We are happy to present the inaugural edition of MeriTalk News Briefs, where we bring you all the day’s action that didn’t quite make the headlines. No need to shout about ‘em, but we do feel that they merit talk.

Final DoD JEDI RFP Misses Deadline

The Defense Department (DoD) said it would release the final request for proposal (RFP) on its potential $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract at the end of May, but DoD has now missed that deadline. Chief spokesperson Dana White said Thursday the department is “working on it” but there was “no timeline” for the release. DoD released the second draft RFP in mid-April, and gave potential bidders two weeks to log additional questions regarding the contract, before planning to draft the final RFP.

Union Sues President Trump Over New Executive Order

The American Federation of Government Employees filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Trump administration, arguing that a newly-signed executive order (EO) violates the First Amendment right to freedom of association. The EO, signed last Thursday, puts limits on the amount of time Federal employees can spend conducting union duties.

Federal CIO Suzette Kent Provides IT Modernization Update

Federal Chief Information Office Suzette Kent posted an IT Modernization Update to the CIO Council webpage Wednesday. The update discusses the IT Modernization Report delivered by the American Techology Council last year, the ongoing efforts to promote modernization through the President’s Management Agenda, and other vehicles for modernization, such as the Modernizing Government Technology Act, Agency IT Working Capital Funds, and the General Service Administration’s (GSA) Centers of Excellence.

White House Names New VA Acting Secretary

The White House Wednesday appointed Peter O’Rourke acting secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The move paves the way for Robert Wilkie, who officially stepped down as acting secretary, to begin the full confirmation process to become permanent VA Secretary. In the meantime, Wilkie will resume his previous duties at the DoD as the under secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness.

GSA Negotiates New Schedule 70 Agreement With IBM

As part of the IT Schedule 70 Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) Enhancement Program, the GSA on Wednesday announced a new, government-wide enterprise agreement for database solutions with IBM. Agencies can access IBM database solutions through a single contract with discounted prices. The solutions “will help agencies meet a wide variety of Federal mandates, including the requirements put in place by FITARA,” GSA said.

Carahsoft Awarded BPA Worth Up to $125M

The DoD Wednesday issued a blanket purchase agreement to Carahsoft Technology, worth up to $125 million over five years, to provide Red Hat software and services to the DoD, U.S. Coast Guard, and intelligence agencies. The BPA falls under DoD’s Enterprise Software Initiative, and will allow the agencies to purchase software, maintenance, support, and training services at reduced costs.

DHS S&T Awards Four Contracts to Analyze Mobile Security Threats

The DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) awarded four technology firms with Small Business Innovation Research contracts to create solutions that will automate analysis of mobile technologies and detect potential malware preprogrammed in device firmware. “These proof-of-concepts must show they can analyze and detect all software vulnerabilities, common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVE), recently discovered zero-day vulnerabilities, and unwanted functionality in firmware binary code,” DHS S&T said.

Secretary Nielsen Releases Statement on Cyber Executive Order

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen issued a statement Wednesday on DHS’s role in executing President Trump’s Cyber EO that was released in May 2017. “DHS has recommended ways to improve our Federal risk posture and modernize the Federal IT enterprise. Additionally, the Department has outlined how it will prioritize private sector access to tailored intelligence and capabilities in order to mitigate risk where a cybersecurity incident could result in catastrophic effects,” Nielsen said. The statement also refers to three DHS reports, crafted with the Office of Management and Budget and Department of Commerce, on the cybersecurity workforce, Federal agencies’ cybersecurity risk, and counteracting botnets.

DHS Official: Next Cyber Tech Demo Day Planned for September

Nadia Carlsten, program manager for a DHS program that aims to speed the commercialization of federally funded cybersecurity research efforts, said this week that the Transition to Practice program she runs is planning to hold is next technology “Demo Day” for investors and developers sometime in September. Carlsten said during a presentation on Facebook that the program’s Demo Day sessions are vital for gathering feedback to cybersecurity technologies involved in the program, and to set up pilot programs with third parties to use the technologies. Technologies that are run through pilot programs end up “much stronger, much closer to the marketplace,” she said.

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