Recently, the US Department of Agriculture’s statistical agencies and units, including the Economic Research Service (ERS), National Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS), and the Agricultural Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), issued a noteworthy Request for Information (RFI) and are gearing up for an upcoming Request for Proposal (RFP). These initiatives aim to establish a 5-year contract for data enclave services that will serve as a secure computing and collaboration workspace, and, while not necessarily big, this contract stands to be strategic and is attracting considerable attention from businesses of all sizes.  

Background: The active RFI, publicly available on eBuy, outlines a crucial requirement for a FedRAMP authorized enclave. This enclave is envisioned as an online computing and data storage platform that facilitates secure access to stored data for researchers. Simultaneously, it empowers government data stewards to monitor and oversee data usage. Within this context, the enclave is expected to offer a comprehensive set of administrative analytics tools, enabling a thorough assessment of how researchers utilize computational resources and data assets. 

The adoption of a data enclave holds the promise of improving accessibility for researchers who can securely access data from their respective work locations. Importantly, the data enclave established under this agreement will not only enhance the stewardship of USDA data but also prioritize data privacy and confidentiality. It will be equipped with advanced tools to efficiently manage data access requests, agreements, and reporting metrics. 

Key Requirements: 

  1. The PaaS platform of the enclave must be hosted on the AWS or Azure GovCloud platform. This platform will be cutting-edge, cloud-based, and highly scalable, thus enabling the USDA to meet the evolving needs of researchers and participating agencies. This includes the ability to implement ongoing improvements in development strategy, enclave design, and technology to ensure the sustainability of the data enclave, even when faced with increased workloads and operational demands. Ensuring the onboarding of all relevant USDA staff members is a fundamental aspect of the plan. Cost-efficient scalability is a key goal, enabling the USDA to respond promptly and cost-effectively to changing demands for increased storage and enhanced performance. Services under this initiative encompass performance monitoring and security scanning/remediation, among others. 
  2. The USDA also seeks to implement a management portal or module. This tool will enable USDA staff members responsible for data stewardship (Data Stewards) to efficiently manage and monitor data usage on a large scale. The USDA is actively working to establish an environment and tools that facilitate interactions between Data Stewards and users. 
  3. Beyond the core requirements, the USDA will be soliciting various other services under this contract, such as training sessions on data enclave security and basic usage for users. Additionally, they aim to provide training for data enclave users in the fields of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Data science expertise will be sought to clean and process data, along with the provision of SQL administration and technical support services. 

In summary, the USDA’s RFI and forthcoming RFP initiatives are pivotal steps in the quest to establish a secure, advanced data enclave that caters to the needs of researchers while safeguarding data integrity. This project emphasizes data stewardship, scalability, and accessibility, aiming to meet the evolving requirements of USDA and its collaborators efficiently and effectively. 

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Pro Tip 1If you are a firm with capabilities and socio-economic status that might support this or any related effort, comment below and let others know you are interested. Comments are some of the most viewed portions of any post.  

Recent USDA Data/News 

Pro Tip 2 – Feel like you are missing out on some of the key actions? It can be hard to keep up. Make sure you are in the know by checking out the US Department of Agriculture Intel Segment page, chock full of insights and intelligence.


Looking for some good teaming partners that are supporting USDA today? Click Here 

You can filter the list by several key indicators, to include socio-economic status, NAICS, Contract vehicle, etc.   

Meet the USDA focused firms drawing the most attention on OrangeSlices AI 

** An Elev8 GovCon Honoree, noted for a corporate culture that demonstrates its own excellence, making the company a beacon for talent, for partners, and for clients.     

We cannot and will not speculate here as to the reasons for the increased interest, but whether it is a company evaluating them as a potential partner; a federal acquisition leader doing their due diligence; or a consultant weighing their next job move, this group of companies has been receiving increased interest.      

Included Below is more OS AI Competitive Intelligence, Incumbent contracts and Notes (Key Points of Contacts, etc.)   


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