GFOA Encourages Members to Contact the IRS

Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) | May 20, 2016

On Friday, September 20, GFOA filed comments to the IRS on Proposed Regulations that would redefine Political Subdivisions for the purposes of tax exempt bonds. The Proposed Regulations set forth a new, three-part federal test to define political subdivisions qualified to issue tax-exempt debt. Every entity would have to meet all three tests to be considered a political subdivision. The entity must: (1) have right to exercise a substantial amount of at least one of three sovereign powers (the power of eminent domain, power of taxation and the police power); (2) serve a governmental purpose; and (3) be controlled by a state or local government. The detailed requirements applicable to these three tests under the Proposed Rules make the Proposed Regulations unworkable.
The GFOA letter explains that the Proposed Regulations would add extensive and additional federal requirements on entities established by the State to serve a purpose that is in the best interest of the State. Special districts in the U.S. encompass a wide variety of public purposes and to help fulfill their purpose, they have the ability to issue tax-exempt debt. The Proposed Regulations impact not only the ability to issue future tax-exempt bonds that would consequently weaken our country’s aging infrastructure, but also impact outstanding bonds issued by political subdivisions. The Proposed Regulations would hinder the ability of the political subdivisions to effectively, efficiently and economically serve communities. In the letter, the GFOA asks the IRS to withdraw the Proposed Regulations.

Spotlight

The synthetic biology community convened on March 6-7, 2018 at the “Canada Synbio 2018” Conference and Workshop as part of an ongoing effort to raise the profile and capacity of the synthetic biology community in Canada. The conference brought together a wide range of presenters and stakeholders in the interest not only of promoting and cultivating the synthetic biology community of practice, but also to begin establishing the common objectives and parameters for the field. As an emerging discipline at the cutting edge of technological development and scientific progress, synthetic biology is faced with an important set of challenges and opportunities in its process of continued development.


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GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

Leidos Awarded Contract to Support Federal Highway Administration Policy Initiatives

Leidos | September 22, 2022

Leidos ( NYSE: LDOS), a FORTUNE® 500 science and technology leader, has been awarded a new Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to provide program and technical support to the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Office of Policy and Governmental Affairs. The multiple-award BPA contract has a five-year base period of performance followed by a six-month option period. It holds an estimated value of $60 million. Work will be performed at multiple Leidos facilities. "We look forward to working with the FHWA on this program to provide support in assessing data and increasing safety on our roads, This win reinforces our capabilities to provide critical, mission-focused policy support." -Fran Hill, senior vice president of Leidos' Transportation Solutions. Through this contract, Leidos will support FHWA efforts to develop highway and intergovernmental policy positions, analyze the impact of investment on transportation performance and the economy, and enhance the administration's strategic plan and performance management processes. This will enable expert consultation services on cutting-edge data acquisition and demand modeling. The contract expands Leidos' work with the USDOT and FHWA. Leidos also supports FHWA's Office of Safety and Office of Operations with critical services that strengthen and protect our nation's infrastructure and ensure safe mobility to people and goods. About Leidos: Leidos is a Fortune 500® technology, engineering, and science solutions and services leader working to solve the world's toughest challenges in the defense, intelligence, civil, and health markets. The company's 44,000 employees support vital missions for government and commercial customers. Headquartered in Reston, Virginia, Leidos reported annual revenues of approximately $13.7 billion for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021.

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EMERGING TECHNOLOGY

Growing Adoption of StateRAMP Across All State, Local Government & Education Sectors StateRAMP Momentum Continues

