News in Brief

Standardizing complaints, sharing cyber info and tracking Ebola

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DOD IG: Standardizing complaints could pay big dividends

Defense Department Inspector General Jon Rymer said his office could process investigations more quickly if there was a departmentwide standard for doing so.

Complicating matters is the fact that each of the military services has its own software and databases for investigations, Rymer said Aug. 11 at a conference hosted by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

The IG's office is trying to standardize the process for fielding complaints, an initiative that could take two to three years, Rymer said. The current process has "inherent inefficiencies" because complaints filed with the services or other DOD agencies have to be recaptured and sent to another system.

Should DOD manage to standardize the system "to the point of being able to transmit a case or an entire case file with one keystroke, it's going to be a big deal for us," Rymer added.

He also reflected on the broader challenge of IT interoperability across government. "For us to be able to rapidly exchange data with another office throughout the government is a key challenge," he said.

DHS IG: Cyberthreat-sharing program suffers from redundancies

A report released Aug. 11 by the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general found that DHS' main program for sharing cyberthreat information with critical infrastructure firms suffers from redundancies and insufficient communication.

One participant was quoted in the report on DHS' Enhanced Cybersecurity Services program as saying that "the threat indicators provided were redundant, formatting was not standardized, and a majority of the information provided was unclassified and available through other sources."

The report says ECS is a voluntary information-sharing program that as of May included 40 critical infrastructure entities.

It advises Andy Ozment, assistant secretary for cybersecurity and communications at DHS, to "develop a system to manage and analyze both sensitive and classified cyberthreat indicators for the ECS program."

Tracking Ebola with CDC's app

To help stem the outbreak of Ebola in west Africa, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are turning to the latest tools and technology.

GCN reports that the Epi Info viral hemorrhagic fever application is getting its first chance to speed contact tracing to pinpoint everyone exposed to a person with the disease and help with the collection and management of data on every case.

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