The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) conducted its annual Forecast to Industry event Wednesday, Aug. 20, at its headquarters complex on Fort Meade, Maryland.
The purpose of the event was to outline the agency’s way ahead for fiscal year 2015, which begins in October, and to provide industry representatives with insight regarding opportunities to help DISA achieve its objectives.
The event included presentations by several DISA senior leaders, as well as opportunities for individuals to network with DISA leaders, subject matter experts, and other business representatives during lunch and a late afternoon networking session.
Approximately 750 participants attended in person at DISA Headquarters and nearly 1,000 watched via live streaming video. The agency also tweeted supplemental information and links during the event using #DISAf2i.
Air Force Lt Gen Ronnie D. Hawkins Jr., DISA director, opened the event by welcoming the participants.
“The fact is we cannot exist without our industry partners,” said Hawkins. “We value your input to help us be better at what we do on a daily basis, and, most importantly, to help us get the product into the hands of the warfighter as quickly as possible.”
Army MG Alan Lynn, DISA vice director and senior procurement executive, outlined what he called his pillars of procurement, like achieving DISA’s small business goals, competing procurements, and instilling discipline in acquisition planning.
“Our budgets are going to be decreasing,” said Lynn, explaining that the agency will “compete as many contracts as possible” to generate competition and drive down prices.
Sharon Jones, director of the Office of Small Business Programs, presented information about small business contracting vehicles and the practice of creating partnerships with large businesses. She also highlighted that the agency awarded $4.6 billion prime contracts to small businesses in fiscal year 2013. DISA has exceeded its overall small business goals for three consecutive years.
Dave Bennett, director of Enterprise Information Services and chief information officer, covered a range of topics, including capacity services and technical support contracts, Joint Enterprise License Agreements, application rationalization/support for data center consolidation, and the implementation of a Service Support Environment.
Bennett also provided insight on the agency’s cloud service offerings, which will initially focus on Infrastructure as a Service. DISA is currently assessing the demand for services, the demand for a DISA-developed contract vehicle, and existing multi-agency contracts that may be able to meet DoD’s requirements. The agency will let industry know the planned way ahead during the first quarter of fiscal year 2015, he said.
“Unified Capabilities as a Service (UCaaS) is going to be a significant game changer within the agency in terms of providing capability,” he said, telling the industry representatives to expect contract growth in that portfolio.
Dr. Jennifer Carter, DISA’s component acquisition executive, spoke about the agency’s overarching strategy for acquiring services, which represent approximately 96 percent of DISA’s acquisitions. The strategy is aimed at reducing procurement cycle times, lowering costs, and accelerating delivery of critical capabilities.
“We need to make sure we have the scope right, that we incentivize properly, that deliverables are well defined, performance measures are well defined, and we are partnering with the right people,” said Carter, emphasizing that acquisition of services was primarily about allowing the agency to be agile.
Jessie Showers, vice director of Network Services, provided an overview of the services his organization provides and highlighted their current priorities, tying those priorities to planned acquisitions.
“Network Services is transforming from a telecommunications service provider to an information technology services provider,” said Showers, who also said he is looking to industry to provide not only technology, but innovative ways to implement those technologies.
Stuart Timmerman, director of the Defense Spectrum Organization, spoke about the DoD vision for spectrum management.
“DSO is concerned with anything that goes into the wireless medium,” he explained, providing details on the organizations mission areas and citing seven contracting opportunities that will be available in the coming year.
Mark Orndorff, DISA’s mission assurance executive, addressed three high-level objectives for mission assurance: operate, defend, manage, and maintain the Joint Information Environment (DoD Information Networks); enable and protect critical warfighting information and information exchange through various capabilities and services; ensure critical warfighter information, capabilities, and services are available in a degraded cyber condition.
He emphasized that when it comes to cyber defense, DISA is working in partnership with the military services, leveraging their capabilities and enabling them by providing enterprise services.
“DISA is not going to take over and do all the cyber defense for everybody,” he said. “We are giving the services the ability to execute their cyber defense responsibilities.”
Orndorff also drew attention to the Cyber Situational Awareness Analytic Cloud (CSAAC) – a cloud-based software architecture that enables the intake of large data sets to the cloud and provides the platforms for processing the data, as well as the mechanisms – analytics and visual tools – to help analysts make sense of the data.
“I really think that this analytic cloud should be and is the most important activity that we have on our plate right now,” he said.
Douglas Packard, acting director of the Procurement Directorate and the chief of the Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization, was the final speaker at the event. His remarks focused on providing a common understanding of “hot topics” in contracting, which included:
- Speed to market and speed in acquisition.
- Managing risk (not fearing it).
- Empowerment of contracting officers in DISA.
- The source selection continuum.
“Hopefully we have been able to provide a common understanding of our strategic way ahead for procurement,” Packard said in his closing remarks.
Individuals can download the briefing slides from the event via DISA.mil.