This week, according to FedScoop, a group of software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies submitted a letter to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, urging faster and improved adoption of commercial software in DoD.
The companies — which included Insight-backed Rebellion Defense, Recorded Future, Armis, Aqua Security, Devo, Tricentis, Nuvolo, Corelight, Copado, Fiddler, Jama, LeoLabs, and Keeper — urged Congress to focus on addressing challenges to the defense acquisition process in the future conference negotiations to merge the House and Senate versions of the FY 2023 National Defense Authorization bill.
The letter urges the following:
- Explicitly authorizing and funding program offices to buy software-as-a-service, including within major programs of record;
- Standardize the use of Other Transaction Authority (OTA) for production contracts;
- Reauthorize and reform SBIR/STTR, with a focus on moving prototypes into production; and
- Advance the continuous Authority To Operate (cATO) concept and promote real ATO reciprocity across services and programs.
As I’ve written about and testified to before, the “bureaucratic cruft” — i.e. security, accreditation, and compliance processes that add up — are an impediment to national security and enterprise software companies being adopted at scale in the DoD and intelligence community. Last year, a number of Insight-backed companies developed a whitepaper on modernizing FedRAMP — including the idea of removing agency sponsorship.
And despite the good work of In-Q-Tel, DIU, and other innovation units in government, we need more operational buying of emerging technology at scale — chiefly the domain of the program executive offices. As the saying goes, DoD doesn’t have an innovation problem, it has an innovation scaling problem.
In DoD’s Software Modernization Strategy, the department sets forth a vision to “deliver resilient software capability at the speed of relevance.” To make this a reality, Congress should do its part to help make it easier for DoD to buy and deploy software at scale. I’m glad these software companies, including Insight-backed ones I have the privilege to work with, are contributing their voice to the policy-making process. Read the letter here.
EDIT: Slightly updated letter, which also includes Hawkeye360.