Senate confirms Creedon at NNSA

Madelyn Creedon

Madelyn Creedon previously served as deputy administrator for defense programs at the NNSA.

The Senate confirmed a new second-in-command for the agency in charge of the safety, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear device and materials stockpile.

Madelyn Creedon was confirmed July 23 as the Department of Energy’s principal deputy administrator for the National Nuclear Security Administration.

Nominated for the position last November, Creedon will support NNSA Administrator Frank Klotz in managing the agency and contribute on policy matters across the DOE and NNSA enterprise. NNSA was created in 1999 as a semi-autonomous agency operating under DOE.

“Madelyn Creedon’s confirmation comes at a critical point for the National Nuclear Security Administration,” Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a statement following her confirmation. “She is well-prepared for her new role at the department.”

Creedon had served as assistant secretary of Defense for global strategic affairs since 2011, where she oversaw policy development and execution in the areas of countering weapons of mass destruction, U.S. nuclear forces and missile defense, as well as DoD cybersecurity and space issues.

She has also served as counsel for the Democratic staff on the Senate Armed Services Committee. In 2000, she left the Armed Services panel to become deputy administrator for defense programs at the NNSA, and returned to the committee in January 2001. Prior to joining the Armed Services Committee staff in March 1997, she was associate deputy secretary of Energy for national security programs, beginning in October 1995.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Jul 24, 2014 at 8:43 AM0 comments


Head of DHS cyber hub stepping down

Larry Zelvin

Larry Zelvin will step down in mid-August as head of the Department of Homeland Security’s hub for monitoring and responding to cyber threats, a DHS spokesman told FCW.

Zelvin, a former Navy captain, has been director of DHS’s National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center since June 2012. Before that he was director of incident management on the president’s National Security Staff, now known as the National Security Council Staff.

Zelvin has been the NCCIC’s public face, appearing at cybersecurity conferences to meet with industry experts and on Capitol Hill to testify on behalf of the Obama administration.

Last month he joined a chorus of administration officials calling on Congress to pass cybersecurity legislation, telling FCW that DHS’s statutory authority on cybersecurity needs clarifying.

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Jul 22, 2014 at 2:23 PM0 comments


It's all about priorities, people

John Klossner for FCW

Posted by John Klossner on Jul 21, 2014 at 12:56 PM0 comments


Vion hires former DISA official to lead cyber solutions

Image from Shutterstock.

Richard Breakiron, a 2012 Federal 100 winner and former senior official at the Defense Information Systems Agency, is headed to Vion as senior director of cyber solutions, the Herndon, Va.-based IT infrastructure firm said.

Breakiron was previously DISA's executive program director for the Joint Regional Security Stacks (JRSS) and prior to that oversaw modernization of the Army's servicewide network in its CIO office.

In his new role, Breakiron will market Vion's cloud products and services and other IT infrastructure to U.S. military branches, DISA and security agencies, the firm said.

He "is widely known in the defense community for his network modernization efforts, especially for his focus on [Multiprotocol Label Switching] and his work to consolidate and harden the JRSS program," Vion CEO Tom Frana said in a statement.

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Jul 18, 2014 at 9:28 AM0 comments


Call for all applicants: DIA needs a CIO

help wanted sign

Can you or someone you know affect strategic change -- or foster “creative tension” -- within an agency? Quickly ascertain "the internal and external politics that impact the work of the organization?" Oh, and carry Top Secret/SCI clearance? If so, the Defense Intelligence Agency might be interested in speaking with you as it searches for a new CIO.

The successful applicant could earn up to $181,500 a year.

DIA has cast itself as a catalyst for innovation in the intelligence community, with Director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn urging an overhaul of how the agency cultivates ideas and technology. The CIO will undoubtedly be part of those efforts.

Of course, there is the small matter that DIA has a CIO -- Grant Schneider, a career employee, has held that job since 2007. Schneider is out of the office this week, and an agency spokesman could not provide details on the reason for or timing of Schneider's presumed departure.

In any case, those hoping to be the next CIO had better move quickly -- applications are being accepted only through July 25.

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Jul 16, 2014 at 12:37 PM2 comments


Booz Allen CEO to retire at year's end

Horacio Rozanski, BAH

Horacio Rozanski, who currently serves as president and chief operating officer, will succeed CEO Ralph Shrader on Jan. 1, 2015

The management and technology consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton on July 14 announced that CEO Ralph Shrader will retire at the end of 2014. Horacio Rozanski, who currently serves as president and chief operating officer, will succeed Shrader on Jan. 1, 2015, and has been named to the firm's board of directors effective immediately.

Shrader has been with Booz Allen Hamilton for four decades, and led the firm's initial public offering in November 2010. Rozanski joined the firm in 1992. He was elected vice president in 1999, appointed chief personnel officer in 2003, named chief strategy and talent officer in 2010, chief operating officer in 2011, and president in 2014.

Booz Allen Hamilton ranked #7 on Washington Technology's 2014 Top 100 list of federal contractors, with $3.4 billion in 2013 federal contracts for IT, systems integration, telecom, professional services and other high-tech business.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Jul 14, 2014 at 7:35 AM1 comments


ITI adds Hill veteran to government affairs team

US Capitol

The Information Technology Industry Council named long-time House Energy and Commerce Committee counsel Shannon Taylor as its director of government affairs/legislative counsel.

ITI said said in a July 11 statement that Taylor's first day on the job will be July 21, and she will be a lead government affairs liaison with members of the House.

"Shannon is a welcome addition to our government affairs team," said ITI Senior Vice President for Government Affairs Andy Halataei. "With her background providing trusted counsel and policy guidance to the House Energy and Commerce Committee on issues of importance for the tech sector, Shannon will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to ITI's member companies."

Taylor has more than 11 years of legislative affairs experience, serving most recently for eight years as a counsel for commerce, manufacturing, and trade on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where her work included privacy, data breach and patent policy. Before that she was a counsel on what is now the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Taylor began her Capitol Hill career working as a legislative counsel for Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.).

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Jul 11, 2014 at 12:52 PM0 comments


Air Force major general tapped for No. 2 spot at Cyber Command

Major General James K.

Maj. Gen. James “Kevin” McLaughlin is a 31-year Air Force veteran.

Air Force Maj. Gen. James “Kevin” McLaughlin was nominated to be the number two commander at U.S. Cyber Command in Fort Meade, Md., the Pentagon announced July 8.

McLaughlin is currently commander of the 24th Air Force, the service’s major cyberspace component whose Air Force Space Command center is housed at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado. He is also commander of Air Forces Cyber at U.S. Cyber Command on Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.

McLaughlin entered the Air Force in 1983, according to a Pentagon bio.

He was named director of the Air Force’s space and cyber operations in January 2012.

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Jul 08, 2014 at 8:45 AM0 comments


VA deputy CIO resigns

Exit Sign

Lorraine Landfried, deputy CIO for product development at the Department of Veterans Affairs, has submitted her resignation, FCW has learned.

Landfried plans to leave the agency July 19 and is launching her own business with the working title of Landfried Government Solutions. While Landfried can't officially hang out a shingle while she still works for the government, she told FCW she plans to do strategic consulting, executive coaching and advisory services that will draw on her decades-long career in government.

"I'm very excited. I've been a civil servant since I was 21, so I'm definitely ready to try something new," Landfried said.

Landried joined the VA in 2009. Previously, she had worked at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office for Information and Technology as executive director of enterprise data management and engineering. She started her government career as a computer programmer at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Landfried won a Federal 100 award in 2013, when she was cited for improving the VA's "on time" program delivery rate to 89 percent, a dramatic improvement over previous performance by the VA's Office of Information Technology. She also helped put development at VA on an agile footing, and is involved in government-wide efforts to spread the agile development method across agencies.

Her departure comes amid major changes at the top level of VA. Former Procter & Gamble CEO Bob McDonald was tapped by President Barack Obama to lead the agency after Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned over persistent problems and workarounds in scheduling medical appointments. The VA's OIT, meanwhile, is in the midst of a procurement of a new commercial scheduling system to interface with the agency's home-grown electronic health record, VistA.

Landfried said she is confident that the VA will be able to tap its agile expertise to fix the scheduling problems, and give managers more oversight and visibility into the system. There are interim fixes in the works that will improve how end users see available appointments, Landfried said, and those short improvements will help pave the way for eventually integrating a commercial system into VistA.

"There's no reason to think it won't be successful, because every time we've used that [agile] approach, it has been successful," she told FCW.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Jul 07, 2014 at 2:31 PM2 comments


Veteran DOD procurement official Ginman to retire

Richard Ginman is a retired rear admiral who held multiple acquisition leadership positions in the Navy.

Director of Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy Richard Ginman will retire after three years at that post and four decades in government and commercial contracting, a Pentagon spokesperson confirmed June 25.  

No retirement date was announced for Ginman, perhaps the Defense Department’s most experienced procurement official.

News of Ginman’s retirement, first reported by Federal News Radio, came via a memo, signed by DOD Director of Defense Pricing Shay Assad, announcing a contracting officer award in Ginman’s name.

As director of DPAP, Ginman has been responsible for implementation and oversight of DOD’s main acquisition regulations. A retired rear admiral, he previously held multiple acquisition leadership positions in the Navy.

Ginman also chairs the Government Accountability and Transparency Board, which President Barack Obama established by executive order in June 2011 to guide the use of integrating systems for displaying federal spending data.

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Jun 25, 2014 at 7:46 AM1 comments


Report: U.S. Marshals’ email folly ruins bitcoin auction

email

The U.S. Marshals Service botched what was supposed to be an anonymous $18-million bitcoin auction by replying all to an email with bidders’ names and addresses, according to a TechCrunch report. The technical folly apparently happened when one of the bidders asked a question and the Marshals’ office copied 40 other bidders on the reply.

The auction is for some 30,000 bitcoins, valued at about $18 million, seized by the government from Silk Road, a black market for drugs shut down last year by the FBI.

Registration for the auction runs June 16-23, according to an agency announcement. The U.S. Marshals Service could not be reached for comment.

Jennifer Shasky Calvery, director of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, said in February that more institutions need to register with her office if it is to successfully block cyber funding for criminals and terrorists.

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Jun 19, 2014 at 9:43 AM1 comments


Do More 24: Like a code sprint for charity

Do More 24 Logo

Supporting area charities is nothing new for the federal IT community, but this week offers the chance for a focused sprint in support of the needy.

June 19 is the date of Do More 24 -- a 24-hour crowdfunding campaign organized by the United Way of the National Capital Area. Last year's Do More 24 raised $1.3 million from some 11,000 donors to support local nonprofits. Unisys Federal Systems President (and 2011 Federal 100 winner) Ted Davies, who chairs the United Way NCA board of directors, is hoping for an even stronger showing this year.

A full calendar of fund-raising events for the 19th can be found on the Do More 24 website, along with details on other ways to support the campaign.

Posted by FCW Staff on Jun 18, 2014 at 12:34 PM0 comments


Where the innovation really happens

John Klossner for FCW

Posted by John Klossner on Jun 13, 2014 at 10:41 AM0 comments


New CIO at Commerce an old government hand

revolving door

Steve Cooper, the Homeland Security Department’s first CIO, is returning to government as CIO of the Commerce Department, the Washington Business Journal reported.

Cooper, who held the same post at the Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Department, left government in early 2013 and, according to his LinkedIn profile, is currently a partner at the Strativest Group.

At Commerce, Cooper will succeed Simon Szykman, who announced his impending departure in February.

Posted by John Bicknell on Jun 12, 2014 at 8:15 AM0 comments


Jennifer Kerber joins GSA

Jennifer Kerber

Jennifer Kerber, a former executive for TechAmerica Foundation and the Government Transformation Group will focus on the Federal Cloud Credential Exchange.

The General Services Administration's Office of Citizens Services and Technologies has a new addition to its team: former TechAmerica Foundation president Jennifer Kerber.

In the last few months OCSIT lost two major cloud leaders, David McClure and Katie Lewin, and now Kerber will be stepping into her first federal government position as director of Federal Cloud Credential Exchange program. GSA announced early on June 9 that Kerber "will be working in partnership with our FCCX team and our agency partners," the U.S. Postal Service and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Since April of last year, Kerber has served as executive director of the Government Transformation Group, a non-profit coalition that works to improve the effectiveness of federal government.

Prior to that, she was at TechAmerica for several years in various roles, until January 2012 when she was named president of the TechAmerica Foundation. Kerber filled that role for more than a year.

Olga Grkavac, a former head of public sector at TechAmerica, met Kerber when she came in to interview at the association.

"One of the many reasons we hired her was because of her rare expertise in identity management issues," Grkavac said. "She has such a passion for the issues, and loved working with industry and government."

OCSIT certainly has plenty on its plate in the coming months. In March it launched 18F, a government IT consulting office at GSA, which is rumored to be hiring up to 50 new employees before the end of the summer. And now that the FedRAMP deadline has passed, management of cloud government-wide will be of even greater import.

Kerber is no stranger to cloud -- at TechAmerica she worked on the Commission on the Leadership Opportunity in U.S. Deployment of the Cloud, CLOUD2, in 2011 -- work that earned her a 2012 Federal 100 award. It was one of the first notable studies on cloud of its time, and is still looked to by many cloud leaders in government. Grkavac said no matter what challenge is thrown at her, Kerber will be successful.

"It's her passion that really raises her even above other outstanding people," Grkavac said. "Her desire to do the best job possible and her dedication."

Posted by Colby Hochmuth on Jun 09, 2014 at 6:24 AM1 comments


Welcome to @CIA

Social Media Tree

The CIA’s latest intrigue is to join Twitter and Facebook. The spy agency sent out its first tweet the afternoon of June 6, which said in jest: “We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet.” The message has been re-tweeted about 98,000 times and the CIA has more than 125,000 followers as of this writing.

The social-media operation will help the agency “directly engage with the public and provide information on CIA’s mission, history and other developments,” Director John Brennan said in a statement. “We have important insights to share, and we want to make sure that unclassified information about the agency is more accessible to the American public that we serve, consistent with our national security mission.”

The Twitter and Facebook feeds will include news and career information, along with “artifacts” from the CIA’s museum, the agency said.

The CIA’s further embrace of social media (it is already on Flickr and YouTube) comes as the Obama administration seeks to restore public trust in America’s spy agencies. Documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed the agency was collecting bulk phone records of U.S. citizens, among other surveillance programs.

The administration faces a somewhat skeptical public. A January poll from the Associated Press and GfK found that more than 60 percent of Americans surveyed said it was more important for the government to safeguard their civil rights than protect them against terrorism.

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Jun 06, 2014 at 1:44 PM0 comments


McClure: 'Definitely, I'm not done yet'

"Don’t call it a trailer." David McClure's "luxury motor coach" got star billing at a June 3 retirement reception organized by ACT-IAC. The hood ornament in the photo is McClure's 2012 Eagle award.

Today, David McClure and his wife Trish are in their motor home, embarking on a five-week road trip through New England and eastern Canada. On the evening of June 3, however, they were in the basement of Hill Country BBQ, where dozens of longtime colleagues and other leaders of the federal IT community gathered to praise and roast the just-retired head of the General Services Administration's Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies.

"FedRAMP would not have happened" without McClure's leadership, former Department of Homeland Security CIO Richard Spires declared. Mark Forman, the first federal administrator for e-Government and IT, said, "Dave has been the principle thought leader" for every major piece of IT legislation in the past 20 years. Karen Evans, who succeeded Forman in that post, praised McClure for guidance that she said was critical to her success -- a role that virtually everyone who took the stage said McClure had played for them as well.  

Kathy Conrad and Martha Dorris, two of McClure's principle deputies at OCSIT, presented the requisite gag gifts -- including "tech-guy fancy socks" that unfortunately came after federal CIO Steven VanRoekel had slipped out the door -- and gave their former boss plenty of ribbing about his "luxury motor coach." But after various speakers had labeled McClure as "dangerous," "dapper," "demon" and "da Vinci Dave," Conrad's alliteration was simple: "The reality is, he's just a delightful guy."

McClure, whose final day in government was May 30, made clear that he would be returning to federal IT soon enough -- though he said part of his road-trip agenda would be to think about "who I'm going to work with."

Too many interesting challenges in federal IT remain for him to stay on the road for too long, McClure said. "Definitely, I'm not done yet."

Note: This article was updated on June 4 to correct the spelling of Conrad's first name. 

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Jun 04, 2014 at 10:15 AM0 comments


Changes at the top for NGA

Letitia Long_NGA

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Director Letitia Long will be replaced by Deputy Director of National Intelligence Robert Cardillo when she retires later this year.

Deputy Director of National Intelligence Robert Cardillo will head the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency starting in October, the Defense Department announced June 2. Outgoing NGA Director Letitia Long will retire later this year.

Cardillo has been deputy DNI for intelligence integration since September 2010, when the position was established. He has also held top posts in the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Since Long took over at NGA in August 2010, the agency moved from “providing static products, such as maps,” to offering geospatial intelligence in varied formats to “users on all security domains,” the Pentagon said in a statement.

The Map of the World, a visual mix of intelligence from top-secret, classified and unclassified networks, is perhaps the agency’s prime geospatial tool. Capabilities like that make NGA the intelligence agency best suited to turn big data into actionable intelligence, Long told FCW in April.

“Tish Long and Robert Cardillo both have led the transformation of intelligence to address the complex global strategic challenges we face as a nation,” Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers said in a statement. Long once held Vickers’s job, and has also served as deputy director of DIA and of Naval Intelligence, and as executive director of what is now the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).

In a message to NGA staff, Long called Cardillo “a truly distinguished intelligence professional who knows the intelligence community, NGA and many of our employees well," according to a DOD statement.

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Jun 02, 2014 at 9:56 AM0 comments


VanRoekel, McCaul tapped for TechAmerica awards

Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel, shown here at a 2012 NIST event

Federal CIO Steve VanRoekel is being honored by TechAmerica for his work in transforming how government buys and uses technology.

The technology trade association TechAmerica named federal CIO Steve VanRoekel as its government technology executive of the year and Texas Republican Rep. Michael McCaul as its legislator of the year.

TechAmerica cited VanRoekel for his work in transforming how government buys and uses technology, including cloud computing and data center consolidation policies that have driven savings, an emphasis on cybersecurity, improving citizen services, and releasing government data for use by the private sector.

McCaul is being honored for his work as chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee in advocating improved technologies in border protection and cybersecurity, as well as his oversight of management at the Department of Homeland Security.

The awards will be presented at TechAmerica's annual Technology & Government dinner on June 12.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on May 30, 2014 at 9:18 AM0 comments


Vice chair promoted to top spot at FirstNet

Sue Swenson's tenure as chairwoman of FirstNet will last three years.

Sue Swenson, a longtime telecommunications executive, was named by Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker to take over leadership of the FirstNet board of directors. She replaces the agency's first chairman, Sam Ginn, who will remain on the board until his term expires in August.

FirstNet is leading an effort to build a nationwide, interoperable public safety mobile broadband communications network that can connect state, local, and federal first responders. The agency, a component of the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Agency, is still in the process of staffing up to oversee construction of the network. Ginn, 78, came out of retirement to launch the FirstNet board in 2012. Swenson joined as vice-chairwoman last December. Her term as chairwoman will last three years.

Swenson takes over at a critical time, as FirstNet is planning to develop a series of requests for proposals covering the construction of the network as well as for equipment and services. The plan is being funded by $7 billion in anticipated proceeds from an upcoming spectrum auction. FirstNet's plan is to incorporate existing network assets wherever possible, rather than building capacity from scratch. In a FirstNet blog post, Swenson promised more updates on implementation plans at a board meeting next week.

The agency also announced that Acting Deputy CTO Jeff Bratcher is joining FirstNet on a permanent basis. He had been detailed to FirstNet's technical headquarters in Boulder, Colo., from NTIA. Bratcher will continue to lead the teams that are creating the technical specifications for the network.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on May 29, 2014 at 11:58 AM0 comments


Davie wins ACT-IAC's 2014 Franke Award

Mary Davie 2014

Mary Davie was honored by ACT-IAC for her years of championing collaboration at GSA. (Photo: Zaid Hamid) 

The General Services Administration's Mary Davie is the recipient of this year's John J. Franke Award from ACT-IAC. Davie, the assistant commissioner for the Office of Integrated Technology Services in GSA's Federal Acquisition Service, accepted the award May 19 at the Management of Change Conference in Cambridge, Md.

David McClure, associate administrator of GSA's Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies and the winner of last year's Franke Award, praised Davie for her collaborative approach, commitment to staff, and willingness to take risks. "She has always championed the improvement of government for the entire American public," he said, and "her priorities have always been about helping other agencies."

Davie, who declared herself "completely flattered and honored," has spent her entire 25-year career at GSA.  Given that agency's role in supporting the rest of government, she said, "it became clear to me pretty quickly that collaboration, communication, openness is the way that it has to be to make government run more effectively." 

Davie is a three-time Federal 100 winner, earning the award most recently in 2013 for her work as acting FAS commissioner. 

John J. Franke was a Marine, businessman and local politician before shifting to a highly effective career in federal government service.  He was a regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, assistant secretary for administration at the Education Department and then director of the Federal Quality Institute. Franke died in 1991. 

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on May 20, 2014 at 6:20 AM0 comments


Alexander: Big data 'is what it's all about'

Keith Alexander, DOD photo

Former NSA Director Keith Alexander fears anti-agency sentiment will drive away the young workers needed to keep the country safe..

Perhaps not surprisingly, former National Security Director Keith Alexander focuses on data that's big and secure, not open.

Speaking at ACT-IAC's Management of Change Conference on May 19, Alexander declared that, when it comes to federal IT, open data and big data are "what it's all about." But while leveraging open data is a key focus of the conference, Alexander pivoted immediately to his former agency's mandate to gather and secure information -- and to arguing NSA's case in the wake of the Edward Snowden leaks.

Alexander noted that the intelligence community only "collects what we are asked to collect," and said that "the one thing we failed on was protecting data from those ... we trusted." He suggested again that Snowden had motives others than whistleblowing ("he might have gotten lost along the way, but ... it benefits the country he is currently sitting in"), and said agencies must put more emphasis on guarding against insider threats. 

Continuous monitoring will be key, Alexander said, quipping: "You're looking at the guy who's like, 'I'm all for that!'" He noted more seriously, however, that 50 percent of employees take data with them when they leave a job -- and that "not everybody needs all the data."

And at the NSA, departing employees worry Alexander for a very different reason, he said. He praised the young workers in the intelligence community, and stressed the 400 hours of training they get on the proper use of the data they see -- "people don't understand how much training we get," he said.  

But the blowback against the NSA's data collection, Alexander said -- and the restrictions being put on future efforts as a result -- risks driving some of that young talent out of the intelligence community. And he argued that media reports and congressional critics have distorted the story. 

"People keep asking me, 'why are you still defending the NSA?'" Alexander said.  "The reason I keep fighting is that if [those talented young workers] leave, it hurts the country." 

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on May 19, 2014 at 8:47 AM0 comments


AFFIRM announces Leadership Award winners

David McClure speaking

David McClure, the soon-to-retire associate administrator of the General Services Administration's Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, is among the many 2014 AFFIRM Leadership Award winners.

The Association for Federal Information Resources Management announced the recipients of its 2014 Leadership Awards, a list that includes CIOs, senators and business leaders.

Darren Ash, CIO at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, was the recipient of the Executive Leadership Award in Information Resources Management in a civilian agency. Michael Krieger, deputy CIO for the Army, was the recipient for a defense agency.

David McClure, associate administrator of the General Services Administration's Office of Citizen Services and Communications, was the Career Leadership awardee. McClure announced last month he is leaving GSA at the end of May.

The awards will be presented June 12 at Washington’s Capital Hilton.

Other recipients were:

  • Kshemendra Paul, Manager for the Information Sharing Environment, Michael Howell, Deputy Program Manager for the Information Sharing Environment, and Michael Kennedy, Architecture & Interoperability Executive for the Program Manager for the Information Sharing Environment, for Information Resources Management (Intelligence)
  • Paul Wester, Chief Records Officer for U.S. Government, National Archives, for Government-wide Electronic Records Management
  • Teresa Bozzelli, President, Sapient Government Services, Executive Leadership Award for Industry
  • Sens. Jerry Moran (R–Kansas) and Tom Udall (D–N.M.), Congressional Leadership Award
  • Dan Milano Acting Director of Office of IT, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, for Acquisition and Procurement
  • Mark Orndorff, Chief Information Assurance Executive, DISA, for Cybersecurity
  • Carlene C. Ileto, Executive Director, Enterprise Business Management Office, Department of Homeland Security, for Enterprise IT Business Management
  • Brian Abrahamson, CIO, Pacific Northwest National Lab, for Innovative Applications
  • Sylvia Burns, Acting Chief Information Officer, Department of the Interior, for IT Transformation
  • Alissa Johnson, Deputy Chief Information Officer, Executive Office of the President, for IT Management
  • Dawn Leaf, Deputy CIO, Department of Labor, for Service Excellence
  • Steven Schliesman, Director, Benefits Product Division, Department of Veterans Affairs, for Service to the Citizen
  • Jenny Stack and Monica Grusche, COR/COTR WebOPSS IT Program Manager and Web OPSS Program Manager, Federal Aviation Administration, for Service to the Country
  • Kirit Amin, Deputy CIO and Chief Technology Officer, Department of Commerce, for Service to the Government IT Community
  • Jackie Robinson-Burnette, Associate Director, Office of Small Business Programs, Army Corps of Engineers, for Small Business (Individual)
  • Mariana Pardo, Director, and the SBA HUBZone Program Team, Small Business Administration, for Small Business (Team)
  • Vaughn Noga, Acting Director, Office of Administration, Office of Administrator and Resource Management, Environmental Protection Agency, for Technology Innovation
  • Francis Rose, Host, In Depth with Francis Rose, Federal News Radio, and Christopher J. Dorobek, Founder, Editor and Publisher, GovLoop’s DorobekINSIDER, for Media
  • Relmond Van Daniker, Executive Director, Association of Government Accountants, Special Recognition

Posted by Reid Davenport on May 16, 2014 at 12:41 PM0 comments


East retiring as Treasury CIO

revolving door

Treasury Department CIO Robyn East is retiring next month after three years on the job, the latest move in what has become a CIO shuffle in the past several months.

Deputy CIO Mike Parker will take over as acting CIO, Federal News Radio reported.

East came to Treasury in April 2011 from the University of North Carolina, where she was deputy CIO for six years.

She joins a growing list of federal CIOs to leave their jobs recently, including Teri Takai at the Defense Department, Bernie Mazer at the Interior Department and Simon Szykman at the Commerce Department. Navy Department CIO Terry Halvorsen is replacing Takai on an acting basis at the Pentagon. CIOs at Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration left for other government posts in recent months.

Posted by FCW Staff on May 15, 2014 at 11:45 AM0 comments


Halvorsen named acting CIO at Pentagon

Terry Halvorsen

Navy CIO Terry Halvorsen will replace Teri Takai as Defense Department CIO on an acting basis.

Terry Halvorsen is leaving his post as Navy CIO to be acting CIO for the Defense Department, a Pentagon spokesperson confirmed May 13.

Halvorsen’s first day as DOD CIO will be May 21, said spokesperson Lt. Col. Valerie Henderson. The decision to appoint Halverson interim Pentagon CIO was handed down May 12 in an internal memo from Deputy Secretary Robert Work.

There is no indication that Halvorsen’s tenures as Navy and DOD CIO will overlap, the spokesperson said, adding that there is no timetable for naming a permanent CIO at the Pentagon.  

Halvorsen, a 2010 Federal 100 winner, takes over for Teri Takai, who left the department May 2. 

Posted on May 14, 2014 at 10:54 AM1 comments


Four join PSC's Technology Policy Council board

revolving door

The Professional Services Council has added four tech firm executives to its Technology Policy Council’s Executive Advisory Board.

Kay Kapoor, president of AT&T Government Services, Teresa Carlson, vice president of Amazon Web Services Global Public Sector, Greg Baroni, chairman and CEO of Attain LLC, and Steven Roth, chief operating officer of Preferred Systems Solutions, were named to the board, the group said in a news release.

The Technology Policy Council was launched in March in “recognition of the convergence taking place between the technology and professional services sectors and the many issues associated with that convergence," PSC President and CEO Stan Soloway said at the time.

Anne Altman, IBM's general manager for federal government and industries, oversees the board for the group.

Other members of the panel are Pat Finn, senior vice president of Cisco's U.S. Public Sector Organization; Wes Anderson, vice president of Worldwide Public Sector Services at Microsoft; George Newstrom, president of Dell Services Federal Government; Randy Fuerst, president and chief operating officer of Oceus Networks; and Robin Lineberger, head of Deloitte's Aerospace and Defense Practice.

Posted by Jonathan Lutton on May 13, 2014 at 1:59 PM0 comments


Projects that didn't make the Fed 100 cut

Klossner Cartoon - Fed 100

Learn more about the people who did make the 2014 Federal 100, and the work they accomplished, here.

Posted by John Klossner on May 12, 2014 at 8:35 AM0 comments


Balderson to lead Northrop Grumman contracting

revolving door

Defense technology giant Northrop Grumman named Diane Balderson vice president of contracts and pricing, a duty she will officially take over from incumbent Harry Q.H. Lee at year’s end.

The position oversees companywide contracts and pricing policy along with Northrop Grumman’s review of contract risk.

Balderson was most recently head of contracting for the Naval Air Systems Command, managing $30 billion in annual “contractual obligations and expenditures,” the Falls Church, Va.-based firm said, adding that she was the first civilian to lead NAVAIR’s contracting organization.

She was also contracting department head for NAVAIR Air Assault and Special Missions, and previously held top contracting posts in the Environmental Protection Agency, according to her Northrop-furnished bio.

She “brings 33 years of experience in U.S. government acquisition leadership, 21 of which she was a member of the federal Senior Executive Service,” James Palmer, corporate vice president at Northrop Grumman, said in a statement. “She has led a broad range of large contracting organizations and has executed complex business deals for both defense and civil agencies.”

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on May 06, 2014 at 6:12 AM0 comments


Former Unisys exec joins ICE as CIO

revolving door

Immigration and Customs Enforcement's new CIO comes to the agency from the private sector.

Kevin Kern, a former senior vice president and CIO at Unisys, will be the Homeland Security Department component’s new CIO.

Kern will replace Thomas Michelli, who became the Coast Guard's deputy CIO in February. The Coast Guard's current CIO, Rear Adm. Robert Day, who also serves as commander of Coast Guard Cyber Command, has said he plans to retire this summer.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on May 06, 2014 at 12:44 PM0 comments


Obama taps IRS vet for OMB controller post

revolving door

President Barack Obama will nominate former IRS CIO David Arthur Mader for the post of controller at the Office of Federal Financial Management.

Mader's government service dates back to the 1970s. He worked at the IRS between 1971 and 2003, and served variously as acting deputy commissioner for modernization and CIO, and as chief for management and finance. He comes to the OMB post from Booz Allen, where he is senior vice president for strategy and organization. He has also worked in the public sector practice at Sirota Survey Intelligence.

The OMB controller post has been something of a revolving door in recent months. Danny Werfel, who held the post during Obama's first term, decamped to the IRS to take over the agency during a political crisis. Norman Dong served as acting controller before taking a senior post at the General Services Administration.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on May 02, 2014 at 11:05 AM0 comments


Brubaker heads to AirWatch

Paul Brubaker and Elizabeth McGrath at the 2014 Federal 100 gala

Paul Brubaker, shown here with former Defense Department Deputy Chief Management Officer Elizabeth McGrath at the 2014 Federal 100 gala, will join AirWatch on May 5.

Outgoing Defense Department Director of Planning and Performance Management Paul Brubaker will be joining AirWatch, the VMware-owned mobile security and enterprise mobility management provider.

Brubaker's last day at DOD was May 2; he starts at AirWatch on May 5 as director for the federal market.

AirWatch Chairman Alan Dabbiere said his firm sees federal agencies "as an important strategic market that has incredible potential for dramatically improving its operations and outcomes through broader deployment of secure mobility. We're excited to have Paul join the AirWatch team to lead our federal government expansion."

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on May 02, 2014 at 1:57 PM0 comments


The downside of big data

Klossner cartoon for FCW

Posted by John Klossner on Apr 30, 2014 at 10:04 AM0 comments


Pentagon: IT departures won't disrupt relations with industry

Image of the Pentagon

The Pentagon does not see the resignation of CIO Teri Takai and other senior officials as disrupting its coordination with industry on IT issues, Defense Press Secretary John Kirby said April 29 in a briefing with reporters.

"I don't foresee there's going to be any drop off or degradation of our coordination and relationship with industry as a result of this," Kirby said. "Ms. Takai has done a great job in that regard and ... I think she has worked very hard to make sure that that kind of collaboration can continue and we look forward to that."

Takai revealed she was stepping down as DOD's top IT officer in an April 28 email to staff. Her deputy, Robert Carey, left DOD for the private sector in late March, while the Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer -- another important IT policy driver -- has seen three officials leave since last summer.

The CIO is "a critical part of this department and a critical capability that we've got to continue to improve," Kirby said April 29. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel "knows it's an important job, wants to fill it [and] wants to fill it with the right person. It's more important that we get the right talent in there than we do it quickly," he added.

