How Both Parties Can Fix Transportation

Fixing America’s decrepit infrastructure shouldn’t be controversial—it enhances competitiveness, creates jobs, and helps the environment. And of course, it protects the public. Repairing unsafe conditions is a critical priority: More than half of fatal vehicle accidents in the United States are due in part to poor road conditions.

After years of dithering, Washington is finally showing a little life for the task. Congress recently passed a $305 billion highway bill to fund basic maintenance for five years. But the highway bill is pretty anemic—it barely covers road-repair costs and does nothing to modernize other infrastructure. The total investment needed through the end of this decade is actually $1.7 trillion, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. Further, the highway bill does nothing to remove the bureaucratic jungle that makes these projects so slow and costly.

Continue reading:

GSA Awards BPA for Salesforce Integration and Support Services

WASHINGTON – Today GSA awarded six businesses a spot on the Salesforce Implementation, Integration, and Support Services (SIISS) Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA). This multiple-award, government-wide BPA consolidates the government’s Salesforce technical development, operations and maintenance, and implementation strategy requirements into one procurement vehicle.  Prior to award of this BPA, the government did not have access to a streamlined strategic-sourcing vehicle for Salesforce professional services, which led to many agencies awarding their own stand-alone contracts. This BPA provides an opportunity to improve business practices for the government by setting standards for Salesforce development, addressing contract duplication challenges and helping the government save money.

“The Salesforce BPA is a significant step forward in supporting FITARA, our customers, and improving acquisition efficiency and effectiveness in the Federal Government.  This unique, first-of-its-kind, cross-agency initiative will reduce the number of duplicative contracts for these services and lower overall costs by leveraging the buying power of the government into a consolidated services vehicle,” — Tom Sharpe, FAS Commissioner

Continue reading:

The Bizwomen Interview: Barbara Humpton, CEO of Siemens Government Technologies

Though Barbara Humpton started her role as CEO of Siemens Government Technologies in October, she’s no stranger to leadership roles at major technology firms.

Humpton joined Siemens Government Technologies in 2011 as senior vice president business development and became chief operating officer last year. The company, based in Arlington, Va., provides the federal government with products and services related to smart buildings and infrastructure, cybersecurity and renewable and secure energy, among other areas. Humpton came to Siemens after a brief stint as vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton and 27 years with Lockheed Martin before that.

Continue reading:

The Very Real Future of Iron Man Suits for the Navy

One day, troops will strap on bulletproof Iron Man suits and fly into battle, but only after a breakthrough in portable power storage that may not arrive for another decade. In the meantime, exoskeletons do have real military potential today, if only the Pentagon can shed some of its comic-book inspired notions and deploy them where they can do the most good — on ships. That’s according to a new report from the Center for New American Security.

If you’ve played the most recent edition of the popular Call of Duty videogame, recently watched “Edge of Tomorrow” or any of the “Iron Man” movies, your perception of military exoskeletons probably consists of something that a soldier brings with him or her into battle. This image isn’t completely fictional. The Army’s Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit program, TALOS, aims to outfit soldiers heading into combat with wearable exosuits before 2018.

The military doesn’t mind playing up the super hero angle in the media it releases on these programs. In the following video, a cartoon soldier wearing TALOS gear barges through a door and then confronts a shower of bullets without taking a step back.

Continue reading:

FY2016 Appropriations Act Includes Critical Investments in the Nation’s Public Buildings

WASHINGTON – On Friday, President Obama signed into law a bipartisan appropriations bill that lifts sequestration and allows for critical investments in areas that grow our economy. The funding budget agreement provides a significant investment in the Federal Buildings Fund, an account used to invest in major repairs and alterations to federal buildings and to partially offset costs of constructing new federal buildings. This funding will allow GSA to make investments in our nation’s infrastructure and harness our ability to serve as an economic catalyst for growth in local communities.

“The agreement gives us the opportunity to build on the progress we have made in recent years,” said GSA Administrator Denise Turner Roth. “We look forward to continue to provide our federal agency partners the services and facilities they need to fulfill their missions.”

Continue reading:

Littoral Combat Ship: Knowledge of Survivability and Lethality Capabilities Needed Prior to Making Major Funding Decisions

What GAO Found

The lethality and survivability of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) is still largely unproven, 6 years after delivery of the lead ships. LCS was designed with reduced requirements as compared to other surface combatants, and the Navy has since lowered several survivability and lethality requirements and removed several design features—making the ship both less survivable in its expected threat environments and less lethal than initially planned. The Navy is compensating for this by redefining how it plans to operate the ships.

In 2014, the Navy conducted its first operational test of an early increment of the surface warfare mission package on a Freedom variant LCS, demonstrating that LCS could meet an interim lethality requirement. The Navy declared LCS operationally effective. However, the Navy’s test report stated that the ship did not meet some key requirements. Further, the Department of Defense’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation has stated that there is insufficient data to provide statistical confidence that LCS can meet its lethality requirements in future testing or operations, and further testing is needed to demonstrate both variants can meet requirements in varied threat environments.

Continue reading:

DoD says acquisition reforms working, won’t create new policy next year

A statistical analysis released by the Defense Department shows that the department’s acquisition reforms have controlled cost growth, said Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall.

Kendall added that he will not release a new iteration of Better Buying Power — DoD’s acquisition reform policy — next year, and instead will focus on the initiatives in the previous versions.

“I plan to keep going with the things we started five years ago and to do more of them and continue the continuous improvement efforts that we started. They are working,” Kendall, DoD’s undersecretary for acquisition, logistics and technology (ATL) said during a speech at the Potomac Officers Club Defense Research and Development Event.

Continue reading:

Protests resolved, GSA launches agile BPA

The final protest of the General Services Administration’s blanket purchase agreement for agile development has been resolved. The agency said on Dec. 17 that the unrestricted portion of the contracting vehicle is open for business and has added a 17th contractor.

“Today, we’re pleased to officially say that Pool Three of the agile blanket purchase agreement is launched,” wrote V. David Zvenyach, acquisition management director at 18F, in a blog post.  “Although we announced the awardees earlier this year, there were multiple protests related to the agile BPA. Last night, we learned that the final protest has been resolved, which means we can soon begin awarding work under the agile BPA.”

Continue reading:

DARPA to utility companies’ rescue from power grid cyberattacks

U.S. government officials and experts have been warning for some time of the vulnerability of the nation’s critical infrastructure, particularly the power grid. A successful cyberattack on the grid could take power offline, rendering an unthinkable scenario of chaos and expense.

The Defense Department’s research arm is seeking to do something about this vulnerability with regard to both prevention and response. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has released a Broad Agency Announcement for its Rapid Attack Detection, Isolation and Characterization Systems program to research methods for enabling early detection of cyber threats to the power grid infrastructure as well as reduce the time for power restoration.

Continue reading: