At BI, we believe in recognizing and celebrating the exceptional contributions of all our team members. Today, we are thrilled to shine a well-deserved spotlight on a group of individuals who have been working tirelessly – our dedicated Department of State administrative and IT team. While our prime contract teams often take the limelight, we recognize that the remarkable work accomplished by our subcontracts teams is equally pivotal to our success as an organization and to the success of critical federal missions. We are excited to showcase their outstanding efforts, highlight their impact, and emphasize how much we value them.
Thank you to these unsung heroes who make our mission a reality!
Business Integra’s long tenure with the Department of State (DoS) goes back to 2013, with fluctuation in mission mandates, team makeup, and teaming arrangements along the journey. Currently in partnership with Soft Tech and Cherokee Nation as primes, BI employs 65+ technical skill personnel as a subcontractor, providing leadership for key administrative and IT security services in support of the Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security – on-site in 95 different overseas offices.
The U.S. Department of State (DOS), Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS), is the security and law enforcement arm of the DOS and is a leader in international investigations, threat analysis, cyber security, counterterrorism, security technology, and protection of people, property, and information. Its primary mission is to provide a safe and secure environment for the conduct of U.S. foreign policy.
The Countermeasures Directorate (DS/C) manages the development and implementation of all physical and technical countermeasures security standards and policies that apply to DOS facilities domestically and overseas. The DS/C securely transports classified diplomatic materials across international borders and provides defensive equipment to protect the lives of U.S. government personnel, classified information, and property. It comprises the following offices:
Office of Security Technology
The Mission of the Office of Security Technology (ST), DS, is to assist in providing a safe and secure environment for the conduct of diplomacy through the application and use of appropriate technical security countermeasures.
ST supports 95 overseas offices (ESC, ESO, and TSO) supporting all overseas missions and facilities (253 Foreign Service posts and approximately 330 sites) in addition to 39 locations around the United States. Security systems utilized at these overseas and domestic locations include among others the following systems: CMMS, HDVS, SMSeNet, AlarmNet, C*Cure, AACS, One Badge, and SPARTA. These systems require the contractor to install, maintain, support, upgrade, monitor, and train system users. Examples includes: SMSeNet, which serves 3,800 worldwide users on a distributed hardware infrastructure of approximately 2,000 machines (and more than 9,000 subordinate devices), and CMMS, which supports 900 users worldwide at 70 locations.
Office of Physical Security Programs
The Office of Physical Security Programs directs the development of Overseas Security Policy Board (OSPB) security standards and DOS policies and procedures associated with the physical security, construction security, transit security, secure procurement, defensive equipment, and armored vehicle programs at U.S. missions. The office provides oversight on the implementation of these programs abroad to ensure compliance with the OSPB security standards.
Office of Diplomatic Courier Service
The Mission of the Diplomatic Courier Service is to provide secure and expeditious delivery of classified, sensitive, and other approved material between U.S. diplomatic missions and the DOS.
Our DoS team is a hard-core group of dedicated individuals who show up even in difficult situations and environments. With support from some team members within the states, the nature of the on-site teams’ work locale requires them to be positioned in dangerous situations and difficult environments – and yet they get the job done with camaraderie and consistent excellence.
With support from team members in the states, the nature of this team’s work locale requires them to be positioned in dangerous and difficult environments – and yet they get the job done with camaraderie and consistent excellence.
BI’s current DoS team specializes in the accountability of security equipment for the Department of State, domestic and overseas entities.
2013–2020: The Early Days
In the earlier days of work with the Department of State (2013-2020), two key challenges arose, for which BI team members worked together to solve effectively:
Early Days Challenge #1: Mobile Device Management Transformation
- The Department of Department of State wanted to extend their mobile devices platform across consulates around the globe. The goal was to finalize the use of mobile devices (Apple and Android) and establish a Mobile Device Management (MDM) platform for Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) access.
- Additionally, they wanted to analyze the suitability of IBM Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) for Maximo on a secured cloud-based instance for Diplomatic Security (DS) enhanced security, functional access, availability, and cost reduction.
- BI focused on tailoring Maximo record structure, workflows, and building custom reports that also validated data entries and system integrity. We integrated worldwide customer purchase requests and service request for assets to enable asset tracking for mission support.
- BI’s layered approach integrates CMMS, the environment, and constituents that cohesively enabled legacy-to-modernized conversion and tracking expansion on mobile devices, while remaining within budgetary constraints.
