Working Together for Management Best Practices

Apr 1, 2019 | Defense Transportation Journal

By Sharon Lo, Managing Editor, DTJ & NDTAGram

Photos by Cherie Cullen

On the final day of the 2019 GovTravels Symposium, Mr. Tim Burke, Director, Office of Travel, Employee Relocation and Transportation, Federal Acquisition Service, General Services Administration (GSA) took the stage as the keynote speaker to address the issue of Government Wide Category Management.

Category management principles are driving how the government procures. Principles include increased spend under management, reduced contract duplication, administrative savings volume savings created by leveraging the buying power of the Federal Government, enhanced transparency, shared best practices, better contract vehicles and purchases, and efficient contract management process for suppliers. These are at the forefront of the analysis and the priorities being executed.

The goal is for the Federal government to buy common goods and services as an enterprise to eliminate redundancies, increase efficiency, and deliver more value and savings from the government’s acquisition programs. By the end of FY 2020, the government will achieve $18 billion in savings for taxpayers.

The government‘s category management strategy will focus on its top 10 categories of spend. This equates to $325 billion annually in common goods and services that can be optimized and leveraged across the enterprise. Opportunities targeted for improved efficiencies will be evidence based—driven by strong data analysis, benchmarking and inter-agency collaboration. Additionally, enhanced industry and supplier engagement are key to the end-to-end travel environment and travel management services.

GSA’s key travel initiatives for the next 1-2 years will be heavily focused on lodging and Transportation Management Companies (TMCs). DOD has two major initiatives emerging that can shape future opportunities government-wide, including the privatization of Household Goods (HHG) and the Defense Travel System (DTS) modernization.

The final general session of the GovTravels Symposium, Managing Cybersecurity Risk in Government, was led by Mr. Ted Rybeck, Chair of NDTA’s Cybersecurity Best Practices Committee. Panelists included Philip Benjamin, Deputy Director of DTMO; Vicki Michetti, Director of the Cyber Security Policy Strategy International and Defense Industrial Base Engagement for the DOD Chief Information Officer (CIO); Jack Norwood, Director of Cyber Intelligence Center for Citibank; and Joe Blanchette, Information Systems Security Officer at Maersk Line, Limited.

Mr. Rybeck established the direction of the presentation, telling the audience that cyber attacks are not about one company, but rather about everyone working together. He then gave some examples of cyber attacks, as well as cyber best practices including an overview of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) 800-171 compliance requirements for federal contractors. [Check out information on NIST 800-171 on NDTA’s website under the Media tab.]

Mr. Blanchette to walk the audience through his experience of a cyber attack. His bottom-line takeaway for the audience was the importance for organizations to have good business continuity plans. Mr. Benjamin wanted everyone to understand that cyber attacks and malicious cyber activity will happen. DTMO shares its requirements with its partners and they expect compliance. He also emphasized the importance of the recovery process. He described the recovery process as being a very collaborative decision-making process that requires good communication among the decision makers.

Ms. Michetti provided perspective on cyber security as it related to the GovTravels audience, “when I look at the hospitality industry, you are all an enabler of the DOD’s warfighting mission and you also have critical information that requires protection whether its in your own networks or its in the services that you’re providing to the Department of Defense. That information has to be protected just like we need to protect the designs of the F-35.”

The US is unique in that a vast majority of DOD activity is actually done by the private sector. DOD has a multipronged approach to cyber security within the Defense Industrial Base which consists of the Cyber Threat Information Sharing Program, as well as a variety of contractual and regulatory obligations.

Throughout the comments it was a common thread that many attacks occurred through intrusions into smaller organization’s connect networks. While smaller organizations did not have the same resources, Mr. Norwood felt smaller organizations had an advantage in being able to respond more quickly to attacks. He recommended small companies perform cyber “fire drills.” When it comes to cyber security, the presenters made it absolutely clear that preparations are absolutely critical.