Health & Human Services Secretary Confirmation Hearing for Sylvia Burwell

May 8, 2014

HHS & Federal Allies Institute have worked together since FAI’s first national conference at Fort Myer, Virginia and the Therapeutic Discovery Project Tax Credit symposium that Federal Allies was asked to organize by U.S. SBA, with Treasury, HHS and FDA.  That conference yielded small bioscience research firms of 250 or fewer staff with millions of dollars to hire new researchers and to keep U.S. research from going offshore.

President Obama’s nominee for Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell testifies at her confirmation hearing this morning. On behalf of Federal Allies Institute, I wish Sylvia Burwell and the ability and experience she brings to office, best wishes.

David T. Boddie, Executive Director, Federal Allies Institute

http://www.c-span.org/video/?319176-1/hhs-secretary-confirmation-hearing

C-SPAN Photo credit: Carolyn Kaster, Associated Press


Letter from the Executive Director April 2014

April 9, 2014

Disaster Response & Federal Allies Institute

 

In 2005 I was thrust into the world of disaster response in Alabama as an entry level FEMA “Disaster Assistance Employee HQ” from Washington, D.C. there to help about 114,000 in the first 90 days – many were sudden, new residents of Alabama moving out from harm’s way. Many former residents of New Orleans and other coastal areas from Louisiana to Florida simply drove their cars north until they ran out of gas and the gas stations did likewise. At which point they called the FEMA 800 number for help.

Alabama’s disaster headquarters, Joint Field Office, in Montgomery, Alabama was an old Sam’s Club building leased by GSA and converted to office space and filled blue partitioned offices.

During my first week, with vaccinations and on-the-job training, I rose through the ranks of Individual Assistance to work directly for FEMA’s top Coordinating Federal Officer of Alabama and the top Alabama State Coordinating Officer to organize massive public events of resources and evacuees across the state.

Most were planned and implemented within 48-hour notice and as I worked with all the FEMA components, community and church groups, and corporate America, one that stood out was FEMA Logistics. Staffed with can-do spirit and drive, I thought to myself these guys are straight out of the helicopter boat scene in Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now.    No logistics problem was too big or had a too brief of a time span attached. Thousands of families, massive tents, tables, chairs, psychologists, generators, water, fuel, federal security, computers, disaster recovery centers, housing, blue tarps atop of houses everywhere, people that needed immediate assistance, people too proud to accept assistance, and the list could go on for many pages. At the end, trained in many Disaster courses, I spent my first day at a Disaster Recovery Center as the manager.   Besides learning all about disasters, with even more training at Fort McClellan, my experiences with Katrina, engrained in my mind the value of companies coming to the rescue, for example, particularly Walmart with its massive distribution channels and low-key generosity.   I don’t ever remember Walmart being acknowledged for all they did.

As my responsibilities grew, I gained many experiences working with a vast network of new colleagues throughout Alabama, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida and Congressional Relations and with FEMA headquarters, such as with FEMA Legal in negotiating housing agreements between FEMA, Department of Agriculture, and Veterans Administration. Upon return to Washington, DC I took part in federal policy meetings and hearings on how to improve the multi-agency response to such a national disaster as Hurricane Katrina. I brought my best ideas.

That brings us to our next Federal Allies Summit at Hogan Lovells, Disaster Response Summit, April 17, 2014. On behalf of Federal Allies Institute, we hope you will come to Washington, D.C. and attend. It will tell you what you need to know. Register online at FederalAllies.org. Members receive a special rate.

Sincerely,

David T. Boddie, Executive Director, Federal Allies Institute

 


Federal Allies News March 2014

March 17, 2014

Letter from the Executive Director

SBA’s New Emerging Leaders Program: StreetWise Steps™ to Small Business Growth

U.S. Small Business Administration’s Emerging Leaders initiative has asked Federal Allies to publicize the agency’s search for CEOs of established small businesses to enroll in a free evening program to help grow revenues and jobs.  Twice monthly, 13 sessions, 40 classroom hours currently planned for 27 cities.

Requirements include three years in business, two or more employees, annual revenue $400,000 to $10 million, and DBEs or lower income census track.

Module 1: Business and Strategy Assessment. Module 2: Financials. Module 3: Marketing and Sales. Module 4: Resources- People, Accessing Capital and Government Contracting.  Module 5: Putting it all together – Strategic Growth Plan Presentations.

Contact your local district office.  More information is available online at sba.gov/emergingleaders or you may e-mail SBA@FederalAllies.org.

A Brief History of Federal Allies and SBA

Federal Allies Institute was launched during National Small Business Week 2008, the U.S.A.’s top small business recognition program and organized by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The mutually beneficial relationship between Federal Allies and SBA has quantifiably helped small businesses.  For example one project included SBA’s request for a free biotechnology grant application seminar, organized by Federal Allies that helped enable 26 research firms to each receive one or more grants of $244,000.  In addition to SBA, the grant process included the U.S. Department of the Treasury, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Several top biotechnology associations, including BIO, were recruited to serve on panels of the Federal Allies event.

