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FCW Insider: July 29

The Department of Veterans Affairs plans to move forward on a multibillion-dollar contract with Cerner for a new commercial electronic health record system next year. But before that happens, auditors at the Government Accountability Office want VA officials to finish fully mapping the scope and costs of the old system. Derek B. Johnson explains the challenges.

Contractors routinely fail to secure the Defense Department's unclassified information from cyberthreats when it's housed on their systems and networks, according to a new report from the department's watchdog agency. Lauren C. Williams has the story

The General Services Administration has some problems to address as well.  As Mark Rockwell reports, GSA's Office of Inspector found that Federal Acquisition Service official inappropriately intervened on behalf of McKinsey and Co. in negotiations for the agency's contracts. The OIG recommended cancelling those contracts as a result. 

Quick Hits

*** It ultimately made no difference in the Department of Defense's ability to award its Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract, but recently unsealed court documents show that Court of Federal Claims Judge Eric G. Bruggink did find that DOD officials used a faulty legal justification for the decision to make JEDI a single-award contract.

The JEDI contract could be worth up to $10 billion -- nearly 100 times the size at which DOD is required to use multiple-award vehicles. Brugging's July 12 ruling, which was unsealed on July 26, found that Pentagon officials' argument for making an exception -- that all JEDI purchases would be firm, fixed-price task orders with prices set by the initial contract -- did not hold up to scrutiny. "There is a logical disconnect," the judge wrote, because the contract also requires to the winning company to continue to add new commercial cloud services as they evolve.

Brugging found that Oracle could not be harmed by DOD's misstep because the company failed to meet a key "Gate Criteria," and so allowed the JEDI award to proceed. But the ruling provides ammunition to critics, including President Donald Trump, who have been pressuring DOD officials to rethink JEDI.

*** The Department of Energy is devoting another $37 million in funding for quantum computing research. The dollars will fuel programs at 20 research institutions across the country. Awarded by the agency on July 24, the new funding targets research in materials and chemistry to advance emerging Quantum Information Science (QIS).

QIS, Energy officials said, is expected to play an increasingly important role in the information technology of the future, with the promise of potentially powerful new capabilities in computing, networking, and sensing.

*** The Justice Department on July 26 announced its approval of the T-Mobile/Sprint merger. Neither firm is a prime on the General Services Administration's 15-year Enterprise Infrastructure Services contract, but Sprint in particular has been an active player in other aspects of public sector telecommunications.

*** This is the final week to submit Government Innovation Award nominations. Submit your picks for individual Rising Stars, Public Sector Innovations and Industry Innovators by Aug. 2!

Posted on Jul 29, 2019 at 12:49 AM


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