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Contracting case studies, AWS security, CANES consolidation and more

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OSTP, OMB offer examples of innovative contracting

Following up on last week's launch of the U.S. Digital Service, the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Office of Management and Budget released a collection of case studies -- "Buy What Works: Innovative Contracting Case Studies" -- aimed at elucidating creative and effective ways federal agencies have made use of existing procurement laws and regulations.

OSTP and OMB called the "iterative, evolving" case studies document a "first version."

The document follows USDS' release of the TechFAR Handbook to help explain how federal agencies can take advantage of existing procurement rules. The handbook was tied to USDS's Digital Services Playbook, which includes model IT "plays" agencies can use to acquire technology.

The case studies publication notes examples of rapid technology prototyping, staged contracts, milestone-based competitions, agile development and other alternative contracting methods successfully employed by federal agencies. For instance, it said NASA has used milestone-based payments to promote private-sector competition for the next generation of astronaut transportation services and moon exploration robots. The Department of Veterans Affairs issued an invitation for short concept papers that lowered barriers for non-traditional government contractors, which led to the discovery of powerful new technologies in mobile health and trauma care.

OSTP and OMB also said they're looking for feedback from the public on the publication through an online contracting innovation forum. Federal government employees can join an online innovative contracting community by signing up for the new "Buyers Club" listserv at GSA that is open to all .gov and .mil email addresses.

AWS first to reach 3-5 security level for commercial cloud

The Defense Information Systems Agency has authorized Amazon Web Services for DOD provisional authorization under the DOD Cloud Security Model at a 3-5 security impact level, AWS announced Aug. 21.

AWS is the first commercial cloud provider to reach this level of authorization, previously AWS was at a 1-2 level.

The new authorization has enabled AWS GovCloud and DOD to move forward with application deployments processing controlled and "for official use only" unclassified information, according to an AWS statement.

"This is the most stringent reusable authorization the government has issued to date, and we are very excited to continue to innovate on behalf of the government community," Steve Spano, general manager of defense and national intelligence, AWS Worldwide Public Sector, said in the statement.

As part of the level 3-5 authorization, DOD customers and AWS will be able to implement several Pentagon requirements to protect data at these security levels, including AWS Direct Connect routing to the DOD's network, comprehensive computer network defense coverage and Common Access Card integration.

Navy taps Northrop Grumman for CANES deployment

The Navy picked Northrop Grumman as one of five contractors working to consolidate the service's legacy networks into a unified computing environment for cybersecurity, command and control, communications and intelligence applications, the Falls Church, Va.-based defense firm announced Aug. 20.

That consolidation project, which covers five legacy shipboard networks and is being gradually deployed, is known as the Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services. In a five-year strategy released this week, the Navy prioritized installing CANES on combatants and at Maritime Operation Centers.

Northrop Grumman's indefinite delivery, indefinitely quantity contract for CANES could be worth $2.5 billion over eight years, the firm said. Northrop's contribution to the project will feature open-systems architecture and COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) components and software.

Defense Systems has more on the CANES contract, including coverage of the first iteration's early testing.

PSC expands acquisition council

The Professional Services Council continued its expansion in the policy arena with the addition of 12 executive advisors for its Acquisition and Business Policy Board, which was launched in June.

Kymm McCabe, president and CEO of ASI Government, will chair the ABPB. Other advisory board members include Dan Allen, chairman and CEO of Serco; Daniel Johnson, president of General Dynamics Information Technology; Henry "Trey" Obering, senior vice president of Booz Allen; and former Air Force Maj. Gen. Darryl Scott, corporate vice president, contracts and pricing at Boeing. Click here for the full list of board members.

The team "will play a vital role in driving PSC's policy agenda and in helping foster the kind of healthy, competitive and innovative environment that will give the government and taxpayers the best bang for their buck," PSC President and CEO Stan Soloway said in a statement.

InfoZen completes first phase of NASA website migration to cloud

InfoZen has completed the first phase of its $40 million effort to take NASA's websites to the cloud, Washington Technology reports. The Web Enterprise Service Technologies blanket purchase agreement was awarded to InfoZen at the end of 2012.

The company is moving NASA's websites to a cloud-based open source content management system powered by Amazon Web Services, which saves NASA 25 percent in monthly operations and maintenance costs, and has streamlined application modernization within a FedRAMP-compliant environment, InfoZen said in a release.

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