Even if they leveraged the hell out of this contract, they're basically buying the full power of MS for $185M per year. That's a hell of a good deal for the government.
Not to mention desktop/laptop OS, collaboration tools, web servers, forest/domain management at 800 sites in 70 countries.
Speaking of which... if any of you have a Secret clearance and want a job... :)
You're considered lucky to retain a clearance more than a month out of the service now, too. OPM is taking a tough stance on unused clearances and it has negatively impacted the job market for recently separated Veterans because the contracts that come out all require a pre-cleared workforce, which is a rapidly diminishing pool of people to pull from given that clearances are now being revoked as soon as someone gets out of the service or leaves their last position.
But I've never even attempted to get a job that required a clearance after my ETS...
But I think the question being asked is not what you answered. I think he's wondering if his clearance eligibility expired last year, where does he stand in line for getting a job that requires a clearance?
It's a painful $20-$40k hit to the budget. :/
Holding an active clearance is dependent on being read in, which is dependent on being eligible and having a need to know.
Also, having an expired investigation is synonymous with having no investigation. If you miss the window to re-investigate you start from 0.
I always figured that for Secret level, at least, it seemed like a not-too-detailed investigation. No interviews, anyways.
Unless things have changed, DoD is Microsoft's biggest customer. It's not that they're stuck. Between the combination of sheer scale (not thousands, millions) security requirements, and desire for a stable ecosystem, there's few, if any, that can match what they provide. This isn't a dig at others products, let alone "open" solutions. They've been serving DoD for decades, and you can count on a Microsoft product to come with solid security documentation (often with NIST 800-53 reference) , FIPS 140-2 compliance, PKI support (absolute must in the DoD Common Access Card environment), and(relatively) solid vulnerability management. DoD requires ALL of those things.
I wouldn't argue that they don't have room to improve. But that doesn't discount what Microsoft has accomplished.
So, this is a $927,000,000 five year contract. Right?
So let's tell the government not to pay talented companies to provide services and instead hire federal employees to build out infrastructure to do the same thing.
Assuming we have kind of a $200,000/year base salary for the types of people we need (so like a GS-15 or so), how much does that cost the government over the same time span?
So you would prefer the government hire 927 people full time for five years to completely replace MS? Do you think they'll do a good job? Is $200,000 salary a good deal, or will you end up hiring bad software developers at that rate? Can you hire better developers for $400,000/year? Can 464 people build a MS replacement in 5 years?
Also, who will support it? Do we need to factor that in as well? Will we have to replace this new OS/tech stack in 5 years? Is that another billion dollars?
I suspect that you're looking at the price and being blown away by the number. The DoD spends $580 billion each year (roughly). Are there any comparable companies with a $580 billion/year run rate? Expand your mind, friend. This is a bargain price for the government.
You should do some digging and try to find out how much DISA is paying for their own version of AWS. I suspect that number will blow your mind as well.
I work on a small team of about 12 within 18F (part of the General Services Administration). We are creating cloud.gov, a Platform as a Service (think Heroku, Google App Engine, IBM Bluemix) for the Federal Government. The key is to remove the government compliance burden from federal government development teams while also making modern technology accessible and understandable.
We come from private sector for a two year civil service. We are super lean and all of our work is open source (github.com/18F).
Note that cloud.gov is only seeking certification for FISMA Moderate impact level, so a lot of DoD systems (such as anything classified) cannot be hosted on our PaaS.
This is a REALLY hard problem to solve and the government does not make this process easy. If we miss milestones, we don't get paid, so that $1,000,000 in salary that your team was paid for the last 90 days of work suddenly doesn't get paid. Your $100,000 in profit you forecasted suddenly turns into a $1,100,000 loss for that quarter.
When I started working in government way back in the early 00s, I too thought "I can just automate all these worthless idiots out of a job." If it was that easy, someone would have figured it out by now.
Most companies have to spend $30k - $50k just writing a proposal in the hopes they'll win some work. The problem at this size and scale is astronomical.
If you can think of a better way, I really would love to talk to you. Email is in my profile. :)
Two questions (on a tangent):
1. Define "qualified"
My experience, before I gave up on the DOD sector, is that companies that post Landry list reqs actually mean it. They are even worse than the larger industry at only interviewing candidates who look stellar on paper.
