Here at Sentient Digital, we pride ourselves on continually diversifying our experience and our client base. Although we are a small business, our innovative technology and top-notch staff position us at the cutting edge of multiple tech fields, including cybersecurity, machine learning, software development, and IT contracting for government agencies.
Over the years, we have established relationships with the Navy, the General Services Administration, and other agencies with the Department of Defense. Always looking to expand, our most recent efforts involve pursuing both CIO-SP4 and SeaPort, two different government contracting vehicles.
Our team is excited to continue providing quality technology services to government bodies and commercial clients while also expanding our IT repertoire. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at how these contracting vehicles work, some of our other noteworthy IT initiatives and contracts, and why contracting IT services through these vehicles is so valuable to government entities today.
What Are CIO-SP4 and SeaPort Next Generation?
CIO-SP4 is a new government-wide acquisition contract (GWAC), allowing all government agencies access to it. It is hosted by the National Institute of Health’s Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center (NITAAC). As its acronym suggests, CIO-SP4 is the fourth government contracting vehicle issued by the NITAAC.
In order to encourage unique IT services and products, the budget ceiling for CIO-SP4 is double that of the NITAAC’s previous contracting vehicle. CIO-SP4 places particular emphasis on IT initiatives geared toward healthcare, biomedical research, and health sciences.
SeaPort Next Generation (or SeaPort-NxG), on the other hand, is a Multiple Award Contract (MAC) vehicle that is used by Navy Systems Commands (including NAVSEA, NAVAIR, NAVWAR, NAVFAC, and NAVSUP), the Office of Naval Research (ONR), Military Sealift Command (MSC), and the United States Marine Corps (USMC). SeaPort allows awardees access to bid on task orders in support of the Navy Systems Commands, ONR, MSC, and USMC. This vehicle looks for a wide variety of third-party contractors who can offer assistance in fields ranging from program management to engineering.
Ultimately, both CIO-SP4 and SeaPort help government agencies efficiently find contractors to provide them with services or help with specific projects. Sentient Digital looks forward to the opportunity to work with new government clients and provide them with our quality services and expertise, outstanding talent pool, and competitive pricing.
Government Contracts, Awards, and Initiatives at Sentient Digital
We have expanded our services and projects across numerous fields over the last few years and remain eager to see how we can grow across new areas, too. In the words of our President, Chris Mobley:
“Sentient Digital was founded on the idea of innovating technology in the defense industry and beyond. We are proud to continue that mission with new efforts to diversify our experience and capabilities.”
In addition to our bids for the CIO-SP4 and SeaPort contract vehicles, we have a number of other exciting projects in development.
Joint Ventures for Set-Aside Contracts
As a small, veteran-owned business, Sentient Digital is acutely aware of the opportunities to perform cutting-edge work that are set aside for businesses that meet specific criteria. One of our objectives is to form partnerships with other organizations to strategically participate in such opportunities, either as a prime contractor or subcontractor.
As we continue to develop this partnership and seek others, Sentient Digital looks forward to pursuing an even wider variety of contracts and providing highly flexible, innovative, and effective technology solutions.
Military Sealift Command Contract
Two years ago, Sentient Digital won a contract from the U.S. Navy. This contract has allowed us to provide IT engineering support to the Military Sealift Command (MSC).
To date, Sentient Digital has performed over $16 million worth of technology delivery services supporting MSC’s mission of on-time logistics, strategic sealifts, and specialized missions worldwide. Under this contract, we have executed numerous projects spanning across systems engineering, life cycle management, and cybersecurity engineering.
Our support has given MSC innovative ways to increase efficiency and reduce operating costs while fulfilling mission requirements. Sentient Digital is proud to support the leading provider of ocean transportation for the Navy in its daily operations around the globe.
We also look forward to applying our proven experience with this contract to other opportunities in the future. Given that the MSC is part of the Department of the Navy, we believe our successful execution of this contract offers relevant demonstration of our abilities for the Navy’s SeaPort vehicle. In addition, several of the skills and expertise we are utilizing for the MSC contract are transferable to meet customer needs on CIO-SP4, and we are confident in our ability to fill any gaps by teaming with partners or building those capabilities within our company.
Why Use Contract Vehicles?
Contract vehicles aren’t the only means that government agencies have for procuring products or services, but they are utilized far more frequently by governmental organizations than the open market. Contract vehicles offer numerous benefits for both government customers as well as their pre-approved contractors.