Welcome New Members

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Welcome Distinctive Home & Health Care! The Distinctive Home & Health Care 1st Annual Heart Disease Awareness Networking Event held at Distinctive Home & Health Care’s Corporate Office. (L to R) Deborah Guynn, President, Jim Guynn, Vice President, Regina L. Singletary, Executive Assistant, DHA Acquisition Management & Support, and Chante Davis, Director of Operations. Guests enjoyed delicious appetizers with wine provided by Kathy Gaines. A fundraiser for research, guests received copies of USDA 10 Tips to Be Active Adults  and Affordable Care Act Sign Up Locations for Residents of Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, in Maryland.

Federal Allies Institute Corporate Ethics Certification Program Underway

The Winter Sessions of Federal Allies Institute’s Corporate Ethics Certification are being held during February and March.  A second program planned for the Spring is currently seeking enrollees.  The fee for members is $1,000 and non-members $1,500.  The Federal Allies Institute Scholarship Program offers a limited number of partial scholarships.  The Federal Allies Institute Board of Overseers for the program seeks to expand.  Recent meetings to publicize the program have been held including with U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine, both of Virginia, the home state of the Federal Allies Institute.

Sincerely,

David T. Boddie

Executive Director, Federal Allies Institute


Federal Allies Institute Interview: Kevin D. Freeman, New York Times Best-Selling Author on Economic Warfare and Cyber

March 17, 2014

Federal Allies  Recently, the Russia invasion of the Crimean peninsula utilized both conventional and cyber attacks.  In your latest book Game Plan, you outline the potential threats against the U.S. economy and how Americans can be prepared to protect their savings and investments.  In other words, what Americans see as the marketplace, our enemies now view as the battle space to include cyber economic attacks for a global economic war.  You have written several books on the subject.  Can you enlighten us on your federal agency meetings and what has been their response to the potential for economic warfare and cyber attacks?

Freeman  It is important to understand that the critical issue is economic warfare and cyber is a powerful way to conduct that war. Without understanding that the war is economic, cyber becomes a catch-up battle with malware, viruses, and hacking—something for which you might install some good defensive software but not create a threat doctrine.

Most of my meetings have been with Defense and Intelligence agencies. Initially, the meetings were based on curiosity as the concept of economic warfare and financial terrorism was viewed as outside the mainstream of discussion. In one case, a group was convened to determine how offensive weapons could be deployed using financial strategies.

In most cases, after the meeting, there was a general acknowledgment of the threat but little willingness to address it. “It’s not in our lane,” was a common response. In other cases, there seemed to be a denial of the entire concept. “No one would be able to do that,” and “why would anyone harm our economy when they would be hurt in the process,” were typical responses. Since 2008, I have met with a dozen or so different Pentagon-related offices, top leadership (past or present) from three different intelligence agencies, various appropriators, Federally-funded research labs, and others.

Over time, with further revelations, however, the idea of economic attacks, especially cyber in nature have gained critical acceptance. I recall a meeting at the FBI, for example, where the whole idea of attacking our financial system was ridiculed. A couple of weeks later, the NASDAQ was hacked and it was acknowledged that the resources behind the breach leaned more to nation state that criminal organization. And, there have been directed threats by Putin against our markets and currency, the flash crashes, and other incidents that support my general thesis that the next war is economic with cyber weaponry. Then, there were the revelations from Juan Zarate in his book, Treasury’s War that acknowledged not only that we had developed economic weaponry to use against terrorists but also that we were vulnerable to a host of financial attacks.

Unfortunately, the problem remains that the broad issue of economic warfare and financial terrorism, despite its serious nature, doesn’t “belong” in any one location and may not reside anywhere. We are looking at cyber, but unless we see it in the context of economic warfare we won’t address it properly. Outgoing head of the NSA, General Keith Alexander acknowledged our vulnerability in a 60 Minutes interview (as excerpted from Forbes December 15, 2013):

“On the CBS program 60 Minutes tonight, National Security Agency (NSA) director Gen. Keith Alexander admitted that ‘a foreign national could impact and destroy a major portion of our financial system’ by placing a virus in our computer systems ‘and literally take down the U.S. economy’ if the virus was spread around … While mentioning known attacks by China, Deborah Plunkett, another NSA official spokesperson, told CBS: ‘Don’t be fooled. There are absolutely nation states who have the capability and the intention to do just that,’ i.e. ‘literally take down the U.S. economy.’”

Federal Allies  How big of an issue is cyber in comparison to all other concerns?