The Pentagon has no timeline for replacing Takai as CIO, Kirby said, adding that the department would like to find a permanent replacement as soon as possible.

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Apr 29, 2014 at 11:59 AM2 comments


NOAA CIO headed to Justice

revolving door

Joseph F. Klimavicz will take over the CIO slot at the Justice Department next month, filling the seat left vacant when Luke McCormack moved to the Homeland Security Department last November.

Klimavicz has been CIO for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration since 2007.

As NOAA’s CIO, Kilmavicz strengthened cyber security, expanded high performance computing and modernized many of its business systems.

“Joe has the leadership and technical skills needed to oversee the Justice Department’s information management and technology programs,” Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole said in a press release. “Joe is well positioned to lead the department’s efforts to continue to enhance our cyber security protections and our law enforcement sharing programs.”

Kevin Deeley will return to his role as deputy CIO after serving as acting CIO since McCormack’s departure.

Posted by Reid Davenport on Apr 28, 2014 at 12:31 PM0 comments


Takai to leave DOD

Defense Department CIO Teri Takai speaking at a Feb. 20, 2014, press conference.

Defense Department CIO Teri Takai told her staff on April 28 that she will step down in May.

Defense Department CIO Teri Takai is leaving the Pentagon, a spokesperson confirmed April 28. Her last day will be May 2.

The department has no immediate plans to name a successor, the spokesperson said.

Takai became DOD's CIO in October 2010 after a drawn-out process that ended with President Barack Obama withdrawing her nomination and the Pentagon restructuring the position so that it no longer required Senate confirmation.

In her email message to staff, Takai stressed the progress made on aligning DOD's "vast IT networks and resources to move toward a Joint Information Environment," as well as her office's work on cloud and mobile-first initiatives. She also announced an all-hands meeting for April 30.

Takai's departure adds to a growing list of exits by DOD executives. Former Deputy CIO Robert Carey left the Pentagon for the private sector in late March, while the Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer -- another key driver of IT -- has seen DCMO Elizabeth McGrath, Director of Planning and Performance Management Paul Brubaker and Assistant DCMO David Wennergren leave since last summer.

Takai, who had previously served as CIO for California and Michigan, has been mentioned in recent months as a candidate for the New York City CIO position. She did not respond to inquiries regarding her plans.

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Apr 28, 2014 at 12:55 PM5 comments


Brubaker leaving DOD

Paul Brubaker and Elizabeth McGrath at the 2014 Federal 100 gala

Paul Brubaker, shown here with former Defense Department Deputy Chief Management Officer Elizabeth McGrath at the 2014 Federal 100 gala, announced to his staff on April 25 that he is leaving the DCMO office for the private sector

Paul Brubaker, the Defense Department's director of planning and performance management in the Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer, is returning to the private sector. Brubaker shared the news with his staff the morning of April 25.

"This was not a decision that was made easily," Brubaker told his team in an email obtained by FCW. "As some of you know, almost 30 years ago I decided to dedicate my career to making government work better. ... Please know that my decision to change positions at this time remains consistent with my continued desire to play a role in positively transforming government."

Brubaker's last day at DOD will be May 2.  

Brubaker has held a number of leadership positions in both government and the private sector. A former GAO evaluator, he has served as an investigator, deputy staff director and minority staff director of the Senate Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, where he worked with then-Sen. William S. Cohen (R-Maine) in the effort to enact the Clinger-Cohen Act.

Brubaker is a two-time presidential appointee, serving first as deputy CIO of the Defense Department under President Bill Clinton, then as the Transportation Department's Research and Innovative Technology Administrator under President George W. Bush. He has been in his current Pentagon post since January 2013.

Brubaker's email to staff did not specify his future plans, and he declined to answer FCW's questions on that topic while still in the government's employ. 

No stranger to industry, Brubaker has served as CEO, CMO and in other executive roles at several successful technology-services companies, including Commerce One and Cisco, where he led the North American Public Sector's Internet Business Solutions Group.

He has also served as chairman of Virginia's Center for Innovative Technology, and is a two-time winner of FCW's Federal 100 award.

Brubaker’s move is the latest in a series of high-level departures from the DCMO office, which is tasked with synchronizing, integrating and coordinating all DOD business operations. Deputy Chief Management Officer Elizabeth McGrath left at the end of 2013 for a position at Deloitte Consulting LLP, while Assistant Deputy Chief Management Officer David Wennergren retired in July 2013 and is now with CACI International. 

Brubaker, however, praised the leadership of acting DCMO Kevin Scheid, and told his colleagues that the decision to leave "is made somewhat easier knowing that there are incredibly talented, capable and dedicated teammates who serve within the DCMO that will continue to drive new levels of efficiency and effectiveness."

"It is certainly an exciting time to be working in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and DCMO," Brubaker wrote. "I would not be leaving if there wasn't an exceptionally suitable and exciting position to drive a level of transformation from the outside."

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Apr 25, 2014 at 7:16 AM4 comments


TASC taps ‘first federal CIO’

Mark Forman

Mark Forman, the man dubbed “the first federal CIO,” has returned to the defense systems firm TASC as vice president for IT services and cloud initiatives, the company announced April 23. Forman was administrator for e-government and IT in the Office of Management and Budget from 2001 to 2003.  

Forman "will help TASC expand the offerings we provide to civil-agency customers, especially in cloud computing and for complex IT systems," Bruce Phillips, a senior vice president at TASC, said in a statement.

Forman, co-founder and president of Government Transaction Services, was a partner at KPMG and a principal for IBM's Global eBusinesss Strategy, according to his TASC bio. He also has legislative-branch experience as a senior staffer on the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee (now called the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee), and on the Joint Economic Committee.

His first stint with TASC was from 1985 to 1989, where he did cost and operational effectiveness analysis in support of the Army and other DOD organizations, according to a LinkedIn bio.

Forman has been a frequent commentator on federal IT policy since leaving OMB. At a software industry event last November, he said the Obama administration’s plan for HealthCare.gov “made a mockery of modular procurement,” and that the vendor management process was broken.

He was a 2002 winner of the Eagle award, presented annually by FCW for outstanding contributions to federal information technology.

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Apr 24, 2014 at 9:30 AM0 comments


Why government social media is different

Social Media Tree

The federal government needs to do a better job of explaining its unique position in the constellation of social media users, according to Justin Herman, who leads government-wide social media programs at the General Services Administration.

Privacy law, spending restrictions, and different performance metrics separate the government's public services mission from the private sector's public relations goals, Herman wrote in an April 22 post on the GSA's DigitalGov blog.

"Social media for government is rightfully different from social media for the private sector and amid changing technologies we must better understand these differences in order for agencies, companies and citizens to share in the full opportunities and benefits," he wrote.

Federal social media accounts can't target influential users to make messages go viral because of Privacy Act restrictions. They can't buy followers. They typically don't throw money at promoting posts through advertising.

Herman cited Coast Guard social media chief Christopher Lagan, who said the federal government offers a "deeper connection" on social media than a typical brand. "Our audience isn't made up of customers but of fellow Americans. We're not trying to sell them anything, we're trying to give them ownership of and a stake in the process."

Herman announced three new social media initiatives that will launch over the next three months, designed to improve federal users' visibility, reach, and effectiveness on social platforms.

A Federal Social Media Policy Development toolkit will be published on software code sharing repository Github. The second edition of the Social Media Accessibility toolkit, which helps social media managers make content more accessible to people with disabilities, will go live. Finally, GSA will release new guidance on how to measure the performance of government social media accounts.

GSA is also looking for two current federal employees to devote 20 percent of their work time under the open opportunities program to help report on federal social media trends.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Apr 23, 2014 at 9:04 AM1 comments


Borras lands at consulting firm

Rafael Borras

Rafael Borras, former undersecretary for management at the Department of Homeland Security, has joined global management consultancy A.T. Kearney as a senior adviser, according to a company statement released on April 23.

In his new role, Borras will identify commercial best practices in organizational transformation, IT, acquisition and financial management that can be applied in the public sector.

Before his departure from DHS in February, Borras had been at the agency since his 2010 appointment by President Barack Obama. From September to December 2013, Borras served as acting deputy secretary.

As DHS' designated chief management officer, he oversaw management of the department's nearly $60 billion budget, and as chief acquisition officer, he administered approximately $19 billion in annual procurements.

"I look forward to helping A.T. Kearney deliver the best commercial practices to the public sector and enabling governments everywhere to deliver services in the most efficient and sustainable way to the benefit of their citizens," Borras said in the statement.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Apr 23, 2014 at 12:35 PM0 comments


Gen. Franz takes over INSCOM

Maj. Gen. George J. Franz III

The U.S. Army on April 17 named Maj. Gen. George J. Franz III commanding general of its Intelligence and Security Command in Ft. Belvoir, Va. INSCOM is a main Army command center for information security and has personnel in 180 locations worldwide.

Franz was previously commander of the Cyber National Mission Force at U.S. Cyber Command in Ft. Meade, where his work earned him a 2014 Federal 100 award. At U.S. Cyber Command, Franz was responsible for developing, training and structuring the nation’s cyber mission forces. He also produced the first cyber forces concept of operations.

Franz served in the Gulf War and the post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to a bio on the AFCEA website.

INSCOM did not respond to questions on the appointment by the time of publication.

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Apr 18, 2014 at 8:06 AM0 comments


McClure leaving GSA

David McClure at the 2014 Federal 100 gala

David McClure, shown here at the 2014 Federal 100 gala, confirmed to FCW on April 17 that he will retire from the General Services Administration at the end of May.

Dave McClure, associate administrator of the GSA's Office of Citizen Services and Communications confirmed he is retiring from the agency.

In an April 17 email to FCW, McClure declined to discuss his future plans in detail while still on the job, but said he is leaving GSA at the end of May.

News of the April 16 internal email in which McClure announced his retirement plans was first reported by NextGov. GSA did not respond to questions about who might fill the position, but GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini said McClure "has played an invaluable role in making this agency a leader in digital innovation.... He has left a strong foundation that everyone at GSA, and the entire federal government, can build on in the years to come."

Rumors of McClure's possible departure have circulated for months as he approached retirement eligibility, but multiple sources said McClure may had taken some time to help set up a transition plan.

His tenure at GSA is distinguished, including sweeping programs aimed at implementing and managing the federal government's migration away from traditional, dedicated IT operations to cloud environments, as well as innovation in IT contracting methods. He has been a leading advocate for the Obama administration’s cloud-first policy as a way to save money and enhance efficiency across government.

McClure also shepherded one of the government's key cloud initiatives, the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), through the interagency review and approval process to its fruition. FedRAMP has gone from an idea to becoming the "law of the land" for a standardized approach to assessing and authorizing cloud products and services, said one source.

McClure's efforts to improve federal IT and drive down inefficiencies across government have earned him FCW's Federal 100 award four times -- in 1998, 2001, 2004 and 2012. In 2012, he won FCW's government Eagle award for his leadership on GSA’s infrastructure-as-a-service contract, which allows agencies to buy IT services as needed rather than purchasing and maintaining more hardware. He also received AFFIRM's 2010 Governmentwide IT Leadership Award.

Before joining GSA, McClure had been managing vice president for Gartner Inc.’s government research team. He served on the Obama-Biden transformation, innovation and government reform transition team, which examined federal agency IT plans and status for the incoming administration. McClure has also served as vice president for e-government and technology at the Council for Excellence in Government.

Before joining Gartner, McClure had an 18-year career at the Government Accountability Office, where he reviewed major systems development and IT management capabilities in almost all major Cabinet departments and agencies. He also served as ex-officio member of the Federal Chief Information Officer Council from its start in 1996 through 2001.

Note: This story was updated on April 17 to add comments from GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Apr 17, 2014 at 10:10 AM1 comments


DISA's Bennett shifts to private sector

revolving door

Bruce Bennett, a former deputy chief technology officer for the Defense Information Systems Agency, is now an executive consultant at Suss Consulting, the firm announced April 15.

Bennett was also DISA's program executive officer for satellite communications and chief engineer for the Defense Information Systems Network, the agency's global telecom network.

Bennett's value as a federal IT consultant lies in his "breadth of expertise in terrestrial and satellite networks along with his depth of experience in designing, developing and implementing state-of-the-art engineering solutions," Suss Consulting President Warren Suss said in a statement.

At DISA, Bennett was in charge of the engineering and resourcing of terrestrial and commercial satellite communications, among other duties, the Suss Consulting bio said. He pushed programs toward "Everything over Internet Protocol," and called for culture change at DOD to drive technology adoption.

Barnett has also "held numerous leadership positions with the U.S. Army working in signals intelligence development," his new employer added.

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Apr 16, 2014 at 8:00 AM1 comments


In-flight Wi-Fi for Con Air

ConAir Wi-Fi

Most of the guests on flights run by the Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System might not care, but in-flight Wi-Fi is coming to the U.S. Marshal's airline. The Department of Justice is seeking sources to install Wi-Fi and hard-wired Internet service on two Boeing 737-400 aircraft used for prisoner transportation. The aircraft are based at JPAT's Oklahoma City headquarters.

The service, as the statement of work makes clear, is designed for the pilots and security personnel, not for the convenience of the passengers. The specs call for an air-to-ground network with broadband speeds of 2.5 to 3 megabits per second, the ability to send 10MB email attachments, secure VPN access, and remote desktop support for Apple iPad and Windows PCs. The requirements also include AC power outlets in the cockpit and the cabin for device charging, and a small format printer.

As viewers of the TV show "Justified" are aware, U.S. Marshals value economy and dispatch. They don't want the installation of the two systems to get in the way of their flight schedules. The announcement specifies that the "minimization of aircraft downtime during the normal business week will be a major factor in selecting a vendor," and the ability to work on weekends or federal holidays will be a plus.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Apr 16, 2014 at 1:33 PM0 comments


Johnson joins CAP as a senior fellow

Clay Johnson

Clay Johnson has no shortage of either fans or critics in the federal IT community -- and now both camps are likely to be hearing a lot more from him.

The Center for American Progress announced on April 15 that Johnson -- the outspoken technologist, author and former presidential innovation fellow -- will be coming aboard as a senior fellow. Johnson is also the founder and CEO of the Department of Better Technology, which focuses on developing government IT solutions. Johnson said the fellowship "has no implications" for DBT.

"A commercial social venture isn't the right home for a lot of the policy and reform work that I do with the federal government," Johnson said, according to CAP. "The Center for American Progress is."

Johnson has been critical of government IT and federal contracting in the wake of the HealthCare.gov launch, saying that the federal procurement system is broken. In his role as a 2012 presidential innovation fellow, he worked on the RFP-EZ procurement system, which continues to be used for certain acquisition efforts. In 2010, Johnson was a Federal 100 Winner for his work as director of Sunlight Labs.

Unsurprisingly, Johnson's work at CAP will focus on issues concerning government technology, including procurement reform and open government data. His fellowship will be based in Atlanta.

Posted by Reid Davenport on Apr 15, 2014 at 12:59 PM0 comments


Carey heading to CSC

Robert Carey

Robert Carey, who served as principal deputy CIO at the Defense Department for three-and-a-half years before stepping down last month, revealed at his April 11 retirement party that he will join CSC as vice president of public sector, cyber.

Before becoming DOD's principal deputy CIO in October 2010, Carey spent four years as CIO of the Department of the Navy.

A veteran of the Gulf and Iraq wars, Carey was also a 2013 Federal 100 winner and was named Defense Executive of the Year for 2009 by GCN, FCW's sister publication.

CSC officials declined to comment on Carey's role at the Falls Church, Va.-based firm.

CSC ranked 15th on the Federal Procurement Data System's list of the top 100 government contractors in 2013; the company earned $3.47 billion under federal contracts last year. One of the products in Carey's charge could be an offering CSC released earlier this month called AppSEC on Demand, which tests the security of software and helps clients build security into the development process.

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Apr 14, 2014 at 12:11 PM2 comments


NOAA, NASA finalists in web design competition

Don't be a cog in the machine

NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are among the five nominees for the 2014 Webby Awards for government websites. NOAA was nominated for Climate.gov, while NASA was nominated for its main site.

NOAA’s site includes news about weather trends, interactive maps and learning resources like a “Teaching Climate Literacy Webinar.

“Our goals are to promote public understanding of climate science and climate-related events, to make our data products and services easy to access and use, to provide climate-related support to the private sector and the Nation’s economy, and to serve people making climate-related decisions with tools and resources that help them answer specific questions,” its site said.

The awards are presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.

NASA won the 2012 award for best government site and was a 2013 honoree.

Three non-federal sites are also nominated in the government category: New York City’s redesigned nyc.gov; a site promoting adoption in Wales; and Sweden’s official site.

Posted by Reid Davenport on Apr 10, 2014 at 6:40 AM0 comments


Better Government Competition seeks agency tech ideas

compass innovation

Got an idea for using technology to make government run better? It could win you $10,000 from the 2014 Better Government Competition.

The Better Government Competition is a project of the Pioneer Institute, a non-profit and non-partisan research organization focused on improving public policy in Massachusetts. Ideas and innovations from the federal level are welcome, however, particularly when focused on information-sharing, fraud detection, reducing energy costs or streamlining agencies' reporting, licensing and regulatory processes. The focus of this year's contest is "leveraging technology to transform the public sector."

The deadline is fast approaching; submissions in the form of short "idea papers" must be received by April 16. And determining what your ethics officer thinks of such a contest is up to you!

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Apr 09, 2014 at 9:44 AM0 comments


Contreras-Sweet sworn in at SBA

Maria Contreras-Sweet being sworn is as administrator of the Small Business Administration on April 7, 2014

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden both took part in the April 7 swearing-in ceremony for Maria Contreras-Sweet as administrator of the Small Business Administration. She was nominated for the post in January and confirmed by the Senate on March 27.

"I nominated Maria because she knows firsthand the challenges that small businesses go through," Obama said at the ceremony, "and she has a proven track record of helping them succeed."

Contreras-Sweet, a first-generation Mexican-American, founder of ProAmérica Bank and a former California state official, said her mission "is to make the SBA an agency that's as innovative as the small businesses that we serve."

Posted by FCW Staff on Apr 08, 2014 at 3:32 PM0 comments


Air Force names new head of contracting

Gen. Casey Blake

Brig. Gen. Casey Blake was named on April 4 to replace Maj. Gen. Wendy Masiello as the Air Force's deputy assistant secretary for contracting. Masiello has been nominated by President Barack Obama to be director of the Defense Contract Management Agency.

A 30-year Air Force veteran, Blake currently serves as commander of the Air Force Installation Contracting Agency, which is based at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. In that role, he has directed strategic sourcing efforts for the Air Force and overseen $3.9 billion in annual obligations.

Note: This article was updated on April 9 to correct the date on which Blake was named to his new post.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Apr 04, 2014 at 2:14 PM0 comments


Masiello named to head Defense Contract Management Agency

Wendy Masiello

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced April 1 that President Barack Obama has nominated Air Force Maj. Gen. Wendy Masiello to be director of the Defense Contract Management Agency. Charlie Williams was director of DCMA until late 2013; Deputy Director James Russell has been running the agency on an acting basis since then.

If confirmed by the Senate, Masiello would also be promoted to lieutenant general. 

Masiello currently serves as the Air Force's deputy assistant secretary for contracting -- a role in which she has pushed the Air Force to be an early adopter of the General Services Administration's OASIS contracting vehicle, and warned publicly of the risks posed by agencies' shortage of experienced contracting personnel. In 2011, she won a Federal 100 award for her work as the Air Force's program executive officer for combat and mission support.

No replacement has yet been named for Masiello's current job of Air Force deputy assistant secretary for contracting.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Apr 02, 2014 at 10:34 AM0 comments


Mazer steps down as Interior CIO

Interior Department CIO Bernard Mazer is retiring after more than 25 years in government. 

Federal News Radio, which first reported the news, quoted an internal agency email as saying Mazer would stay until July to assist with the transition, but would step out of his CIO role immediately. 

Mazer won a 2014 Federal 100 award for his leadership in consolidating Interior’s IT operations, and for driving the department's Foundation Cloud Hosting Services contract.

He will be replaced on an interim basis by Sylvia Burns, Interior's acting associate deputy CIO for service planning and management.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Mar 28, 2014 at 12:50 PM2 comments


Rochford to run telecom technology lab

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has named Kent Rochford as its director of a new wireless telecommunications lab it runs with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

The Communication Technology Laboratory (CTL) is based at NIST's Boulder, Colo., research facilities and seeks to advance understanding of spectrum use with the goal of promoting better spectrum-sharing approaches. NIST and NTIA announced formation of the lab last year, and NIST said on March 26 that its appointment of Rochford was effective March 24.

The center will be jointly managed by Rochford and the director of NTIA's Institute for Telecommunication Sciences.

According to NIST's announcement, Rochford had been senior director of Sharp Labs of America. He is also a NIST veteran, having previously served as chief of NIST's Optoelectronics Division, director of its Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory, and director of operations at the agency's Boulder Laboratories.

CTL could provide a way to beat the growing national wireless spectrum crunch, said Willie May, associate director of laboratory programs at NIST, during a cloud mobility conference at the agency's headquarters on March 25.

CTL is the seventh of NIST's major research units. It aims to enhance agencies' effectiveness in coordinating research, standards development and testing functions in advanced communications technologies. According to agency statements, CTL will also promote interdisciplinary research and be a focal point for industry's and government's testing, validation and conformity assessments for those technologies.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Mar 27, 2014 at 10:15 AM0 comments


Pentagon Deputy CIO Carey retires

Robert Carey

Robert J. Carey, principal deputy chief information officer at the Department of Defense, announced his retirement in an email to colleagues on March 26.

His last day on the job will be March 28.

Carey has been in his current position since October 2010. Before that, he was CIO of the Department of the Navy, where he succeeded Dave Wennergren in 2006.

Carey's federal career spans more than three decades. His service began with the Army at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in 1982. He switched to the Department of the Navy in 1985, where he worked in a variety of engineering and leadership positions. He joined the staff of the Navy CIO in February 2000 and was promoted to deputy CIO in December 2002.

Carey was a 2013 Federal 100 winner and was named Defense Executive of the Year for 2009 by GCN, FCW’s sister publication.

In winning the Federal 100 award, he was cited for his work as co-chairman of the CIO Council's Information Security and Identity Management Committee, where he helped guide development of a mobile computing security requirement for unclassified information in just four months.

Carey noted in his email that he also served in the Navy Civil Engineer Corps Officer for 25 years, and was mobilized for both the Gulf War and the Iraq War.

Posted by John Bicknell on Mar 26, 2014 at 10:19 AM0 comments


Reeder recognized for role in launching Fed 100

Franklin Reeder

FCW's 25th Federal 100 gala included one additional award that was long overdue. Frank Reeder, a 25-year Office of Management and Budget official who has also shaped federal IT from the legislative branch and various non-governmental organizations, was honored for his role in creating the Fed 100. 

Reeder, who in the late 1980s was head of the information policy branch at OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, approached FCW’s editors about finding a way to shine a light on the good things happening in government. The result -- with its community-driven nomination process, blue-ribbon judging panel, and stand-up comic instead of drawn-out speeches -- was the Federal 100 awards that continue to this day.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Mar 25, 2014 at 12:09 PM1 comments


Chief acquisition officer leaves GSA for White House

Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

GSA Chief Acquisition Officer Anne Rung will move to the White House to head up the Office of Management and Budget's Office of Federal Procurement Policy, sources with  knowledge of the move told FCW.

Rung will replace Joe Jordan as administrator at OFPP. Jordan stepped down in January to accept a position as president of public sector at FedBid, a privately held company that offers a reverse-auction marketplace in which companies compete for government business by bidding down their prices

At GSA, Rung has had a dual role as chief acquisition officer and associate administrator for the Office of Governmentwide Policy.

A replacement hasn't been named yet, according to sources.  

She was named associate administrator for the Office of Governmentwide Policy at GSA in June 2013 and had been the agency's chief acquisition officer since May 2012.

When Acting GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini announced the appointment of Rung to the associate administrator position, he said "Anne has been a vital part of our agency since April of last year, serving as our chief acquisition officer and a senior adviser to me on a number of issues. She brings extensive experience in public service at both the state and federal level."

Before joining GSA, Rung had served as senior director of administration at the Department of Commerce, leading and implementing several management initiatives, including acquisition reform. She won FCW's Federal 100 award in 2012 for some of her work at Commerce.

Before that, she served as deputy secretary for administration and procurement for the Pennsylvania Department of General Services, leading four state-wide operations with 77,000 employees and a $4 billion procurement program.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Mar 17, 2014 at 9:33 AM1 comments


GSA's cloud computing program manager retiring

revolving door

FCW has learned that Katie Lewin, program manager for cloud computing at the General Services Administration, is retiring.

Multiple sources told FCW that Lewin accepted a position at Falls Church, Va.-based CSC, an IT services and solutions company. The company refused to comment.

Lewin is known for her role as the driving force behind the launch of the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), the government's standardized approach to cloud computing. Her efforts helped federal agencies efficiently develop cloud computing capabilities, carrying out the federal cloud initiative in four key areas: the Apps.gov website, E-mail in the Cloud, Security as a Service and Data Center Consolidation. Much of this work came at a time when cloud computing was in its infancy in government.

Well-known in the federal IT community, Lewin worked to establish collaboration among government and industry stakeholders, addressing security issues, standards and operational issues.

"GSA will miss Katie Lewin's strong leadership and experience from a diverse career working on important government technology initiatives," said Dave McClure, associate administrator for GSA's Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies. "She has had a wonderful government career in the technology area across four agencies. Her capstone accomplishment without question was the creation and launch of FedRAMP, which is becoming a model of cross-government collaboration in the technology community."

For her efforts, including providing administrative support to former GSA CIO Casey Coleman, Lewin received a Federal 100 award in 2010. This work occurred during her second stint at GSA; she had previously worked on GSA's delegation of procurement authority program. She also held jobs at the Office of Management and Budget, the Library of Congress and the Internal Revenue Service.

Outside of government, Lewin has held various IT-related consulting positions at Lockheed Martin and SRA International, where she worked with the U.S. Mint, IRS and Treasury Department.

Posted by Frank Konkel on Mar 14, 2014 at 12:00 PM0 comments


DHS cyber framework team named

Phyllis Schneck

Phyllis Schneck will lead a new team at DHS dedicated to implementing the cybersecurity framework.

The Department of Homeland Security formally announced the leadership team in the National Protection and Programs Directorate's Office of Cybersecurity and Communications that will help implement the cybersecurity framework for critical infrastructure systems unveiled by the White House in February.

A blog post on the agency's website the evening of March 12 said the new team, drawn from top White House and DHS cybersecurity managers, will work under the direction of Deputy Undersecretary for Cybersecurity and Communications Phyllis Schneck.

According to the joint post by Schneck and NPPD Deputy Undersecretary Suzanne Spaulding, Andy Ozment will join the team as assistant secretary for cybersecurity and communications. Ozment had previously been director of compliance and technology under the chief information security officer at DHS, and he returns to the department after working as senior director for cybersecurity at the White House since 2012.

The post said retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Gregory Touhill will serve as deputy assistant secretary for cybersecurity operations and programs.

Bobbie Stempfley will step into a new role as deputy assistant secretary for cybersecurity strategy and emergency communications. She had served as acting assistant secretary and deputy assistant secretary of cybersecurity and communications.

While at the White House, Ozment worked for Cybersecurity Coordinator Michael Daniel and led the development and implementation of Executive Order 13636 on improving critical infrastructure cybersecurity. That order resulted in the development of the Cybersecurity Framework and the establishment of the voluntary Critical Infrastructure Cyber Community program.

Touhill will focus on the development and implementation of operational programs such as the continuous diagnostics and mitigation program and the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, which are aimed at protecting government networks and critical infrastructure systems.

Stempfley will oversee emergency communications, develop and implement NPPD's strategy and policy efforts, and focus on building partnerships with the public and private sectors and the general public.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Mar 13, 2014 at 12:16 PM0 comments


FEMA's new CISO comes aboard

Donna Bennett, the Federal Emergency Management Agency's new chief information security officer, started her job on March 10.

Bennett reports to FEMA CIO Adrian Gardner and will serve as the division chief for the Office of Information Assurance, according to a FEMA staff announcement.

In accordance with the Federal Information Security Management Act and subordinate regulations, Bennett is responsible for all aspects of the agency's information security program, FEMA said.

Bennett had been the National Defense University's senior information assurance officer, which gave her responsibility for NDU's information systems in Washington, D.C., and at campuses in Norfolk, Va., and Fort Bragg, N.C.

Gardner said Bennett has held several high-level positions at the Defense Department, including a stint as information assurance portfolio manager for European Command and Africa Command.

Bennett earned a bachelor's degree in computer information systems from Saint Leo University and a master of science degree in information assurance from Norwich University. She is also a graduate of the Senior Executive Service Development Seminar. While on active duty in the Navy, Bennett was named Sailor of the Year at Naval Amphibious Base, according to the FEMA announcement.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Mar 12, 2014 at 12:57 PM0 comments


Professional Services Council launches tech policy group

Anne Altman

Anne Altman, IBM's general manager for federal government and industries, will oversee the executive advisory board for the Professional Services Council's new technology policy council.

An IBM executive will chair the Professional Services Council's new technology policy council.

Anne Altman, IBM's general manager for federal government and industries, will oversee the executive advisory board for the group.

Other members of the panel are Pat Finn, senior vice president of Cisco's U.S. Public Sector Organization; Wes Anderson, vice president of Worldwide Public Sector Services at Microsoft; George Newstrom, president of Dell Services Federal Government; Randy Fuerst, president and chief operating officer of Oceus Networks; and Robin Lineberger, head of Deloitte's Aerospace and Defense Practice.

More members are expected to be named soon, and a senior executive will be named to the PSC staff to support the board's work.

The technology policy council "represents a recognition of the convergence taking place between the technology and professional services sectors and the many issues associated with that convergence," PSC President and CEO Stan Soloway said in a prepared statement. "Today, the lines that traditionally separated the two have been blurred almost to extinction."

PSC, which represents more than 370 member companies, has recently been involved in advocating for the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act, as well as the Federal Data Consolidation Act of 2013.

"The move to an 'as a service' business model, or what others refer to as 'consumption-based buying', is changing the face of the government marketplace," Soloway said. "We have been planning for more than six months to adjust and modify our operating model to reflect those changes. With the addition of PSC's technology policy council, we are beginning that restructuring."

Posted by Reid Davenport on Mar 11, 2014 at 9:38 AM0 comments


Verizon exec joins TechAmerica board

Verizon's Sonya Cork

Sonya Cork, vice president of public sector markets for Verizon Enterprise Solutions, has joined the TechAmerica Public Sector Board of Directors.

Cork, a 26-year communications and IT solutions veteran in civilian and defense agencies, will provide significant insight to the board as it guides the trade association’s technology advocacy on important issues to the federal and state contracting communities.

She currently oversees business development and sales activities for defense and national security accounts for Verizon.

“Sonya brings an extensive background in the world of government contracting that will help inform the policy positions we take on behalf of our membership,” said Shawn Osborne, president and CEO of TechAmerica.

In a press statement, Cork said cloud, mobility and cybersecurity are driving change in the business of government. Procurement reform too, she said, will play a large role in how quickly advanced technologies are put to use by government.

“As a leading advocate for the information and communications technology industry, TechAmerica has taken a leadership role in promoting the adoption of advanced technologies. By identifying potential supply chain and procurement reforms that will help pave the way for broader use, the power of technology can be unlocked to enable new and more efficient ways of delivering government services,” Cork said.

Posted by Frank Konkel on Mar 06, 2014 at 4:50 AM1 comments


ACT-IAC taps executive partners

mentor and student

The American Council for Technology-Industry Advisory Council announced its 32 government and private sector employees who will pair up in preparation for future roles in senior executive service and corporate executive officer positions.

The 2014 Partners Program includes 16 government employees and 16 industry counterparts who were nominated by their organizations and chosen by a panel made up of government and industry executives.

“ACT-IAC advocates for a closer alignment of the government and private sector in the federal IT community and the Partners Program embodies that mission,” Kay Ely, 2014 Partners Program government chairwoman, said in a prepared statement. “The differentiator of the program is that each government and industry participant is paired with their counterpart to engage in thoughtful dialogue and training throughout the year.”

A quarter of the public sector selections came from the General Services Administration. Among the companies represented are IBM, Booz Allen Hamilton and Cisco.