- Enhanced custom functions and enabled Maximo Mobile usage with Zebra devices for better asset tracking, data collection, and timely updating of records and asset status reporting.
- Cost savings – Maximo Software-as-a-Service eliminated system support labor.
- Mobile integration of Apple and Android devices to enable modernization of data collection using mobile endpoint.
- Consolidated many approval workflows into a single workflow, increasing efficiency while improving knowledge retention and continuity.
- DoS understood the importance of a centralized repository for sharing security data with vital stakeholders. A centralized repository would include data standards for role-based sharing and enhance effectiveness of data collection, analysis, and customer-oriented sharing, helping physical security surveys’ review and approval via a central sharing portal.
- DoS also planned to conduct semi-annual scenario brainstorming “What if” sessions with consulates to discuss continual improvement opportunities and develop new options to make a collaborative DoS repository more impactful and available across the globe.
- BI’s team designed the knowledge management in a way that standardizes data entry through physical security surveys, model-fit, environment-agnostic front-ends to connect with a central SharePoint repository, and finally, integrated various Diplomatic Security stakeholders to be able to access the portal for decision-making by enabling Role-based secure access
- This approach helped in segregating the technical aspect of maintenance from business users, freeing the team to focus and benefit from standardized business process and procedures transparency
- Platform agnostic front-end user interface model implemented and functional across platform services with rich, context-specific learning and participation that is driven by the momentum of users.
- A survey for physical security is available to quickly review and approve requests spanning across the global consulate nexus.
- Reduced Labor – Efficiencies due to common data repositories & code re-use gains up to 5% of SharePoint developer labor over entire contract period.
- Enhanced Security – Central data repository coupled with role-based sharing within SharePoint technology.
“Great work, Eric Caudill and team! Thank you for sticking with this issue and enduring until the root issue was discovered. Tri-Mission Brussels is unique and can be difficult to understand without having eyes on the physical devices. A credit to a true team effort. This is issue has plagued ESO Brussels for a long time, and now we have a clear understanding and a path forward.”
– Joshua Ellwein, Security Engineering Officer, OIC ESO, U.S. Tri-Mission Brussels
Florida Regional Center Logistician Alan Gilstrap prepares a newly arrived walk-thru metal detector for use at the US Embassy in Belmopan, Belize.
Logistician Alan Gilstrap removes batteries from a UPS in Santo Domingo, so that it can be decommissioned.
The current focus of BI’s DoS Admin and IT Services teams is spread across 2 main categories (Admin and IT Services) with several sub-groups within them, to include:
|Administrative Services Teams:
|IT Services Teams:
Each of these small teams are doing amazing work! They could all tell a story, but for the sake of brevity in this post, we’ll zero in on just one for now…
Team Spotlight: Real Property Management Team
BI’s current DoS team specializes in the accountability of security equipment for the Department of State, domestic and overseas entities. We are well versed in the identification and management of government property deemed by the bureau. Our teams’ primary responsibilities require us to collaborate between both CMMS (Computerized Maintenance and Management System) and ILMS (Integrated Logistics Maintenance System) to support ST personnel with the primary focus being logistical assistance. When further assistance is required, our Property Management Team travel to DS facilities to offer additional support to DoS personnel as a guide through the process of inventory management.
Expertise areas and duties include:
Logistical Support: Our team assists personnel overseas and domestically in resolving Work Orders, Purchase Requestions, Purchase Orders, equipment discrepancies, and ensure the proper procedures are being followed when disposing of assets in CMMS/ILMS. Our team also tracks secure shipments, review historical data, and offer inventory assistance. Our team contributes to the inventory process by monitoring and verifying asset’s virtual location with their physical location.
Document Management Support: Our Team utilizes Microsoft office applications, to include MS Teams, MS Word, Excel spreadsheets, SharePoint Sites, OneNote, and PowerPoint slide presentations from the creation, update, and the maintenance process to support the branches and overseas. We also aide in the preparation of correspondence disseminated to DS personnel utilized in unclassified formats.
Property Management Support: Our team provides guidance to DS field personnel on the procurement, management, disposal, and accountability of government equipment set within the FAM/ FAH regulations. This includes providing training and developing Standard Operations and Procedures (SOPs) and implementing best practices for maintaining equipment. We also verify and investigate the validity of government document submissions required by the Department. Lastly, the Property Management Team identifies and track system anomalies to ensure accurate reporting of inventory data.
