18F Launches New Portfolio to Target Defense and Intelligence Agencies

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The government’s digital consultancy shop has gained some experience in defense and national security issues and has built a new service line to focus on those agencies.

Since its inception in 2014, 18F—the General Services Administration’s in-house digital consultancy—has worked with agencies across government. Now, the team is focusing on a previously untapped federal market: the defense and national security realm.

The 18F team has done work for defense and intelligence agencies in the past, including all four branches of the military and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. However, the new National Security and Intelligence Portfolio will allow the team to target its marketing efforts at two of the biggest tech budgets in government.

In a post on 18F’s website, Innovation Specialist Mark Headd likened the move to the establishment of 18F’s Human Services Portfolio, which emerged as the team gained expertise in working on public health issues. As 18F gained experience in defense and intelligence needs—such as digitizing paper processes and promoting agile development methods—a national security portfolio was a natural follow, he said.

“This team will include staff from a range of disciplines from across 18F that are well suited to address the particular challenges agencies face in adopting or acquiring new digital solutions in support of national defense,” Headd wrote. “They will partner with traditional defense and intelligence agencies, as well as other agencies working on projects related to national defense.”

Headd said the service will help test whether 18F’s core tenets of open source and agile development can be applied at scale for defense and intelligence missions.

“Most importantly, we have an opportunity to support the success of agencies responsible for keeping our country safe,” he wrote. “When these agencies face challenges fulfilling their mission, our nation’s security is at risk. 18F can have an enormously beneficial impact on the work of these agencies, and—as a result—directly impact our national security and save lives.”