Freeman  Our potential enemies have cyber as the #1 means of future warfare.  That says something. It is likely that all future conflicts will have at least a cyber component. The risk is, with cyber or EMP or other attacks that Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima could be combined into a single event. There are sovereignty ending risks if the electric grid is wiped out, or the financial system completely collapses. Consider this from Wired Magazine in 2010:

“Cyberspace has become the fifth domain of warfare, after land, sea, air and space. Some scenarios imagine the almost instantaneous failure of the systems that keep the modern world turning. As computer networks collapse, factories and chemical plants explode, satellites spin out of control and the financial and power grids fail.”

The Russians used cyber attacks both in Georgia and more recently the Ukraine. China, Iran, and North Korea, and multiple terror groups/international criminal organizations have all developed sophisticated cyber units as a primary means of war fighting. They are testing and probing our systems daily.

Federal Allies  The Defense Department named cyberspace a new domain of warfare in 2011. Today, U.S. Cyber Command, the services, and U.S. partners and allies are working together to make that inherently collaborative, adaptable environment a suitable place for military command and control.  Which federal agencies are leaders on cyber?

Freeman  DoD through Cyber Command and NSA and Homeland Security are key leaders, with significant cyber efforts at FBI and throughout the Intelligence Community. I am concerned, however, that the effort isn’t fully integrated as would be required to develop an economic war footing. It’s a little like pre-9/11 when anti-terrorism was split across a variety of efforts with little coordination or cooperation.

Federal Allies  Which published government reports do you recommend would bolster our readers?

Freeman  All of my work has been through existing contractors. I recommend my DoD reports, my books, and blogs with info at http://secretweapon.org.

Federal Allies  As you look across the agencies, who is leading the most important initiatives underway?

Freeman  From my limited vantage point, DoD has shown the most interest which is appropriate as this is an economic war with a cyber dimension.

Federal Allies  What would you like to leave our readership thinking about?

Freeman  I believe we are potentially facing a third World War fought primarily through economic means. Most prospective enemies of the United States would prefer not to match our kinetic weapon systems. But, they view our underlying strength coming from our economy and our economy appearing vulnerable. Unfortunately, our nation tends to prepare for the next war based on the weapons from the last war. This is a mistake. It is critical that we develop a complete economic warfare doctrine and build integration for key cyber efforts to that doctrine.

Federal Allies  Thank you.

 

Read Federal Allies News March 2014 edition: Economic Warfare and the Use of Cyber. An in-depth interview of New York Times Best-Selling Author Kevin D. Freeman. www.FederalAllies.org  Interview conducted at CPAC and online.

@FederalAllies Interview with Kevin Freeman (March, 2014 Issue): secretweapon.org/federal-allies… #GamePlan


Federal Allies Institute Interview: Mauricio P. Vera, Part 2

February 20, 2014

Mauricio P. Vera is a career member of the Senior Executive Service and serves as the director of the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU). In this role, Vera leads USAID’s efforts to provide maximum opportunities for small, disadvantaged, women-owned, service-disabled veteran-owned and HUBZone small businesses to participate in USAID contract awards through outreach, education and creative procurement initiatives.

By Katia Lind

The following two-part interview published in the January and February 2014 editions of Federal Allies News highlights the work of Mauricio P. Vera, an early supporter for the formation of the Federal Allies Institute.

 

Federal Allies: What trends and changes at USAID should federal contractors anticipate in the future?

Vera: We have done a lot better working with small businesses for our domestic requirements.  In the  six years that I’ve been at USAID, we have almost doubled our percentages, i.e. the percentage of dollars going to small businesses. When I started here, about 8% of our domestic dollars were awarded to small businesses and for the fiscal year we just finished, it was over 15%.  Our goal last fiscal year was 11%, and for FY 2014, our goal is 12.35%.  We are now focusing much more on our overseas requirements, and that’s a much bigger challenge, given the difference in the regulations.  It is much easier to hold our staff accountable domestically than overseas, given the way the regulations are currently written.  So we now have some internal initiatives to encourage our missions to work closely with U.S. small businesses.   We’ve recently set a new metric, an internal target, for international awards to small businesses.  It’s a high level target that is one of our corporate objectives and thus gets the attention of the senior leadership of the agency.  This just started a few months ago and we are trying to promote it to our missions overseas.  And we’ve also started a training program for our acquisition staff overseas, that’s been ongoing for a year and a half now.  Now that we have this internal target, we believe it’s going to really have impact on increasing small business opportunities overseas.

Federal Allies: How are you reaching out to small businesses internationally?

Vera:  We look for countries where our programs are not large, i.e. we have not focused our efforts in countries like Afghanistan, where we have a lot of resources, contracts are large, and where the operating environment is difficult.  Many small businesses do not want to operate in our critical priority countries, where there may be a difficult security situation.  The countries we have targeted for small business opportunities are ones where budgets are not small but are not huge either, e.g. $50 million to $100 million in a particular country.   And if the leader of the mission is supportive of our initiative, then that also helps.  For example, Liberia is an example of a country where we are doing quite well with small businesses, actually on a percentage basis they are doing better than we are doing domestically, because of the commitment of the mission’s leadership. So we try to target those countries.  We also review acquisition plans to ensure that there will be small businesses that are interested in bidding.