People Spotlights & Kudos
BI’s Department of State team members proudly earn gratitude, respect and shout-outs from their customers and our partners, again and again. We are proud of them, and want to make sure they know it!
“I wanted to take a moment and recognize the excellent work efforts of my Special Projects PC configuration specialist, Richard Reed. Since joining my team he has excelled in every aspect of his position and routinely goes out of his way to provide high level, professional service to our government. clients in the field. Richard came up to speed very quickly and he’s considered a team lead and subject matter expert on our WIN10 lifecycle upgrades as well as domestic PC configurations. He works extremely well within other SMSe groups, and also puts in many hours by himself, working in our lab. He routinely works with all of our applications and is conscientious and thorough with his communication. Richard never complains, is always working and communicates if he has an errand and is a joy to manage.”
“Please accept this performance recognition for Alan Gilstrap’s outstanding support to the Engineering Services Center Fort Lauderdale and the broader WHA region. Over the past three years, I have observed Alan work to identify, generate, vet, and employ logistics standards that have directly improved Security Technology operations in the Fort Lauderdale region. His collaboration with Engineering Services Center (ESC) Fort Lauderdale management elements has resulted in a compendium of documented standards that helps to ensure regional inventories are not only correct from an accountability standpoint but an operational standpoint – helping technical security teams be more effective on support missions. Alan’s leadership and inclusion of operational staff has helped ensure that these standards are effective and has helped engineers and technicians take greater care of materials and assets. The standards Alan helped develop are used to support the broader Diplomatic Security (DS) and Office of Security Technology mission – to assist the central property management team develop inventory protocol documentation for overseas operations.
…Alan’s management and initiative ensure adequate TSS equipment availability requirements were met during several critical TSS service and enhancement projects. During the closeout of several security upgrade projects, Alan coordinated with DS leadership and team members to account for approximately $20M in assets, materials, and supplies. Additionally, Alan arranges the transportation of critical equipment with the Diplomatic Couriers to technical security professional receive essential equipment on time to sustain technical security operations. Regional customers often relay accolades and are impressed with the prompt reporting and excellent customer service Alan provides. Alan’s attention to detail and dedication supports the Department’s mission to account for USG property and is a model for Diplomatic operations.”
“I want to express my sincere appreciation to Stephon Harrison. We had been having difficulty provisioning new PIV cards for our employees since the passport offices implemented their new systems. We got very little guidance from the passport offices and little assistance from ID Services and IRM ITSC in helping to troubleshoot and resolve our issues. In March, Stephon came into the picture while assisting one of our agents at the Dallas passport office. Stephon was able to correct the issue and provision her card. Stephon then continued to assist us with issues we were having at the Houston passport office, provided us with instructions on how to use the 1Badge Self-Service Application, and stayed engaged with us as we followed the procedure. Stephon was able to determine the key piece of information that ultimately solved our on-going issue. Stephon’s dedication and determination were essential to the resolution of this issue. Many thanks, from us here in Texas!”
“Risk Mitigation Engineering Certificate of Appreciation presented to Brandon Martin, A/ISSO-SMSe, and Thomas Dalton, AI/ISSO-CMMS, on April 18, 2023. To commemorate the IA Program Manager, IA Assessor, and Alternate Information System Security Officers who relentlessly executed cybersecurity practices to achieve and maintain ATO or C-ATO for ST systems during the first half of the fiscal year 2023. Commended for providing tenacity, flexibility and professionalism while executing RMF Steps on schedule during a major Archangel software migration. Their dedication, commitment to excellence and outstanding work ethic reflect great credit upon each of them, the Risk Mitigation Engineering A&E Team, the Office of Security Technology, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, and the Department of State.”
Program Manager, DoS IT/Admin
About the Author
Mimoza Dervishi has a combined 20 years of Project Coordination, Program Management and Broadcast Media Management. She manages a workforce of 70+ technical skill personnel providing leadership to key administrative, IT security and services support of Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security. She is an experienced government contractor with a proven capacity to manage multiple projects while meeting challenging deadlines. She inspires and motivates employees to perform their best through positive encouragement and incentive initiatives as well as implementing policies and strategies to improve productivity and efficiency levels.
Business Integra is an award-winning, global provider of information technology, cybersecurity, aeronautic engineering, scientific and mission support services. We are committed to producing efficient and ethical results that cut costs, reduce risks, secure data, and advance human progress via cybersecurity, IT, engineering and mission support services.
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