2. How much are you paying?
The few times I did get past the resume filter the salary was slightly below market, and none of these companies have anything resembling non-salary compensation.
120WPM * 60minutes/hour * 16hours/day * 5workdays/week * 52weeks * 5years * 50people / 10words/line
= 748.8M lines of code
> Microsoft Corp has been awarded a $927 million contract to provide technical support to the Defense Information Systems Agency, the Pentagon said in a statement on Tuesday.
> (Reporting by Mohammad Zargham)
In all seriousness, this shouldn't be a surprise given the amount of outdated systems and general reliance on Microsoft tech at DISA.
I like articles like that too...just not when they're packaged in a ~4MiB page sprinkled with ads.
And that was the most concise article I'll read all day.
* A large body of workers and analysts constructing the requirements
* A few contracts officers working to codify those requirements into a request for proposal
* A handful of technical contracts officers evaluating the mass of responses
* A large pool of technical contracts officers and contracts officers ensuring that the statutory grounds of the proposals are met (verifying that yes, this is a small / veteran owned / minority owned business or yes, this business does have prior qualifications, etc.)
After you've separated the wheat from the chaff, and eliminated the obviously incapable parties, the team contracts down to 1 or 2 contracts officers and their staff. This team evaluates the technical feasibility against the requirements, asks a lot of questions to their own technical teams, and then ultimately, votes on the winner.
Also, here is the Microsoft enterprise agreement for those interested: https://enterprise.microsoft.com/en-us/industries/government...
If I had to hazard a guess without seeing the SOW/PWS, I would bet that most of this MS contract would cover desktop support services.
DISA supports IT services for a huge portion of the DoD. This is basically a Fortune 100 company in terms of employees and scale.
And don't assume that they're not also using other services and providers as well. How would you provide desktop services and solutions to 80,000 people distributed all over the world?
If you have a solution that doesn't cost $1bn, please write the white paper. I'll gladly write the RFP response and we can enjoy our profits. :D
The numbers may seem staggering, but this is how much shit costs in the government. Most of our competitors in my space are offering services with 2%-4% margins because the government is so stingy about how the work is performed. DISA alone is probably at nearly the scale of AWS in terms of compute power and system requirements. And they probably have 5-10x the number of employees. It's not a trivial problem to solve, and I've been working for contractors for 10+ years now.
One UNIX admin at each remote site with standardized tools for the various functions like DNS, email, etc. A centralized solution for communications, workflow, secure sharing, and so on. They just access it over the internet with replication to a few sites (or even all filtered by whose present there) to get availability or extra performance.
I'm not seeing this cost $1 billion even if I did it with VMS clusters. Even that overpriced system that ran whole enterprises was under $100,000/yr licensing per branch with mega-fee for main offices. I can't guess how much support would take but imagine local admins handling a portion of it. If it's just Linux desktops, extra load might be offloaded to vetted consultants or companies that do it on the cheap with anything they do logged. Admins or local developers come up with design improvements or tools for recurring problems.
And right there you lose, because I all but guarantee there is Microsoft-specific code running at all levels of this organization. Everyone has to be retrained, a lot of infrastructure has to be rebuilt. All of that will chew up your 1bn quickly.
This isn't some SV startup, it's the government. Typical "move fast and break things" mindset doesn't fly here. You don't get any "tear it down and start over" moments, you get to make those hairy migrations to ensure everything stays up with smooth, staged cutovers. And that's not even mentioning the red tape...
"because I all but guarantee there is Microsoft-specific code running at all levels of this organization. Everyone has to be retrained, a lot of infrastructure has to be rebuilt. All of that will chew up your 1bn quickly."
...is a valid reason to default on using Microsoft. The difference is that moving what I can to alternatives means I can gradually move from lock-in to more flexible IT with open standards & multiple vendors to choose from. Organizations on Microsoft are often stuck, though. This much is undeniable. IBM, Oracle, and SAP the other huge offenders here.
The best benefits, though, are in flexibility and security rather than cost. I just have so much more available over long term to me with open formats, protocols, API's, and code. Plus, Microsoft has been saying "screw you" to its own customers in product development over past few years leveraging its lockin to keep them. Whereas, open stuff gives opportunity of switching vendors.