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GovCon Updates of the Week Part 8

5/25/2021 - By BDO GovCon Newsletter

Remember, Remember the 27th of May: The long-awaited Government fiscal year (FY) 2022 budget request, the first full-year request from the Biden administration, will be released on May 20, 2021. As announced previously, the budget will request $753 billion for national security funding, with $715 billion specifically going to the Department of Defense (DoD).

The $715 billion requested for the DoD is not considered to be enough by many Republicans, who agree with the Trump administration’s defense spending needs assessment of 3%-5% growth, above the inflation rate, year over year, while many Democrats contend that $715 billion is too much and are looking for cuts of up to 10%. Further complicating matters, it is expected that the FY22 budget request will propose sunsetting existing systems in order to cut costs, which could further complicate the budget review process.

Regardless of whether the $715 billion is too little or too much for defense spending, Government contractors need to take note of the FY22 budget request that will be released on May 20th, not just because of the dollar amounts that it contains, but also because of the timing. May 27th is awfully late for Congress to review and then issue funds to the various agencies to then procure goods and services for the fiscal year that starts on October 1, 2021. So, contractors can likely expect this funding to trickle down in the second half of FY22.

For more information, please click this link and this link.

Paging Dr. Robot: As technological advancements continue to develop at a rapid pace, there seems to be some big breakthrough announced every day. With these latest and greatest technological breakthroughs becoming what seems like a daily occurrence, many people may have become desensitized to the latest tech news. However, the latest Pentagon experiment is well worth your attention.

In a recently issued statement of work, the Department of Defense (DoD) outlined its vision for an experiment at Joint Base San Antonio that will involve the making of full-scale prototypes for telemedicine applications expected to run in real-time on a 5G core network. As the DoD is getting ready to roll out the experiment, they are requesting industry input ahead of a more formal request for project proposals Input is requested regarding the technological areas of augmented reality, machine learning, and telerobotic surgery supported by 5G connectivity.

The significance of 5G isn’t just important for faster internet speeds on your iPhone, as the rapid speeds and massive capacity connections offered by 5G hold the potential to drastically transform how healthcare is delivered. “The sensor densification in 5G, the low latency in 5G—all of those characteristics of the technology are going to enhance future capabilities in medicine—and that's the purpose of this SOW and the technical areas that surround it,” National Spectrum Consortium Vice Chairman Randy Clark said in a recent interview.  The four technical areas of focus listed are: 5G enabled AR guided medical training, 5G advanced telehealth information access, 5G tele-mentoring via AR and 5G advanced telerobotic surgery for medical procedures.

The experiment marks a significant milestone in the Government’s interest the advancement of technology in healthcare. We may soon be seeing robotic surgeons in our local operating rooms and not just in sci-fi features. Interested parties should continue to monitor the news, as well as, The BDO GovCon Week Ahead for developments with the proposal.

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Sharing is Caring: On May 12, 2021, President Biden’s office issued the Executive Order (EO) on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity, which is intended to prevent cyber breaches, like the Colonial Pipeline attack and the Solar Winds intrusion. A senior official was quoted as saying, “Federal agencies can’t defend what they can’t see.  Removing barriers to information sharing regarding threats and incidents is a fundamental first step to preventing breaches in the first place and empowering the Federal Government to respond when they do occur.”

One of the primary goals of issuing the EO is to reduce barriers and reluctance around sharing cyber threat information with the Government. Contractors should keep an eye out for proposed changes to Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and the Department of Defense FAR Supplement (DFARS) clauses that will require service providers to collect, preserve, and share information related to cyber incidents or potential incidents, which are to be published for public comment by early-August.

Further, the EO creates a Federal agency playbook to be used in response to a cyber breach or lesser network problem and states that the Government must secure cloud services and a zero-trust architecture, in order to keep up with the sophisticated cyber threat environment.

We, here at BDO, understand that there seems to be breaking news of a new cyber attack or new requirements or mitigation steps that are coming down the pike weekly.  As such, be sure to check future issues of the GovCon Week Ahead for the firm’s perspectives on navigating the ever-changing cybersecurity and Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) world.

For more information, please click this link and this link.

This article originally appeared in BDO USA, LLP’s “BDO Knows: GovCon Week Ahead” Newsletter (May 24, 2021). Copyright © 2021 BDO USA, LLP. All rights reserved. www.bdo.com

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