1. Contract Vehicles Maximize Efficiency
It is certainly possible for government agencies to obtain contracts through the free market. However, this process generally takes much longer and incurs additional expenses. Contract vehicles provide a standardized system that can be performed in a timely and cost-effective manner.
2. Contract Vehicles Level the Third-Party Field
Without contract vehicles, it can be difficult for some smaller or disadvantaged businesses to receive the consideration they deserve. Contract vehicles help ensure that all eligible and interested businesses can fairly compete for solicited opportunities, while also setting aside certain contracts specifically for smaller or disadvantaged businesses.
3. Contract Vehicles Help Ensure Confidentiality
Perhaps most importantly, contract vehicles aid in keeping sensitive and classified information out of the hands of bad actors.
Even between private entities, cybersecurity is essential for most business transactions. Criminals gaining access to a company’s sensitive data can result in astronomical costs, damaged public reputation, and impaired business operations in the future.
But exchanges between government bodies and their contractors require even more stringent security measures. If a hacker is able to invade the IT system of a government agency or one of their contractors, that hacker can obtain access to valuable government intel. A breach of the U.S. government puts not only money, reputation, and daily functions on the line, but also traditional financial systems, national security, and international relations.
Therefore, all contractors are pre-vetted before gaining access to contract vehicles. They are also subject to strict security requirements.
The Importance of Confidentiality for Government Contracts: A Case Study
The massive 2020 cyberattack on our federal government is a prime, and unfortunate, example of just how easily a breach can compromise our nation’s security, finances, and relationships with other countries. This attack began with hackers infiltrating the security systems of several major third-party government contractors, including Microsoft and SolarWinds.
Infiltrating these private companies’ networks allowed the hackers to gather information, such as emails and internal documents, that subsequently gave them access to more and more organizations, both private and public. They also used new hacking techniques, such as bypassing multi-factor authentications, that the hacked organizations were unprepared to defend against.
Ultimately, some 200 organizations across the globe were impacted by this breach, including multiple U.S. government agencies. At least 11 federal government organizations were affected, including the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, as well as several local political bodies.
Details about this attack are still being uncovered, and experts say that we likely will see the consequences of this breach for years to come, so it’s impossible right now to measure its full impact. But a former Homeland Security official warns that it could take years to remove all of the cybercriminals from our national security systems. And we do know that classified intel was stolen from a number of agencies, including institutional secrets, emails accounts within the Department of Justice, and electronic filings from U.S. courts.
Moving forward from this attack, one truth is crystal clear: government bodies and their contractors will have to follow more rigorous cybersecurity protocols than ever before. Some security experts have argued that systems involved in this particular breach will need to be entirely rebuilt to ensure that the networks are free of bad actors from the 2020 breach and well-guarded against future attacks. The future of our national standing among other countries, our economic systems, and our security depend on it.
What Is the Future of Cybersecurity for Government Agencies and Contractors?
As of now, no definitive plans for what types of cybersecurity protocols will be required in the wake of the 2020 breach have been released. We expect, however, that the 2020 Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) guidelines will become required for all contracts moving forward in the years to come.
Within the CMMC environment, Registered Provider Organizations (RPOs) are organizations that have been authorized by the CMMC Accreditation Body (CMMC-AB) to offer guidance, recommendations, and consultations to clients about CMMC and its requirements. Sentient Digital is proud to be an RPO with the ability to provide preparedness services, such as consulting, advice, and pre-assessment readiness reviews for CMMC levels 1 through 3, to clients that hope to obtain CMMC certification in the future.
Our services can help ensure the networks of third-party contractors are cyber hygienic enough to earn CMMC certification and successfully win future government contracts. Our efforts related to CMMC also demonstrate our ongoing commitment to strong cybersecurity and exceptional security capabilities.
As the recent breach of our federal government attests, government agencies and third-party contractors alike need to be more diligent than ever about their cyber hygiene protocols. Here at Sentient Digital, we have not only demonstrated excellence in executing numerous government contracts, but have also created and adhered to stringent cybersecurity measures while doing so.
Whether you are a government agency looking to contract out work or a business looking to partner on a government contract, we are always excited to take on innovative projects. Contact us today to learn more about how we can safely and efficiently execute a new contract in cooperation with your organization.
Or perhaps you are an IT professional ready to join an experienced yet agile enterprise. Sentient Digital may be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for! Take a look at our current open positions or reach out to us directly so we can put you on the path to your perfect career.