The government participants are:

Dawn Banks-Waller, EPA
Jennifer Browne, GSA
Danita Byrd, GSA
Maria Filios, GSA
Dave Heimann, Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board
Lee Kelly, EPA
Mark Kieffer, Department of Treasury
Benjamin Kim, Executive Office of the President/Office of Administration
Michael Palmer, DHS
Lori Parker, NASA
Hemanth Setty, Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board
Mary Ann Wangemann, University of Virginia
Allison Willcox, USDA
Barbara Whitelaw, DHS
Victor Winnard, USDA
Judith Zawatsky, GSA

The industry participants are:

Jeffrey Bohling, General Dynamics Information Technology
Janet Clement, ASI Government
Rena Fagel, CenturyLink
Will Fortier, E3 Federal Solutions
Simon Godwin, Acentia
Stephen Goehler, Information Innovators Inc.
Christopher Hegedus, Pragmatics Inc.
Adesh Jain, Avaya Government Solutions
James Karlson, Unisys Federal
Kathryn Kienast, Booz Allen Hamilton
David McOmber, IBM
Brian Ross, Harris Corporation
Brian Sichi, Capgemini Government Solutions
Shannon Vanlandingham, Cisco Systems
Jennifer Yang, Battle Resource Management Inc.
Brian Young, HP Enterprise Services

Posted by Reid Davenport on Mar 04, 2014 at 7:15 AM0 comments


CIO Council revives Workforce Committee

diagram of work team

The Executive Committee of the CIO Council has relaunched a panel intended to address challenges in creating and maintaining an effective federal IT workforce.

The CIO Council’s Workforce Committee will focus on areas such as recruiting, retaining and training IT staff. 

A lack of qualified personnel and setbacks that have burdened the federal workforce across the board, such as sequestration, are prominent issues for government IT. A recent online poll showed that half of the federal workforce is considering a job outside the government.

“The Executive Committee of the CIO Council has re-established the Workforce Committee to address the myriad challenges CIOs face in creating an effective and efficient workforce that enables agency mission success,” the group said in a news release. “This committee will focus CIO Council resources on creating the tools and resources necessary for CIOs to create an exemplary IT workforce.”

Department of Transportation CIO Richard McKinney and Nuclear Regulatory Commission CIO Darren Ash will lead the committee and work with the Chief Human Capital Officers Council and the Office of Personnel Management on workforce-related issues.

Posted by Reid Davenport on Feb 28, 2014 at 9:27 AM0 comments


FedRAMP gets an OnRAMP

FedRAMP logo -- GSA image

You can now track cloud services providers' progress toward complying with the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program as easily as you track your online pizza order.

On Feb. 27, MeriTalk unveiled an initial version of its FedRAMP OnRAMP portal, a collaborative effort with the General Services Administration that provides visibility into existing commercial and government secure cloud service offerings.

The portal's release comes four months ahead of the June deadline for CSPs to achieve compliance, a deadline that has many firms chasing the dozen that have already certified a total of 14 solutions.

"They're either in the pipeline or not in the pipeline, and we're working collaboratively with GSA to update this and add new vendors as they come on board," said Steve O'Keeffe, founder of MeriTalk's Cloud Computing Exchange.

O'Keeffe said the portal is akin to a user tracking a delivery order as it makes its way to your home. If the pizza isn't at your doorstep yet, at least you know how far along it is.

"There are a lot of companies saying they're in the FedRAMP process, but there weren't any ways to actually check," O'Keeffe said.

FedRAMP OnRAMP also promises to provide a unique glimpse into return-on-investment figures CSPs realize through achieving compliance. Using data from GSA and cost numbers from five FedRAMP-compliant CSPs, MeriTalk tallies the mean cost to perform a FedRAMP cloud security certificate at $250,000 – one large provider reported spending $5 million to achieve compliance. The portal uses similar data from six CSPs to calculate government-wide savings through FedRAMP of $52.5 million to date. A fully functional version is expected in mid-March.

"There has been a lot of talk about the value of cloud in the government," said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), ranking member of the Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations, which oversees federal IT and procurement policy. "FedRAMP OnRAMP provides tangible metrics and critical insight on a program that is critical to accelerating the modernization of government through the adoption of cloud computing. I commend GSA on the progress it has made so far in implementing FedRAMP and look forward to seeing the resulting savings grow over time."

Posted by Frank Konkel on Feb 27, 2014 at 5:49 PM0 comments


Szykman to leave Commerce

revolving door

Commerce Department CIO Simon Szykman plans to leave government later this spring.  A senior Commerce official told FCW that Szykman notified his team and component-agency CIOs of his plans on Feb. 20.

Szykman gave his colleagues no firm departure date, and did not specify what his future plans involve beyond shifting to the private sector. 

Posted by FCW Staff on Feb 20, 2014 at 2:04 PM0 comments


Navy honors Cieslak, others for IT excellence

Navy logo

Randall Cieslak, CIO for U.S. Pacific Command, was among the five award winners in the federal information community announced Feb. 20 by the Navy. Cieslak was named the Navy's Cyberspace/IT Person of the Year for his consolidation of USPACOM networks.

"The strategy he proposed to collapse multiple networks into a shared infrastructure and enhance security with the implementation of Internet Protocol v6 is a model of modernization and transformation activity to be emulated by others," according to a news release from the Navy CIO.

Chris Ferguson, lead applications developer for the Navy's Assistant for Administration, was one of the two Cyberspace/IT Rising Star winners for his role in establishing a DON/AA public portal. The other was Anthony Winns, the unit's customer support lead.

The other winners were: Mark Johnson, director for electromagnetic environmental effects/spectrum policy and programs in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, who claimed the John J. Lussier Electromagnetic Spectrum Leadership Award; and Rebecca Chhim, computer scientist and lead information assurance advisor for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport's Undersea Warfare Combat System Department. The Department of the Navy CIO website was recognized for outstanding achievement in web development by the Web Marketing Association.

Seven of FCW's 2014 Fed 100 winners came from the Navy, including Cieslak.

Posted by Reid Davenport on Feb 20, 2014 at 10:22 AM0 comments


New leader named at Navy Cyber Command

Jan E. Tighe, U.S. Navy Fleet Cyber Command

Rear Adm. Jan Tighe currently serves as the Navy Cyber Command's deputy commander.

With Vice Adm. Mike Rogers named to head up the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command, the U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/10th Fleet received word Feb. 14 of who, if confirmed, will take his place at the helm.

Navy Rear Adm. Jan Tighe, currently serving as the Navy Cyber Command's deputy commander, was nominated by President Barack Obama to step up into the commander role. She faces Senate confirmation before formally assuming leadership.

Tighe would be the first woman to command both Fleet Cyber Command and the 10th Fleet, the latter being the numbered fleet for the Navy's cyber component.

Fleet Cyber Command was established in January 2010 as the service's subcomponent to U.S. Cyber Command. The 10th Fleet originally was launched in May 1943 for anti-submarine warfare in the Battle of the Atlantic in World War II, targeting German U-boats. After being deactivated at the end of the war, it was reactivated in 2010 with the launch of Fleet Cyber Command.

Tighe has served as deputy commander since November 2013. Prior to that, she was the director of decision superiority on the Chief of Naval Operations staff in July 2011, after serving as the deputy director of Operations for U.S. Cyber Command. From November 2012 until October 2013, she additionally served as interim president of the Naval Postgraduate School, according to her Navy bio.

Posted by Amber Corrin on Feb 14, 2014 at 11:09 AM0 comments


A little help, please?

John Klossner for FCW

Posted by John Klossner on Feb 14, 2014 at 8:16 AM0 comments


Air Force headquarters transitions to enterprise email

email

The Air Force's headquarters offices, mostly based in the national capital region, has completed migration to the Defense Department's enterprise email system, according to a DOD release.

Roughly 7,800 unclassified email accounts, plus an additional 1,300 mobile devices, transitioned from Air Force-managed e-mail accounts to enterprise e-mail over the course of 60 days. DOD's enterprise-mail program is led by the Defense Information Systems Agency.

The Air Force's move follows the Army's migration to the program, which was completed in August 2013. It remains to be determined what or when other components of the Air Force will follow headquarters into enterprise e-mail, but the initial transition marks the first since DOD CIO Teri Takai issued a mandate that all of the military must move to enterprise email by the first quarter of fiscal 2015.

The memo detailing the mandate, which went out last September, directed all DOD agencies to have migration plans in place and inventories of classified and unclassified accounts ready by Jan. 3.

The department-wide move to enterprise email is part of broader DOD plans for its Joint Information Environment.

"DOD enterprise email is a core service of the Joint Information Environment," Air Force CIO Lt. Gen. Michael Basla said in a DISA release. "As the Air Force adopts a [DISA]-managed enterprise capability, we better align with joint warfighter needs and can apply greater focus on our core mission areas, rather than operating and maintaining an email infrastructure."

Posted by Amber Corrin on Feb 06, 2014 at 2:45 PM0 comments


Former Army CIO heads to Booz Allen Hamilton

Susan Lawrence

Lt. Gen. Susan Lawrence, who retired in October 2013 as Army CIO, started work on Feb. 3 as a senior vice president at defense contracting giant Booz Allen Hamilton, according to the company.

Lawrence will help lead Booz Allen's Defense Market Group, where her experience with Defense Department enterprise IT efforts will be put to work in the company's initiatives in IT; cybersecurity; command, control, communications and computers; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; and emerging defense technologies.

Prior to her role as Army CIO, Lawrence served as commanding general of the Army's Network Enterprise Technology Command at Fort Huachuca, Ariz.

At the Pentagon, Lawrence has been succeeded by the newly promoted Lt. Gen. Robert Ferrell, who Army officials note is the first African American to serve as CIO.

"The CIO/G-6 is even more important today as the Army stands up a cyber force and establishes the Cyber Center of Excellence at Fort Gordon," said Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno in a ceremony at Fort McNair in Washington, according to an Army release.

Ferrell previously commanded the Army Communications-Electronics Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.

Posted by Amber Corrin on Feb 05, 2014 at 12:19 PM5 comments


Childs retires after 45 years of government service

Robert D. Childs, who has served as the dean of faculty and chancellor of the National Defense University iCollege for more than 20 years, retired at the end of January. Under his tenure, the college grew from an institution focused on information resources management into a 21st century organization to educate the next generation of leaders in the realities of digital government.

In 2010, the Department of Education approved the college's program for a government information leader master of science degree. Childs expanded the courses to include cyber awareness and defense and the programs to include international students.

Childs is a five-time winner of the Federal 100 award and was the GCN Hall of Fame winner for 2013. CACI Vice President David Wennegren, who worked closely with Childs in several executive capacities at the Department of Defense, told GCN that "Bob was has always been a step ahead, with a new course offering, a new approach, or a new program ready to be deployed."

Childs, who also served in the Air Force and retired as a colonel, has formed a company called iCLEAR to provide cyber leadership education to global organizations and governments.

Posted by Anne Armstrong on Feb 05, 2014 at 8:44 AM0 comments


Feb. 7 last day on the job for Borras

Rafael Borras

Homeland Security Undersecretary of Management Rafael Borras' last day at the department will be Feb. 7.

In an internal DHS email dated Feb. 4 obtained by FCW, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said Borras will depart Friday, capping four years of service in various leadership positions. Deputy Undersecretary Chris Cummiskey will serve as acting undersecretary for management beginning Feb.10, Johnson said.

Government and industry sources contacted by FCW the week of Jan. 27 said Borras would step down the week of Feb. 3 to pursue interests in the private sector.

"I want to personally thank Rafael for his incredible service to the Department. He has provided valuable leadership to DHS as both the Under Secretary for Management and as Acting Deputy Secretary," said Johnson's department-wide email.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Feb 04, 2014 at 10:03 AM0 comments


Turnover at top DOD, DHS S&T posts

revolving door

The two top Pentagon positions for policy and budget will soon have new faces as Undersecretary of Defense for Policy James Miller and longtime Defense Department Comptroller Bob Hale both step down. The news comes amid a number of other staffing changes at DOD.

Miller announced his resignation in December, and Hale's announcement comes as President Barack Obama on Jan. 30 nominated Mike McCord, principal deputy undersecretary of Defense, to succeed Hale.

McCord's nomination was announced alongside a number of other high-level positions.

Christine Wormuth has been nominated replace Miller, the latest in a recent series of women to ascend to the Pentagon's highest ranks. Christine Fox was appointed acting deputy secretary in December, the same month Deborah Lee James was confirmed as Air Force secretary. In the Jan. 30 announcement, Obama also nominated Miranda Ballentine, currently working in the private sector, to be assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and logistics.

Wormuth has been at DOD since 2009; since 2012 she has served as deputy undersecretary of Defense for strategy, plans and forces.

Obama also nominated a deputy for Wormuth. Brian McKeon, currently multi-hatted at the White House as deputy assistant to the president, executive secretary of the National Security Council and chief of staff for the National Security Staff, has been nominated as principle deputy undersecretary of Defense for policy.

In another Pentagon departure, Reginald Brothers, deputy assistant secretary for research, will head to the Homeland Security Department as undersecretary for science and technology, if confirmed by the Senate.

 

Posted by Amber Corrin on Jan 31, 2014 at 10:33 AM1 comments


Rockefeller blasts private-sector metadata storage plan

Jay Rockefeller

Sen. Jay Rockefeller says he'd rather see NSA bulk data remain in the government's hands than be entrusted to the private sector.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller took aim at an Obama administration proposal to move storage of bulk telephonic metadata from government systems inside the intelligence community to telecommunications companies, saying he did not “believe we can come up with a better alternative.”

"I am concerned any change of our current framework will harm both national security and privacy,” the West Virginia Democrat said at a Jan. 29 hearing of the Intelligence Committee.

Rather than ask questions of four intelligence chiefs gathered for the annual unclassified "threat assessment" hearing, Rockefeller used his time to issue a blistering broadside against the idea of reverting storage of data collected by government under the authority of Section 215 of the Patriot Act to private sector telecommunications companies. Rockefeller, who chairs the Commerce Committee, has long experience overseeing telecom regulators.

"Ultimately the decision rests with Congress. And this senator is absolutely opposed to contracting out this inherently core governmental function," Rockefeller said

Rockefeller noted that there are hundreds of niche telecommunications providers nationwide, not simply a handful of large companies. He warned that private companies are reluctant to take on the job of storing the data, especially if it could potentially be subject to discovery in a civil lawsuit. Private companies don't swear allegiance to the government the way intelligence officers do, he noted. Moreover, he suggested, the government and the private sector lack the technical capacity to make such a system operate effectively.

The telecoms, he said, "do not want to become agents of the government. They do not want to become the government's guardians of vast amounts of intelligence data."

Rockefeller cautioned that the rise of the data brokerage industry and recent data breaches at Target and other retailers heightened his concern that the bulk metadata might leak out from private sector sources. "This is not a foundation for a good partnership," he said.

Rockefeller also gave some idea of the scope of the operations side of querying the metadata collected under the 2001 anti-terrorism law. He indicated that just 22 supervisors and 33 intelligence analysts inside the Intelligence Directorate were authorized to query the database, and do so using anonymized phone numbers, not names or other data. "Their queries are subject to multiple overlapping checks, audits, and inspections," he said.

"The hard fact is that our national security interests do not change just because public opinion on an issue fluctuates," he said.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Jan 29, 2014 at 1:45 PM1 comments


Werfel officially out of government

Danny Werfel

Back in December, the Internal Revenue Service gave a heads up of now-former OMB Controller Danny Werfel's intentions to leave the White House and the federal government for the private sector.

Werfel's last day of government employment was Dec. 31, the Office of Management and Budget confirmed on Jan. 27 after news reports that Werfel had left.

Werfel was tapped by the White House last May to be acting commissioner at the IRS. According to OMB, Deputy Controller Norman Dong has performed the duties of OMB's controller since Werfel took on the IRS job.

The IRS said in a Dec. 20 statement to reporters after current IRS Commissioner John Koskinen's confirmation by the Senate that Werfel would remain at the IRS through Dec. 31 to ensure a smooth transition of leadership. "Following that, Mr. Werfel intends to take some time with his family, while exploring future opportunities outside of government," said the statement.

In his time at OMB, the White House said Werfel took on an expanded role within that agency, leading the coordination of its efforts in the areas of Federal procurement, information technology, and personnel policy and performance management.

Werfel told FCW on Jan. 27 that Koskinen's confirmation gave him "a good opportunity for me to take some brief time off to spend with my family and also to explore new opportunities for the next phase of my career.   In terms of my career, I have not yet decided on what my next steps will be, but hope to do so in the near term."

Werfel, who had been controller at OMB since 2009, was honored in November by FCW's sister publication, GCN, as its Government IT Executive of the Year.

Note: This story was updated on Jan. 27 to add Werfel's statement.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Jan 27, 2014 at 12:20 PM0 comments


Challenge.gov claims innovation honor

man with light bulb sign

The General Services Administration's Challenge.gov, which uses contests to engage with the public and spark new ideas, is the winner of the Innovations in American Government Award.

The award is presented by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. The award was established in 1985, and the center received more than 600 applications last year.

Since GSA launched Challenge.gov in 2010, 59 federal agencies have used the site to hold more than 300 contests that have resulted in new apps, software and designs.

"The success of Challenge.gov has really been a result of people seeing an opportunity to get outcomes that they might not have been able to realize before," said GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini. "It really revolutionizes the way we go to the marketplace and ask people to help us resolve the issues in government."

"I think one of the interesting innovations about this is that it's a platform, it's not just...a program, and it recognizes that there [are] a lot of good ideas that come from crowdsourcing," said Stephen Goldsmith, director of the Innovations in American Government Program at Harvard. "So I think that the extension of innovation in the citizen response, how can we engage citizens and [solve] problems together, really is the future of public/private partnership."

Posted by Reid Davenport on Jan 23, 2014 at 11:28 AM0 comments


TechAmerica hires state/local VP

Russ Guarna, TechAmerica

TechAmerica has bolstered its public-sector operations, adding Russ Guarna as vice president for public sector/state and local government.

Guarna joins Mike Hettinger, senior vice president for the public sector, as recent additions to TechAmerica's public sector group.

Guarna was formerly deputy director of the statewide technology procurement division in California's Department of Technology.

In that role, Guarna led a team of procurement specialists in the acquisition of large-scale IT integrated solutions and the next generation of telecommunication and public safety communications contracts.

He has also served as deputy director of the California Technology Agency's program and policy management areas, providing oversight of the state's multibillion dollar IT project portfolio.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Jan 22, 2014 at 12:54 PM0 comments


Gates: NSA ‘primary weapon in this conflict’

Robert Gates

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, on a press tour promoting his new book, "Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War," spoke at a Jan. 16 Politico Playbook event in Washington. The hour-long conversation with Politico’s Mike Allen covered a lot of ground, but a few gems on intelligence leaks and cybersecurity emerged during the discussion. 

On stopping leaks: “The president and I were about the only people at the table who weren’t taking notes. At one point, when the president was really angry about leaks, I turned to him and said, ‘Mr. President, would you look around the table? Everybody’s writing! And they’re all going to go back and brief their staffs, and their staff will brief everybody else. If you want to stop leaks, tell everybody to put their damn pencils down. Say there’s one note-taker for the meeting, and he or she is from the National Security Council staff, and no one else is allowed to take notes.’ Uh, that never happened.” 

On the possibility of a “cyber 9/11: “First of all I think a cyberattack of that magnitude from nation-state with whom we are not at war is not very likely. So I think the greatest danger comes from non-government entities – terrorist groups, global organized crime, probably more likely a terrorist group. And some are very sophisticated when it comes to the Internet. So I think that is a very real danger.”

On the state of U.S. cybersecurity: “The problem I see is, I think we have the capability to protect our critical infrastructure, but bureaucratic and political issues have us so wrapped around the axle that we can’t figure out who to give the authority to defend us.

“The reality is – and this was a debate I had in Obama administration – when I first became Defense secretary, I asked the deputy general counsel of the department to get me a memo of what kind of cyberattack would constitute an act of war. When I left four and a half years later, I was still waiting for that memo. 

“I think a lot of people who are really focused on privacy and civil liberties resist the notion of the NSA providing cybersecurity for the United States ...the truth is they are our primary weapon in this conflict.”

Posted by Amber Corrin on Jan 21, 2014 at 12:10 PM0 comments


AT&T bolsters public-sector team

Michael Leff, AT&T Government Solutions

AT&T Government Solutions announced Jan. 21 that Michael Leff, formerly a managing director at Accenture, was named a vice president and will lead AGS across federal civilian departments and agencies.

Leff is the third senior executive to join AGS's public sector group in recent months. Former General Services Administration CIO Casey Coleman's first day on the job as client executive vice president was Jan. 21. Former Agriculture Department CIO Chris Smith, another onetime Accenture exec, joined AGS in November as vice president for technology.

"Joining the AT&T Government Solutions team is a tremendous opportunity," Leff said in a press release. "I'm looking forward to combining the strength of AT&T's expansive network and resources with my own experience in assisting civilian agencies to achieve and advance their missions."

Before Leff's tenure at Accenture, he worked for Lockheed Martin for 14 years.

Posted by Reid Davenport on Jan 21, 2014 at 10:07 AM0 comments


GSA's Koses moves up

Jeff Koses_GSA

GSA's Jeff Koses

Jeff Koses, director of acquisition operations for the General Supplies and Services portfolio at the General Services Administration's Federal Acquisition Service, has been named senior procurement executive in the agency's Office of Governmentwide Policy.

Koses will start in his new position Jan. 30 and be reporting to Anne Rung, who became associate administrator of the Office of Governmentwide Policy in August. Rung had been GSA's chief acquisition officer.

Jim Ghiloni, director of the One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services Program Management Office, will step in as acting director of acquisitions operations at FAS. Sources familiar with the moves said Ghiloni will keep his OASIS duties as well. GSA's OASIS team has said it expects to award contracts in early 2014.

Koses has served as an official spokesman on Capitol Hill for GSA on topics ranging from the Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative to governmentwide acquisition contracts.

"Jeff has the right combination of operational experience and policy background that makes him an excellent agent for further improving federal acquisition," said Roger Waldron, president of the Coalition for Government Procurement, in a statement.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Jan 17, 2014 at 1:34 PM0 comments


McCormack named vice chair of CIO Council

Along with his new job as chief information officer at DHS, Luke McCormack will also serve as vice chair of the Federal CIO Council.

The DHS's newly installed CIO was appointed to the council position Jan. 8. The move comes only a few weeks after McCormack officially stepped into the DHS CIO job. That position was vacated by Richard Spires last March and held by acting CIO Margie Graves until McCormack came on board in December.

Spires had also been vice chair at the Federal CIO Council while serving as DHS CIO.

Before being tapped in October to fill the DHS CIO slot, McCormack had been CIO and deputy assistant attorney general for information resources management at the Justice Department, a post he had held since February 2012.

This is his second stint at DHS. He had previously served at Customs and Border Protection as acting director of the infrastructure services division from 2004 to 2005, director of architecture and engineering from 2002 to 2003, and director of systems engineering from 1999 to 2002.

"Mr. McCormack has a keen understanding of the Council’s mission," said a Jan. 16 post on CIO.gov's blog. “He has played a leading role in Council activities since March of 2012 when he became DOJ CIO. There, he helped steer the Council’s cybersecurity work by co-chairing the Information Security and Identity Management Committee, and served as Vice-Chair of the Digital Services Advisory Group, which advised the Federal CIO on all aspects of implementation of the Digital Government Strategy."

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Jan 17, 2014 at 5:11 AM0 comments


Issa, Connolly launch Cloud Caucus

US Capitol

Though they are occasionally fierce political rivals, Reps. Darrell Issa and Gerry Connolly see eye to eye on many problems in federal IT acquisitions. The California Republican and the Virginia Democrat are inviting members to join the new bipartisan Congressional Cloud Computing Caucus, "dedicated to fostering awareness and understanding of this critical IT issue."

The announcement came at the Jan 16 Cloud Computing Brainstorm sponsored by MeriTalk.

The two previously teamed up to sponsor the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), a bill to strengthen CIO authorities at agencies and encourage enterprise-wide IT buying practices. FITARA is strongly supportive of cloud transition and would require the CIO Council to establish "government-wide standards for security assessments pertaining to cloud offerings"

A letter inviting lawmakers  to join the caucus said "the versatility and scalability of cloud computing will save taxpayer money and offer policymakers a chance to address the federal government’s dismal record of procuring and using information technology."

The effort appears to be in the same vein as the High Tech Caucus, led by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), which convenes members around issues such as spectrum redeployment, cybersecurity and tech-workforce needs.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Jan 16, 2014 at 12:10 PM2 comments


Klossner's Predictions for 2014

Klossner on 2014

Posted by John Klossner on Jan 15, 2014 at 1:16 PM0 comments


Former DOD official to lead industrial base review

Image of the Pentagon

A recently retired Pentagon policy leader is set to head up a review of the defense industrial base that will aim to help inform budgetary decision making. 

Brett Lambert, who stepped down last August as deputy assistant secretary of Defense for manufacturing and industrial base policy, will spearhead the review for the National Defense Industrial Association, according to the Washington Post.  

NDIA Chairman Arnold Punaro said the hope is that companies will be more open with an industry-led group than they might be with the government. The analysis comes as DOD leaders seek ways to implement billions of dollars in cuts and continue with acquisition reform efforts. 

While at the Pentagon, Lambert led efforts to improve communication between DOD and the defense industrial base. He told the Post that the NDIA study will be “a fact-finding mission,” and will evaluate how well current contractors are fulfilling military needs.  

“Not everybody in the industry is going to be joyful about this effort,” Lambert said. “This is not going to be another white paper that says you have to protect the industrial base; it’s going to be a fact-based understanding of what the industrial base looks like.”

Posted by Amber Corrin on Jan 13, 2014 at 10:21 AM0 comments


Elizabeth McGrath joins Deloitte

Elizabeth McGrath

Longtime Defense Department official Elizabeth McGrath, who announced her retirement from DOD in November, has joined Deloitte Consulting LLP as a director in its federal practice.

McGrath, who served as the Pentagon’s first deputy chief management officer and as its performance improvement officer, finished her 25-year public sector career focusing on financial management, business operations and enterprise-wide systems efficiencies.

According to Deloitte, McGrath will now serve as an adviser to its federal government and commercial clients with an emphasis on innovation and improving business operations.

“We are delighted that Beth has joined Deloitte," said Janet Foutty, principal, Federal Practice Leader and Federal Consulting national managing director, Deloitte Consulting LLP. "Her knowledge, experience and relationships will be instrumental in helping our federal and military clients achieve their mission goals as well as strengthen Deloitte's deep capabilities in the Federal marketplace." 

Among her responsibilities at DOD, McGrath generated the DOD’s Strategic Management Plan, connecting its business operations to its mission, and led the Defense Business Council, the Pentagon’s governance body charged with oversight of business operations.

“Beth brings deep capabilities and experience in business operations from her many years of stellar service at the Department of Defense," said John Powers, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP and leader of the Department of Defense sector.  "In her new role with Deloitte she can help our clients improve their business practices, improve efficiencies and enhance business operations from an enterprise-wide perspective."

Posted by Frank Konkel on Jan 09, 2014 at 9:44 AM0 comments


Changing of the guard at Army IT commands

Gen. John Morrison

The Army Network Enterprise Technology Command at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., has a new man at the helm: Brig. Gen. John B. Morrison, Jr., who most recently served as commanding general of the 7th Signal Command at Fort Gordon, Ga.

Morrison, who also formerly headed up the Army's LandWarNet/Battle Command and is a 2012 FCW Federal 100 winner, replaces interim commander Brig. Gen. Peter Gallagher. Gallagher stepped in when former commander Maj. Gen. Alan Lynn was named vice director of the Defense Information Systems Agency in September.

Morrison is set to be succeeded at Fort Gordon by Brig. Gen. John Baker, currently director of the J-6 at U.S. Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

Posted by Amber Corrin on Jan 09, 2014 at 4:52 AM0 comments


GSA CIO heads for private sector

revolving door

General Services Administration CIO Casey Coleman is leaving her position at the agency to become a vice president at AT&T Government Solutions.

AGS, a division of AT&T Inc. that serves federal agencies, said Jan. 7 it had named Coleman as client executive vice president. Her first day at her new job will be Jan. 21.

Sonny Hashmi, GSA's deputy CIO, has agreed to serve as acting CIO when Coleman leaves, GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini said in a statement.

GSA Deputy Administrator Susan Brita will also be leaving the agency, Tangherlini said, and Denise Turner Roth will assume the role of deputy administrator on March 14.

Coleman, who has served as CIO for GSA's Federal Acquisition Service and Federal Technology Service, oversees the GSA's Office of the Chief Information Officer, and manages the agency's $600 million information technology budget.

In her new role at AGS, the company said, Coleman will be responsible for the development of long-term customer relationships and delivery of customized solutions for a key set of agencies in the civilian market.

"Advances in cloud, mobility, big data and security present federal organizations with a new world of opportunities," Coleman said in a statement issued by AGS. "I am thrilled to join AT&T Government Solutions and look forward to helping federal customers achieve their mission in innovative, strategic ways by combining AT&T's impressive solutions portfolio with my many years of experience in the federal IT sector."

Tangherlini called Coleman "an important part of GSA for years," who had helped the agency achieve several "firsts" for the government in mobility, cloud computing, social media and collaboration initiatives that have reduced costs, improved productivity, and improved the agency's ability to deliver services to federal partners. "Her dedication, work ethic, and willingness to help her co-workers have made a difference in every corner of this agency and we wish her well," said Tangherlini.

Rumors of Coleman's departure began circulating shortly after another prominent federal information executive left for the private sector. On Dec. 20, Office of Federal Procurement Policy Administrator Joe Jordan accepted a position as president of public sector at FedBid, a privately held company that offers a reverse-auction marketplace in which companies compete for government business by bidding down their prices.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Jan 07, 2014 at 12:38 PM0 comments


What Mandiant-FireEye merger means for the federal market

world map

When network security company FireEye announced Jan. 2 that it acquired cybersecurity firm Mandiant, it signaled a union of two of the biggest names in next-generation IT and network security. But it also raised a lot of questions about what the merger means for the broader cybersecurity market and for the federal government, which routinely contracts both companies to protect and respond to threats on U.S. networks.

Less than a week after the announcement, it's not entirely clear what will happen in the rapidly growing cybersecurity market, but it is a safe bet that competitors will be watching closely and customers – including executives in both the public and private sectors – will be assessing how to move forward with their own security measures.

"In Mandiant's case, there is some risk in moving away from the investigative post-breach response services they're known for. Those services are still needed at government agencies; so the message will be less clear on who you call when you have a breach. For a number of years Mandiant has been at the top of the list," said cybersecurity expert Richard Stiennon, chief research analyst at IT-Harvest.

While Mandiant is not likely to completely leave its incident-response services behind, it does open the market to other companies to step in, insiders said, particularly as FireEye looks to take the business more global.

"FireEye is also betting that it can capitalize on Mandiant’s relationships with government agencies and federal integrators to grab its share of future cybersecurity spending inside the Beltway,” tech blogger Jon Oltsik noted in a Jan. 3 post. “On the flip side, FireEye hopes to give Mandiant something it never had – an enterprise-savvy sales and marketing team who can translate Mandiant federal security geek-speak into CISO value."

Currently, Mandiant's customer base is largely  composed of U.S. companies. But that's likely to change, despite growing suspicions in the wake of leaks revealing that many major American tech firms complied with National Security Agency surveillance activities.

"The conversation around Microsoft and the NSA, or others who had relationships with them, is only creating more opportunities for companies like us," said David DeWalt, FireEye chairman and CEO, according to the Washington Post.

The NSA scandal also is creating opportunities for network security firms focused on what Stiennon said is currently the biggest driver in the market, and not something typically handled by Mandiant or FireEye: network counter-surveillance.

"Mandiant has never released anything indicating that they know anything about the NSA, and I think that role will fall to the next Mandiant and next FireEye; we'll start seeing influential reports coming from the Kasperskys of the world," Stiennon said. "And U.S. tech companies are going to fall behind the curve unless they start moving today. A lot of vendors have been implicated as having vulnerabilities . . . and all of those vendors have to respond in a positive, strong way. Not with a press release or a statement, but by helping customers determine if they've been breached, which in this case is by the federal government."

Posted by Amber Corrin on Jan 07, 2014 at 1:15 PM0 comments


New Army CIO takes over

Maj Gen Robert Ferrell

Maj. Gen. Robert Ferrell reported to duty as the Army's new CIO/G-6 on Jan. 6, after being confirmed by the Senate and promoted from the rank of major general on Dec. 20, a CIO/G-6 spokesperson confirmed.

Ferrell previously served as commanding general of the Army Communications- Electronics Command and Aberdeen Proving Ground in Aberdeen, Md. He now is working at the CIO/G-6 offices in the Pentagon.

Ferrell, a native of Anniston, Ala., has served in the Army for 36 years, including nearly two years at CECOM.

He succeeds Lt. Gen. Susan Lawrence, who retired in October. At CECOM, Chief of Staff Col. Charles Gibson will serve as acting commander until a new commanding general is named, Bob DiMichele, CECOM public affairs officers, told the Baltimore Sun.

Posted by Amber Corrin on Jan 06, 2014 at 12:35 PM0 comments


Longtime GSA IT official calls it a day

John Ray_GSA

John Ray began his federal civilian IT career during the Nixon administration. Now, after 42 years on the job -- more than 39 at the General Services Administration -- he has hung up his government hat. His last day on the job was Dec. 1.

"John's career in GSA policy has provided a model for others," said John Sullivan, data management official at the Office of Government-wide Policy, "demonstrating that one very knowledgeable person can have substantial positive impact in the government." 

Ray dealt with computer and telecommunications procurement at GSA starting in 1974, before being promoted to managing the procurement program for computer services across the government.

