Earlier this month Salient CRGT, Inc., through its subsidiary Information Innovators, Inc. – also known as “Triple-I” – announced that it was awarded a prime task order by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) under the Transformation Twenty-One Total Technology Next Generation (T4NG) contract vehicle.

More than 21 companies, including 10 Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSBs) have been awarded the T4NG contract. T4NG is a Multi-Agency (MAC) Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) Multiple Award Task Order (MATO) contract with a base period of five years and one five-year option period.

The program will enable the VA to acquire services across a wide range of IT services, including: program management, strategy, enterprise architecture and planning, systems/software engineering, software technology demonstration and transition, test and evaluation, independent verification and validation, enterprise network, enterprise management framework, operations and maintenance, cybersecurity, training, IT facilities and other solutions encompassing the entire range of IT and health IT requirements.

“The T4NG program manages contracts for technology projects and is designed to ensure that new, innovative companies find a level playing field in the contract award process,” said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

“The process weighs factors, including proposals’ ability to deliver high value at a lower cost, candidates’ proven technical capabilities and successful ‘past performance’ in similar projects,” King told ClearanceJobs. “But the program also places emphasis on smaller businesses that are veteran-owned, employ a “veteran-rich” workforce and support service-disabled vets.”

Supporting the VA’s Cyber Security Operations Center

Salient CRGT is providing support in areas where it is already a market leader, including digital modernization, enterprise IT and cybersecurity. For the VA this will include support for the Cyber Security Operations Center; the Network Engineering, Design, Implementation and Infrastructure Support contract; and National Configuration Management Support Services.

This new four-year award, which will be conducted under the VA Office of Information & Technology (OI&T) Enterprise Program Management Office (EPMO), is reportedly valued at around $17.4 million.

“We are privileged to support the VA’s Enterprise Program Management Office with customized, enterprise-level technology solutions that leverage VA’s existing infrastructure to streamline the core processes that drive Veteran-focused engagement, deliver innovative information management, and protect information with modern cybersecurity controls strategies,” Brad Antle, CEO of Salient CRGT, told ClearanceJobs.

This is the third prime VA contract awarded to the company this year. Triple-I will help EPM manage change control, configuration environment and build engineering efforts, as well as modernize, standardize and virtualize the Veterans Information Systems and Technology Architecture.

This latest such contract could provide new employment opportunities, but it is just the latest in a series of initiatives undertaken by the agency. It is also part of the turnaround for an agency that was in the media a few years ago for its malfeasance and dysfunction.

Turning a Corner for va it operations

In March 2016 the VA awarded 21 contracts worth up to $22.3 billion for information technology infrastructure improvements, cyber security and operations and network management. The T4NG contract awards support the Department’s MyVA transformation efforts. Past contracts were awarded to such companies as Favor TechConsulting, LLC, a provider of IT solutions to the federal government and Leidos, a global science and technology solutions provider.

Among the other companies that have been awarded the contract are GovernmentCIO, TeraThink and Synaptek Corp. All of these companies will assist the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in improving its IT infrastructure, cybersecurity, technical support, program management, engineering and other IT modernization efforts.

“These contracts demonstrate both the wisdom of the T4NG program and its continuing value,” King added. “In essence, it highlights the fact that while veterans certainly deserve honor for their service to country, the value they offer and provide to their communities continues long after they leave the military and should be equally recognized.”

Transformation to Ensure Continued Support

The VA currently supports millions of veterans, and this includes provisioning healthcare and benefits consistent with current and past legislated mandates. This support requires a host of enterprise, COTS and local systems, often highly customized, to maintain veteran health and benefits related information, execute critical business processes, and efficiently run VA’s business operations.

In January of this year the VA further announced a number of reorganizations, which included its regional map – the largest transformation in the agency’s history. This transformation plan – MyVA – is about fulfilling the nation’s obligations to those millions who have served, and ensuring that the VA will be the number one customer-service agency in the government, according to then-outgoing VA Secretary Bob McDonald, who addressed the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee earlier this year.

Already a number of military and industry experts have provided their respective feedback on MyVA and the overall VA transformation process.

“I’m very pleased to see the progress made by VA in the last year and I believe this plan will deliver real change for our nation’s Veterans,” said Joe Robles, former president and chief executive officer of USAA, as reported by the VA official blog. Robles, a retired U.S. Army major general, serves as chairman of the MyVA advisory committee.

Keeping Veterans’ Data Secure

Given past hacking of key government sectors – mostly notably the Office of Personnel Management – and ongoing hacking of components of the healthcare industry, cybersecurity will be a key component of this initiative.

“Security and privacy considerations are a number one priority in healthcare IT,” said Tom Ferrando, president of Salient CRGT.

“In both veteran health IT and benefits systems, we share responsibilities over two parts of the security problems that must be addressed by VA; one, securing networks and systems from external and internal threats,” Ferrando told ClearanceJobs. “And, two, protecting personally identifiable information (PII) or sensitive personal information (SPI) in compliance with governing regulations.”

In addition, protecting the VA’s IT investments is a critical issue to both veterans and taxpayers. While this may carry a hefty price tag, the alternative –  a security breach – could be far more costly.

“The President’s 2018 Budget includes $186.5 billion in budget authority for VA in 2018,” Antle added. “Failure to protect these assets through rigorous configuration and changed management practices raises IT development, support and sustainment costs, and can result in the loss of veteran support capabilities.”

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Peter Suciu is a freelance writer who covers business technology and cyber security. He currently lives in Michigan and can be reached at petersuciu@gmail.com.