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FCW : October 2016
October 2016 FCW.COM 37 manager noted, Wilson has “an uncanny ability to understand the program needs.” — Troy K. Schneider Nicole E. Wilson In 2009, when Nicole Wilson was a communications student at George Mason University, she found her way into a contractor position at the Army’s Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems. Once there, her supervisor and mentor, Victoria Johnson, nudged her into the (now defunct) Federal Career Intern Program. Wilson began working on contracts and later moved to the Computer Hardware, Enterprise Software and Solutions (CHESS) program, the Army’s designated source for commercial IT. Her initial focus was hardware, but Johnson encouraged her to move into software contracting. Now Wilson manages 24 vendor contracts and 10 follow-on acquisitions in a portfolio with a total value of more than $15 billion and a customer base of more than 17,000. And even though she’s a civilian, she can toss around military acronyms like an Army staff sergeant. Although the Army’s Oracle Enterprise Unlimited License Agreement was awarded before Wilson was the contract manager, she worked tirelessly to become a subject- matter expert on the myriad issues involved in negotiating contracts with one of the largest commercial software vendors. As a result of her independent research, she recommended and successfully completed a self-audit certification of Oracle licenses — the largest such self-audit in the Defense Department community to date — and recommended signing a maintenance-only agreement instead of pursuing a second, more expensive ULA. In addition, Wilson was chosen to oversee a multifunctional device contract due to her superior performance on the IT Enterprise Solutions-2 Hardware contract. Her professionalism and mission focus turned a potentially difficult transition into a success story for CHESS and the seven prime contractors. “I look at Nicki as the next generation the Army will be relying on as a future leader,” said Terry Watson, acting program executive officer for enterprise information systems. “It all starts with a can-do attitude, and she took that to the next level with her desire to learn more.” — Sean D. Carberry Lisa J. Wiswell The successes of the Defense Department’s “Hack the Pentagon” bug- bounty experiment have been well documented: more than 1,400 participating hackers, 138 bounties paid for confirmed vulnerabilities, nearly 1,200 bug reports across five DOD websites and a total cost of just $150,000. Less well known is all the back-end work that made the program possible. Lisa Wiswell, the Defense Digital Service’s digital security lead, managed the initiative, which was the first bug- bounty program run by a federal agency. And because DOD’s traditional response to outsiders poking around in its systems is to threaten prosecution, getting Hack the Pentagon off the ground required significant planning and persuasion. “We spent a tremendous amount of time with our legal team and all of the stakeholders across the departments to make sure that we defined our rules and restrictions down to a T,” Wiswell told FCW. “You have to make sure that you tell folks what they can do and, almost even more importantly, what they cannot do.” She managed communications and expectations throughout the initiative, ensuring that DOD stakeholders, participating hackers and the contractors that helped manage the process knew what to expect. The results impressed Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, who said the experiment illustrated the Defense Digital Service’s ability to “drill tunnels through the walls that too often separate the Pentagon from America’s wonderful and innovative technology base, one of our nation’s greatest sources of strength.” DOD issued a request for proposals in August to secure contractor support for a permanent bug- bounty program. — Sara Lai Stirland and Troy K. Schneider 1016fcw_012-037.indd 37 10/11/16 3:59 PM
September 30, 2016
November and December 2016