The DoD has had its common access card (CAC) around for more than 20 years. While the CAC is not necessarily going anywhere, recently, the director of the Defense Information Systems Agency indicated that there may be a better way to allow contractors, civilians, and military to access to systems and facilities.

“We have to have something that’s better,” he said. “Industry has been, I’ll say, using other authentication mechanisms — other things for leveraging identity management, access control. I want to leverage that. We want to leverage that technology to be able to provide greater options, so it’s not just two-factor authentication, but it’s truly multi-factor — and it’s with the individual, it’s with the device.”

But while there are technically better ways to allow access to systems, the reality is that the entire DoD ecosystem has been slowly built up over time to universally accept the CAC. Any changes to the system will need to be carried out to update facilities and network logins. So, if your CAC is up for renewal – don’t skip out on it, as it’s still in the foreseeable future; however, don’t be surprised if you see changes down the road.

“We’re really looking at the future of the SIPRNET, and the secure environment and how we take advantage of technology today — how we take care of what industry is able to do — to really transform, not just modernize, but how do we transform so that we can truly have the multi-factor, multi-level security, multi-level environment, so that it doesn’t matter where you’re trying to go, that you can get access to it as long as you have the right privileges and accesses,” he said.

Contract Opportunities to Watch

Geospark Analytics  Geospark Analytics, the world class leader in applied artificial intelligence solutions for risk and threat assessment, has been awarded a new four-year contract from the Department of State.

Over the last year, the Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security has been evaluating Geospark Analytics’ AI-driven risk platform Hyperion to understand emerging threat and risk levels around the globe. Based on successful uses of the platform over the past year, the Department awarded Geospark Analytics a multi-year contract for expanded use of the Hyperion platform and artificial intelligence data services which will bring the technology to additional Diplomatic Security missions.

“We are thrilled to continue to support the Department of State’s Diplomatic Security mission and expand the use of our unique artificial intelligence algorithms and our Hyperion platform,” said John Goolgasian, President of Geospark Analytics. “This expanded agreement will bring the Department the most cutting-edge AI-driven technology to ensure the safety and security of their people, operations and missions across the world.”


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Cleared Recruiter One way to support national security is to be a cleared recruiter. With proposals and contracts regularly in the system, there’s never a dull moment for a cleared recruiter. Depending on the level in the organization, you will need to have a few years recruiting experience, in addition to a bachelor’s degree. A good, working knowledge of the recruiting lifecycle is also needed; however, for junior staff, it is possible to learn the lingo on the job.

But, you will need to be able to work with internal staff to communicate their job needs to candidates, as well as, search, find, and interview candidates to fill open positions. From project management skills to cold calling candidates, the life of a cleared recruiter has it all. The work is full and rewarding, but it does require an ability to understand a wide variety of jobs, the company culture and needs, as well as a client’s culture and needs. So, if you like to balance a lot of priorities and opinions and meet new challenges each month – all while maintaining a security clearance, the life of a cleared recruiter could be a great fit for you.

Growth Opportunities

Embedded Ventures, a new venture capital firm investing in dual-use space startups beyond launch, today announced an unprecedented multi-year agreement with United States Space Force (USSF)’s SpaceWERX office. SpaceWERX is expanding the space industrial base by forming collaborative research agreements between the military’s operational experts and the top innovators in industry and academia, leveraging commercial investment, and rapidly pursuing new space technologies, while setting ambitious goals since its creation. The arrangement, established via a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) through the Air Force Research Lab’s Technology Transfer Office in New Mexico, enables the two entities to collaborate on research and development opportunities promoting U.S. space industry growth to prepare for the future of an expanded space economy and for the defense of U.S. interests.

“As the skunkworks of venture capital firms, we knew we wanted to do things differently from the start. We are honored to partake in the first formal VC partnership with USSF,” said Jenna Bryant, Co-Founder, CEO and General Partner of Embedded Ventures. “We’ve been in communication for months, but with this CRADA now in place, we’re thrilled to formally work together to drive success at both organizations. This agreement also impacts me on a personal level, as my brother is a Marine Corps V-22 Pilot, and I want to see our soldiers have access to the best private innovation we can find.”

“Jenna first envisioned the potential for this type of collaboration when she brought senior Department of Defense leaders and I together a few years ago, even before Embedded Ventures existed,” said Jordan Noone, Co-Founder, CTO, and General Partner of Embedded Ventures. “We’re thrilled to be the first VC firm to have such an agreement with USSF, guiding progress for years to come.”

The parties will collaboratively investigate the potential benefits of leveraging VC investment practices to accelerate the pace of change and innovation. They will also examine the USSF industry business relationships to define future methods for investment into the VC ecosystem. Embedded Ventures and USSF will be meeting regularly to discuss progress related to tangible milestones set forth.

There were additional key personnel who helped to orchestrate this alliance, including Mandy Vaughn, Operating Partner at Embedded Ventures, Col. Nathan Diller, Director of AFWERX, Col. Eric Felt, Director of AFRL’s Space Vehicles Directorate, Gabe Mounce, Deputy Director at SpaceWERX, and Melissa Ortiz, Agreements Specialist for AFRL’s Tech Transfer Office in New Mexico.

“SpaceWERX is excited to formalize this agreement with Embedded Ventures, creating a highly collaborative and efficient workflow between our two groups, while keeping us all accountable,” said Lt. Col. Walter “Rock” McMillan, Director of SpaceWERX. “From the moment I met Jenna, Jordan and Mandy, I knew they were the right team to launch this unique cooperative research and development agreement. They possess the talent, insight and all the necessary ingredients to be leading the next generation of space investment.”

“Space is inherently different in that it leverages commercial industry as an integral part of every space capability,” said Mandy Vaughn, Operating Partner at Embedded Ventures. “This relationship is a tangible first step for us. I think that it shows that a key element of their own success is to tap into the emerging companies and sectors that firms, like Embedded Ventures, were established to foster.”


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Jillian Hamilton has worked in a variety of Program Management roles for multiple Federal Government contractors. She has helped manage projects in training and IT. She received her Bachelors degree in Business with an emphasis in Marketing from Penn State University and her MBA from the University of Phoenix.