In 1989, Ray transferred to the Information Resources Management Service – now the Office of Government-wide Policy -- where he offered recommendations on proposed legislation, reviewed drafts of presidential memos and assessed circulars on information system, cybersecurity and acquisition topics.

"John has been a thought leader in the policies of the IT schedules," Sullivan said. "His watchful eye and deep understandings of various policies has been critical to the useful evolution of the schedules program."

Before joining the civilian workforce, Ray served 17 years with the Air Force, Air Guard and Reserve, including two years on active duty in the mid-1950s.

Posted by Reid Davenport on Dec 30, 2013 at 11:52 PM1 comments


The wrong way to engage

John Klossner for FCW - Employee Engagement

Posted by John Klossner on Dec 23, 2013 at 5:43 AM0 comments


DHS deputy secretary confirmed

Alejandro Mayorkas

Alejandro Mayorkas

The Senate has confirmed Alejandro Mayorkas as deputy secretary at the Department of Homeland Security, the No. 2 position at DHS.

The vote was 54-41 along party lines. Republicans who opposed confirmation cited an investigation of Mayorkas by the department's inspector general, part of a broader inquiry into the foreign investor program at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which Mayorkas previously led.

He is alleged to have helped obtain visas for Gulf Coast Funds Management, a firm led by Anthony Rodham, brother of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Mayorkas denies the allegations.

Senate Democrats said the investigation has revealed nothing improper about Mayorkas' actions. The probe is expected to continue until February.

He will step into the job just as the department gets a new secretary, former Pentagon Chief Counsel Jeh Johnson, who was confirmed earlier this week. DHS' Acting Undersecretary for Management Chris Cummiskey told attendees at a Washington, D.C., technology conference on Dec. 18 that Johnson is set to start work on Dec. 23.

In addition, DHS' IT operations officially got a new top manager on Dec. 17. In a blog post that day, Acting Deputy Secretary Rafael Borras welcomed Luke McCormack as the department's new CIO. McCormack had been CIO and deputy assistant attorney general for information resources management at the Justice Department. He was named to the DHS position in October.

Posted by John Bicknell on Dec 20, 2013 at 10:40 AM0 comments


TechAmerica taps new head for public sector

Michael Hettinger

TechAmerica named a new head of its public sector group on Dec. 19, about a month and a half after the departure of several key employees to a competing tech association.

Mike Hettinger, who TechAmerica called a leader in the public-sector technology industry, will become the association's senior vice president for the public sector. Hettinger brings extensive experience on Capitol Hill, in the private sector and with trade associations.

TechAmerica is currently embroiled in a legal battle with rival Information Technology Industry Council over ITI's hiring of a number of TechAmerica's public-sector executives, including Hettinger's predecessor Trey Hodgkins.

Hettinger had been vice president for the Public Sector Innovation Group at the Software and Information Industry Association. Previously, he served as executive director of Grant Thornton's Global Public Sector practice, where he oversaw strategic planning and market development.

Prior to joining Grant Thornton, Hettinger was staff director of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's Government Management, Finance and Accountability Subcommittee.

"We were fortunate to have many outstanding candidates, several referred by our board and members, but Mike stood out," said TechAmerica President and CEO Shawn Osborne. "His extensive experience will enable TechAmerica to increase our leadership in this sector to the benefit of our members."

As Hettinger departed, SIIA announced that State Department veteran Carl Schonander would become its director of international public policy, a new position the association said reflects the increasing impact of global policy debates on U.S. technology and digital content business.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Dec 19, 2013 at 9:59 AM0 comments


Former Microsoft exec to take over HealthCare.gov 'tech surge'

Kurt DelBene

Kurt DelBene will lead repair efforts for the troubled HealthCare.gov.

Former Microsoft executive Kurt DelBene will take over from Jeff Zients as the man in charge of fixing the troubled HealthCare.gov website. Zients will move on to the post of director of the National Economic Council in February.

"Kurt will provide management expertise, operations oversight, and critical advice on additional enrollment channels, field operations, marketing and communications," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said. "The president and I believe strongly in having one person, with strong experience and expertise in management and execution, who is thinking 24/7 about HealthCare.gov. Kurt's leadership and management of HealthCare.gov will be in consultation with [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] Administrator Marilyn Tavenner and in partnership with the project's general contractor, QSSI."

Sebelius thanked Zients for his work in leading the repair effort, saying that "the site is night and day from what it was when it launched on Oct. 1."

DelBene starts Dec. 18. The swift appointment came at the urging of Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), who wrote a letter signed by numerous Senate colleagues, including Virginia Democrats Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, asking President Barack Obama to maintain continuity in leadership of the so-called tech surge. That effort has been in effect since mid-October following the disastrous public launch of HealthCare.gov on Oct. 1.

DelBene will be responsible for keeping the site running efficiently through the March 31 open-enrollment period. The job "will include a focus on increasing system stability, redundancy and capacity, and building on improvements to the user interface, while continuing to prioritize security and privacy issues in line with industry best practices," Sebelius said.

DelBene will be on the job when the hosting of HealthCare.gov transfers from Verizon Terremark to Hewlett-Packard.

DelBene's career at Microsoft overlapped significantly with the tenure of current U.S. CIO Steven VanRoekel, who worked at the software company from 1994 to 2009. So far, VanRoekel has maintained a low profile on the HealthCare.gov issue, and any role he had in recommending DelBene was not disclosed in the HHS announcement. His office did not immediately return a request for comment.

DelBene, who retired as president of the Microsoft Office Division, had a 20-year career at the software giant. One of his recent initiatives was the launch of Office 365, the cloud version of Microsoft's popular business applications.

He is married to Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.), who was elected to Congress in 2012.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Dec 17, 2013 at 10:54 AM2 comments


James confirmed as Air Force secretary

Deborah Lee James

The Senate on Dec. 13 confirmed Deborah Lee James as Air Force secretary on a vote of 79-6, nearly three months after her confirmation hearing. President Barack Obama nominated her to the position Aug. 1.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) had blocked a vote on James' confirmation pending a request for further information about the Air Force's A-10 aircraft program. Ayotte lifted her hold in October.

New Senate rules make it much more difficult for lawmakers to indefinitely stall executive branch and judicial nominees, and James is the latest in a string of picks who have been ushered through since the change went into effect Nov. 21.

"On behalf of the more than 690,000 men and women of the U.S. Air Force, I want to welcome Secretary James to our Air Force family," Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said in a Dec. 13 statement. "I'm confident that she'll lead us with the same vision and passion she's shown throughout her public service and private sector leadership, building on the extraordinary accomplishments of our Acting Secretary Eric Fanning, who has magnificently led our Air Force these last few months."

James reportedly has been moving forward with getting ready for the job while she awaited confirmation. In late August she surfaced at the Pentagon and was said to be undergoing preparations for the confirmation hearing.

At that point, a Pentagon spokeswoman said James was still employed as president of the technology and engineering sector at Science Applications International Corporation.

Posted by Amber Corrin on Dec 13, 2013 at 9:17 AM1 comments


How many Commerce CIOs does it take to...?

If the question is "... round out the guest list for Deltek's 2013 holiday party," the answer is five:

Commerce CIOs: Reed Phillips, Roger Baker, Simon Syzkman, Alan Balutis and Barry West at the December 2013 Deltek holiday party.

Left to right: Reed Phillips, Roger Baker, Simon Syzkman, Alan Balutis and Barry West.

(Thanks to West for sharing the photo!)

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Dec 09, 2013 at 7:25 AM0 comments


Davie: GSA saved a billion on 2013 IT buys

Mary Davie, GSA

The General Services Administration helped save its government customers more than $1 billion on IT products, services and solutions in 2013, according to a key technology acquisition executive.

GSA's Office of Integrated Technology Services met its goal of $1.35 billion in savings for federal users through innovative procurement methods, wrote Mary Davie, assistant commissioner for ITS, in a Dec. 3 post on her "Great Government Through Technology" blog.

Davie followed up on a November post by Bill Lewis, ITS' Networx program manager, in which he said the government saved an average of 35 percent off commercial prices by using Networx telecommunications contracting vehicles. Networx capitalizes on the combined buying power of federal agencies.

Davie echoed Lewis' claim that Networx racked up savings, saying its subscribing agencies kept $678 million more in their pockets in fiscal 2013 for telecom services. She said one agency, which she did not name, is expected to save 20 percent by using Networx.

She tallied up savings from other programs as well. Most agencies using GSA's USAccess shared-services program for identity, credential and access management services saved four to nine times the amount it cost individual agencies to buy those services on their own, according to Davie.

She also said agencies saved $775 million in software costs compared with commercial prices by using SmartBUY blanket purchase agreements. And as of Sept. 30, GSA's six-month-old ReverseAuctions.GSA.gov site had saved 17 agencies an average of 7.27 percent, or $161,549.

Although Davie did not provide specific savings under the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, she said the program's "do once, use many" approach to authority-to-operate requirements could save agencies a year and $100,000 in implementation costs compared to the time and money involved in instituting their own review processes.

In the coming year, GSA will test prices-paid initiatives for some of its contracts, including its Future Commercial Satellite Communications Services Acquisition vehicle and its governmentwide acquisition contracts, with the goal of helping its customers make better buying decisions by supplying information on the prices that other agencies have paid for the same services.

Davie said ITS has also been conducting a full-scale review of GSA's Federal Supply Schedules contracts to make sure they are meeting customers' needs. In addition, she said she hopes agencies will be ready in 2014 to fully capitalize on the Managed Mobility Program that GSA set up in fiscal 2013, and ITS was moving to reduce pricing variability on wireless service plans to help agencies get a better handle on costs.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Dec 06, 2013 at 11:13 AM1 comments


CMS shares traffic reports for HealthCare.gov

Healthcare.gov start page

With the HealthCare.gov site rebooted after a month of repairs, officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are being increasingly forthcoming with reporters about traffic to the site.

Details of the site's poor performance at its Oct. 1 launch were revealed by officials in often-contentious congressional hearings and in documents requested from contractors under the threat of subpoena. With the site now on firmer footing, CMS is more than happy to volunteer the substantial uptick in traffic, with numbers being offered in near-real time on daily press calls.

More than 950,000 users visited HealthCare.gov on Dec 3, according to CMS spokesperson Julie Bataille. Between midnight and 1 p.m. on Dec. 4, the site had 310,000 visits. These new usage levels represent an 80 percent increase from a week earlier. A new comparison-shopping feature that allows users to compare plans and benefits in detail before logging in or creating an account has drawn 790,000 users since the evening of Dec. 1, making it the third-most popular page on the site.

CMS is still being stingy with one piece of information -- the error rates occurring in transmissions of enrollment data to health insurance carriers. These "834 forms" are still the cause of major headaches at insurance companies, and there remains the challenge of sorting through errors that persist in records for any of the approximately 126,000 users who enrolled in plans via the Federally Facilitated Exchanges in October and November.

Bataille said that developers at contractor Quality Software Services Inc., which is leading the repair effort, believe that "the majority of issues causing inaccuracies previously have been resolved."

However, she declined multiple requests from reporters on a conference call to quantify the number of people affected by 834 errors, and whether errors continue to affect enrollees who came to the site since Nov. 30. Press reports indicate that almost 30,000 users were able to sign up for insurance on Dec. 1 and Dec. 2 alone -- a massive increase over previous enrollment levels. However, the bigger numbers could lead to big problems on the insurance-carrier side if the 834 errors persist, as many in the insurance industry suggest.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Dec 05, 2013 at 10:49 AM0 comments


New ITIC lobbyist says FITARA needs more work

Elijah Cummings and Darrell Issa together

The Information Technology Industry Council generally supports the legislation being pushed by Reps. Darrel Issa (R-Ca.) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), but ITI's Erica McCann says FITARA should be part of a "broader dialogue on IT acquisition reform."

The Information Technology Industry Council's new Information Technology Alliance for Public Sector supports legislation to reform federal acquisition rules, but one of the group’s newest lobbyists cautioned that more work needs to be done before the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act is ready for prime time.

In a Dec. 3 post, ITAPS Manager of Federal Procurement Erica McCann said that while FITARA would provide needed changes in the federal procurement process, some of the acquisition provisions “need more discussion and should be part of a broader dialogue on IT acquisition reform that is now getting underway within the Defense Department and among policymakers on Capitol Hill."

Congress, McCann wrote, should move ahead on the FITARA provisions that have industry consensus, including those that would enhance the authority of civilian CIOs, allow a more flexible multi-year funding process, optimize data centers, strengthen the IT workforce and promote dialogue between contractors and federal contracting officers.

A joint letter in March sent by TechAmerica, ITI, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Coalition for Government Procurement, ACT, and the BSA/Software Alliance to Issa contained much the same sentiment as McCann’s post.

The Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act, backed by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), passed the House as part of the defense authorization bill in June. Now, FITARA is being proposed as an amendment to the Senate defense bill.

The post is the first by McCann on ITI's blog. She was one of four procurement policy lobbyists to leave rival industry association TechAmerica in November. TechAmerica subsequently sued ITI for $5 million in the D.C. Superior Court, claiming, among other things, that the lobbyists took proprietary association membership information with them. Trey Hodgkins, Pam Walker and Carol Henton were named in TechAmerica's suit; McCann was not included.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Dec 04, 2013 at 10:06 AM0 comments


Obama appoints acting deputy Defense secretary

Christine Fox

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Dec. 3 that President Barack Obama accepted his recommendation to appoint Christine Fox as acting deputy Defense secretary, effective Dec. 5.

Fox will serve on an interim basis in place of Ashton Carter, who steps down as the Pentagon's second in command Dec. 4, while the search for Carter's permanent replacement continues.

Fox spent nearly four years serving as DOD's director of cost assessment and program evaluation before stepping down in spring 2013. She reportedly returned in September as an unpaid consultant to Carter. Fox also helped lead Hagel's sweeping review of the Pentagon budget.

"As a key leader of the Strategic Choices and Management Review, she helped identify the challenges, choices and opportunities for reform facing the department during this period of unprecedented budget uncertainty," Hagel said in a news release. "She will be able to help me shape our priorities from day one because she knows the intricacies of the department's budget, programs and global operations better than anyone."

Fox, a former analyst at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar -- also known as the Top Gun school -- was the real-life inspiration for Kelly McGillis' character, Charlie, in the 1986 Tom Cruise movie.

Posted by Amber Corrin on Dec 03, 2013 at 9:06 AM0 comments


Federal 100 nominations close Dec. 23

Fed 100 logo

For a quarter-century, FCW’s Federal 100 awards have honored the women and men who go far beyond their assigned duties to make federal IT better. And if you know individuals who you believe should be among the 2014 Federal 100, it’s time to visit FCW.com/fed100 and get moving on their nominations!

I could make an argument about the importance of celebrating the good amid all the criticism of government; I even have the perfect news hook in the form of this past weekend's deadline for HealthCare.gov fixes. Or I could point out, as I have before, that budget pressures and poisoned politics make the great work being done in federal IT all the more impressive.

But no one who reads FCW needs to be reminded of those realities. You know how hard it is to drive real change, and you know people who rise to the challenge every day. So make sure the rest of our community knows about them, too.

Not sure what it takes to make the Federal 100? Here are five points to remember:

  1. Anyone in the federal IT community is eligible: career agency employees, political appointees, contractors, academics, association experts, even members of Congress (though legislators would likely fare better in the judging if they first fund the rest of fiscal 2014).

  2. The award is for individual accomplishments in 2013.

  3. Federal 100 winners go above and beyond, whatever their level or rank. A fancy job title is not required, and just doing one’s job well is not enough.

  4. You are allowed to make multiple nominations. Do so early and often.

  5. Impact matters. The judges need to know not only what a nominee did, but also what all that work accomplished.

The deadline for submissions is Dec. 23. Please go to FCW.com/fed100 for more information, and get started today on your nominations.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Dec 02, 2013 at 5:37 AM0 comments


Senate panel approves DHS secretary nominee

Jeh Johnson

Secretary of Homeland Security nominee Jeh Johnson

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee OK'd former Pentagon General Counsel Jeh Johnson's nomination to become the next secretary of Homeland Security by voice vote on Nov. 20.

Johnson now faces a vote in the full Senate, where Arizona Republican John McCain has said he will hold up confirmation until Johnson provides more details about his plans to beef up border security.

But initial objections by a handful of Senate Republicans over Johnson's role as a fundraiser for President Barack Obama have died down, and his eventual confirmation appears all but certain.

Committee Chairman Tom Carper said Johnson's nomination comes at a critical time for DHS, which is still working to fill a host of senior management slots.

"If confirmed by the full Senate, Mr. Johnson will be met with the dual challenge of combating threats to our nation while also working to further strengthen management at the department and encourage more cohesion among the department's components," Carper said. "This is no easy task, but I am confident that we have a nominee who is up to the challenge."

Ranking Republican Tom Coburn of Oklahoma echoed Carper.

"With so much at stake and with limited financial resources, DHS must work with Congress to ensure that spending on counterterrorism and intelligence programs makes us safer," he said.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Nov 21, 2013 at 7:31 AM0 comments


A new gig for former White House cyber adviser

Melissa Hathaway

Former White House adviser and high-profile cybersecurity expert Melissa Hathaway is joining the Centre for International Governance Innovation as a distinguished fellow.

Hathaway served as a cybersecurity adviser to Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and is the former acting senior director for cyberspace at the National Security Council and former adviser to the Director of National Intelligence. She is now president of Hathaway Global Strategies, a consulting firm, and a senior adviser to Project Minerva, a cybersecurity project jointly managed by the Department of Defense, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University.

"The Internet is at the very core of every aspect of life. There is nothing more important than ensuring that we engage in an international discussion about the priorities required to strengthen the services and infrastructures that are dependent upon the Internet," Hathaway said in a written statement. "There are many entangled economic, technical, regulatory, and policy issues that are part of every negotiation and discussion about the Internet and its future. I look forward to working with the CIGI team to bring more clarity to the international discussion and encourage governments to take actions and reduce risks."

CIGI is based in Ontario, Canada, but Hathaway is expected to remain in the Washington, D.C., metro area.

Posted by Amber Corrin on Nov 15, 2013 at 1:21 PM0 comments


Hagel announces DOD appointments

diagram of work team

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has appointed new officials to positions handling Pentagon intelligence, fiscal improvement and acquisition, technology and logistics.

Marcel Lettre was appointed to the Senior Executive Service as principal deputy undersecretary of Defense for intelligence, based at the Pentagon. He replaces Thomas Ferguson as the principal staff assistant and advisor to the undersecretary of Defense for intelligence and oversees related planning, policy and strategy. Lettre, who most recently served as special assistant to the Defense secretary, also will represent USDI to the intelligence community.

After being confirmed by the Senate in October, Alan Estevez has been assigned as principal deputy undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, serving under Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for AT&L, at the Pentagon. Estevez previously served as assistant secretary of Defense for logistics and materiel readiness. He has been working for DOD in various capacities since 1981.

Margo Sheridan is taking the helm as director for financial improvement and audit readiness, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller). Sheridan previously served as the Coast Guard's director of financial operations/comptroller in the Office of the Assistant Commandant for Resources/Chief Financial Officer. Sheridan takes over for Joe Quinn, who left in April for the private sector after three years leading DOD's massive undertaking in getting audit-ready.

Read the official announcement.

Posted by Amber Corrin on Nov 13, 2013 at 7:07 AM0 comments


Upgrading HealthCare.gov

placing blame for healthcare.gov

Posted by John Klossner on Nov 12, 2013 at 6:58 AM3 comments


A GovCon pat on the back

applause

A kind of restrained rambunctious enthusiasm rippled through the 1,000 or so federal contractors gathered the night of Nov. 7 at the annual GovCon contracting industry awards in Tyson's Corner, Va. The enthusiasm, however, was tempered by the memory of recent government cutbacks and shutdowns and foreboding for those that may be still to come.

As the 11th Annual Greater Washington Government Contractor Awards were handed out, presenters had to repeatedly shush the crowd to be heard above the laughter and loud conversations. The din came from contractors who have been working amid one of the toughest federal acquisition environments in years and the relief/trepidation in the throng was hard to hide -- relief from having made it through so far, but unease about another shutdown and continuing tight budgets.

The Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce and the Professional Services Council sponsored the awards.

The evening's final winner -- Kymm McCabe, CEO at ASI Government, who accepted the Executive of the Year award companies with less than $75 million in sales — asked the crowd to stand, turn to the person on their right, and pat them on the back in congratulations for making it through a very tough year.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Nov 08, 2013 at 8:04 AM1 comments


Former USDA CIO joins AT&T

Chris Smith Fed 100

Former Agriculture Department CIO Chris Smith has joined AT&T Government Solutions as vice president of technology. He will lead the company's 175-member technology specialist team in developing and deploying systems for the federal market.

Smith earned a Federal 100 award in 2011 for his leadership in testing the Einstein 3 technology to help detect and respond to cyberattacks. He also led the transfer of email for 120,000 USDA employees to the cloud in 2011, earning a second Fed 100 award the next year for that project.

Smith retired from USDA in 2012 and joined Accenture under Kay Kapoor, then Accenture's managing director and chief executive of the federal business. She now heads AT&T Government Solutions, making this the second time she has hired Smith.

"Chris brings impressive depths of technology experience, especially in the areas of mobility, cloud, and cyber," Kapoor said in a written statement. "He is going to be an important engine of innovation for AT&T in the federal sector."

Posted by Michael Hardy on Nov 06, 2013 at 1:33 PM0 comments


Elizabeth McGrath to retire from DOD

Elizabeth McGrath

Elizabeth McGrath is about to retire from a 25-year DOD career, insiders say.

Veteran Defense Department official Elizabeth McGrath will be stepping down from her position as deputy chief management officer, according to Pentagon sources.

A spokesman said he could not confirm or deny that McGrath is retiring, but sources speaking on background said that she informed colleagues of her impending departure in a Nov. 4 staff meeting.

When asked in a September interview with FCW about her future plans, McGrath left the door open to potential a career change.

"I have no definitive plans to leave the office ... but I've been at DOD for 25 years. At some point I'll have to leave," she said.

McGrath is the Pentagon's first DCMO. She was sworn in July 1, 2010, and since then has focused on reforming DOD financial management, business operations and enterprise-wide systems efficiencies. Prior to her current role, she served as deputy director for systems integration at the Defense Finance and Accounting Service.

Posted by Amber Corrin on Nov 04, 2013 at 9:07 AM4 comments


Why agency jobs may be right up millennials' alley

Bill McDermott (Photo: SAP AG)

SAP AG Co-CEO Bill McDermott (Photo: SAP AG)

Bill McDermott, the 51-year-old co-CEO of SAP AG, shared an interesting stat with attendees at the Northern Virginia Technology Council's Oct. 30 Tech Celebration banquet.

Characterizing millennials -- workers in their 20s and early 30s -- as narcissistic and not career-oriented is unfair, he argued. What they are is "mobile, social and purpose driven," he said. "Eighty-four percent would rather work for a company with a purpose, that does something that matters," than get personal recognition like "a raise or a promotion."

Greater purpose, rare raises and nearly non-existent public praise? Young people, has government got a job for you!

Kidding aside, McDermott's remarks echoed something federal CIO Steven VanRoekel said Oct. 29 at ACT-IAC's recent Executive Leadership Conference. "Impact at scale," VanRoekel said, is the number one reason to give young people asking why they should work in government.

When at Microsoft, VanRoekel said, he thought he "was at the pinnacle" of working on "big projects ... with worldwide impact. But coming to government, by orders of magnitude, outpaces that in terms of what you can do."

McDermott offered another statistic to illustrate that point -- and to show just how much impact younger workers can have. The average age of engineers working on NASA's Apollo program in the 1960s, he said, was 26. The team lead? Thirty-one.

So actively recruit millennials, McDermott urged. Give them real responsibility early, and give them freedom to experiment and fail.

"If [a project] fails, kill it," he said. "But you have to create a culture where failure is acceptable."

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Nov 01, 2013 at 9:33 AM0 comments


Air Force gets new acquisition chief

William LaPlante

William LaPlante Jr. is President Barack Obama's pick to be assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, according to an announcement from the White House on Oct. 30.

LaPlante currently serves as the principal deputy for the assistant secretary for acquisition, a job he began earlier this year. His duties include providing advice and guidance on Air Force acquisition and overseeing research, development, testing, production and modernization for a $40 billion annual portfolio, according to his bio.

LaPlante has spent his career in both the public and private sectors, and has served on a number of advisory boards, including the Defense Science Board, U.S. Strategic Command Senior Advisory Group and Naval Research Advisory Committee. Prior to joining the Defense Department this year, he was employed at defense contractor MITRE Corp.

Posted by Amber Corrin on Oct 31, 2013 at 2:01 PM1 comments


Wheeler confirmed as FCC chairman

Stylized radio tower

Thomas Wheeler, a former head of two telecommunications trade associations and an early supporter of Barack Obama's presidential campaign, was confirmed as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission by the Senate on Oct. 29.

Wheeler's nomination had been on hold because Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) expressed concerns that Wheeler was interested in imposing tougher disclosure requirements on political advertising. Currently, the FCC maintains an online collection of political advertising purchases as part of the public files of licensed broadcast stations. Cruz was concerned that the FCC might flex its muscles to get more information abut donors to nonprofits that buy ads on behalf of candidates and causes.

Cruz relented after Wheeler assured him that expanding the FCC's role in campaign finance was not a priority.

Joining Wheeler at the FCC will be Michael O'Rielly, a former staffer for Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who will take up one of two Republican seats on the commission. Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn will return to her role as a commissioner.

"Tom Wheeler will be a strong advocate for consumers and the public interest at a time when the FCC is facing decisions that will shape the future of our nation's telephone network and the wireless, broadband, and video industries," said Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.).

Rockefeller and many other Senate Democrats had pushed for the elevation of Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel to the top slot. Wheeler's past as head of trade associations in the mobile phone and cable industries was a concern to some Senate liberals, who worried that he might be too beholden to industry.

One of the big priorities for Wheeler is a reclamation and reverse auction of spectrum, a program that allows TV broadcasters to relinquish their spectrum licenses so providers of wireless broadband may bid on it. The technology required to support the closely watched auction is among the more novel and complex IT challenges facing government.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Oct 30, 2013 at 8:20 AM0 comments


House panel takes on DOD procurement reform

Mac Thornberry

Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) will spearhead an initiative to overhaul DOD's acquisition process.

Members of the House Armed Services Committee are set to launch a long-term reform effort aimed at the Defense Department, including an emphasis on overhauling the acquisition process.

At an Oct. 29 hearing, Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) announced that Vice Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) would spearhead the initiative, with assistance from ranking Democrat Adam Smith of Washington.

"We cannot afford a costly and ineffective acquisition system, particularly when faced with devastating impacts of repeated budget cuts and sequestration," McKeon said in an opening statement at the hearing. "The Congress, together with the Department of Defense and industry, must be willing to do the hard work to find root causes, look past band-aid fixes and parochial interests, and have the courage to implement meaningful, lasting reform."

McKeon added that the initiative would include a "hard look at acquisition."

In an Oct. 29 opinion piece for Real Clear Defense, Thornberry called for defense acquisition reform as a top priority, noting that as much as 10 percent of federal discretionary spending goes toward military purchasing. He blamed "heavy federal regulations" for driving up costs.

"There are nearly 2,000 pages of acquisition regulations on the books, many of which have not been reviewed in years," Thornberry wrote. "Too often, Congress and the Pentagon respond to cost overruns by adding another law or an additional oversight office. The situation has gotten so bad that in order to supply our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, entire new streamlined procurement systems were created in order to circumvent the normal process."

At least one industry group praised the proposed efforts. In an Oct. 29 statement, Professional Services Council CEO and President Stan Soloway urged the committee to consider recommendations PSC issued earlier this year.

"The recognition by Chairman McKeon and Ranking Member Smith of the importance of seriously and thoughtfully addressing the persistent challenges in defense acquisition today is an important first step," said Soloway. "Given constrained resources, massive demographic challenges, and the nature and pace of technology development, now is the time to act boldly, broadly and smartly."

Posted by Amber Corrin on Oct 29, 2013 at 1:38 PM5 comments


The challenge to collaboration

collaboration cartoon

Posted by John Klossner on Oct 28, 2013 at 12:32 PM0 comments


USPS names Cochrane as CIO

Jim Cochrane

The U.S. Postal Service selected its new CIO, and didn’t have to look far to find him.

USPS selected 39-year postal veteran James Cochrane for the role, according to an Oct. 25 memo from Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe.

Cochrane has served as acting CIO since former CIO Ellis Burgoyne retired Oct. 1.

Like Burgoyne before him, Cochrane has spent his entire career at USPS, including 25 years in operations in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan and northern Virginia areas.

Prior to stepping into the C-suite, Cochrane served as vice president of product information for USPS, where he oversaw IT innovations in tracking systems, including the Intelligence Mail barcode and Intelligent Mail package barcode. Cochrane’s tenure as vice president of product information coincided with “record high service levels” in those areas, according to Donahoe.

With budget difficulties and continued pressure from Congress to cut spending, Cochrane will be in the challenging position of overseeing technology and innovation in one of the largest IT organizations in the world

“As the Postal Service continues initiatives to add value to the mail for our customers, technology and information products and services are increasingly important to our corporate strategy, and [Cochrane] is well-suited to lead our efforts in those areas,” Donahoe said.

Cochrane’s main focus will be on advancements in new mail intelligence, engineering and IT systems, payment technology and corporate information security.

Posted by Frank Konkel on Oct 25, 2013 at 1:06 PM1 comments


McCormack to be next DHS CIO

DHS logo

The White House on Oct. 24 tapped Luke McCormack, a former IT executive at the Department of Homeland Security’s immigration and border protection agencies, to become DHS's top CIO.

McCormack has been rumored for weeks to be the leading candidate to fill the DHS CIO position last held by Richard Spires. Margie Graves has been acting CIO since March 15, when Spires went on leave from the position after four years of service. Spires resigned in May after two months leave that remain largely unexplained.

McCormack is currently the CIO and deputy assistant attorney general for information resources management at the Justice Department, a post he has held since February 2012.

The DHS nomination chips away at the nagging number of top-level management vacancies that have beleaguered the department in recent months. DHS still has more than a dozen such positions left unfilled -- and the Internal Revenue Service announced on Oct. 24 that it was hiring away DHS CFO Peggy Sherry, effective Nov. 4 -- but the last month has seen efforts to fill some of those vacancies either permanently or temporarily.

In fact, McCormack’s nod comes just days after the White House moved to fill the vacant top leadership slot at DHS. On Oct. 17 President Barack Obama nominated former Defense Department General Counsel Jeh Johnson to replace Janet Napolitano.

When McCormack’s name began circulating in September as a potential CIO candidate, sources familiar with DHS praised the choice, saying his previous work t Immigration and Customs Enforcement – where he was CIO from 2005 to 2012 -- gives him valuable experience with its parent agency, its IT leadership and operations.

He also previously served at Customs and Border Protection as acting director of infrastructure services division from 2004 to 2005, director of architecture and engineering from 2002 to 2003, and director of systems engineering from 1999 to 2002.

Before joining the federal government, according to the White House announcement, McCormack worked at various private sector companies, including MCI and Ford Aerospace.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Oct 25, 2013 at 6:46 AM0 comments


Homeland Security CFO heads to IRS

revolving door

The Internal Revenue Service has tapped the Homeland Security Department’s chief financial officer to become its new deputy commissioner for operations support.

On Nov. 4, Peggy Sherry will move to the IRS to oversee the 11,500 employees in that agency’s IT operations, as well as its Human Capital Office, procurement, real estate, physical security, employee assistance and operations that watch over sensitive taxpayer information.

Sherry will replace Beth Tucker, who is retiring.

DHS confirmed that its budget director, Chip Fulghum, will become interim CFO there on Nov. 4.

Sherry was named DHS CFO in April 2012, after serving as acting and deputy CFO from 2008 to 2012. She also formerly served as deputy CFO and financial reports supervisor for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and as an assistant director at the Government Accountability Office.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Oct 24, 2013 at 9:22 AM0 comments


Alexander to leave NSA, cyber posts

Keith Alexander, DOD photo

Gen. Keith Alexander, head of the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command, is expected to retire by April 2014, according to U.S. officials cited in a Reuters report. Alexander's deputy John "Chris" Inglis is also expected to leave by the end of this year.

The news comes amid a continuing drumbeat of stories about electronic spying and data collection programs carried out by the NSA, with the cooperation from leading Internet and telecommunications companies, as revealed in documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Alexander continues to defend NSA data collection, including bulk collection of metadata on domestic phone calls. "It's in the nation's best interest to put the phone data into a repository that the American public knows what we're doing with," Alexander said at a recent cybersecurity event covered by FCW. "I'm open for transparency. I'm open for where we put the data. ... How do we ensure that the American people know what we're doing is exactly right without letting the terrorists know how to circumvent it? That's the real issue."

During his term as head of Cyber Command, Alexander has called on Congress to pass legislation to allow for real-time information sharing between government and private-sector operators of critical infrastructure. The threat of cyberattack, Alexander told a Senate committee in March, is "getting worse."

Alexander has been NSA chief for eight years. His departure would give President Barack Obama an opportunity to select a candidate to lead the spy agency, and possibly to separate the roles of NSA head and leader of Cyber Command.

