY 2018-2022, architecture and engineering expertise in the implementation of CIO initiatives and technologies, and other support as may be required for mission accomplishment.”

While the contract would give the SBA OCIO — currently led by Maria Roat — broad help to achieve the objectives laid out for it in the agency’s strategic five-year plan, the request for proposals specifically keys in on things like architecture and engineering services for cloud, cybersecurity and mobility, as well as program management, enterprise data management and business intelligence services, among others.

SBA already has its first task order ready, which it plans to award at the same time as the IDIQ contract spots, for cloud migration and data center closures.

“The Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) is seeking Professional Services and support to the CIO’s strategic initiatives in evaluating, assessing, architecting, engineering and providing operational support for the continued development and implementation of SBA’s cloud environments (Azure and Amazon Web Services),” the task order says. “The services will also include providing technical support to the SBA’s Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI) to close existing physical data centers and migrating those locations to the SBA cloud.”

SBA will consider responses to that first task order as part of its evaluation process for spots on the greater IDIQ contract.

The contract will have one base year and four one-year options. Proposals are due July 31.

SBA Administrator Linda McMahon tasked the OCIO in her 2018-22 strategic plan with implementing enterprisewide IT modernization and “cost-effective technology” to strengthen SBA’s ability to serve small businesses.

As the plan says: “The SBA will take an enterprise approach to modernize, innovate, and test new capabilities to optimize meeting the business needs of its customers. SBA’s information technology infrastructure is the foundation that enables SBA programs and operations. Delivering a consistent, reliable, and secure infrastructure is imperative to achieving this mission. The SBA will upgrade its core infrastructure to become current with existing technologies, and will improve the reliability and availability of services that will help improve the Agency’s security posture.”