News in Brief

Disruptive defense tech, IC transparency, GSA's newest BPAs and a $427M bid protest

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DIA readies disruptive tech platform

The Defense Intelligence Agency on June 25 demonstrated a nearly finished web platform meant to speed acquisition of “disruptive” technologies, Defense Systems reports.

The Open Innovation Gateway emulates DIA’s operational environment and will be used by the agency to fast-track promising technologies. Industry users and intelligence analysts will supply and test secure technologies through the gateway.

According to a DIA spokesperson, technologies already tested in the gateway include a high-speed geospatial data processor, a facial recognition service, and a big data analytics platform.

DNI releases first 'transparency report' on surveillance

The U.S. intelligence community on June 27 released its first annual "transparency report" on surveillance tools used in the previous calendar year.

The report, posted to the director of national intelligence's "IC on the Record" Tumblr site, shows that 1,767 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act orders were granted in 2013 based on probable cause, among other statistics.

The DNI report is an indirect response to the troves of documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, which revealed the agency's vast intelligence-collection capabilities. President Barack Obama last year directed the IC to declassify more intelligence documents in the name of transparency.

The report is "a step in the right direction of increasing trust in both government and Internet services," Richard Salgado, a legal expert at Google, wrote in a blog post. But he said more information on the targets of surveillance orders is needed.

Oracle files early protest on $427M DOD contract

Washington Technology reports that Oracle Corp. has filed a pre-award protest of a contract to provide the Defense Department with on-demand storage infrastructure services.

The contract, known as Enterprise Storage Services II, is in the source selection phase, and the incumbent contractor is VION Corp. The Defense Information Systems Agency cannot make an award on the contract while the protest if pending; the Government Accountability office has until Oct. 3 to make its ruling.

Data-wrangling as a service

GCN reports on NuData Enterprise -- a new cloud-based open data hosting and servicing platform designed to help governments comply with open data mandates and help developers build businesses based on government data.

NuData is the first product to be offered by NuCivic in partnership with Acquia, which provides an open cloud platform for Drupal-powered sites, and Carahsoft, a government IT solutions provider. NuData differentiates itself by being based on the Drupal content management system, which many governments already run, and is available for self-hosting on an open-source platform or as a turnkey data publishing solution.

GSA, FCC look to help schools save on IT

The General Services Administration and the Federal Communications Commission are working to build blanket purchase agreements to allow schools and libraries to get bulk savings on network gear.

According to a June 27 GSA blog post by Erville Koehler, regional commissioner of the agency's Southeast Sunbelt Region, GSA signed an agreement with the FCC on June 19 to develop opportunities for schools and libraries to save on the purchase of wireless access points, routers, and other equipment needed to modernize and expand their network infrastructures. GSA has used similar tools to buy wireless communications services and gear for government agencies.

Koehler said GSA is working with the FCC under GSA's Cooperative Purchasing Program, administered by its National Information Technology Commodity Program for the benefit of E-rate eligible schools and libraries. Once implemented, he said, the new BPAs would allow schools and libraries to utilize the agency's reverse auction platform to seek bids from equipment vendors at prices even better than those already available under the relevant GSA schedule.

Koehler said the FCC-GSA E-rate initiative is expected to be available next year.

DHS allots $95 million for cyber technologies

The Department of Homeland Security has allotted an estimated $95 million for cybersecurity R&D in recognition of the growing sophistication of cyber threats. The Broad Agency Announcement, which first published in April and has been added to in recent days, lists an array of cyber-technology areas that interest DHS, including the cloud, mobile devices, “application security threat attack modeling,” and defenses against distributed denial of service attacks.

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