Vice Adm. Mike Rogers, who heads the 10th Fleet and the U.S. Fleet Cyber Command, is a potential successor to replace Alexander, according to the Reuters report.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Oct 16, 2013 at 1:23 PM3 comments


DOD's No. 2 stepping down

Ashton Carter

Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter is leaving his post for unexplained reasons.

Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter will step down as of Dec. 4, according to an Oct. 10 release from the Defense Department.

In the release, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel "reluctantly accepted his decision" and praised Carter's loyalty and effectiveness. Carter, 59, gave no reason for his departure.

Prior to becoming deputy defense secretary, Carter served as undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics under former Defense Secretary Robert Gates. In that role he headed up DOD's Better Buying Power acquisition reform plan, among other initiatives.

As deputy secretary Carter took the lead on numerous initiatives, including planning amid budget cuts across the department as well as plans to "pivot" the focus of U.S. military strategy toward Asia.

Hagel called him "a brilliant strategist and excellent manager," and said Carter "possesses an unparalleled knowledge of every facet of America's defense enterprise, having worked directly and indirectly for eleven Secretaries of Defense over the course of his storied career."

"I have continually relied upon Ash to help solve the toughest challenges facing the Department of Defense," Hagel said. "I particularly appreciate his work spearheading the Strategic Choices and Management Review, which put the department in a far stronger position to manage through unprecedented budget uncertainty... but Ash's most recent tour of the department will be especially remembered for his tremendous efforts to provide more agile and effective support for our warfighters and their families."

Posted by Amber Corrin on Oct 10, 2013 at 2:11 PM0 comments


GCN Gala moved to Nov. 19

GCN Awards logo

The continued partial government shutdown has prompted GCN to delay its 26th annual awards gala until Nov. 19.  

The event, which honors federal, state and local government teams for their extraordinary IT accomplishments, had been scheduled for Oct. 16. This year's federal winners include teams from the departments of Agriculture, Defense, Homeland Security and Treasury, and from NASA, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Archives and Records Administration and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

GCN and FCW are both owned by 1105 Media.

Posted by FCW Staff on Oct 10, 2013 at 5:34 AM0 comments


Geospatial conference postponed

James Clapper

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was to speak at the GEOINT Symposium later this month.

The U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation announced late on Oct. 8 that the partial government shutdown has forced the postponement of its flagship GEOINT Symposium.

The geospatial intelligence conference, scheduled to feature speakers including Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, was to be held Oct. 14-16 in Tampa, Fla.

USGIF previously had acknowledged the shutdown would affect the conference, but that it still planned to hold the event.

Ironically, it was ' enactment last week of legislation authorizing Defense Department personnel to be paid and ending much of DOD's furlough that forced a change in plans.

"Recently the U.S. House of Representatives passed the 'Pay Our Military Act,' which allowed most Defense Department personnel to return to their jobs alongside the excepted personnel who were still working," Keith Masback, USGIF CEO, wrote in an e-mail to attendees. "However, the act also included language that has made it impossible for personnel to travel (except in direct support of operational forces) or attend events — including the GEOINT 2013 Symposium."

The conference is now slated to be held in spring 2014. More details can be found on the GEOINT website.

Posted by Amber Corrin on Oct 09, 2013 at 9:26 AM0 comments


Feds' personal tweets give insight to #ShutdownLife

Justin Herman's 'shutdown beard'

Justin Herman and his 'shutdown beard,' which he's been documenting on Twitter since the shutdown began. (Image from Herman's Instagram.)

FCW posted its top seven feds to follow on Twitter on Day One of the government shutdown. At first glance that might seem counterintuitive -- many agencies tweeted that they would be unable to update their accounts during the shutdown. But some feds are keeping the Twitterverse illuminated with their shutdown stories and opinions via their personal accounts.

Justin Herman, social media guru for the General Services Administration, is providing updates on his #shutdownbeard. A day before the shutdown, Herman tweeted "I've taken 3 oaths of office in 10 years: military officer; Congressional aide; Fed executive. Public service demands an Iron Price sometimes".

Beth Beck, open innovation program manager at NASA, signed off with a flourish. "Shutting down my NASA iPhone + iPad during furlough = forced digital detox. Let the cleanse begin," she tweeted.

Some feds tend toward comedy, others toward opinion. Dan Munz, deputy assistant director for consumer engagement at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, tweeted, "Basically, there's now a strong incentive to fill legislation with minor symbolic things you can bargain away later to protect the core."

Munz's agency is fairly new, so he can perhaps be forgiven for ignoring the fact that using legislative leverage to get what you want has been a staple of congressional affairs since the days of Hamilton and Jefferson trading the states' debt for a capital on the Potomac.

Others eschewed politics for simple good manners. After tweeting about data.gov not being accessible during the shutdown, Jeanne Holm of NASA tweeted, "I've never wanted to say 'I'm sorry' to so many people in one day. Thanks for your patience and understanding."

Posted by Reid Davenport on Oct 07, 2013 at 1:57 PM1 comments


Top 5 tech worries

federal list cartoon

Posted by John Klossner on Oct 04, 2013 at 7:51 AM0 comments


Postal Service picks acting CIO

Jim Cochrane

James Cochrane, a 39-year postal service veteran, will take over as CIO on an acting basis.

The U.S. Postal Service has tapped an acting CIO to replace Ellis Burgoyne, who retired Oct. 1.

James Cochrane, formerly vice president of USPS's product information department, will temporarily replace Burgoyne, according to an announcement from Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe.

Like his predecessor, the Postal Service's only CIO to emerge internally, Cochrane has already had a lengthy career at USPS.

Over the past 39 years, Cochrane has held leadership roles in several departments, including ground shipping, marketing and strategy for expedited package services. He also served as associate vice president of sales for the former Northeast Region, where he was responsible for commercial sales of $12 billion annually.

It is unclear how quickly USPS will pursue a permanent CIO, but Donahoe indicated USPS's technology plans will not wait.

 Cochrane "will oversee the integration of technology and innovation in delivering more than 170 billion pieces of mail to an estimated 150 million homes and businesses nationwide," Donahoe said, and "will direct the advancement of new mail intelligence, engineering systems, information technology systems, payment technology and corporate information security to meet the changing needs of our customers."

Posted by Frank Konkel on Oct 03, 2013 at 12:23 PM3 comments


Army CIO steps down

Susan Lawrence

Lt. Gen. Susan Lawrence retires with 41 years of Army experience.

Lt. Gen. Susan Lawrence is retiring after 41 years of Army service, including more than two years as the service’s chief information officer.

"When I stepped into the CIO/G-6 position, I knew I would be in for one of the most challenging jobs I'd ever had. What I didn't know is that it would also be one of the most rewarding," Lawrence wrote in a farewell blog post on the CIO/G-6 website. "Together, we have created what I sincerely hope will be irreversible momentum in modernizing our Army and leveraging technology to keep us the most capable force in the world."

Lawrence began serving as Army CIO on March 2, 2011. The Iowa native has commanded at every level from platoon to Army Signal Command, according to her bio.

In her time at CIO/G-6, Lawrence championed Army efforts in data center consolidation, network modernization and the transition to enterprise email, a plan she said will save $1.5 billion annually beginning in 2015.

Lawrence also encouraged colleagues to focus on the launch of cyber protection teams.

"We must execute this to standard – it is a no-fail mission," she wrote. "It will take the entire team to achieve this goal. To ensure success, we need to identify the right talent and, as individuals are selected, your support to allow them to transition to the CPTs. Our relevancy depends on getting the CPTs into the force quickly and smoothly."

With Lawrence stepping down, Mike Krieger, deputy CIO/G-6, will take over the top job on an acting basis. Brig. Gen. Joseph Brendler, CIO/G-6 director of architecture, operations, networks and space, is serving as acting deputy CIO.

Posted by Amber Corrin on Oct 02, 2013 at 9:35 AM0 comments


DISA gets new vice director

Alan Lynn

Maj. Gen. Alan Lynn most recently served as commanding general of the Army's Network Enterprise Technology Command at Fort Huachuca, Ariz.

The Defense Information Systems Agency has a familiar face in place as its new vice director: Maj. Gen. Alan Lynn, who most recently served as commanding general of the Army's Network Enterprise Technology Command at Fort Huachuca, Ariz.

Lynn assumed the role as of Sept. 30, marking a return to DISA after leaving as chief of staff in 2008. Prior to his NETCOM assignment, Lynn commanded the Army Signal Center of Intelligence.

Lynn succeeds Rear Adm. David Simpson, who in a Sept. 30 DISA release reflected on his experience at the agency, where he had served as vice director since July 2011.

"I have always been a DISA fan," Simpson said. "What I didn't fully appreciate [before working here], was the breadth and depth of the talent at DISA. I have been very impressed with the number of simultaneous activities that go on all around the world, every day, led by individuals at DISA who see the imperative to reduce mission gaps and to provide new capabilities for warfighters at the edge."

Simpson stepped in at DISA in the midst of a tumultuous Army-wide transition to enterprise email, an experience he said led him to an "epiphany" that even the greatest technology cannot be a change agent by itself.

Simpson also looked back at DISA's evolving approaches to mobility, cybersecurity, the Joint Information Environment and warfighter support overall, while offering a hint of what Lynn has to look forward to

"I think DISA will be an agency that is increasingly predictive and proactive as it brings all of the support functions — acquisition, procurement, technology, research and development, test and evaluation, and spectrum — together in an enterprise framework," he said. "I also see DISA in a lead role for the command and control of DOD information networks and defensive cyber operations, where the each of the service components, combatant commanders and theater forces rely upon DISA to anchor the information environment supporting all of their critical operations."

Posted by Amber Corrin on Sep 30, 2013 at 3:30 PM0 comments


Borras named DHS acting deputy secretary

Rafael Borras

Rafael Borras will become acting DHS secretary.

The White House has tapped Rafael Borras to become acting deputy secretary at the Department of Homeland Security. Borras has been undersecretary for management at the agency since 2011. Chris Cummiskey, DHS's deputy undersecretary for management, will step into Borras' old job in an acting capacity. DHS officials confirmed both appointments.

The two appointments come as DHS has more than a dozen top-level managers' slots that are either vacant or filled by acting officers.

Borras replaces Rand Beers, who had stepped in for acting deputy secretary Jane Holl Lute after she left DHS in May. Lute is now president and CEO of the Council on CyberSecurity, a nonprofit organization launched in mid-August.

DHS has been under pressure to fill its vacant leadership posts. At a Sept. 19 House Homeland Security Committee hearing, Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) remarked that 18 of the agency's top 40 management positions were vacant.

The agency lost former DHS secretary Janet Napolitano in September when she departed the agency to become president of the California's state university system. Napolitano's permanent replacement has not been nominated.

President Barack Obama's nominee to fill the deputy secretary position, Alejandro Mayorkas, is still awaiting a Senate confirmation vote. Mayorkas, who is currently director of the Citizenship and Immigration Service, is being investigated by the DHS inspector general as part of a broader inquiry into CIS's foreign investor program.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Sep 27, 2013 at 9:06 AM0 comments


Rand Paul wants to move feds into Obamacare

Rand Paul

Sen. Rand Paul wants a constitutional amendment to apply Obamacare to everyone, including federal employees and Supreme Court justices.

Federal employees found out that their health insurance premiums were going up an average of 3.4 percent for fiscal year 2014. That may seem like bad news, but if one lawmaker has his way, annual single-digit premium increases under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan might be fondly remembered as the good old days.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) announced plans to propose a constitutional amendment that would, among other things, require federal employees to purchase health insurance on exchanges created by the 2010 health care law. Details of the proposal were not available, but it appears that it would eliminate a raft of benefits enjoyed by feds, including the subsidy that helps pay about 72 percent of federal employees' insurance premiums.

Paul singled out for special mention Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who wrote the 2012 opinion in NFIB v. Sebelius that upheld the law.

"My amendment says basically that everybody, including Justice Roberts -- who seems to be such a fan of Obamacare -- gets it too," Paul told the Daily Caller, a conservative news website. "See, right now, Justice Roberts is still continuing to have federal employee health insurance subsidized by the taxpayer. And if he likes Obamacare so much, I'm going to give him an amendment that gives Obamacare to Justice Roberts."

Paul's proposal comes more than a month after the Office of Personnel Management announced that members of Congress and their staffs, who are required to buy health insurances via exchanges under a provision of the law, will obtain premium support from their employers -- the government. Private employers are specifically barred by the law from providing any such subsidy. The OPM provided the special exemption after fears that the elimination of premium support would create a wave of resignations among congressional staffers.

A constitutional amendment would have to gain the support of two-thirds majorities in the House and the Senate, then be ratified by three-fourths of the states, so the chances of Paul's amendment being ratified are fairly close to zero. But legislative proposals to end the OPM-approved subsidy for lawmakers and staff could become part of the debate over fiscal 2014 appropriations as the clock ticks down on fiscal 2013.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Sep 25, 2013 at 11:06 AM4 comments


NASA, NOAA chastised over testimony

Paul Broun

Rep. Paul Broun said NASA and NOAA were 'inconsiderate' for not providing testimony in advance.

Officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA felt the wrath of Georgia Republican Rep. Paul Broun during a Sept. 19 hearing on efforts to launch new satellites critical to the nation's weather forecasting.

Broun chastised both agencies, calling the failure to provide prepared testimony to lawmakers in advance "inconsiderate," especially given the magnitude of the issues at hand.

Neither agency provided written testimony 48 hours in advance to members of the Science, Space and Technology subcommittees on Environment and Oversight, as is the usual practice. Broun chairs the oversight subcommittee.

"I would have appreciated reading the testimonies 48 hours ago, when they were due," Broun said, before taking both scientific agencies further to task.

Broun, a candidate for Georgia's open Senate seat in 2014, also expressed dissatisfaction with NASA for not complying with congressional requests about which official would testify.

Broun did not say whom the subcommittees had wanted to appear, but it was not Marcus Watkins, director of the Joint Agency Satellite Division, who represented NASA. Watkins was unable to provide answers to many questions after he delivered his prepared remarks.

Broun then excoriated NOAA for what he considered its lax approach in responding to questions from committee members. The congressman said NOAA has yet to submit answers to questions from more than a year ago, and instructed Mary Kicza, assistant administrator for Satellite and Information Service at NOAA, to provide answers soon to previous questions and to be more prompt about responding to future requests for information.

Broun said NOAA's actions -- much like its failure to provide advance testimony -- were "inappropriate and inconsiderate."

Posted by Frank Konkel on Sep 19, 2013 at 8:02 AM2 comments


GSA's Bajinder Paul to change agencies

revolving door

The Federal Trade Commission has found its new chief information officer.

FTC officials confirmed Bajinder Paul, deputy associate administrator of citizen services and innovative technologies at the General Services Administration, will replace former FTC CIO Jeff Huskey, who left the agency in March.

Paul has a lengthy resume in IT management, the last three years of which have been spent at GSA. Previously, he served nearly four years as CIO at the Treasury Department's Office of the Comptroller of Currency, a combined three years as acting CIO and deputy CIO at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and four years at various positions at the Justice Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

 Paul is a two-time Federal 100 winner. He earned the award in 2008 for creating a Web portal to provide nationwide access to all types of housing disaster assistance while at HUD and again in 2010 at Treasury, where he launched an IT modernization strategy built on business-driven architecture, cloud computing and Web-based tools.

Posted by Frank Konkel on Sep 18, 2013 at 2:28 PM1 comments


Is cyber-offense the answer?

gloved hands

Private-sector companies spend billions of dollars each year on cybersecurity to keep the bad guys out of their systems, but their efforts are often exercises in futility as the tools and capabilities of cyber threats continue to increase.

Verizon's 2013 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) puts the increased threat in perspective, containing data on 47,000 cyber-security incidents and 621 confirmed data breaches reported by 19 worldwide partners, including the U.S. Secret Service. Twenty percent of reported private-sector breaches – 70 percent of breaches are discovered by third parties, by the way – were perpetrated by state-affiliated actors such as China, according to DBIR, and most often driven by financial motives.

And as Steven Chabinsky, senior vice president of legal affairs and chief risk officer of Crowdstrike told an audience at an FCW cybersecurity briefing Sept. 12 in Washington, D.C., the bigger that companies and federal agencies build their walls, the taller ladders these adversaries come up with to scale them.

"The bad guys don't give up," said Chabinsky, specifying that attacks are often perpetuated by the same parties. Yet strong defenses and big data analytics for situational awareness do little to curb outside threats or reduce or eliminate future threats.

Chabinsky recommended a different course of action, calling for the government to go on the offensive with diplomatic, informational, military, economic and law enforcement threat-deterrence options, in addition to private sector civil remedies.

"The government had better get a handle on threat deterrence. The private sector has had enough," Chabinsky said. "We need to shift to threat deterrence." 

Chabinsky's comments differed from those expressed at the same briefing by Thomas Rid, author of "Cyber War Will Not Take Place." Chabinsky argued that, without more credible U.S. deterrence, cyber-attacks and their consequences could indeed rise to a level of cyber-war.  

Rid, citing the "black budget" leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, said the U.S. government already spends too much money on offensive cybersecurity tactics. More money, he said, should go toward defending existing networks.

Note: This story was updated on Sept. 17 to clarify Chabinsky's emphasis on threat deterrence. 

Posted by Frank Konkel on Sep 17, 2013 at 7:23 PM0 comments


Former NASA CTO steps aside at his OpenStack-focused startup

Chris Kemp

Chris Kemp will bring in a new CEO at his company, Nebula.

As government exits go, Chris Kemp's 2011 decision to leave NASA and launch a company to build OpenStack cloud services was particularly ambitious. But the former CTO's firm, Nebula, is two years old and growing, and on Sept. 13 Kemp announced that he is stepping aside as CEO to bring in industry veteran Gordon Stitt.

Kemp, a 2010 Federal 100 winner, is now Nebula's chief strategy officer. He remains on the board and will continue as a member of the executive team, according to the company's announcement.

OpenStack is an open-source cloud computing platform for public and private clouds that has its roots in NASA's Nebula Cloud Computing Platform. NASA joined forces with Rackspace, which has developed a similar project, to create OpenStack in 2010.

Stitt will formally take over as CEO on Sept. 23.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Sep 13, 2013 at 10:14 AM0 comments


Could ICITE have stopped Snowden?

James Clapper

DNI James Clapper argues that a new IT initiative might have prevented the leaks of classified information that exposed details about NSA operations. (File photo)

A new IT strategy being implemented by the intelligence community might have sniffed out National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden as he was downloading classified material from agency systems to leak to reporters, says the nation's top intelligence officer.

The original motivation for the new Intelligence Community Information Technology Enterprise (ICITE), designed to unify systems across 17 intelligence agencies, was cost savings, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in a speech at the Intelligence and National Security Alliance IC Summit event Sept. 12.

"What we're spending on IT in the intelligence community is amazing," Clapper said. The cloud-based ICITE approach saves money while encouraging integration among component agencies and improving security. "The Snowden issue emphasizes the importance of doing it," he said.

"The bumper-sticker mantra is 'tag the data, tag the people'," Clapper said. The approach allows intelligence agencies to "label the data and assure yourself of the bona fides of the people with whom you're going to share," he said. Without offering details, Clapper suggested that implementation is not an entirely painless process. "We're well past the euphoria of what a great idea this is, and we're into the passive aggressive resistance phase."

Clapper pointedly stated that he did not consider Snowden a whistleblower, but he offered a silver lining to the cloud that's hanging over the intelligence community. "As loathe as I am to give any credit for what's happened here, which is egregious, I think it's clear that some of the conversations that this has generated, some of the debate, probably needed to happen. Perhaps it's unfortunate it didn't happen some time ago," he said.

Because of Snowden, the intelligence community is bringing more "emphasis and energy" to insider threat detection, Clapper said. One of the pieces of this is clearance reform, both in improving the process and making sure that the government follows up on the five-year reinvestigations into cleared personnel. He intimated that plans were in the works to automate the process of maintaining security clearances. "We've got to change the system, fix it, take advantage of technology so we are enabled to evaluate people continuously, not just periodically," he said.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Sep 12, 2013 at 3:00 PM1 comments


Obama nominates deputies for VA, Navy

Jo Ann Rooney

Jo Ann Rooney is the president's nominee for Navy undersecretary.

President Barack Obama on Sept. 10 announced nominations for high-level positions in the departments of Veterans Affairs and Navy, potentially filling roles that have been vacant since spring.

At the Defense Department, Obama nominated Jo Ann Rooney as Navy undersecretary. Rooney serves managing director at the Huron Consulting Group in Chicago, a position she has held since 2012.

In 2011 and 2012, Rooney was the principal deputy undersecretary of Defense for personnel and readiness, where she oversaw military readiness and acted as the deputy senior policy advisor to the Defense Secretary on recruitment, career development, pay and benefits for roughly 3.5 million military and civilian personnel. She also has a background in academia and the private sector, with a doctorate in education from the University of Pennsylvania and law degrees from Boston University and Suffolk University, according to her DOD bio.

Rooney would replace Robert Work, who stepped down as Navy undersecretary in March after four years in the position.

Sloan Gibson

Sloan Gibson

At the VA, Sloan Gibson, president and CEO of the United Services Organization, was nominated as deputy secretary at the VA. Gibson has been at the USO since 2008. Prior to that, he spent two decades in the banking industry, according to his USO bio. The 1975 West Point graduate earned both Airborne and Ranger qualifications and served as an Army infantry officer. Gibson is a graduate of the University of Missouri and Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Gibson would succeed Scott Gould, who resigned May 17 amid an exodus of top VA officials that included Chief of Staff John Gingrich, CIO Roger Baker and CTO Peter Levin. The departures came amid troubles at the VA, particularly related to its IT operations.

Both nominees face Senate confirmation.

Posted by Amber Corrin on Sep 11, 2013 at 5:55 AM3 comments


The appropriations game

2014 approrpriations cartoon

Posted by John Klossner on Sep 10, 2013 at 6:35 AM0 comments


GPO picks second-in-command

James Bradley

James C. "Jim" Bradley, a longtime leader at the Government Printing Office, has been named deputy public printer.

Bradley has served as assistant public printer for operations and as head of the Official Journals of Government unit, which helps produce the Congressional Record, the Federal Register and other key GPO products. In his new post, Bradley will lead marketing operations at GPO, overseeing printing plants, sales, and products including the Congressional Record, passports and other federal identification credentials.

Davita Vance-Cooks, public printer and head of the GPO, said, "Jim's experience in federal printing and information policy issues is unrivaled. He is a natural leader with a proven record of success in managing GPO's operations to meet the critical needs of Congress and federal agencies. He is especially well-qualified to pursue the changes necessitated by the recent recommendations of the National Academy of Public Administration and he will keep GPO moving forward in this digital era."

Before joining GPO in 1998, Bradley served as a staff member on the Joint Committee on Printing, a bicameral Congressional panel charged with oversight of the GPO.

Bradley's appointment comes at a time of flux for the agency. In her confirmation hearing and in comments on the radio show "Federal Drive," Vance-Cooks spoke of her desire to rebrand the agency as the Government Publishing Office, a nod to how much of the agency's efforts are focused on digital documents, databases and mobile applications.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Sep 03, 2013 at 1:05 PM0 comments


Army swears in new cyber command leader

Edward Cardon

Lt. Gen. Edward Cardon has taken the helm at Army Cyber Command. In this 2009 photo, Cardon, left, while serving as acting commandant of the Command and General Staff College, congratulates class president Lt. Col. Richard Malish during the Intermediate Level Education graduation ceremony. (Army photo)

In a ceremony held Sept. 3 at Fort Belvoir, Va., Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno swore in Lt. Gen. Edward Cardon as commander of Army Cyber Command.

Cardon previously served as commanding general of the 2nd Infantry Division in South Korea. Prior to that, he was deputy commanding general for support for U.S. Forces-Iraq. That appointment was the last of Cardon’s several commanding positions in and deployments to Iraq.

According to his bio, Cardon was born in Texas and raised in California, and has received roughly a dozen decorations for his service since being commissioned as an engineer officer from the U.S. Military Academy in 1982.

Cardon succeeds Maj. Gen. Rhett Hernandez, who is retiring, as head of Army Cyber Command/2nd Army.

Posted by Amber Corrin on Sep 03, 2013 at 3:16 PM3 comments


Encouraging telework

klossner

Posted by John Klossner on Aug 30, 2013 at 10:07 AM0 comments


Former IP czar to head software lobby group

Victorial Espinel (nonstandard size)

Victoria Espinel, who led intellectual property enforcement for the federal government, will take over as president and CEO of BSA | The Software Alliance, a trade group that represents software companies.

Espinel was the first U.S. intellectual property enforcement coordinator in the Office of Management and Budget. The post was designed to align the work of law enforcement organizations, federal agencies, private companies and foreign governments in preventing and prosecuting intellectual property theft and infringement. Often likened to a "copyright czar," the job was established by Congress in 2008 and first staffed under the Obama administration.

BSA supports intellectual property protection and the advancement of cloud computing on behalf of commercial firms, including Adobe, Intel, IBM, Apple, Microsoft, Oracle and many others.

Espinel figured prominently in two industry agreements designed to thwart intellectual property theft. In July of this year, her office announced a deal among leading online content and advertising companies, including Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft, to reduce the flow of ad revenue to websites that attract audiences by posting pirated material. In 2011, Espinel helped broker a deal between Internet service providers and entertainment companies to allow ISPs to disrupt the service to individuals suspected of pirating music and movies using peer-to-peer networks.      

She has won plaudits from copyright activists and industry for her work. Gigi Sohn, president and CEO of the open Internet group Public Knowledge, said Espinel "Understood the importance of balance and fair use in copyright policy -- these were not merely buzzwords for her."

Before taking on the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator post, Espinel served as the assistant U.S. trade representative for intellectual property and innovation during the George W. Bush administration.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Aug 28, 2013 at 11:36 AM1 comments


Making the case to attend SXSW

Elon Musk at SXSW Interactive - Photo courtesy of SXSW

The South by Southwest conference attracts top-tier speakers like Tesla founder Elon Musk, while also digging into the details of technology's impact. (Photo courtesy of SXSW Inc.)

Given tight budgets and travel restrictions, most feds likely would be hard-pressed to secure permission to attend South by Southwest. But for those who can find a way -- or simply decide to make a personal trek to the Austin, Texas, festival next March -- Gadi Ben-Yehuda of the IBM Center for the Business of Government has a list of especially relevant proposed panels.

In a post on GovLoop, Ben-Yehuda offered this list of provocative topics, and urged government techies to vote for the ones they like best:

SXSW may be overhyped, Ben-Yehuda allowed, but it still boasts "speakers that should inspire anyone interested in technology's impact." Or at least anyone who can get the travel approved.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Aug 26, 2013 at 11:11 AM1 comments


More encrypted data storage ahead for feds?

Castle Muiderslot, Holland

Castle Muiderslot in Muiden, Holland, and its moat. (Stock image)

It takes more than a moat to protect a castle, especially if it's made of data.

That's according to Mark Day, acting deputy assistant commissioner of Integrated Technology Services at GSA, who voiced a few interesting sound bites at an Aug. 22 IT procurement forum.

Day, fielding a question about cyber-security at the Lowering the Cost of Government with IT Summit in Washington, D.C., said current cyber efforts are not enough to protect sensitive data across the government.  He suggested all such data be encrypted unless it is in use.

Day referenced Army Pvt. Manning, recently sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking classified documents to Wikileaks, and Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency contractor who divulged classified surveillance secrets to the Guardian and Washington Post newspapers. Both, he noted, were insiders – people against whom the large "moat" of on-premise cyber-security does little to defend.

"Insider threats have always been and will always be one of our primary issues – can you spell Snowden or Manning?" Day said. "If the moat didn't work, let's look at new models beyond the moat and a stack of paper."

Day questioned why data was ever unencrypted "except when it is used on screen," suggesting it be encrypted at all other times, including when it is essentially "at rest." He hinted there would be problems in such a scenario, though he did not divulge what they would be.

Ultimately, Day said existing cyber-security measures may help keep out the bad guys, but only if those bad guys aren't your guys.

"We're doing a lot of work to build moats," Day said.

And the moats aren't working.

Posted by Frank Konkel on Aug 23, 2013 at 11:36 AM0 comments


Intelligence Community turns to Tumblr for transparency

James Clapper

DNI James Clapper introduces "IC on the Record" on Tumblr. (File photo)

The National Security Agency may have misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has acknowledged answering Congress in the "least untruthful manner" possible, but on the Tumblr blogging service, the Intelligence Community is all about opening up to the public.  Or so it says.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Aug. 21 launched IC on the Record, a new blog devoted to providing "immediate, ongoing and direct access to factual information related to the lawful foreign surveillance activities carried out by the U.S. Intelligence Community."

The first day's postings included nine declassified documents relating to Section 702 of FISA.  Other materials were pre-posted before launch, dating back to President Barak Obama's Aug. 9 remarks promising a website to share such information.

Clapper, noting that "Americans are engaged in a discussion" about the IC's surveillance efforts, wrote on the blog that "it is imperative that we do so with a full understanding of what the existing foreign surveillance authorities allow, what the oversight mechanisms are, and most important of all how they contribute to our safety and security."

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Aug 22, 2013 at 9:01 AM0 comments


IBM's Prieto named to DOD cyber post

Daniel Prieto

Daniel Pietro is now director of cybersecurity and technology at DOD's CIO office. (LinkedIn profile picture)

Daniel Prieto will join the Defense Department as a top cybersecurity official.

Prieto, who recently served as vice president of IBM's public sector global business services, was appointed to the Senior Executive Service and named director of cybersecurity and technology at DOD's CIO office in Washington. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced his appointment on Aug. 20.

The new director is no stranger to cybersecurity policy: He also has been a senior associate in the Center for Strategic and International Studies' homeland security and counterterrorism program since 2010. Prior to that, Prieto was research director at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government's Homeland Security Partnership Initiative.  He also served as a professional staff member on the House's select committee on homeland security, according to his LinkedIn bio.

Prieto "has worked for two decades in the private sector, academia, and government at the intersection of technology, public policy, and national and homeland security issues," his CSIS bio states. Between 2002 and 2007, he has held various fellowship appointments at the Center for National Policy, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Kennedy School of Government, Stanford University's Center for International Security and Cooperation and George Washington University.

Prieto also has held positions at America Online and J.P. Morgan., and is a member of the Aspen Homeland Security Group, co-founder and co-director of the American Bar Association's Cybersecurity Working Group, and a member of the Committee on Law and Justice of the National Academy of Sciences, according to the Center for National Policy.

Earlier this summer, Prieto wrote about the evolution of the intelligence community and its use of technology in a piece for Foreign Policy.

Posted on Aug 21, 2013 at 12:56 PM0 comments


Personnel shuffles at GSA

revolving door

The deputy assistant commissioner of the General Services Administration's Integrated Technology Services has been named to a new position.

GSA confirmed that Kevin Youel Page, who had been ITS deputy assistant commissioner, is now acting assistant commissioner of the Integrated Award Environment.

The Federal Acquisition Service's Office of Integrated Technology Services is headed by Assistant Commissioner Mary Davie. According to the GSA's website, Mark Day, director of the Office of Strategic Programs, is now acting deputy assistant commissioner, taking over Page's duties. Day's own LinkedIn profile also reflected the change, noting: "Interesting role to be a deputy. That is one role in long career that I have always avoided, but when asked to serve....!"

ITS is responsible for providing access to best-value IT and telecommunications products, services, and solutions to federal, state, local and tribal government organizations.

Page, meanwhile, replaces Amanda Fredriksen, who had also been running the Integrated Award Environment in an acting capacity. Fredriksen was reportedly placed on administrative leave in June in the wake of a May report from the GSA inspector general that reviewed 2011 leadership conferences in Orlando and Atlanta.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Aug 19, 2013 at 3:00 PM0 comments


A careful biometrics strategy

biometrics

Posted by John Klossner on Aug 16, 2013 at 8:06 AM0 comments


What kind of video goes viral?

gagnam

Korean rapper Psy's "Gangnam Style" is a recent example of wildly successful viral video.

What kind of content goes viral, and why should feds take notice?

The answers to those questions and loads of additional social media insights are catalogued in a storified aggregation of tweets taken during a July 30 SocialGov Summit.

Justin Herman, new media manager at the General Services Administration’s Center for Excellence in Digital Government, documented the commentary and uploaded it to GSA’s new media website Aug. 13.

The compilation gives feds a glimpse of the power social media has outside the government, as well as innovative approaches agencies such as GSA and NASA are taking with it. Take a look and learn a little.

Posted by Frank Konkel on Aug 14, 2013 at 5:46 AM0 comments


Wennergren reveals retirement plans

Dave Wennergren

David Wennergren didn't spend much time enjoying a leisurely retirement. Barely more than a week after retiring from the Defense Department on Aug. 2, Wennergren has become a vice president at CACI International.

He starts his new job Sept. 3 as the vice president of opportunity management and customer delivery practices in the company's enterprise technologies and services business group.

"This will be the longest break I've had in over 30 years," he said.

Wennergren looks back at his career and the leadership lessons he learned.