StateRAMP | September 21, 2022

StateRAMP announces its growing list of governments working with StateRAMP to validate their third-party suppliers' cyber security posture who use or offer cloud products to deliver services. The growing list of participating governments comes on the heels of the National Association of State Procurement Officials (NASPO) recent announcement naming StateRAMP a Strategic Partner. Working together, StateRAMP and NASPO will work to develop educational content and resources for state government. "With responsibilities for critical infrastructure, vital services, and mass storage of confidential and privacy data, government, at all levels, is a prime target for cybercrime, We are thrilled to see all levels of State and Local Government engaging in StateRAMP to improve our collective cyber posture for the citizens we serve." -J.R. Sloan, President of the StateRAMP Board and Chief Information Officer for the State of Arizona. Procuring technology tools and services is complicated work, and many organizations have sought to make that process easier for the public sector. By focusing on cybersecurity risk management, StateRAMP addresses a key pain point for state and local public agencies—and the vendors and suppliers that serve them. With a grounding in the reality of state and local government operations—and by building on widely adopted best practices—StateRAMP is exactly the sort of smart innovation that the public sector needs and deserves, said Doug Levin, National Director, K12 Security Information eXchange (K12 SIX). "We are excited to work with our strategic partners and members to continue toward our mission of promoting best practices in government for managing supplier cloud security, When there is a common problem, there is an opportunity for a shared solution. In cloud security, the shared solution is StateRAMP for all levels of government and the vendors who serve them." -Leah McGrath, Executive Director, StateRAMP. About StateRAMP: StateRAMP is a nonprofit organization that launched in early 2021 and brings state and local governments together with the suppliers who serve them to recognize best practices in cloud security and provides a standardized approach to cloud cybersecurity verification. StateRAMP provides state and local governments assurance that the suppliers they are working with meet the minimum cybersecurity standards through independent audits and ongoing continuous monitoring. StateRAMP is designed as a shared service for government and a streamlined service for suppliers who can verify their products one time and reuse that certification with each government agency they serve. StateRAMP maintains an Authorized Product List (APL) which lists products that have achieved a security status and those products going through the process. About K12 Security Information eXchange (K12 SIX): The K12 Security Information eXchange (K12 SIX) offers cybersecurity resilience to keep students learning and school districts operating.

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EMERGING TECHNOLOGY,CYBERSECURITY

U.S. Government Agencies’ IT Networks May Be Unprepared for Return to Office

Riverbed | August 24, 2022

More than half the federal government IT employees responding to a recent survey say they are worried their IT systems will struggle to deliver good user experiences as more agency employees return to working in offices instead of remotely, according to a new survey released today by Riverbed® and Swish. Among survey respondents who are concerned with end-user experience in a hybrid work environment, 52% of those are concerned that their legacy IT architectures and on-premises network infrastructure will struggle with the increased usage of collaboration tools such as Teams and Zoom as workers return to the office, and 44% are concerned that the end user experience on-site won’t be as good as at home. These concerns arise as the concept of “government from anywhere,” whether in an on-site or hybrid capacity, is becoming widely accepted. Of those surveyed, 47% expect hybrid work environments (teleworking 2-4 days a week) to continue for the long-term, while only 30% expect that a majority of employees will return to the office fulltime in the next six months. The survey of IT employees across the U.S. federal government, from both civilian and defense agencies, was conducted by research firm Market Connections. Survey respondents also reported that they rely on reactive, manual methods to quantify problems with user, infrastructure, and application experiences. While 100 percent of respondents agree that it is at least somewhat important to measure end user experience and productivity capability, 87% claim their agency is still reactively responding to help desk tickets and 51% rely upon user phone calls as a primary means of quantifying issues. “These survey findings point to the importance of utilizing proactive monitoring tools that provide complete network visibility to improve the user experience and network performance across an agency’s entire IT environment, As agencies balance their various work environments and collaboration tools, they should seek to implement an observability platform that multiple teams can use to proactively identify and contextually analyze user issues and leverage automation to solve them quickly.” -Craig McCullough, Senior Vice President of Public Sector for Riverbed. According to the survey, most agencies surveyed (59%) aren’t effectively measuring the impact of change in their IT environment, and are not examining business transaction productivity in terms of labor cost, latency impact, or rate of success. Issues of user experience and productivity and IT network performance can be successfully addressed by utilizing a single-platform, proactive, monitoring tool that provides end-to-end network visibility. With full visibility, IT and agency leaders can quickly identify, mitigate and resolve issues across a variety of endpoints through one integrated system. “This is significant because without a single performance platform, agencies don’t have consolidated incident-centric end-to-end context, root cause analysis, or automated response, Unified observability should be at the forefront of agency thinking and we and our partners, like Riverbed, are working to support this mentality shift which will ultimately benefit the government for years to come.” -Monty Deel, Chief Executive Officer for Swish. About Swish: Swish is a provider of technology solutions and engineering services to the U.S. Federal Government with a focus on high-quality outcomes for customers. Experienced and certified engineers research and evaluate the most innovative technologies on the market and then develop full life cycle solution offerings to ensure that customers realize maximum operational value. Since 2006, Swish has delivered high-performance solutions and services to the Federal Government market ensuring that customer’s digital service capabilities, performance and security exceed expectations and requirements. Swish is a Service-Disabled, Veteran-Owned and HUBZone certified Small Business. About Riverbed: Riverbed is the only company with the collective richness of telemetry from network to app to end user, that illuminates and then accelerates every interaction, so organizations can deliver a seamless digital experience and drive enterprise performance. Riverbed offers two industry-leading portfolios: Alluvio by Riverbed, a differentiated Unified Observability portfolio that unifies data, insights, and actions across IT, so customers can deliver seamless, secure digital experiences; and Riverbed Acceleration, providing fast, agile, secure acceleration of any app, over any network, to users anywhere. Together with our thousands of partners, and market-leading customers globally – including 95% of the FORTUNE 100 –, we empower every click, every digital experience.