 

Federal Allies: For our Veterans, what are you doing to ensure that USAID reaches its 3% SDVOSB goal?

Vera:  All the agencies have statutory rates that are now negotiated for Service Disabled Veterans.  It is 3% and for Women-owned businesses it’s 5%.  Last year was the first time that we met and exceeded our 5% Women-owned small business goal.  And for Veterans we are now at about 2.23%, again a significant improvement from the past for both categories.  We are doing this by focusing specific acquisitions on those groups, doing set-asides in each area and conducting targeted outreach to these groups.  As a matter of fact, we are leading an inter-agency effort organizing the Veterans International Small Business Opportunities conference.  It will take place on February 25 and will include the State Department, Millennium Challenge Corporation, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the US Trade and Development Agency.

Federal Allies: Five years ago, Nuclear Regulatory Agency, Smithsonian, and US AID were among 25 agencies and branches of the military that attended the first events of Federal Allies Institute at Fort Myer, Virginia.  Back then Federal Allies achieved its first mention in Congressional testimony by the Architect of the Capitol before a U.S. House Subcommittee on Economic Development, touted as a way to expand their current vendor database of small businesses. FAI has since broadened those relationships with the agencies, scores of congressional offices and travelled to many states to present our unique program and brand before many county, and state economic development program boards, governors’ offices and setting up new chapters.  As FAI grows across the country to promote federal acquisition best practices, do you see value in a privately-funded non-profit association such as Federal Allies making these connections that net federal agencies with more small business competition for federal contracts?

Vera:  We have found these types of organizations and events valuable.  We found a lot of small businesses to work with us around the country.  We do have budget constraints for travel so we try to support these events as much as we can.

Federal Allies: What’s next for you personally?  How will you continue helping the federal government reap the value of small businesses?

Vera:  I always tell people that I consider myself very lucky because I have a job that I love and work for an agency that I love.  Our mission is very special and I’m honored to work with incredibly bright and talented people every day.  Our mission is truly special: to end poverty and improve the lives of people around the world.  I’ve always been very passionate about helping small businesses and I continue to wake up every morning excited about doing this work every day. As I mentioned before, we’ve improved a lot domestically and our challenge now is to do this overseas.  So I plan to do this as long as I can continue to be successful at it.  Maybe in a few years, when I retire, I will try to start my own business.  I thought about doing that many years ago, but decided against it so I could help raise a family.


Federal Allies News February 2014

February 17, 2014

Letter from the Executive Director

Corporate Ethics Certification

Federal Allies Institute Corporate Ethics Certification Winter Sessions begin February 11, 2014 in Reston, Virginia.  Program sponsors include C2 Solutions Group.  The Federal Allies Institute Scholarship Program enabled participation.  Federal Allies Institute can be your ally in helping you establish your credentials as an ethical business partner, by reviewing your corporate ethics program and awarding you the Federal Allies Institute Certified Ethical Company Designation.

If you would like to certify your business or become a financial sponsor of the program on behalf of the small business federal contracting community, please contact CEC@FederalAllies.org.

The Federal Allies Institute Scholarship Program

The Federal Allies Institute Scholarship Program enables deserving entrepreneurs and students to become active in the field of federal contracting and has been mentioned by The Washington Post.  Scholarship financial endowments are sought.  Benefits include naming rights and recognition of your support of America’s federal contracting community.  Contact Scholar@FederalAllies.org.

Welcome New Members

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Welcome new member Anne Marie Finley, President Biotech Policy Group, LLC, pictured with Federal Allies Institute Chairman Charles F. Sills and FAI Founder & Executive Director David T. Boddie at the February 6, 2014 Washington, D.C. birthday reception held in honor of President Ronald W. Reagan.

Affinity Programs

Federal Allies Institute Affinity Programs include discounts to help reduce cost of operations for members only.  A wide variety of member-firms offer these services including American Airlines, CSG Affiliates, Dell, LaQuinta Inns & Suites, Management Concepts Press, Retirement Planners and Administrators, Zipcar and more.

Join Federal Allies

If you would like to join Federal Allies Institute, contact any member of the board of directors.

Join Federal Allies Committees

If you are a member and would like to get involved in any number of FAI committees and task forces, please contact Member@FederalAllies.org

Sincerely,

David T. Boddie

Executive Director

Federal Allies Institute


Federal Allies Members Invited to First Major Speech of Jeh Johnson, Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

February 7, 2014

Federal Allies Insititute Jeh Johnson DHS


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