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CHIPS Articles: DISA, DSS award Other Transaction Agreement for defense security vetting

DISA, DSS award Other Transaction Agreement for defense security vetting
By Russell Goemaere, DISA Strategic Communication and Public Affairs - May 22, 2019
The Defense Security Service and Defense Information Systems Agency awarded an Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) for nearly $75 million to Perspecta Enterprise Solutions LLC (Perspecta) of Herndon, Virginia, May 14.

The OTA will support the continued reform and modernization of the security clearance personnel vetting processes and continued innovation for the National Background Investigation Service (NBIS) information technology system.

"The objective with this OTA is to integrate new bold and transformational approaches from the NBIS architecture and take the next step with technology to integrate and align other security missions,” said Terry Carpenter, program executive officer for NBIS. “It complements the OTA awarded last June as we work to build a system that is agile and flexible that better enables the federal vetting enterprise for the whole of government.”

The award will further build on the architectural foundations of NBIS to create a scalable security enterprise architecture and data services prototype that enables data reuse and analytic capabilities across multiple missions while strengthening system security and providing enhanced user and customer experience.

Primary areas of focus are: (1) data ingest, brokering, and analytics capability enabled by artificial intelligence capabilities, such as machine learning and natural language processing; and (2) enterprise-level "software factory" capabilities to consistently and quickly develop, test, secure, and deploy additional vetting capabilities using development security operations, or DevSecOps, automation with continuous authority to operate processes in a secure government cloud environment.

The new architecture will help DSS transform multiple vetting mission areas, such as background investigations, adjudications, continuous vetting, and related insider threat programs, all mandated through existing presidential orders or legislation.

The architecture will enable DSS to process and organize the data currently authorized for each mission area more rapidly, and highlight the items that are most likely to inform a human decision based on today’s laws, rules, regulations, and guidelines. The new class of decision-support tools is being constructed to help make more informed decisions in significantly less time. This OTA award supports the delivery of unique innovations, that will include security controls validated through the Department of Defense’s rigorous risk management framework process.

“The OTA was awarded directly to the prime vendor and not through a consortium,” said Stephen Heath, senior acquisitions advisor for DSS.

The government is the program manager and lead integrator for this new architecture, and is partnering with Perspecta and non-traditional defense contractors for substantial support, including subject matter expertise, software licensing, and other information technology tools and services.

Interested vendors were alerted to this opportunity through a posting on

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