|  May 11, 2017

The America First Budget has been issued. This “blueprint to make America great again” contains no big surprises. What it does is underscore though, vigorously and clearly, is a thoroughgoing commitment to winning.
We should all be standing taller. America loves winners and hates losers, after all. It’s deeply rooted in the Anglo-American DNA.
And, after flirting with another shutdown, lawmakers have fallen in line; a bipartisan $1 trillion spending bill will fund the federal government through September.

Papers, Please!
The Make America Great Again Budget Blueprint calls for $15 million to begin implementation of mandatory nationwide use of the E-Verify Program, an internet-based system that allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their new employees to work in the United States. This investment would strengthen the employment verification process and reduce unauthorized employment across the U.S.


Headin’ South, Loosing Marbles, and Construction Cutbacks

And it calls for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to hire 10,000 new employees; 100 of them officers, as well as to buy more detention beds, and boost transportation spending, presumably on one-way tickets…..south. Congress is behind the increase in NIH’s funding, which will provide for research on Alzheimer’s disease and precision medicine, etc. And GSA faces the largest cuts of any major agency; its funding is being decreased by $1.35B, most of this in the new construction accounts.

Dispatches from the Cyberfront

What the blueprint and spending bill means for contractors is a beefed up military and more IT spending — and more IT spending on advanced stuff — including cyber security. The new administration wants to play tough in the cyber realm, on defense, and implicitly, on offense – all around.

WINNERS AND LOSERS — “When you were kids, you all admired the champion marble shooter, the fastest runner, the big-league ball players and the toughest boxers. Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time. That’s why Americans have never lost and will never lose a war. The very thought of losing is hateful to Americans. Battle is the most significant competition in which a man can indulge. It brings out all that is best and it removes all that is base.”– General George S. Patton

GENERAL DOUGLAS McARTHUR – Unlike recent conflicts, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, he wanted decisive outcomes. After all, “There is no substitute for victory.”

The Blueprint safeguards cyberspace with $1.5 billion for DHS activities that protect Federal networks and critical infrastructure from an attack. Through a suite of advanced cyber security tools and more assertive defense of Government networks, DHS would share more cybersecurity incident information with other Federal agencies and the private sector, leading to faster responses to cybersecurity attacks directed at Federal networks and critical infrastructure.
Hidden away in the provisions of the spending bill is a requirement that will standardize the meaning government-wide cybersecurity for budgeting purposes.

WINSTON CHURCHILL — “You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word. It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.”

It calls for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to consult with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and appropriations panels in the House and Senate to arrive at a common understanding of what federal activities count as cybersecurity.

Makin’ It Real

The emerging cyber-centric priority is reality-based. As a new study by Raytheon, Preparing Millennials to Lead in Cyberspace notes, far too few young people are interested in a career in cyber security. Considering the evolving complexities of threats such as malware, internal threats and cyber warfare, it seems paramount to address the need to educate the next generation in cyber security to act as the future line of defense (or “Cyber Warriors” as Rolling Stone Magazine terms them).

NO SUBSTITUTE FOR CYBERVICTORY– “We must ensure that our courageous servicemen and women have the tools they need to deter war, and when called upon to fight, do only one thing: Win.” — President Donald J. Trump


The Harmful effect of a late Appropriation

With the 2017 appropriations coming together in late April, this budget is the latest so far in the 21st century. The timing will have a negative effect on the volume of services contracts coming on the market during FY 2017. This is because there isn’t enough bandwidth in the federal bureaucracy to process all the procurements. It has long been received wisdom in the services business that, the timing of the appropriations decision is more important that the dollar total of the appropriations. Net net a late decision forces some of the dollars into simple solicitations such as IFBs that are easy to compete. Further, agencies are forced to spend some of their precious dollars on items that are not really what they want.