Most recently, he served as the assistant deputy chief management officer in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and was DOD's deputy CIO. He's also been the Navy's CIO. He spent 33 years working in the Navy and Defense Department.

Several factors played into picking CACI for his first job in the public sector, Wennergren told Washington Technology.

"To me there are three things that should drive the decision of where you work," he said. "Who you get to work with; who you get to work for; and what you get to work on."

Who he gets to work with is a former colleague and mentor from the Defense Department, Dan Porter, who is an executive vice president of the enterprise technologies and services group where Wennergren is assigned.

"I have the opportunity to work with Dan again, and he is one of the smartest and brightest guys I've ever met," Wennergren said. "To work with him again is a really big plus."

The two first met as Navy civilians when Porter was running logistics operations, and Wennergren worked under him. When Porter became Navy CIO, he picked Wennergren as his deputy. After Porter retired, Wennergren took over as CIO.

"He has coached and mentored me throughout my career," Wennergren said.

He also was looking for a company that shared his values about service to the nation, integrity and delivering high-value solutions.

"CACI seemed like a really great match to me," he said. "I really wanted an opportunity to continue to help government make a difference."

Wennergren sees the government at a critical crossroads, in that there is rapid technological change taking place that is providing opportunities to do things in new and different ways, and improve how government operates.

"At the same time, the government is going to be dealing with tough financial times for years go to come," he said. "So, how you prioritize going forward is going to be crucial, and I want to help organizations work through that."

His new role at CACI will include a healthy dose of learning about the private sector and how business operates. He'll work on strategy and developing solutions for clients, he said.

"This is an opportunity to learn about the company and its clients, and figure out how to make a difference," he said.

There will be a focus on maritime and aerospace because that's an important business area for the group he's joining. "But I think primarily it'll be about helping to understand what the opportunities are out there, and working with government organizations about delivery value," he said.

CACI praised Wennergren's leadership and "great insight into how we can continue to evolve our capabilities to support the government's most critical information solutions and services requirements," said CACI CEO Ken Asbury in a statement.

Among his accomplishments is leading the DOD Enterprise Software Initiative, as well as chairing the DOD team overseeing implementation of the Defense Department's Common Access Card. His awards include the DOD Distinguished Civilian Service Award and the Meritorious Executive Presidential Rank Award.

He's also chaired FCW's Fed100 judges' panel for several years. FCW is a sister publication to Washington Technology.

Joining CACI is not some sort of swan song for Wennergren, but a new chapter.

"I just turned 55, so I still have miles to go before I sleep," he said.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Aug 13, 2013 at 4:16 PM2 comments


McAfee's Phyllis Schneck reportedly heading to DHS

revolving door

Phyllis Schneck, McAfee's chief technology officer and vice president of the security software company's global sector, will be named undersecretary of cybersecurity at the Department of Homeland Security, say sources familiar with DHS cybersecurity operations.

Although DHS and McAfee wouldn't confirm the move, industry sources have said Schneck will be named undersecretary after Acting Undersecretary Bruce McConnell departs. McConnell said in July that he planned to leave in August to return to the private sector.

With her deep background in high-performance computing and cryptography, Schneck emerged as strong candidate for the job in July, as the department searched for a permanent replacement after McConnell's departure. She serves as chairman of the board of directors of the National Cyberforensics and Training Alliance, a partnership among government, law enforcement and the private sector that provides information analytics that have been used to prosecute cyber criminals worldwide.

At McAfee, Schneck is responsible for public sector security and global threat intelligence applications, strategic thought leadership around technology and policy in cybersecurity, and initiatives in adaptive security and intelligence in networks for critical infrastructure protection and cross-sector cyber security.

McConnell became acting undersecretary in April after Mark Weatherford left DHS for the Chertoff Group consultancy after about a year-and-a-half on the job. McConnell had been DHS's senior counselor for cybersecurity before taking on the role of acting undersecretary.

Schneck will take over at a challenging time for DHS cybersecurity, which is in the midst of two major tasks: Carrying out the president's cybersecurity executive order and expanding its internal cybersecurity efforts.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Aug 06, 2013 at 12:58 PM0 comments


NASA's deputy administrator leaving space agency

Lori Garver

Lori Garver is taking a position with the Airline Pilots Association.

NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver announced Aug. 6 via Twitter that she is leaving the space agency for a position with the Airline Pilots Association.

Garver, who held NASA's number-two position since July 2009, will work for NASA through Sept. 6, according to an agency spokesperson.

"I have had the pleasure and honor of working side by side with Lori for the past four years, as we sought to position the agency for 21st century spaceflight, scientific discovery and deep space exploration," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement. "She has been an indispensable partner in our efforts to keep NASA on a trajectory of progress and innovation. In a time of great change and challenge, she has been a remarkable leader who has consistently shown great vision and commitment to NASA and the aerospace industry. "

John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, praised Garver's efforts during her tenure, not only in helping set NASA's aerospace priorities but also in leveraging partnerships to encourage young women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

"She ensured that U.S. taxpayers were getting the most for their money from NASA with innovative public-private partnerships in space and on Earth, and her focus on getting more women and other underrepresented groups engaged in science, technology, engineering, and math was just as important," Holdren said

Garver, a Michigan native, worked previously for NASA from 1996 to 2001. As deputy administrator, she represented NASA to heads of other government agencies, the Executive Office of the President and Congress. Within NASA, Garver "led the way on so many" of the Obama administration's space priorities, Bolden said, including the agency's reestablishment of a space technology mission directorate, NASA's use of challenges and prizes to bolster scientific innovation, and the agency's commercial crew and cargo program.

There was no immediate word on who the White House would appoint to fill the position.

Posted by Frank Konkel on Aug 06, 2013 at 11:53 AM0 comments


Will Coburn lift Archuleta hold?

US Capitol

The Obama administration’s signal late last week that the federal government would continue to offer contributions to the health care premiums of congressional staffers appears to clear the way for Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) to lift a hold on the nomination of Katherine Archuleta to head the Office of Personnel Management.

Coburn announced at a July 31 Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee meeting his intention to block a quick floor vote on Archuleta’s nomination until the administration made clear its position on health insurance benefits for congressional employees who are being forced out of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program and into insurance exchanges created by a provision of the 2010 health care overhaul.

Under the law, members and staff are required to move to exchanges. But the provision does not specify whether the government is allowed to make contributions to defray premium costs. Many lawmakers feared that staffers would have to pay their entire premiums out of pocket, which could induce many to leave for more lucrative private-sector jobs. Hill staffers are scheduled to begin enrolling in the exchanges Oct. 1.

Coburn is waiting to review the regulations before commenting on whether the administration has satisfied his request. OPM is expected to publish proposed regulations governing coverage for Hill staff later this week.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Aug 05, 2013 at 3:26 PM0 comments


Senate confirms historic GPO nominee

Davita Vance-Cooks

Davita Vance-Cooks is the first African-American and first woman to hold the title of public printer.

The Senate has confirmed Davita Vance-Cooks as head of the Government Printing Office, making her both the first African-American and first woman to hold the title of public printer.

Vance-Cooks has been the acting public printer since January 2012 and has more than 30 years of public- and private-sector experience. She has been at GPO since 2004, holding positions including chief of staff, managing director of publications and deputy managing director of customer services.

 Vance-Cooks' confirmation comes amid GPO budget cuts and the agency's move towards increased digitization.

"I look forward to working with everyone who shares a stake in our historic mission of keeping America informed as we continue transitioning our products and services to meet the needs of Congress, federal agencies, and the public in this digital age," she said.  

President  Obama nominated Vance-Cooks in May and her confirmation was the quickest Senate action on a public printer nominee in almost 20 years. The GPO, which opened in 1861, is responsible for producing, procuring, cataloging, indexing, authenticating, disseminating, and preserving the official information products of the U.S. Government. This includes the production and distribution of passports, and of official publications of Congress, the White House and other federal agencies.

Posted by Reid Davenport on Aug 02, 2013 at 11:32 AM0 comments


Republican tapped for open FCC slot

revolving door

President Obama nominated legislative aide Michael O’Rielly to the Federal Communications Commission post vacated by Republican Commissioner Robert McDowell.

The nomination paves the way for the Senate to hold a vote on the confirmation of Tom Wheeler as the new FCC chairman. Wheeler’s nomination was approved by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on July 30, but Senate Republicans wanted to wait for a Republican nominee before proceeding with a confirmation vote.

O’Rielly is a policy advisor to Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn of Texas and has long experience working on technology and telecommuncations issues. He has worked in the whip’s office since 2012, spent time on the Republican Policy Committee in the Senate, and worked as a staffer on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. If confirmed by the Senate, he would serve out the remainder of McDowell’s five-year term, which ends June 30, 2014.

The FCC has been operating shorthanded for a few months now. Democratic Commissioner Mignon Clyburn has been leading the FCC as acting chairwoman since Julius Genachowski stepped down in May. McDowell resigned in March.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Aug 02, 2013 at 11:06 AM0 comments


Accenture acquisition means new role for Traficant

Jim Traficant

Jim Traficant will head ASM Research, a new acquisition for Accenture.

Federal 100 winner and Accenture Federal Services executive Jim Traficant will soon have a new job:  president of ASM Research, the health care IT and human capital management firm which Accenture just acquired.

Traficant, who won his Fed 100 award in 2011 for his work at Harris Health Solutions on Federal Health Architecture for the Health and Human Services Department, is currently an AFS managing director.  He leads Accenture's military health projects with the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, and will continue in his AFS role while running ASM Research as a subsidiary company.

Traficant spoke with Washington Technology on July 31 about the acquisition and what it means for federal health IT.   The addition of ASM "provides unique access points into the market," he said, calling the acquisition and resulting business prospects a "once in a generation opportunity."

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Aug 01, 2013 at 3:24 PM0 comments


Top Energy Department official stepping down

Gil Vega

Gil Vega will take an unspecified financial-services position.

Gil Vega, the Energy Department's assistant CIO for cybersecurity and chief information security officer, is leaving his post for a private sector position.

Vega is heading to the New York City area, closer to his New Jersey roots, sometime in mid-August for an undisclosed job in the financial services industry, he told FCW on July 30.

Vega has been at DOE for two years. Prior to that, he was the chief information security officer for Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the Homeland Security Department. He also has held cybersecurity leadership roles in the Defense Department and intelligence community.

Paul Cunningham, deputy associate CIO for cybersecurity at DOE, will take over on an interim basis until a permanent replacement is found, Vega said.

Posted by Amber Corrin on Jul 30, 2013 at 2:48 PM1 comments


Friends, former colleagues praise Spires at event

Richard Spires

Former DHS CIO Richard Spires addresses a crowd gathered in his honor. (FCW photo by Frank Konkel)

Standing before a large crowd of friends and former colleagues gathered to recognize him on July 29, Richard Spires turned visibly emotional.

Spires, former Department of Homeland Security CIO, was clearly proud of an eight-year federal legacy that – at least on this night – seemed untainted by the strange circumstances under which he left government employment,  yet also humbled to be appreciated by so many who came out in his honor.

Spires took the stage following a lengthy ramp-up in which person after person spoke highly of his integrity, character and work ethic.  AFCEA Bethesda, GITEC, TechAmerica and AFFIRM sponsored the event, held at the National Press Club in Washington.

DHS acting CIO Margie Graves praised his leadership; acting and former DHS component CIOs expressed gratitude for his hard-nosed approach to federal IT efficiency; and several other  DHS employees, other feds and industry leaders thanked him for his service.

The theme of their remarks was perhaps best summed up by Justice Department CIO Luke McCormack, who previously served alongside Spires as the CIO of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at DHS. McCormack made light of Spires' intense work ethic before highlighting the need for a sometimes-tenacious CIO at large agencies like DHS.

"Richard laid out thought processes and astute observations," McCormack said. "He would listen for a moment, and then put the pedal to the metal. We understood where the goal line was, where the compass was headed. That was exactly what DHS needed at the time."

When it was finally his turn to speak, Spires briefly addressed his departure from DHS—he resigned in May after two months on an unexplained leave -- with a touch of humor, and spent the next several minutes hinting as his plans before highlighting the growing importance of IT in federal government.

"I left on some interesting terms," Spires said, drawing laughs and prompting a few red faces in the crowd. "People can professionally disagree, and there were some disagreements. Given those disagreements, I made the decision to leave. I'm going to miss government."

Consulting on his own right now, Spires did not rule out another government gig, but he is expected to return to the private sector, where he first made a name for himself before becoming one of the most recognizable figures in federal IT. Spires served four years at the Internal Revenue Services and another four at DHS, where he managed a $6.4 billion IT portfolio and saw considerable successes in implementing federal cost-savings initiatives.

In addition, Spires was vice-chairman of the federal CIO Council.

"Never say never, I'm not that old," Spires said, speaking of whether he'd ever be a fed again. "Maybe someday I'll return to government, but I'm getting more excited about easing back into the private sector."

"I can't imagine not staying part of this community," he added, "so you're going to get to see me around, whether you want to or not. I want to continue to have the government operate more efficiently."

Posted by Frank Konkel on Jul 30, 2013 at 6:16 AM1 comments


Dickover leaves State for Institute of Peace

Noel Dickover, State Dept.

Fed 100 winner Noel Dickover has joined the U.S. Institute of Peace.

Noel Dickover, the State Department's Office of eDiplomacy guru for the past three years and one of the coordinators largely responsible for its successful TechCamps program, left last week to begin a new position with the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP). He started in the new position on July 29.

Dickover announced the move on Twitter, saying he had a "terrific 3 years" at State and that he was looking forward to working on USIP's Peace-Tech Lab. He started at the State Department on July 1, 2010.

Dickover told FCW his work at USIP will focus on using low-cost technology like crowdsourcing to build peace and help stabilize social culture, particularly in developing countries.

"It gives me an opportunity to build technology for social good ecosystems in developing countries," Dickover said.

USIP is an independent, federally funded nonpartisan institution established by Congress to help manage international conflicts without violence.

Dickover is highly respected for his work at the Office of eDiplomacy, earning a Fed 100 award in 2012 for his efforts training grassroots organizations all over the world and increasing their digital capacity through interactive TechCamp meetings.

His efforts in organizing and executing TechCamps in places including Thailand, Israel, India, the Ukraine, Moldova and Zanzibar empowered nongovernmental organizations to adopt tech-savvy approaches to issues pertaining to disaster response, economy opportunity, empowering women and in some cases, democracy.

"Technologists love to be Superman," Dickover told FCW in a 2012 interview. "The TechCamp format gives them that opportunity."

State offered no insight on who might replace Dickover.

Posted by Frank Konkel on Jul 29, 2013 at 1:30 PM0 comments


OMB streamlines SAVE Awards

applause

Will fewer ideas submitted for the SAVE Awards lead to more applause-worthy offerings?

The government is streamlining its annual search for money-saving ideas from federal workers in the hope that gathering fewer ideas will yield better ideas.

Agencies are being given more time to evaluate proposals, according to a July 26 memo from acting deputy director for management and CIO Steven VanRoekel. Deadlines for agencies to nominate SAVE Award (Securing Americans Value and Efficiency) candidates is being pushed back to Sept. 20, and agencies are being asked to identify just the top three to five money-saving ideas – down from five to 10 in years past. Additionally, agencies are being asked to package their SAVE Award ideas with their fiscal year 2015 budget submissions.

SAVE Awards reward federal employees who come up with practical ideas that save the government money, improve operations and can be easily replicated across government agencies. Agencies are required to submit a list of ideas to the director of OMB, who picks a group of finalists. The public is then invited to vote on the winning entry.

This year, agencies are being directed to avoid ideas that are similar to past finalists. The winning 2012 idea proposed making sure federal employees receiving public transit benefits are shifted to lower senior citizen fares as soon as they are eligible. In 2011, a NASA employee won with an idea to create a lending library of specialized tools, to avoid duplicate purchases.

The SAVE Award competition has generated more than 85,000 ideas since it was instituted in 2009.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Jul 29, 2013 at 3:40 PM0 comments


BYOD: Bring Your Own Disaster?

hammer

The government's tool for re-securing a compromised iPhone.

Q: What's the government process for wiping an iPhone after a security leak?

A: Pound it with a hammer.

Managing mobile devices and their risks, instituting security measures on par with more traditional desktops and laptops, determining what tool to use when things go wrong – these are all commonly cited hurdles to BYOD in federal agencies. But there are so many others that accompany those concerns that it sometimes becomes difficult to imagine it's actually going to happen.

Of course, it's happening already, on a certain level. There are pilot programs. There are options, such as bolting $200 Common Access Card "sleds" onto the device for authentication purposes so Defense Department employees can take their smart phones to work.

But neither of those is the true BYOD policy that personnel in the digital era want: the freedom to use one familiar device to do it all, work and personal, without worries about "leakage" or having all your vacation photos smashed into oblivion.

"If you look at it from a financial standpoint, sure, it's the cost of the device," said Maj. Linus Barloon, chief of cyber operations division in the J3 directorate and cyberspace officer in the Air Force's White House Communications Agency. "But when you look at the man-hours associated with cleaning up a spill for a regular device, and now toss in a smart device – it's just easier to stay away from bring-your-own-device, issue the user one of your own devices such that you can [install] the governmental controls."

It is not just the devices, either. The data itself and the policies that govern BYOD present just as much, if not more, of a problem, officials said July 24 at MeriTalk's cybersecurity brainstorm event in Washington. The discussion there represented a snapshot of a conversation that is playing out across agencies and departments.

"There are more implications to BYOD than to cybersecurity," said Joe Johnson, managed mobility program manager at the General Services Administration. "Some of that has to do with legal, some of that has to do with employee unions – who pays for the devices, are they getting reimbursed? What are the legal implications of data that could be lost? It's a Pandora's box that I don't think anybody has really figured out yet. It's probably easier to think of BYOD from a security policy point of view than it is with the broader policy implications that extend beyond security policy itself."

Posted by Amber Corrin on Jul 26, 2013 at 1:28 PM0 comments


GSA slammed for setting a bad example

David McClure

GSA's Dave McClure felt some heat at a hearing on IT leadership. (File photo)

Dave McClure of the General Services Administration felt some heat during a House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations hearing on July 25.

Subcommittee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) pummeled  McClure for setting a poor example in IT decision-making for other agencies to follow.

GSA, Mica said, has only closed one data center in three years, despite having identified 115 non-core data centers ripe for closing or consolidation.

The hearing was held to discuss the status of federal IT initiatives, including the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative led by GSA and the Office of Management and Budget. Mica was on the attack.

 "Then we've got McClure here, from GSA, you guys haven't set a very good example in operation," Mica said, after listening to testimony from Federal CIO Steve VanRoekel and Dave Powner of the Government Accountability Office.

McClure answered that GSA has planned to close 38 data centers by the end of fiscal 2013 and 47 by the end of fiscal 2014, but did not deny GSA had only closed one over the past three years.

However, other committee members, including Meadows, were skeptical of the ambitious numbers expected in the two months remaining in the fiscal year, given the track record.

"Where does the buck stop?" Meadows asked, staring at McClure.

McClure responded that the agency CIO "owns the issue" and the "head of the agency is ultimately responsible," noting that he is simply "the head of an office that provides tools" to get the job done. McClure is associate administrator of GSA's Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies

Meadows, staring at McClure, asked what would happen if GSA doesn't make the closure target.

"I think you should ask for an explanation," McClure said, suggesting the responsibility fall to GSA CIO Casey Coleman.

Meadows was not satisfied.

"We have a whole bunch of people that come and give testimony, but really don't have responsibility for implementing those things," Meadows said, clearly annoyed. "Hearing after hearing and nothing gets done. I think you have three core (data) centers, 115 non-core, and you've closed one in the past three years. Now we're going to ramp it up. Why is that?"

Subcommittee Ranking Member Gerry Connolly, (D-Va.) said GSA's move to close the data centers, announced after the subcommittee criticized GSA during a field conference it was invited to but didn't attend, looked like a disingenuous attempt to appease the subcommittee.

McClure responded that it "might have the appearance of that," but explained that the agency was not finished collecting data, thus its delay in publicizing planned closures.

 

Posted by Frank Konkel on Jul 25, 2013 at 2:45 PM1 comments


Wennergren to retire

Dave Wennergren

David Wennergren, DOD's assistant deputy CMO and a three-time Fed 100 winner, wraps up a 32-year federal career.

The Defense Department's assistant deputy chief management officer is retiring from government service. David Wennergren, whose 32-year federal career has centered on change management and IT for DOD and the Department of the Navy, told FCW that his final day on the job will be Aug. 2.

"I remember when I went to work for the Department of the Navy in 1980, and they told me, 'In 2012, when you turn 55.... you'd be eligible for retirement,' Wennergren said. "And that just seemed like forever. And the next thing you know, the decades have flown by."

"For me it was fairly simple," he explained. "It's been a great ride, I've had jobs that I'd never even dreamed I would've had, and have had some amazing adventures. But, you know, I've sorta climbed the mountains that there were for me to climb here, and I became eligible for retirement. So then it was just a question of timing."

Wennergren is a three-time Federal 100 winner, was honored with FCW's Eagle award in 2006, and has since served as a Fed 100 judge on several occasions. He has won a raft of honors from other organizations in the federal IT community, and has earned repeated commendation from DOD for distinguished and meritorious service. He was also the longest-serving vice-chairman of the Federal CIO council.

Wennergren declined to discuss his next career steps until he officially leaves government service. "I'm going to take some time off, and then plan the next adventure," he said. "I'm trying desperately to get through and close out my federal career before we do the next steps."

That time off leaves a significant gap to fill at DOD, but Wennergren said he was confident in his colleagues' ability to step up.

"I've taken pride over the years of having thought a lot about succession planning and stuff," he said. "At the Department of the Navy, we had a fabulous succession plan in place -- we grew people inside that organization. Dan Porter was the CIO -- he left, I fleeted up to become the CIO. When I left, Rob Carey fleeted up to take my place; I think that kind of stuff is important."

"We've got a good crew here," Wennergren said of the office of the deputy chief management officer, "and there's a growing base of business transformation-savvy people across the Department of Defense. But that will fall to my boss, [Deputy CMO] Beth McGrath, decide what she wants to do now that I'm gone."

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Jul 23, 2013 at 8:27 AM1 comments


Congress gets new nominees for Labor IG, DOD personnel posts

Jessica Wright

Jessica Wright, nominated to lead DOD personnel and readiness, spent 35 years in the National Guard.

The Senate's deal to avoid filibusters on nominations may or may not hold, but the White House continues to fill up the pipeline with new appointees.

President Barack Obama on July 19 announced eight more individuals that he intends to nominate to agency or diplomatic posts. Among them are Scott S. Dahl, whom Obama tapped to be the Labor Department's inspector general, and Jessica Garfola Wright, who would become the Defense Department's under secretary for personnel and readiness.

Wright, who spend 35 years in the National Guard and retired as a major general, has been filling the under secretary position in an acting capacity since Jan. 1. Dahl is currently the IG for the Smithsonian Institution. His nomination would fill an important major-agency IG vacancy, but also creates yet another IG opening for the administration to address.

Posted by FCW Staff on Jul 19, 2013 at 8:47 AM0 comments


Sisk becomes FAS head

Bill Sisk

Bill Sisk, the new FAS deputy commissioner, has held the position in an acting capacity since last year. (House Oversight and Government Reform Committee photo)

Bill Sisk, GSA’s acting federal acquisition service deputy commissioner, has been named the service’s deputy commissioner, the agency confirmed on July 16.

Sisk became acting deputy commissioner in November 2012, taking the position after the previous deputy commissioner, Jon Jordan, retired. Sisk had previously served as the assistant commissioner for FAS’ Office of General Supplies and Services.

Sisk has been at the agency for 23 years, beginning as an intern, working his way up to become the FAS Southeast Sunbelt Region commissioner and the acting Public Buildings Service Southeast Sunbelt Region Commissioner, according to the agency.

FAS has seen a few new faces in the last six months. Tom Sharpe, the current FAS commissioner, came from the Treasury Department in January.

Former FAS commissioner Steve Kempf moved on last fall. Mary Davie, GSA's assistant commissioner for the Office of Integrated Technology Services, served as acting FAS commissioner until Sharpe was named.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Jul 16, 2013 at 3:00 PM0 comments


AFCEA to honor Spires

Richard Spires at HOGRC on 022713

Richard Spires resigned in May as DHS CIO. (File photo)

AFCEA's Bethesda Chapter has organized an appreciation event for former Department of Homeland Security CIO Richard Spires, who resigned on May 7, for his years of leadership and government service.

The event, which Spires will attend, is scheduled for Monday, July 29, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. (Click here to register.)

Spires, who won FCW's Eagle Award this spring, was on leave for two months prior to submitting his resignation, and news of a well-respected federal official in apparent turmoil caused considerable confusion in the federal IT community and led to lots of speculation about the cause.

Many details of Spires' departure remain unclear, but he experienced considerable success over eight years of federal service – four years at the IT helm of DHS, and prior to that four years at the Internal Revenue Service.

"I was surprised and grateful that the federal IT industry would want to recognize me for the work I did at DHS and over the past eight years with the IRS and serving the federal IT community at large," Spires told FCW. "It's very nice."

Spires is still assessing his future, but said he has taken to consulting – on his own, not for a company – in the interim.

"I'm going to consult for a while and I'm definitely using this as a transition time to assess what I want to do next," Spires said. "Consulting is one of those options, and I'm also going to look at full-time opportunities."

Posted by Frank Konkel on Jul 15, 2013 at 2:05 PM0 comments


Napolitano to leave DHS

Janet Napolitano

DHS secretary Janet Napolitano is about to take the helm at the University of California system. (File photo)

Janet Napolitano announced on July 12 that she is resigning the top spot at the Department of Homeland Security to take of the post of president of the University of California system.

Napolitano, who has served as governor of Arizona and a U.S. Attorney, will be the first woman ever to lead the University of California system. The University of California search was led by former movie industry executive Sherry Lansing. In a statement, Lansing said, "While some may consider her to be an unconventional choice, Secretary Napolitano is without a doubt the right person at the right time to lead this incredible university."

President Obama released a statement thanking Napolitano for her service at DHS. "Janet’s portfolio has included some of the toughest challenges facing our country. She’s worked around the clock to respond to natural disasters, from the Joplin tornado to Hurricane Sandy, helping Americans recover and rebuild. Since day one, Janet has led my administration’s effort to secure our borders, deploying a historic number of resources, while also taking steps to make our immigration system fairer and more consistent with our values," Obama said.

Napolitano will take start her new job sometime in September, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Jul 12, 2013 at 8:49 AM0 comments


A great job in government -- so long as you're not in government

help wanted sign

Hey, agency cybersecurity experts -- do you have a proven track record for "directing IT modernization efforts, formulating short and long-range strategic direction, and developing technology policies?" Would you like to be the Internal Revenue Service's next director of cybersecurity operations, earn as much as the vice president, and deliver world-class security for critical IRS systems?

Too bad. Federal employees are not eligible to apply.

The IRS has designated this a "streamlined critical pay position" -- a special category that the agency may apply to up to 40 positions at any one time, in order to fill posts that "require expertise of an extremely high level" and "are critical to the Internal Revenue Service’s successful accomplishment of an important mission."

Special recruiting efforts and higher salaries can be used in such cases, where the agency has determined that no qualified federal employees are available -- and where a standard General Schedule or Senior Executive Service job is unlikely to attract top talent from outside government. As a result, however, feds -- and many former IRS employees -- are eliminated from the start.

There are similar exceptions allowed governmentwide; the Office of Personnel Management can designate up to 800 jobs for "critical position pay." The IRS, however, has its own statutory authority.

And for any private-sector cyber executives who might be interested: it may already be too late. While the IRS advertised the position in the Wall Street Journal as recently as July 8, a recruiter told FCW the agency is no longer actively seeking more applicants.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Jul 11, 2013 at 1:38 PM0 comments


White House announces new director of presidential personnel

Jonathan McBride

Jonathan McBride, shown here during a 2012 appearance on C-SPAN, will take over as Director of Presidential Personnel.

The White House announced on July 9 that Director of Presidential Personnel Nancy Hogan will be leaving by the end of the month, and will be replaced by Jonathan McBride. McBride currently serves as the Office of Presidential Personnel's deputy director, and is a deputy assistant to the president. A Wharton Business School graduate and former chief strategy for the "employer branding" firm Universum, McBride has been with the administration since 2009.

The Office of Presidential Personnel plays a critical role for agency hiring: Its staff must review and approve all "Schedule C" hires -- political appointments that involve shaping policy or working very closely with key political officials. There are roughly 1,400 such jobs scattered across the executive branch.

"I’m grateful to Nancy for her service, and to Jonathan McBride for agreeing to take her place," President Obama said in the statement announcing the change. "Jonathan has the judgment and the experience to help us continue to move this country forward, and I look forward to working with him in his new role."

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Jul 09, 2013 at 12:28 PM0 comments


Schambach to leave CSC

Pat Schambach

Pat Schambach, who served more than three decades in the government, is retiring from CSC.

Pat Schambach, the longtime agency CIO who is now a vice president and general manager for federal IT contractor CSC, told colleagues on July 2 that he is leaving the firm. Schambach's retirement will become official at the end of August.

"People have often asked me if I missed working for the government," Schambach wrote in an email that was shared with FCW, "and my standard answer has been that all I really miss are the people! Now I'll be saying the same thing about what I miss about CSC."

Schambach, who won FCW's Eagle Award in 2003, spent more than three decades in government service before moving to the private sector; he was the Transportation Security Administration's first CIO, and served in that same capacity for the Secret Service and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. After leaving government in 2004, Schambach spent four years with Nortel Government Solutions. He has been with CSC since 2008.

No word yet on Schambach's future plans.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Jul 03, 2013 at 8:58 AM0 comments


Know any rising stars? Nominate them today!

Rising Star

The deadline is fast approaching for 2013 Rising Star nominations. The best up-and-comers in the federal IT community deserve to be recognized, but all nominations must be in by midnight on Monday, July 15.

Much like the Federal 100 awards, FCW's Rising Star awards recognizes individuals who go above and beyond their official job descriptions. By focusing on those in the first 10 years of their federal IT careers, however, the judges look for nominees who not only make a real impact, but also have clear potential to grow into positions of greater responsibility in their organizations and in the community at large.

Curious to see who's made the grade in the past? Check out the profiles of last year's winners -- and then be sure to nominate your organization's rising stars while there is still time!

Click here to nominate a rising star.

 

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Jul 01, 2013 at 10:53 AM0 comments


The problem in the middle

cartoon

Posted by John Klossner on Jun 28, 2013 at 5:53 AM0 comments


CIA docs find a home on Amazon

concept art for cloud services

Amazon’s contract to build a private cloud for the CIA is on hold while the agency sorts through the ramifications of a successful bid protest from IBM, which said it could build the cloud for less.

But Amazon is already storing CIA documents -- just not necessarily those the agency would like.

For instance, the New York Times reported on June 26 that four CIA agents were embedded in the New York Police Department in the decade following 9/11, and that one such agent may have spied on U.S. citizens. The article is based on a recently declassified executive summary of a CIA Inspector General’s report from December 2011, which the Times helpfully posted online.

And as the URL makes clear, that document is residing on an Amazon Web Services cloud server.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Jun 27, 2013 at 2:47 PM1 comments


A graphic look at federal hiring

Vacancies and staff turnover are seemingly a fact of life for today's agency IT executives. And for senior positions, the hiring hoops can take many forms.

backstory graphic

Posted by FCW Staff on Jun 26, 2013 at 7:55 AM0 comments


Cureton's successor picked at NASA

Larry Sweet

Larry Sweet, NASA's new CIO, takes office as the agency is under IG pressure to improve its IT management.

Larry Sweet, a NASA veteran who began his career at the space agency in 1987, will officially take the reins as the agency's CIO on June 30.

Sweet replaces Linda Cureton, who retired in April. NASA's associate deputy administrator Richard Keegan has been acting CIO since Cureton's departure. Sweet has served as the Johnson Space Center's CIO and information resources director since 2007.

Sweet will be responsible for ensuring NASA's information assets are in line with federal policies, procedures and legislation, and he'll also manage several major IT efforts. The most important of those efforts is likely the IT Infrastructure Integration Program (I3P), which will consolidate and integrate NASA's IT contracts to increase collaboration and reduce costs at the agency.

Perhaps more important moving forward, though, is that Sweet will be installed at the same time the agency is supposed to improve IT governance, enhance CIO authority and make fixes to other IT problems that have dogged the agency for decades, according to a June report by NASA's Office of Inspector General.

NASA's decentralized IT operations "hinder the agency's ability to implement effective IT governance," leaving the agency CIO with limited visibility or control over IT investments and unable to enforce security measures across all NASA computers, the IG reported. Of the $1.46 billion allocated for IT in fiscal 2012, the agency CIO had direct control of only $159 million, or about 11 percent.

In 2010, decentralized IT operations and limited CIO control actually caused NASA to overspend on its fiscal 2010 IT budget by $400 million, highlighting the seriousness of the problem.

NASA administrator Charles Bolden concurred or partially concurred with all eight OIG recommendations stemming from the report. They include requiring the CIO to approve all IT procurement expenditures over an established threshold and consolidating overall IT governance within OCIO. All recommendations were due to be addressed within one year.

