California technology firm Splunk is banking on the government’s big-data push, opening a public sector headquarters in Bethesda and boosting its government-focused staff.

The company specializes in taking data — particularly unstructured data — from apps, servers and networks and making it indexed and searchable.

Earlier this year, Splunk opened an office in Bethesda and has since been adding staff. The public sector unit now has more than 30 employees.

In September, Splunk brought on Bill Cull, who has headed public sector businesses at Kofax and Endeca, to serve as vice president of its public sector. Cull also was vice president of federal consulting at Oracle and deputy chief information officer for the city of San Diego.

Stephanie Davidson, who heads the company’s federal civilian team, said earlier this month that Splunk is seeking to sell directly to agencies, but is also partnering with large contractors such as Falls Church-based Northrop Grumman and McLean-based Science Applications International Corp.

Protest based on font size

McLean-based Strategic Resources protested an Army contract awarded to Arlington-based Armed Forces Services Corp. in part because the company claimed AFSC did not use a large enough font in its proposal.

The Government Accountability Office in late November denied the claim, which also argued that the Army made a flawed evaluation of the technical and price proposals.

The Army received four proposals and rated both Strategic Resources’ and AFSC’s as outstanding. Strategic Resources’ price was $21.5 million; Armed Forces Services Corp. $18 million.

GAO backs Exelis

The GAO earlier this month sustained a protest filed by Exelis against a State Department contract won by Arlington-based PAE Government Services to provide operations and maintenance support for facilities such as the Baghdad Embassy Compound.

Exelis — its Colorado Springs unit filed the protest but its headquarters is in McLean — contended that the State Department erred in its evaluation of technical factors, including treating the competitors unequally and ignoring negative past performance information related to PAE.

The GAO agreed that the State Department’s evaluation of the proposals was “unreasonable” and recommended the agency reevaluate the proposals and potentially revise its solicitation.

Furthermore, the GAO recommended Exelis be reimbursed for its protest costs, including attorney’s fees.

Think tank says consensus figure is $510B for cuts

Among the many reports recommending various ways to cut Pentagon spending, one is promising something a little different.

A new analysis from think tank the National Security Network seeks to bring together six existing reports from respected policy institutes into a consensus figure of $510.5 billion in reductions.

The report uses analyses from, for instance, the Center for American Progress — which outlines $1 trillion in defense cuts — to the Center for a New American Security — which comes in at $150 billion in reductions, according to an executive summary of NSN’s report.

Still, NSN finds that the studies “agree the Pentagon can and should re-prioritize its myriad missions, reduce significantly its overall spending, and reshape its structure to support a robust national security strategy over the next decade.”