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EMERGING TECHNOLOGY,CYBERSECURITY

ASGN Incorporated Acquires Iron Vine Security

ASGN | October 04, 2022

ASGN Incorporated (NYSE: ASGN), a leading provider of IT services and solutions, including technology and creative digital marketing, across the commercial and government sectors, announced today that it has acquired Iron Vine Security (“Iron Vine” or “the Company”), a leading cybersecurity company that designs, implements, and executes cybersecurity programs for federal customers. Iron Vine’s team of over 230 professionals will become part of ECS Federal, LLC, ASGN’s Federal Government Segment. Founded in 2008 and headquartered in Washington, DC, Iron Vine delivers end-to-end, next-generation cybersecurity and zero-trust solutions, including cybersecurity program development, security engineering, security operations center (SOC) management, securities controls testing, cloud infrastructure security and digital forensics. The Company is entrusted to protect the critical IT assets of federal clients, including the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Census Bureau, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the Department of Education and the Department of State, amongst others. “We are very pleased to welcome Bill Geimer and his entire team of cybersecurity experts to ASGN, Iron Vine’s cybersecurity strength enhances ECS’ powerful solution set to enable the combined companies to capture some of today’s largest cybersecurity contracts across civilian, defense, and intelligence agencies.” -Ted Hanson Chief Executive Officer ASGN. ECS has enjoyed a longstanding partner relationship with Iron Vine, said John Heneghan, ECS president. We share a commitment to driving results for our customers by leveraging the latest technology along with leading cyber expertise. By combining and expanding our next-gen cybersecurity solutions and talented workforce, we strengthen our ability to deliver innovative solutions that protect our Nation’s most critical resources and move our customers’ missions forward. “We are very excited to join ECS and the broader ASGN family, Combining Iron Vine’s deep cyber expertise with ECS’ technical breadth will provide our combined customers access to an enriched offering of proven, innovative cybersecurity solutions and methodologies.” -Bill Geimer, CEO of Iron Vine. In connection with the closing, ASGN expects to grant restricted stock unit awards to 36 Iron Vine employees who are not executives of ASGN on January 3, 2023, covering a number of shares of ASGN common stock having an aggregate value of approximately $7 million on the grant date. Subject to continued service to ASGN, these restricted stock unit awards will vest: (a) one-half on the second anniversary of the closing, and (b) 25 percent on each of the third and fourth anniversaries of the closing. The restricted stock unit awards are granted as employment inducement awards pursuant to the New York Stock Exchange rules. About ASGN Incorporated: ASGN Incorporated (NYSE: ASGN) is a leading provider of IT services and solutions, including technology and creative digital marketing, across the commercial and government sectors. ASGN helps corporate enterprises and government organizations develop, implement and operate critical IT and business solutions through its integrated offering of professional staffing and IT solutions

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Spotlight

The synthetic biology community convened on March 6-7, 2018 at the “Canada Synbio 2018” Conference and Workshop as part of an ongoing effort to raise the profile and capacity of the synthetic biology community in Canada. The conference brought together a wide range of presenters and stakeholders in the interest not only of promoting and cultivating the synthetic biology community of practice, but also to begin establishing the common objectives and parameters for the field. As an emerging discipline at the cutting edge of technological development and scientific progress, synthetic biology is faced with an important set of challenges and opportunities in its process of continued development.

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