In his response, presumably written before NASA had selected Sweet for the job, Bolden wrote that NASA would look for candidates who had demonstrated strong governance in their careers to take on these new challenges. Based on Bolden's other statements in response to the OIG criticism, it seems Sweet will have no shortage of work to do when he begins. "I will ask the new CIO to conduct a comprehensive assessment of existing NASA IT governance and the IT organization and recommend any necessary improvements to address the findings in this report," Bolden said.

Sweet and NASA are at least one step ahead of several other agencies, however: the Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Personnel Management, Social Security Administration and Departments of Veteran Affairs, Homeland Security and Housing and Urban Development are all still searching for their next permanent CIO.

Posted by Frank Konkel on Jun 25, 2013 at 2:00 PM0 comments


Berry to say 'g'day' to Australia

John Berry

President Obama has nominated former OPM leader John Berry to be ambassador to the land down under. (House Oversight and Government Reform Committee photo).

President Obama announced the nomination of John Berry for the post of ambassador to Australia on June 21.

Berry headed the Office of Personnel Management from April 2009 to April 2013. At OPM, Berry will be remembered for working to extend health benefits to the domestic partners of lesbian and gay federal employees where allowable by law, advocating raises for federal employees, pioneering telework and working to reduce the backlog of processing retirement claims while speeding hiring times for federal employees.

Before joining OPM, Berry was the director of the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., from 2005 to 2009, and was executive director of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation before that. He also served as a legislative aide to Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).

Obamam included Berry’s nomination in a group of senior appointments. “These men and women have demonstrated knowledge and dedication throughout their careers. I am grateful they have chosen to take on these important roles, and I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come,” Obama said in a statement.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Jun 21, 2013 at 3:24 PM0 comments


Deloitte picks new federal consulting leader

Janet Foutty

Janet Foutty, formerly managing director of technology at Deloitte Consulting, is taking over as federal consulting leader. (Photo courtesy of Deloitte)

Deloitte Consulting LLP has appointed Janet Foutty as its new federal consulting leader.

Foutty, who previously served as Deloitte’s managing director of technology, will succeed John Gibbons. Gibbons will serve as a strategic advisor during the transition.

Under Foutty’s two-decade tenure with Deloitte, she successfully launched three businesses in its technology service area: Application Management Services, Customer Solutions and Deloitte Digital. She also helped oversee Deloitte’s acquisition of mobile agency Ubermind in 2012.

"Janet has a tremendous track record of helping improve client results in technology services and financial services,” said Robin Lineberger, CEO of Deloitte Federal Government Services, in a written statement.

“Her leadership and experience will be a great asset to federal agencies as they look for innovative technology solutions to achieve their mission."

 

Posted by Natalie Lauri on Jun 20, 2013 at 2:35 PM0 comments


A graphic look at GWACs

GWAC backstory

Posted by FCW Staff on Jun 18, 2013 at 8:59 AM1 comments


EPA CIO heads for private sector

revolving door

Editor's note: This item was modified after its publication to add text from Jackson's email to colleagues and to update other information.

The man behind the Environmental Protection Agency's move to cloud-based email and centralized IT hardware procurement is heading back to the private sector.

EPA Chief Information Officer and Assistant Administrator in the Office of Environmental Information Malcolm Jackson is leaving the agency after three years of service for a job with an unnamed company, an EPA spokesperson confirmed.

Jackson was appointed by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate in 2010. His last day will be July 7, according to an email Jackson sent to colleagues.

"I have enjoyed every moment at EPA immensely and have been so impressed by the passion that you have for your jobs and the agency’s mission," Jackson wrote in that email message. "We have made some great changes together to strengthen OEI and the technology direction of EPA. I hope that you will keep the momentum going and fill the technology gap while ensuring security and quality." 

Jackson's departure means EPA joins six other major agencies searching for a permanent CIO, including NASA, the Department of Veteran Affairs and the Department of Homeland Security. It is not yet clear who will step in as EPA's acting CIO, because the agency does not have a permanent deputy CIO. Acting Deputy CIO Renee Wynn, a 21-year agency veteran, will step in as acting CIO.

At EPA, Jackson was responsible for IT operations and security, information quality and collection and access to environmental information. Prior to his three years at EPA, he served as the senior IT business unit director at CIGNA Group Insurance and at various other IT and engineering positions in the private sector.

Posted by Frank Konkel on Jun 18, 2013 at 1:27 PM1 comments


The truth of digital strategies

cartoon private sector

Posted by John Klossner on Jun 17, 2013 at 5:58 AM0 comments


Author: NSA snooping is example of 'present shock'

Douglas Rushkoff

Douglas Rushkoff says that 'present shock' is caused by the interconnectivity of social media and other technology. (Photo by New America Foundation)

There are privacy and national-security considerations in the debate over the National Security Agency's digital surveillance. But according to author and digital literacy advocate Douglas Rushkoff, the NSA flap is also case of an agency biting off more than it can chew.

Speaking June 11 at the New America Foundation, Rushkoff said, "In terms of total surveillance control and all that, it's dark. I mean, I think what happened to government now is government's in 'present shock.' Government says 'look, Facebook has all this big data, they can predict when someone's going to get pregnant.'... So they end up employing the technology automatically. "

The NSA is not alone in using technology while lacking a full understanding of it, and without the ability to utilize it efficiently, Rushkoff said.

His new book, "Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now", argues that priorities of the moment dominate most people's lives because of the interconnectivity of current technology. In order to curb this "present shock," society must invest in future priorities and stop being chronically distracted by technology such as social media. (The book's title is an apparent play on "Future Shock," the 1970 bestseller by futurist Alvin Toffler.)

"We are twice removed from the operating system," Rushkoff said. "We're once removed in that we don't understand the technology, and then we're twice removed in that we think that the institutional bias can't be changed."

Posted by Reid Davenport on Jun 14, 2013 at 12:10 PM1 comments


Successor found for Kathleen Turco at GSA

Anne Rung - photo courtesy of Commerce Department

GSA Chief Acquisition Officer Anne Rung will replace Kathleen Turco as head of Office of Governmentwide Policy.

The General Services Administration has a new leader for its Office of Governmentwide Policy. GSA acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini announced in an all-staff email that Anne Rung would replace Kathleen Turco. Effective June 16, Turco will become the Veterans Health Administration's chief financial officer.

Rung, who won a Federal 100 award for her accomplishments at the Commerce Department, had been GSA's chief acquisition officer since April 2012. Federal News Radio first reported Tangherlini's announcement about her new role, which will be in addition to her duties as CAO for the agency.

Posted by FCW Staff on Jun 13, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


You too can store data like the NSA

concept cybersecurity art

The stories keep coming about the National Security Agency gathering digital metadata on a massive scale, focusing most Americans on the balancing act between privacy and national security. Agency IT leaders, however, could be forgiven for also asking, "How do they organize all that data?"

As luck would have it, NSA Technical Director Neal Ziring went into some detail on that very question in a recent webinar.

In a May 30 presentation produced by 1105 Government Events (which is owned by the same parent company as FCW), Ziring outlined the NSA's approach to data security. "We are well past the model where you say 'everyone who can log on on this computer can gain access to all the data, all the information that's stored on that computer or on that cloud or in that data center,'" he said. "We need to think about controlling that more tightly."

Ziring said the agency's "smart data" approach improves access for authorized users, provides better control over access by "non-person entities," supports analytics across multiple repositories, and helps to spot "anomalies and abuse." The NSA's strategy and architecture -- which stresses data provenance and careful tagging, he said, can apply to "a lot of other government organizations, in industry and in academia as well."

The full webinar is available for online viewing (free registration required) on the FOSE website.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Jun 13, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Forget privacy. What about design principles?

NSA slides

NSA's slides leave a lot to be desired, according to at least one designer. (FCW graphic)

According to one presentation deck making the rounds, the National Security Agency's biggest transgression is not its massive data-gathering efforts. It's the painful aesthetics of its PowerPoint slides describing the Prism program.

In a presentation posted to Slideshare, Paris-based designer Emiland De Cubber wrote: "Dear NSA, you can do whatever you want with my data. But not with my eyes. Those slides are hideous."

De Cubber goes on to recreate several of the now-famous slides with significantly more polish. Check out the full presentation below:

The IBM Center for the Business of Government on June 10 released a how-to guide for agencies seeking to better visualize data. Perhaps the NSA staffers can read and then revise.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Jun 12, 2013 at 8:58 PM0 comments


Petitioners rally around Guardian source

Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden, the contractor employee who exposed the National Security Administration's PRISM program. (Photo by The Guardian newspaper.)

Edward Snowden is not yet charged with a crime, but petitioners are already clamoring for his pardon. A June 9 petition for the White House to "Pardon Edward Snowden" -- the 29-year-old Booz Allen Hamilton contractor who has revealed himself as the source of leaked National Security Agency information -- had already received more than 27,000 signatures by late afternoon on June 10. Filed through the White House's "We the People" system, it needs to receive 100,000 signatures by July 9 to merit an official White House response.

The petition reads:

"Edward Snowden is a national hero and should be immediately issued a a [sic] full, free, and absolute pardon for any crimes he has committed or may have committed related to blowing the whistle on secret NSA surveillance programs."

Snowden, who is reportedly in Hong Kong, has not been charged with a crime, though it appears only a matter of time before that happens, as publicly disclosing national security information violates federal law. Direction of National Intelligence James Clapper called the revelations regarding a government program called PRISM that gathers intelligence information from electronic communication service providers "reprehensible" and "reckless."

Through interviews with and released by The Guardian, it appears Snowden is accepting of his fate.

"I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions," but "I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant," Snowden told The Guardian.

Posted by Frank Konkel on Jun 10, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Wanted: A rockstar developer for Data.gov

help wanted sign

Agencies often have a hard time competing with private-sector employers for top-notch IT talent, but this job might hold special appeal for the open-data crowd: The Data.gov team is hiring its own developer.

This GS-14 "IT specialist (applications software)" will join the small crew of dataphiles in the General Services Administration's Office of Citizens Services and Innovative Technologies, where he or she will serve as an in-house software engineer, collaborate with outside developers, and serve as web architect for Data.gov.

The technical underpinnings of Data.gov, which launched in May 2009, have been largely built by contractors, but GSA has now decided to bring some coding capacity onto the permanent staff.

"We get a lot of really great ideas from a lot of different places," Data.gov Program Director Marion A. Royal told FCW. "We need a technologist on board to help us prioritize... which should we seek immediately, and which should we invest in for the future."

Details of the job are posted on USAJobs.com. But would-be applicants had better hurry -- the application window closes on June 11.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Jun 07, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


How to spot a young data scientist

Data Scientist

Posted by John Klossner on Jun 03, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Pahlka on the power of code

A certain slice of the tech community was abuzz on May 30 when Code for America founder Jennifer Pahlka announced she was coming to Washington to work with U.S. CTO Todd Park as Deputy CTO for Government Innovation. For many agency IT professionals, however, Pahlka -- whose non-profit is based in San Francisco and focused on local, not federal, government -- is a little-known commodity.

For anyone wondering what makes Pahlka tick, her 2012 TED talk on "coding a better government" is a good place to start:

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Jun 03, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Turco leaving GSA for CFO post at Veterans Health Administration

revolving door

General Services Administration official Kathleen Turco is leaving her post to become the CFO at the Veterans Health Administration at Veterans Affairs.

Before becoming the associate administrator of the Office of Governmentwide Policy for GSA in 2010, Turco served for nearly a decade as the agency's CFO.

"It was a difficult decision but I wanted to move back in to CFO work and this position allows me that opportunity plus serving our veterans," Turco said in an email to OGP staff that was shared with FCW.

Turco’s resume also includes stints at the Internal Revenue Service and the Office of Management and Budget. She will start her new post on June 16, according to her email.

Posted by Reid Davenport on May 31, 2013 at 12:10 PM1 comments


Pahlka named deputy federal CTO

Jennifer Pahlka

Jennifer Pahlka, shown here in 2010, will run the Presidential Innovation Fellows program in her new role as deputy federal CTO. (Flickr/Wikimedia Commons photo by Kevin Shockey)

Jennifer Pahlka, the founder of Code for America, will take up the role of deputy federal chief technology officer and run the Presidential Innovation Fellows program.

Code for America is a non-profit that gives year-long fellowships to developers, technologists and others who want to work on applying a high-tech, streamlined approach to government services. In a May 30 blog post, Pahlka said she's thinking of the appointment as a fellowship of her own, taking the post at the Office of Science and Technology Policy for a year, before returning to run Code for America.

She'll report to federal chief technology officer Todd Park in her new job. "Todd has proven without a doubt that the federal government can operate on lean startup principles and timeframes, that data creates value, and that there is a network of amazing people already changing the culture of government," she wrote in her blog post.

Before founding Code For America, Pahlka worked at CMP Media, and ran the Web 2.0 and Gov 2.0 events for TechWeb.

A spokesperson for OSTP confirmed the news in an e-mail, saying, "Jen will be working with CTO Todd Park to move the Administration's tech innovation agenda forward, including working with the Presidential Innovation Fellows, and we are excited about her pending arrival!"

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on May 30, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Metzenbaum to lead government trust initiative

Shelley Metzenbaum

Shelley Metzenbaum will head the Volcker Alliance, a new think-tank aimed at rebuilding the public trust. (File photo)

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker appointed Shelley Metzenbaum, a former official at the Office of Management and Budget, to lead his newly formed nonpartisan think-tank that takes aim at restoring public trust in the government. Metzenbaum, who stepped down from OMB in April, won an FCW Federal 100 award in 2011 for her lead role on the Obama administration's performance management agenda.

Metzenbaum "brings a unique set of qualifications and experiences to this large and important task," said Volker, who served under presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. "Rebuilding public trust in our state, local and federal institutions begins with improving the administration of our policies."

Volcker appointed Metzenbaum president after announcing the formation of the Volcker Alliance.

Before serving as associate director of performance and personnel management at OMB, Metzenbaum worked at the Environmental Protection Agency, was undersecretary of environmental affairs and director of capital budgeting for Massachusetts, and served as director of a public-sector performance management program at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.

Posted by Reid Davenport on May 30, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


EPA's Lisa Jackson joins Apple

Lisa Jackson

Lisa Jackson will head Apple's environmental efforts. (File photo)

Former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson is joining Apple.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said on May 28 that Jackson, who stepped down from the EPA in February after four years with the Obama Administration, will be heading the Cupertino, Calif.-based technology company's environmental efforts. Cook made the announcement at the D11 Conference during an on-stage interview with technology journalists Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher. "She’s going to be coordinating a lot of this activity across the company," Cook said of Jackson.

Jackson waged several high-profile regulatory battles while at EPA, and also drew congressional attention for her use of "alias" e-mail accounts to conduct government business.

Apple has not yet announced when Jackson will formally start in her new role.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on May 29, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


CyberCom chief receives TechAmerica's top honors

Keith Alexander, DOD photo

Gen. Keith Alexander has been named government technology executive of the year by the TechAmerica Foundation. (File photo)

The TechAmerica Foundation is recognizing Gen. Keith Alexander, commander of U.S. Cyber Command and National Security Agency director, as its Government Technology Executive of the Year, and will honor him at next month at an awards dinner.

"Gen. Alexander's distinguished career has been dedicated to protecting our nation, and it only seems fitting that he is spearheading our defense in the newest realm of security," Shawn Osborne, TechAmerica chairman, said in the release. "He has contributed a great deal to advancing the United States' national security by prioritizing protecting cyber space and it is an honor to be able to recognize his commitment to modernizing the way our government responds to security threats but more importantly, his service to our country."

Alexander, in a released statement, praised TechAmerica as "an important partner in the fight to secure American's future in cyberspace while preserving our citizens' right to privacy." He also emphasized the need for public-private partnership in cybersecurity. The statement echoed comments Alexander made earlier this month calling for cross-agency and cross-sector collaboration, with securing critical infrastructure as top priority.

"This is a team approach – not only in government, between [the Homeland Security Department, FBI, NSA and CyberCom], but between government and industry," Alexander said May 10 at an event in McLean, Va. "Industry owns 90 percent of this space; the government has a responsibility to help defend this space. We've got to come up with a framework for how government and industry work together."

TechAmerica's 2013 Technology and Government awards dinner will be held June 20 in Washington, D.C. According to the group, this award "recognizes leaders in the federal government that use technology to advance service to Americans."

Posted by Amber Corrin on May 28, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Obama names picks to head Census, NOAA

revolving door

President Obama on May 23 announced nominations for the heads of two of the more data-intensive agencies in the federal government, the Commerce Department's Census Bureau and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Dr. John H. Thompson, Obama's pick to lead the Census, is a longtime veteran of the bureau going back to 1975. He has held various senior posts, including associate director for the decennial census and chief of the decennial management division. Currently, Thompson is president and CEO of the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. The bureau is under pressure to lower the cost of its next decennial count of the American population, which cost $14 billion in 2010.

Environmental scientist Dr. Mark Schaefer, meanwhile, has been nominated to lead NOAA. His prior government service includes a stint in the Interior Department and in the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the White House, both under President Clinton. Schaefer currently works as deputy executive director for environmental conflict resolution at the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on May 24, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Obama taps former political director to lead OPM

Katherine Archuleta

The president has named Katherine Archuleta to replace former OPM Director John Berry, who stepped down in April.

President Obama has tapped Katherine Archuleta to head the Office of Personnel Management, succeeding John Berry who left the agency in April.

Archuleta was national political director for the president’s reelection campaign and chief of staff at the Department of Labor. Her resume also includes stints as a senior policy advisor to the city of Denver and executive director of the National Hispanic Cultural Center.

If confirmed, she will be the first Hispanic woman to head OPM.

"Katherine brings to the Office of Personnel Management broad experience and a deep commitment to recruiting and retaining a world-class workforce for the American people. I am grateful Katherine has agreed to serve, and I look forward to working with her in the coming years," Obama said in a statement.

The nomination comes as OPM is facing criticism from some in Congress for a backlog in processing retirement claims, and as the agency deals with managing the details of federal employee furloughs under sequestration. OPM is in the midst of revising its own workforce management strategies, including testing a new data-driven system for evaluating its own human resources efforts called HRStat. Additionally, OPM is at the center of an effort to insure that there is pay equity between men and women working for the federal government.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on May 23, 2013 at 12:10 PM1 comments


ACT-IAC honors GSA's McClure with Franke Award

David McClure

David McClure won the 2013 John J. Franke award for his 'incredible track record of ... making good things happen.' (File photo)

David McClure, Associate Administrator of the General Services Administration's Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, is the recipient of this year's John J. Franke Award from ACT-IAC. McClure accepted the award May 20 at the Management of Change Conference in Cambridge, Md.

ACT President and Nuclear Regulatory Commission CIO Darren Ash explained that the award is generally given to a government IT executive for long-term leadership and staff-development efforts. "Dave has an incredible track record of getting people together and making good things happen," Ash said.

John J. Franke, who died in 1991, was an agency executive and director of the Federal Quality Institute.

McClure accepted the award by noting that he was honored to be grouped with the previous winners, who include the Office of Management and Budget's Lisa Schlosser, former Veterans Affairs Department CIO Roger Baker, and then-Agriculture Department CIO Ira Hobbs.

McClure also took the opportunity to address rumors of "my imminent demise" -- speculation that he would soon either retire or return to the private sector. "There is still some tread left," he said.

A Federal 100 winner in 2004 and 2012, McClure has worked in the private sector as well as in government, and he urged the audience to move around rather than spend their career in a single agency. But for himself, he said, this is too exciting a time to leave government.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on May 21, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Moniz confirmed as Energy Secretary

Moniz

Ernest Moniz, a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has been confirmed as the new Secretary of Energy by a 97-0 vote in the Senate.

According to published reports, Moniz served on a blue ribbon panel studying nuclear waste issues during President Obama’s first term. And during the Clinton administration, he served as Undersecretary of the Energy Department, where his responsibilities included the department's supercomputer projects. Earlier in the Clinton administration he was associate director for science in the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

The Senate confirmed him on May 16. As Secretary of Energy, he will succeed Steven Chu.

Posted by FCW Staff on May 17, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


A new approach to oversight

Klossner oversight

Posted by John Klossner on May 14, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


AFFIRM announces 2013 Leadership Award winners

applause

An Army enterprise information evangelist, the Commerce Department CIO and the General Services Administration’s data center consolidation director are among the winners of the Association for Federal Information Resource Management’s (AFFIRM) 2013 Leadership Awards.

Simon Szykman, CIO at the Department of Commerce, won AFFIRM’S Executive Leadership in Information Resources Management (Civilian) award, while Lt. Gen. Susan Lawrence, CIO of the Army, took the association’s defense award for that category.

The General Services Administration's Zach Baldwin, who directs the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative, received a Special Recognition Award from the group.

AFFIRM said its annual Leadership Awards recognize individuals and groups in the federal information technology community for leading innovation in government. Winners will formally receive their awards on June 13, at an AFFIRM luncheon in Washington, DC.

Other winners include:

Leadership Award for Service to the Citizen -- Terence Milholland, CTO, Internal Revenue Service, Department of Treasury.

Leadership Award for Innovative Applications -- Mary Snavely-Dixon, director, Defense Manpower Data Center, Department of Defense.

Leadership in Service to the Government IT Community -- Rick Holgate, assistant director for science and technology, CIO, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Department of Justice.

Executive Leadership Award for Industry -- Doug Bourgeois, VP and chief cloud executive, US Public Sector, VMware.

Leadership Award in Acquisition and Procurement -- Robert Coen, acting director, NITAAC, National Institute of Health, Health and Human Services.

Leadership in Service Excellence -- Jonathan Rubin, First Fridays Usability Testing Program manager, Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, GSA.

Leadership Award for Service to the Country -- Vincent Capezzuto, director, Air Traffic Systems, Program Management Organization, Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Transportation.

Leadership in Technology Innovation -- Mark Day, director, Office of Strategic Programs, Federal Acquisition Service, General Services Administration.

Leadership in Health Information Technology -- Tony Trenkle, CIO, director of the Office of Information Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Health and Human Services.

Leadership in Cyber Security -- Mike Robertson, director, OCIO Cyber Support Division, Energy Information Technology Services, Department of Energy.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on May 13, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


OMB nominee sails through questioning

Brian Deese

Brian Deese is slated to become OMB deputy director. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

Brian Deese, slated to serve as deputy director on the budget side of the Office of Management and Budget, faced a friendly confirmation hearing, with no Republican members of the Senate Homeland Security and Oversight Committee on hand to ask tough questions.

Deese, 35, has served the Obama administration in a variety of economic policy roles, most notably as a leader on the government task force that restructured and revived U.S. automakers General Motors and Chrysler. If confirmed, Deese will replace Heather Higginbottom, who left OMB to take a senior post in the State Department in February.

The hearing mostly focused on high level taxation and budget reform issues, but Deese indicated an interest in issues of government efficiency such as improper payments and improving the management of the federal real estate portfolio that are near and dear to Committee chairman Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.)

The OMB leadership for President Obama's second term is starting to take shape, with the recent confirmation of director Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the nomination of Deese to head the budget side, and the nomination of Georgetown law professor Howard Shelanski to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. The president has yet to name a replacement for Jeffrey Zients, who recently resigned as acting director and head of the management side of OMB.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on May 13, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


TechAmerica's Kerber joins Government Transformation Initiative

Jennifer Kerber

Jennifer Kerber comes to the Government Transformation Initiative after gaining experience at the TechAmerica Foundation.

Jennifer Kerber is the new executive director of the Government Transformation Initiative, the group has announced. She will lead the non-profit coalition as it works to improve the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of the federal government.

Kerber's work will ultimately lead to the creation of a Government Transformation Commission or Task Force, said David Walker, GTI board chair and former U.S. Comptroller General.

"Jennifer Kerber’s proven track record for fostering public and private sector collaboration and dialogue will be an asset to the GTI effort," Walker said. "We are confident that her experience on the Hill coupled with her passion for improving the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of government will make a positive difference in our efforts. We are delighted to add her to our team."

Kerber previously served as president of the TechAmerica Foundation.

Posted by Michael Hardy on May 08, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Tech pros among Service to America award finalists

applause

The Partnership for Public Service's Service to America awards honor achievement in various aspects of federal service. (Stock image)

Several federal technology professionals, including some past Federal 100 winners, are on the list of finalists for 2013 Service to America medals.

The Partnership for Public Service bestows the annual awards, named in honor of its late founder, Samuel J. Heyman.

Among the tech heavy-hitters on the short list, all in the category of Citizen Services:

Dave Broomell, a project manager for the Social Security Administration's Chicago Region, who developed several technological innovations to improve Social Security’s customer service and employee efficiency.

Martha Dorris, deputy associate administrator of the General Services Administration and head of its Office of Citizen Services, for using web portals, social media, crowdsourcing tools and a search engine to deliver information on federal programs and services and to get the public engaged. Dorris is a multiple Fed 100 winner.

Terence V. Milholland, the IRS's CIO and CTO, for overhauling the service's IT and tax processing systems. Milholland has also won the Fed 100.

To see the complete list of finalists and more detailed bios of each, click here.

Posted by FCW Staff on May 06, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Furloughed feds can take to the fairway

Brambleton Golf Course

The Brambleton Golf Course in Ashburn, Va., is one of three Northern Virginia Regional Parks Authority courses where furloughed federal employees can get a discount. (Northern Virginia Regional Parks Authority photo)

One would have to look long and hard to find any sort of upside for federal workers facing furloughs this summer, but the Northern Virginia Regional Parks Authority is at least trying to provide a silver lining for feds who golf.

As of May 1, federal employees will get a discount of roughly 30 percent on a round of golf at any of NVRPA's three courses, Mondays through Thursdays after 10 a.m.

"It is very unfortunate" that feds are bearing the brunt of the sequester, NVRPA Chairman Brian Napp said in announcing the offer. "In a small way, we wish to thank them for their contributions to our local communities and the nation."

Golfers need only to show a federal I.D. to get the special price; proof of furlough is not required.  But no self-respecting fed would golf on the clock while colleagues are sitting at home with no pay -- so be sure to schedule leave accordingly!

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on May 03, 2013 at 12:10 PM3 comments


Dawn Meyerriecks takes tech job at CIA

Dawn Meyerriecks

Dawn Meyerriecks is leaving her post at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence for a tech-related position with the Central Intelligence Agency's Directorate of Science and Technology team.

Wired first reported Meyerriecks' move on April 30, with the current Assistant Director of National Intelligence for Acquisition, Technology & Facilities expected to begin her new position as CIA's deputy director for science and technology shortly.

Meyerriecks has held a variety of tech-related positions over the past decade, including from 2004 to 2006 as AOL's Senior VP for product technology, where she was responsible for developing a slew of consumer-facing products, including the relaunch of AOL Instant Messenger, aol.com and Messenger's open-client platform.

She also spent a decade at Defense Information Systems Agency as chief technology officer of its Joint Interoperability and Engineering Organization and worked at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory as a senior engineer prior to her time at DISA. Meyerriecks was a judge for FCW's most recent Federal 100 awards. She is a past Fed 100 winner herself, and was GCN's Defense Executive of the Year in 2004.

“The CIA is pleased to have Dawn’s experience and expertise on the senior leadership team," said CIA spokesman Preston Golson. "Director [John] Brennan is proud that officers of the CIA’s DS&T are proven innovators, and is confident Dawn will add to this tradition of excellence.”

In a statement, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said "filling Dawn's shoes will be no easy task."

"Dawn has done truly incredible work at ODNI and leaves a legacy of aligning and integrating the acquisition, S&T research and facilities communities across the entire IC," Clapper said. "She focused the workforces of these very different disciplines on their common mission of integrating technology into operations. I know she will be a terrific addition to the CIA Directorate of Science and Technology team." Clapper added that ODNI has a strong team and personnel ready to continue ongoing projects.

Meyerriecks will be replaced by Kevin Meiners, who previously served the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence.

"The continued ascent of acquisition and technology in the IC is due in no small part to Dawn's vision and leadership, and she leaves a strong ODNI team in place to continue her work," Clapper said.

Posted by Frank Konkel on May 01, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Tom Wheeler named to head FCC

revolving door

President Obama will appoint former cable and mobile carrier industry lobbyist Tom Wheeler to head the Federal Communications Commission, according to multiple press reports. The news comes as no surprise -- Wheeler was considered the leading candidate for the post by telecom policy observers, even before the current occupant of the post, Julius Genachowski, announced his resignation.

Wheeler, former head of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association and the mobile group CTIA, was an early backer of the presidential aspirations of then-Sen. Obama. During the transition, Wheeler led the administration's transition efforts to staff the technology, science, space and arts agencies. He currently advises the administration on policy as part of the Intelligence Advisory Board. Wheeler is a managing director with the venture capital group Core Capital partners.

A White House official told The Hill, "Tom Wheeler is an experienced leader in the communications technology field who shares the President's commitment to protecting consumers, promoting innovation, enhancing competition and encouraging investment."

As a former trade association head, Wheeler faces critics in the advocacy community. "The Federal Communications Commission needs a strong leader — someone who will use this powerful position to stand up to industry giants and protect the public interest. On paper, Tom Wheeler does not appear to be that person, having headed not one but two major trade associations. But he now has the opportunity to prove his critics wrong, clean up the mess left by his predecessor, and be the public servant we so badly need at the FCC," Free Press President and CEO Craig Aaron said in a statement.

Wheeler could also face a testy Senate confirmation. Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and 36 other Senate Democrats sent a letter to Obama in March urging the elevation of FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel – a former committee counsel -- to the chairmanship.

Note: Wheeler also co-founded and is currently chairman of the news service SmartBrief, where FCW staff writer Adam Mazmanian previously worked as an editor.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Apr 30, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Air Force Secretary Donley to retire

Michael Donley

Michael Donley

The Air Force got a new under secretary on April 29, but will have less than two months before facing a bigger vacancy as the service's longtime secretary retires.

Air Force Secretary Michael Donley plans to step down from public service June 21, after nearly five years in the position. Before that, he served as acting secretary for four months, and also filled in during a seven-month stint in 1993 – making him the longest-serving Secretary of the Air Force in the service's history.

In an April 26 statement, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel praised Donley's leadership and dedication.

"Mike has been an invaluable adviser during my first two months as Secretary of Defense and has been an outstanding leader of the Air Force for nearly five years," Hagel said.  "His leadership came during a challenging time for the Air Force, and he helped instill a culture of responsibility, initiative, and professionalism to the service. Mike has been an unwavering champion for our airmen, their families, and for American airpower."

Prior to his Air Force post, Donley worked in the Office of the Secretary of Defense as the director of administration and management, overseeing Pentagon organizational and management planning for the Pentagon and all of its administration, facility, IT and security matters, his bio states. Prior to that, he jumped between the private sector, a think tank position and other roles within DOD.

There is no word on Donley's post-Air Force plans. However, AOL Defense reports that he may be succeeded as secretary by Debbie Lee James, executive vice president for communications and government affairs at SAIC. James is a former professional staff member at the House Armed Services Committee and a former assistant defense secretary under President Bill Clinton.

The announcement of Donley's departure came just before the swearing-in of Eric Fanning as Air Force under secretary.

Fanning previously served as the Navy's deputy under secretary and deputy chief management officer. He fills a second-in-command post that has been vacant since last June, when Erin Conaton was appointed as under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness. Dr. Jamie Morin has been filling in during the interim.

"I come from a family with a long history of service in uniform -- two uncles graduated from West Point and made careers in the Army, another uncle served a career in the Air Force, a cousin flew helicopters in the Marine Corps," Fanning said during his February confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee. "I learned from an early age the importance of service and developed early on a deep respect and admiration for those who serve in uniform."

According to the Air Force News Service, Donley praised Fanning's background in national security as well as his congressional experience.

Outside of the Pentagon, meanwhile, Fanning is being celebrated for a different reason: as DOD's highest-ranking openly gay official.

The Human Rights Council and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, where Fanning reportedly is a former board member, were among numerous websites and blogs that posted news of the appointment. Fanning's appointment comes more than a year and a half after the official repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

Posted by Amber Corrin on Apr 29, 2013 at 12:10 PM1 comments


Metzenbaum leaving OMB

Shelley Metzenbaum

Shelley Metzenbaum (file photo)

Shelley Metzenbaum, associate director of performance and personnel management at the Office of Management and Budget, is leaving the position, Federal News Radio reports.

Industry sources say Metzenbaum is returning to Boston. OMB has not confirmed the report.

Metzenbaum won FCW's Federal 100 award in 2011 for her lead role on the Obama administration’s performance management agenda.

Posted by FCW Staff on Apr 24, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Government Operations subcommittee plans a field trip

empty DC warehouse

There will (we're pretty sure) be no 'Reservoir Dogs' tactics when Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) holds a hearing at this vacant warehouse in southeast D.C., but witnesses can expect some tough questions. (Photo: Google Maps Street View)

Say you're a federal employee and the chairman of a key oversight subcommittee asks to meet you in a vacant warehouse near the Anacostia River so he can ask you a few questions. It sounds scary, but it’s not a hypothetical.

Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), chairman of the Government Operations subcommittee of the Oversight and Government Reform committee has summoned a panel of witnesses, including General Services Administration deputy commissioner Michael Gelber, to an empty storage building about halfway between an elevated highway and Nationals Park for an April 25 hearing on wasted federal properties.

The warehouse at 49 L St. SE in Washington, D.C. costs the government $70,000 per year, according to the hearing notice, yet it has stood empty since September 2009. Mica, who has oversight authority over a wide range of federal IT issues but has always had a special interest in agency real estate, plans to use this capacious and conspicuously empty stage to make a larger point – that taxpayers are ponying up an estimated $1.67 billion to maintain vacant or underused federal real estate.

The Government Accountability Office has rated the government’s federal real estate operations as "high risk," in part because the government lacks data about its real estate portfolio to guide its management practices. The GAO’s David Wise will testify at the hearing, along with Tommy Wells, a Washington D.C. city council member and likely mayoral candidate and Ed Kaminski, an area resident who sits on a neighborhood advisory council.

Warehouse concerns won't keep technology issues off the agenda for long, however. Back in March, Mica told FCW that he expects to take a look at the government’s data center consolidation efforts and other federal IT issues in the coming months.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Apr 24, 2013 at 12:10 PM2 comments


FCC chief’s swan song: in-flight broadband

In-flight Broadband

Better broadband just might be coming to a middle seat near you.

Julius Genachowski is preparing to exit the top spot at the Federal Communications Commission, and it looks like he’s planning on going out with a crowd-pleasing finale. Gadget junkies rejoice – the FCC is looking at a new rule to expand broadband access for airline passengers in flight.

Right now, airlines can offer Internet connections through satellite services to passengers – sometimes charging for the privilege. The FCC is looking at dedicating a swath of radio spectrum in the 14.0-14.5 gigahertz band for an “Air-Ground Mobile Broadband service.” The spectrum is currently used by amateur radio operators.

Genachowski has long been critical of restrictions governing the use of electronic devices including tablets and e-readers in flights during takeoff and landing. Last year he urged the Federal Aviation Administration to change its policies on devices in a letter to agency head Michael Huerta.

Now the FCC is poised to allow the deployment of in-flight broadband, pending a new rulemaking, which will kick off at the agency’s May 9 open meeting. The notice of proposed rulemaking would be followed by a lot of technical discussion among industry stakeholders. If the FCC votes to approve the spectrum allocation, a spectrum auction would follow before the launch of a commercial service. Assuming such an offering does get off the ground, it could provide connection speeds comparable to home broadband. Chinese firm ZTE recently announced the successful test of such a system, with speeds in excess of 12 megabits per second.

Admittedly, this is not a federal IT issue per se -- agency-controlled sprectrum is being eyed for different uses entirely -- but what computer-toting traveller isn't interested in airborn broadband?

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Apr 19, 2013 at 12:10 PM1 comments


Sometimes it's hard to share...

Cartoon about spectrum

Posted by John Klossner on Apr 18, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


So much for the cyber medal...

distinguished warfare medal

An artist's rendering of the new Distinguished Warfare Medal, which was to cover cyber warfare, among other pursuits. (DOD image)

Cyber warriors won't be getting their own medal after all.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced on April 15 that the Distinguished Warfare Medal, which former secretary Leon Panetta had unveiled just three months earlier, would be scrapped. The medal had been intended to honor cyber personnel, drone pilots and others who do not enter direct physical combat for "extraordinary achievement, not involving acts of valor, directly impacting combat operations or other military operations."

The new honor's precedence ahead of the such combat awards as the Purple Heart and Bronze Star prompted complaints, and the Pentagon on March 12 suspended production of the new medal pending a 30-day review led by Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"While the review confirmed the need to ensure such recognition," Hagel said, "it found that misconceptions regarding the precedence of the award were distracting from its original purpose."

The new plan is to create "a new distinguishing device that can be affixed to existing medals to recognize the extraordinary actions" of cyber personnel and others who would have been eligible for the Distinguished Warfare Medal, Hagel said. "I agree with the Joint Chiefs’ findings, and have directed the creation of a distinguishing device instead of a separate medal."

New criteria and other details regarding the "distinguishing device" are to be submitted to Hagel for final approval within 90 days.

Posted by FCW Staff on Apr 16, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


OMB reasserts its gatekeeper role between agencies and Congress

Acting OMB Director Jeffrey Zients

Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Jeffrey Zients is reminding agencies not to engage with Congress without first getting OMB clearance.

Acting Office of Management and Budget Director Jeffrey Zients sent agencies a simple yet stern reminder on April 15: If you want to talk to Congress, talk to OMB first -- and do it fast.

The memo states that "the operational challenges posed by sequestration" make "enhanced levels of communication and cooperation between agencies and OMB" especially important, and urges officials to submit draft materials to OMB "as far in advance as is feasible."

OMB is supposed to clear all legislative proposals, agency testimony and letters on pending legislation to ensure that such communications reflect "coordinated executive branch views." The memo includes a summary of the "legislative clearance function," and -- lest an agency leader be tempted to circular-file the reminder -- promises that "Legislative Reference Division staff at OMB will be contacting their agency counterparts to discuss these matters."

Although the timing is notable for the IT community, given Department of Homeland Security CIO Richard Spires' extended leave and reported standoff over CIO authorities, the reminder is more likely due to the many budget-related conversations under way on Capitol Hill. Or Zients might simply be putting the house in order before stepping aside for director-nominee Sylvia Mathews Burwell.

OMB could not immediately be reached for comment on what prompted the memo. But whatever the catalyst: You've been warned.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Apr 16, 2013 at 12:10 PM1 comments


CIO wanted at FEMA

sign now hiring

Rumors continue to swirl about the status of Department of Homeland Security Chief Information Officer Richard Spires, who recently went on leave without explanation.

It turns out, the department is definitely searching for a CIO. It just happens to be for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, not DHS overall.

USAJobs continues to advertise the position, currently held by acting CIO Rob Thomas II, who took over in February.

The position pays between $119,000 and $179,000 per year, and the ad says it will remain open through May 6.

FEMA job posting

Posted by Frank Konkel on Apr 11, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Mobility over the wall

Cartoon about budget

Posted by John Klossner on Apr 05, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Acquisition mythbusting gets the spotlight

government industry talking

The myth-busting effort is intended to dispel misconceptions about the rules governing vendor/agency engagement. (FCW image)


Work for an agency that did great things with acquisition? You might want to consider it for the Myth-busting Award.

The American Council for Technology-Industry Advisory Council and its federal government partners have introduced the 2013 "Myth-busting Award" for agencies and programs that made significant advances in acquisition processes by improving communications.

In previous years, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy issued memoranda on myth-busting with the aim to enhance communication between government and industry in the federal acquisition process. Agencies then created government-industry communication initiatives to improve acquisition outcomes.

The ACT-IAC Acquisition Management Shared Interest Group now wants to acknowledge government’s work related to this effort. Only government programs are eligible for the award, which will be presented at the May 29 ACT-IAC Myth-busting Forum.

For more information and to access the online Myth-busting Award nomination form, visit ACT-IAC's Myth-busting page.

Posted by Camille Tuutti on Apr 04, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Hanging up on robocalls

robot on the phone

The Federal Trade Commission tapped the Challenge.gov contest platform to find new ways to hang up on illegal robocallers -- telemarketers who use automatic dialers to contact consumers and play them prerecorded messages.

The agency on April 2 named Serdar Danis and Aaron Foss as the winners of $25,000 each for their proposals for systems that identify and block robocalls, which use techniques like caller ID spoofing to trick unsuspecting consumers. The FTC also bestowed a non-monetary award on two entrants from Google, who proposed a system to use algorithms to identify illegal callers.

While the FTC can’t implement or even endorse specific solutions on its own, the agency’s consumer protection chief Charles Harwood said that he hoped the results of the contest on the Challenge.gov platform would inspire the private sector to take up the problem of marketing robocalls. Every month, the FTC receives about 200,000 consumer complaints about robocalls, Harwood said.

The FTC launched the contest on the Challenge.gov platform in August of last year, drawing almost 800 eligible entries. Entrants got access to FTC datasets on robocalls, covering four years of consumer complaints.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Apr 02, 2013 at 12:10 PM2 comments


USGIF CEO Stu Shea steps down

Stu Shea

Stu Shea

Stu Shea, chairman and CEO of the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) is stepping down from the non-profit educational foundation focused on innovation that he founded ten years ago. He announced his decision at a quarterly meeting of USGIF’s Board of Directors in early March.

The board appointed USGIF President Keith Masback to replace Shea as the organization’s CEO while Shea will remain with the organization as the Chairman of the USGIF Board of Directors.

Also during the meeting, USGIF Vice President of Operations Aimee McGranahan was named to the newly-created chief operating officer position.

These changes highlight the foundation’s evolution of leadership to where the organization no longer requires both a CEO and president, according to a statement from USGIF.

"These two promotions reflect the respect and confidence the Board of Directors have for both Keith and Aimee, and the leadership success they have achieved for the foundation, its Membership and the GEOINT Community," said Shea. "Since Keith joined USGIF five years ago, he has helped set the strategic direction and grow the Foundation into the respected organization it

is today." Masback joined USGIF in March 2008 after more than 20 years of military and government service. He came to USGIF from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, where he was a senior executive.

McGranahan, who has been with USGIF since its founding in 2004, oversees the foundation’s day-to-day business. Prior to joining USGIF, she worked as a project manager at Northrop Grumman TASC for the Space and Intelligence Operating Unit.

Posted by Frank Konkel on Mar 28, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Partnership for Public Service adds former fed to its board

revolving door

David Kappos, former director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, is the latest ex-federal executive to join the Partnership for Public Service’s board of directors.

A former Commerce Department official has been named to the Partnership for Public Service’s board of directors.

David Kappos served as undersecretary of commerce for intellectual property and director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office from August 2009 until February 2013. Before joining the public sector, he spent 26 years at IBM as vice president and assistant general counsel for intellectual property. He is currently a partner at the law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP. “Dave is an innovator, and we’re thrilled that he is lending his management and leadership expertise to our government reform efforts,” said Max Stier, president and CEO at the partnership. “He’s a great addition to the Partnership for Public Service board of directors.” Kappos won’t be the only former fed on the board. Stier worked previously in all three branches of the federal government. His most recent role was at the Housing and Urban Development Department.

Other board members with government background include:

  • Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, senior vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton, most recently served as Deepwater Horizon national incident commander.
  • Tom Davis, director of federal government affairs at Deloitte, is a former Virginia congressman and chaired the House Government Reform Committee.
  • Peter Orszag, financial strategies and solutions group and vice chairman of global banking at Citigroup, Inc., left his role as Office of Management and Budget director in July 2010.
  • Nancy Killefer, director at McKinsey & Company, served as assistant secretary for management, CFO and COO at the Treasury Department from 1997 to 2000.
  • Sean O’Keefe, chairman and CEO at EADS North America, served four times as a presidential appointee, most recently as NASA administrator.

Posted by Camille Tuutti on Mar 27, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


John Klossner on the Fed 100

klossner on fed100

Posted by John Klossner on Mar 22, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


GSA's WillowWood facility to close

GSA WillowWood

GSA's WillowWood facility in northern Virginia.

Smart cards for entry. A conference room with flat-screen TVs for videoconferencing. Docking stations that make it easier to take laptop PCs between home and the office. A wireless phone system that automatically transfers office calls to cell phones. Dry-erase boards on conference room walls to encourage collaboration.

Even today, that sounds like a dream setup for government agencies, but the General Services Administration’s WillowWood office building in Fairfax, Va., had all that back in 1999.

"We were state of the art before state of the art was cool," said Bob Suda, who was chief financial officer and acting CIO at GSA’s Federal Technology Service at the time. "We were green before green was green."

Suda, now president and senior consultant at Suda and Associates, led the way in designing the building’s features. The cost caused some controversy, but Suda said the benefits over the years have been worth it. The Federal Technology Service -- which was combined with the Federal Supply Service to form the Federal Acquisition Service in 2005 -- needed to show off its tech savvy at a time when tech savvy had yet to spread across the government.

Fourteen years later, WillowWood is still considered a high-tech office, but despite its resiliency, GSA officials have decided to close it so they can move out of high-cost leased buildings and consolidate their office space in the region.

A renovated GSA headquarters at 1800 F Street in downtown Washington will nearly double in capacity -- from 2,500 to 4,400 employees -- by adding 62,000 square feet, which will allow GSA to move out of leased space in Washington and Northern Virginia, a GSA spokesman said. The changes will be happening throughout the spring.

Employees will no longer have designated offices but instead will work in a variety of open settings under flexible workplace policies such as hoteling. Hoteling involves reserving a work space in the office -- however, without a continental breakfast or a free USA Today on the doorstep. Employees also have the option of using an unreserved work space or teleworking.

"There will be a seat for every employee at the building, and resident contractors will be able to use work spaces in the building," the spokesman said.

Posted by Matthew Weigelt on Mar 22, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


GSA's Davie 'happy to be back'

Mary Davie, GSA

GSA's Mary Davie

Mary Davie reached the end of her stint as acting Federal Acquisition Service commissioner at the General Services Administration in January, and, having had some time to reflect, she seems happy to have had the experience.

Being acting commissioner "was an exhilarating ride," she wrote March 15 on her Great Government Through Technology blog. "It provided a lens into just how important our role is in -- and to -- the government at all levels: federal, state and local."

Davie is now back to her regular job as the assistant FAS commissioner for the Information Technology Service. Thomas Sharpe took over the role of FAS commissioner in January.

But during her time as acting commissioner, Davie said, she learned how important GSA is to government agencies, fulfilling roles as diverse as providing emergency support during weather emergencies or helping agencies consolidate space.

Now she is taking that perspective back to her office.

"Armed with a greater knowledge, I am confident ITS can support government needs, deliver efficient operations, drive world-class value, and be recognized as agile and innovative," she wrote.

Overall though, she reassured readers, "It's great to be back at ITS."

Posted by Matthew Weigelt on Mar 15, 2013 at 12:10 PM1 comments


State Department's innovation advisor leaves agency

Alec Ross

Alec Ross, senior advisor for innovation to the Secretary of State, officially vacated his post March 12, according to an announcement on his Facebook page.

Ross will be go back to work in the private sector as an "advisor to investors, corporations, institutions and government leaders," according to his letter of resignation, which he posted on Facebook.

"I also plan to dig deep in areas of emerging opportunity in the innovation space," Ross said in the letter. "There are products that only live today in peoples’ imaginations that will help us live happier, healthier, more productive lives while unleashing the next stage of value creation and economic growth. I will be spending a lot of time engaged with the thinkers and entrepreneurs imagining and inventing the future."

Ross joined the State Department in 2009 after serving a key role in President Barack Obama’s campaign, spearheading the agency’s "21st Century Statecraft" initiative and leading Civil Society 2.0,a grass-roots program that helps organizations all over the world harness the Internet to promote good government.

Ross, who began his career educating low-income students for Teach for America, helped foster a culture of eDiplomacy at the State Department, where every embassy now has a social media account and dignitaries reach out to the masses via tweets.

Read our earlier coverage of his plan to step down.

Posted on Mar 14, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


SEC nominee makes tech a priority

abstract image of money

The Securities and Exchange Commission, charged with enforcing the nation's financial regulations, could get a leader who sees technology as a high priority. (Stock image)

President Barack Obama’s pick to head the Securities and Exchange Commission says she will work to ensure technology stays at the forefront.

Mary Jo White, who testified before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs the morning of March 12, said she had mapped out early focus areas if she were to be become the SEC chairwoman.

Together with staff and other commissioners, White said, she would first take on the rulemaking mandates in the Dodd Frank Act and Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, the latter of which has now been in adoption for a full year.

“To complete these legislative mandates expeditiously must be an immediate imperative for the SEC,” she said.

White said a second priority would be to bolster SEC’s enforcement function, which “is essential to the integrity of our financial markets.”

Third, her focus would be to make sure SEC has the cutting-edge technology and expertise necessary to keep pace with the markets and its responsibilities to monitor, regulate and enforce the securities laws. “It’s a great investment to hire experts,” she said.

White, a former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, most previously served as chair of the litigation department at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. If confirmed by the Senate, she is expected to replace interim SEC Chairwoman Elisse Walter by mid-March.

Posted by Camille Tuutti on Mar 12, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Got opinions on cloud?

Cloud computing icon

Two groups at the American Council for Technology and Industry Advisory Council issued an online survey March 11 designed to help improve the acquisition process as cloud computing is widely implemented.

The responses from the ACT/IAC Cloud Acquisition Survey will help shape policy and practice for buying future government cloud products and services.

The online survey will be open until March 22. Take it here.

The project’s co-chairmen are Mark Day, director of the General Services Administration’s Office of Strategic Programs, and Michael Donovan, distinguished technologist at HP Enterprise Services Office of the CTO.

Posted by Matthew Weigelt on Mar 11, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Yahoo's telework clampdown: Why it happened

Marissa Mayer

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer. (Wikimedia Commons)

How did Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer come to the decision to ban telework in the company? Slacking employees were betrayed by the very technology on which they depended.

According to media reports, such as this one by Nicholas Carlson at businessinsider.com, Mayer analyzed logs for Yahoo's virtual private network, which showed when employees were logging into the company's systems to do work. What she found was that they were not doing it often enough.

Telework advocates blasted the move, but Mayer's decision to require employees to come to the office was met with widespread internal approval -- at least according to one unnamed source in Carlson's story. "There isn't massive uprising. The truth is, they've all been [angry] that people haven't been working," the source said.

But is it that simple? According to Kara Swisher, writing at allthingsd.com, the reaction to Mayer's directive has "been mixed but heated, essentially pitting employees against each other in an awkward way. But the reaction from outside the company has been decidedly negative."

What do you observe at your workplace? Are teleworking feds performing diligently, or are they taking advantage of the opportunities to loaf?

Posted by Michael Hardy on Mar 08, 2013 at 12:10 PM7 comments


Honoring the 1 percent

applause

No, not that 1 percent -- FCW tries to steer clear of class warfare. This 1 percent represents the best of the best among career federal executives.

On April 25, the Senior Executives Association Professional Development League will honor the 2012 Presidential Distinguished Rank Awardees -- both Senior Executive Service members and Senior Professionals -- with its annual black-tie banquet in the State Department's Diplomatic Reception Rooms.

It's an exclusive gathering, largely limited to the honorees and a select few SEA members. But there is another way: industry types hoping to be in the room -- or simply to support the gala honoring the 2012 awardees -- can contact SEA President Carol A. Bonosaro about contribution options.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Mar 06, 2013 at 12:10 PM2 comments


Ridge, Schmidt form consulting firm

concept cybersecurity art

Two former high-level government security officials joined forces this month to start up a cybersecurity consultancy offering strategies and guidance for business and government.

Tom Ridge, the first Homeland Security Department secretary, and Howard Schmidt, former White House cybersecurity advisor to presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, will serve as partners in Ridge Schmidt Cyber LLC.

"Cyber attacks and cyber crime have a real – not virtual – impact on operations and the bottom line. The effects are as far reaching, disruptive and consequential as physical attacks, and can make or break organizations that are not sufficiently prepared," Ridge said in the announcement of the launch.

According to the release, Ridge Schmidt will offer cybersecurity strategy and architecture design, development of policies and procedures strategic cyber reviews, "as well as provide access to some of the world’s top technical experts from civilian government, military and private sector."

"Our goal is to help leaders improve their cyber resiliency, so attacks don’t impact their systems or their market positions," Schmidt stated in the release.

Posted by Amber Corrin on Mar 06, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Snowquester: an accurate description after all?

2010 snowstorm Dutchess County NY

This photo, taken in Feb. 2010 in Dutchess County, NY, shows what the 'Snowquester' of 2013 is not. (Public-domain photo by Julian Colton via commons.wikimedia.org)

As Washington, D.C., prepared for another winter storm by cancelling scheduled events and even several congressional hearings, Dan Tangherlini, acting administrator of the General Services Administration, took a jab at the city’s reaction to the snowfall.

In a speech March 5 at the Federal Managers Conference, the Massachusetts native told attendees who were from regions other than D.C. the hottest places to hang out in the next few days they’re in town.

"You’re here just in time" to watch the city’s "preparation for this substance known as snow," he said. "I suggest you go to anyplace that sells hardware or groceries and entertain yourselves as to how the locals react to this event."

He added, "It will look an awful lot like discussions on sequestration, frankly, acted out in some form of performance art."

As of this writing, on the morning of March 6, the storm seems to be a non-event in Washington, although the suburbs to the west are getting some real accumulating snow.

Posted by Matthew Weigelt on Mar 06, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


D.C. delegate supports furloughed feds

Eleanor Holmes Norton

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton

Federal employees facing furloughs under the sequester are getting some sympathy and support from Washington, D.C.'s non-voting congressional delegate, who has pledged to donate some of her salary in solidarity.

During a Feb. 28 luncheon organized by the National Treasury Employees Union Feb. 28 luncheon, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton said if sequestration happens – as it did the next day -- she would donate a day’s pay for each day federal employees are furloughed.

The length of furloughs varies by agency, but Norton said her donations will match the highest number of furlough days by any federal agency. Her donation will be divided between supporting the Federal Employees Education and Assistance Fund, which assists federal employees in need, and to prevent furloughs among her own congressional staff.

The salaries of members of Congress are exempt from sequestration, but their office budgets are not and will see the same sweeping cuts as federal agencies, Norton said.

“While the salaries of members of Congress enjoy the protection of the Constitution, Congress is visiting pain on its own employees, the American public and the U.S. economy alike,” she said. “The $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts will have a devastating impact on the fragile economic recovery, government services and investments, and particularly federal employees, who have already been subject to a federal pay freeze for more than two years.”

NTEU President Colleen Kelley called Norton’s action noteworthy. “This is a remarkable gesture from a member of Congress who truly understands the value of the federal workforce and the economic pain that employees would experience from losing pay while furloughed,” she said. “It is disappointing that sequestration is imminent, and working together with Congresswoman Norton, NTEU will continue to fight to bring it to an end.”

Posted by Camille Tuutti on Mar 01, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Feds: Keep your computers longer, Rep says

Rep. John Duncan, (R-Tenn.), has three cars. Two have well over 100,000 miles and one has about 98,000 miles, and he said "they're still doing real well."

He's not one to get the hottest and newest car on the market, and he thinks the government may not need the latest IT on the market either.

As he sees it though, agency officials want the hottest technology, and since it's on the government's tab, they get the most advanced IT with all "the latest bells and whistles."

At an Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on buying IT Feb. 27, he asked:

"How can we incentivize people to get more use out of the technology they have and hold onto it and use it one year longer or two years longer?"

Posted by Matthew Weigelt on Feb 28, 2013 at 12:10 PM3 comments


Honoring excellence in workforce development, training

rubber stamp

Do you work in an agency that has been particularly successful in workforce development and training initiatives? Now is your chance to nominate it for the 2013 W. Edwards Deming Award, which celebrates excellence in government training.

Graduate School USA’s annual W. Edwards Deming Award recognizes federal organizations that have demonstrated “transformative training excellence” and those who have pursued training and development that had a significant impact on agency performance.

Previous winners shared why winning the Deming Award has been a big deal to them. Stephen Cricchi, director of integrated systems evaluation, experimentation and test department at the Naval Air Systems Command, said the award served as a stamp of approval.

“It validated our training efforts on a grander scale outside our own Navy perspective and enabled us to gain recognition within the DOD,” he said.

For the Office of Appellate Operations at the Social Security Administration, winning the Deming Award shone a light on its transformative training within the SSA and other agencies, said Patricia Jones, executive director at the office.

“We are currently working with the Canadian government’s Pension Plan Disability Program, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the North Carolina Department of Revenue,” she said. “Without the recognition received from the Deming Award, we wouldn’t have been this extensive in our reach.”

Nomination forms and other information can be found on the Graduate School USA website (Click here.) The submission deadline is March 25, 2013, 5 p.m. Eastern.

Posted by Camille Tuutti on Feb 28, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


The totally awesome future of GIS

Federal CTO Todd Park at the 2013 ESRI Federal GIS Conference - photo by Frank Konkel/FCW

Federal CTO Todd Park speaking at the Esri Federal GIS conference. (FCW photo by Frank Konkel)

Federal CTO Todd Park wants mapmakers and geospatial developers to lead a “whole new wave of awesomeness for our country,” in which open-data innovation produces “new products, features, insights to create jobs and [still more] general awesomeness.”

Park’s enthusiastic speech, given Feb. 27 to a large audience at Esri Federal GIS conference in Washington, D.C., closed the three-day event with a mix of infectious optimism, GIS success stories, Star Wars references and a glimpse of the near future.

“As much as we’ve accomplished to date, we all think our best work is ahead of us,” said Park, citing successes like the National Broadband Map, a searchable public database of information on broadband Internet availability across the country. “I actually believe we’re on the cusp of a new open age when it comes to harnessing government data to impact our nation.”

The next efforts, Park said, focus on “liberating” existing raw data, leveraging maps, data visualization and other tools that make it easy for end users to consume the information. He promised new polices to “turbocharge this effort,” and added that the federal government’s fire hose of open data – www.data.gov – is getting “upgrades to plumbing, architectures and end-user interface.”

Yet while Park praised the tools and standards, from GitHub to GeoJSON, that fuel GIS innovation, he stressed the key to making a real difference is human collaboration. A growing number of data jams, datapaloozas and hackathons are showcasing and encouraging innovation in all sectors, he said, and making federal GIS data more widely available brings broad public benefit in the long run.

“Data by itself is useless – and it’s painful for me to say this,” Park said. “You can’t pour data on a broken bone and heal it. You can’t pour data on the street and fix it. Data is only useful if it is applied for useful public benefit.”

So Park praised the attendees for putting in the hard work to wrestle massive datasets into useful information and insights. “Thank you so much for all you’ve already done, thank you even more for what you are about to do,” Park said, before concluding, “May the Force be with you and all of us.”

Posted by Frank Konkel on Feb 27, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Hagel sworn in to lead DOD

Chuck Hagel takes oath

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel taked the oath of office, administered by Michael L. Rhodes, the Defense Department's director of administration and management, as Hagel's wife' Lilibet holds the Bible. (DOD photo)

After receiving Senate confirmation on Feb. 26, former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel was confirmed the morning of Feb. 27 as secretary of the Defense Department. He is DOD's 24th defense secretary and the first enlisted combat veteran to lead the Pentagon.

The confirmation came after a contentious fight in the Senate, which included sharp questions from the Senate Armed Services Committee on Jan. 31 and a filibuster that delayed the vote to confirm him. In a Feb. 26 statement, Vice President Joe Biden praised Hagel and his sense of duty toward the armed services.

"Wherever he is, his talent and dedication to our country are clear. He feels a deep commitment to our men and women in uniform, and as the head of the Pentagon, I know their interests will always be close to his heart," Biden said. "Most importantly, I know the president will be able to rely on Chuck’s sound, unvarnished judgment on any issue where our troops are involved. For that and many more reasons, I’m looking forward to working with Secretary Hagel."

Hagel briefly addressed DOD employees and reporters on Feb. 27 after his swearing-in, stressing his focus on teamwork as being key to effective leadership.

"I will do everything in my power to be the kind of leader you expect and deserve. The kind of leader the country deserves," Hagel said.

Posted by Amber Corrin on Feb 27, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Sequester's impact to be felt beyond the Beltway

The Scream

Looming furloughs at other sequester-sparked disruptions have been discussed for months now, but White House warnings got a bit more specific over the weekend.

Administration officials held a Feb. 24 conference call with reporters, and said the Office of Management and Budget is working with agencies to get to "the degree of specificity" about sequester cuts that the Pentagon has shared. In the meantime, they released fact sheets detailing the impact in each state:

Alabama | Alaska | Arizona | Arkansas | California | Colorado | Connecticut | Delaware | District of Columbia | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana | Maine | Maryland | Massachusetts | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana | Nebraska | Nevada | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New Mexico | New York | North Carolina | North Dakota | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Vermont | Virginia | Washington | West Virginia | Wisconsin | Wyoming | Puerto Rico

There is growing consensus that a deal to avert the March 1 cuts is unlikely. The odds of getting a steady stream of details on the coming disruptions, however? For both planning and political purposes, it's almost a sure thing.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Feb 25, 2013 at 12:10 PM1 comments


Neon signs and dives into fire

neon open sign

Innovators in the government would be easier to spot if they had neon signs over their heads, says CTO Todd Park -- maybe one like this indicating an innovator's likely working hours. (Stock image)

U.S. CTO Todd Park knows the government has innovators. They're all over the place and can do "miraculous" things. The problem, he says, is that not everyone knows where to look.

"One thing we discovered—and I was very, very happy to learn early in my government career—the government isn't devoid of innovators," Park said Feb. 22 during a conference call with the President's Management Advisory Board. "The problem they have is that they don't have an innovator label and neon over their head."

Government innovators also have asked leaders to connect them with industry's best change agents. So for the next round of Presidential Innovation Fellowships, Park plans a "concrete, non-academic, super-tangible, hard-hitting" initiative that can also hook up government and industry innovators.

Park, never one to avoid mixing metaphors, said he was confident that it was possible to raise innovators' visibility so that actual neon signs are no longer necessary -- and that he and others are up to the task: "There's nothing that innovation likes better than a challenge. So there are fires that we started that are beginning to burn quite brightly, and we'd love to actually dive more deeply into them with you."

Because nothing is easier to spot than a flaming innovator.

Posted by Matthew Weigelt on Feb 22, 2013 at 12:10 PM1 comments


Astronauts to host Google+ 'hangout'

Tom Marshburn, astronaut

Tom Marshburn is one of three astronauts who will chat with Earthbound fans via Google+. (NASA photo)

NASA, the agency that brought you the first ever tweet from space (2009) and a FourSquare check-in from Mars (2012), will host a Google+ Hangout live with the International Space Station on Feb. 22 from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Eastern time.

The Hangout is viewable on the NASA Google+ Page or NASA's YouTube channel.

During the hangout, astronauts aboard the space station -- Kevin Ford, Chris Hadfield and Tom Marshburn -- will team with astronauts on the ground to answer video questions from Google+ and Twitter users who use the hashtag #askAstro, and Facebook friends who post in a thread that will open the morning of the event.

NASA's website explains that "unique and original questions" are more likely to be selected.

In addition, NASA will ask real-time questions submitted by followers on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

During the Hangout, astronauts will describe what life is like during their six-month stay to conduct science experiments and perform space station maintenance.

NASA is no stranger to combining social media, science and space.

Its Mars Curiosity rover - the famous mobile machine that checked into Mars on FourSquare -- has more than 1.2 million Twitter followers, and it is just one of more than 480 social media accounts NASA manages, according to the agency's deputy social media manager Jason Townsend.

In fact, the Curiosity rover is close to home compared to NASA's farthest reaching social media efforts. Almost 90,000 people follow the latest happenings of NASA's Voyager 1 & 2 spacecraft. Launched in the 1970s, they are the farthest manmade objects from Earth -- close to leaving our solar system at nearly 12 billion miles away.

Follow Marshburn and Hadfield on Twitter at: @AstroMarshburn and @Cmdr_Hadfield. Follow the Voyager space probes at  @NASAVoyager and @NASAVoyager2.

Posted by Frank Konkel on Feb 20, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Peter Levin to leave VA

Peter Levin

VA CTO Peter Levin

Veterans Affairs Department CTO Peter Levin has announced he is stepping down from his post, just days after news broke that VA CIO Roger Baker is planning on leaving.

Levin told Fedscoop he plans to resign effective March 1. He was appointed senior adviser to the secretary and CTO in May 2009 and has since spearheaded veteran health and benefit service innovations. He was instrumental in launching the Blue Button initiative, which enables veterans to share and manage their personal health data.

Before stepping into his VA CTO role, Levin was a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator, a White House fellow, and an Alexander von Humboldt fellow. He has co-written more than 50 articles on topics such as global positioning, cybersecurity, and computer modeling and simulations.

Prior to joining the Obama administration, Levin was in private industry. He co-founded and led a semiconductor design software firm and was also a venture partner at Dusseldorf-based venture firm Ventizz Capital Partners. He also served as executive director of Astaro A.G.

Posted by Camille Tuutti on Feb 19, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


A physical award for cyberwarriors

distinguished warfare medal

An artist's rendering of the new Distinguished Warfare Medal which encompasses cyber warfare, among other pursuits. (DOD image)

Here's one more sign the Pentagon is serious about cybersecurity: There's now a medal for it.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Feb. 13 announced the creation of the Distinguished Warfare Medal, for "extraordinary achievement, not involving acts of valor, directly impacting combat operations or other military operations." Cyberwarfare personnel and drone pilots are among those who would be eligible for the new award.

"Our military reserves its highest decorations obviously for those who display gallantry and valor in actions where their lives are on the line, and we will continue to do so," Panetta said. "But we should also have the ability to honor the extraordinary actions that make a true difference in combat operations. And the work that they do ... does contribute to the success of combat operations, particularly when they remove the enemy from the field of battle, even if those actions are physically removed from the fight."

The new award has drawn criticism, however, because it was placed higher in the hierarchy of military honors than the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. Nick McDowell, a member of the Orders and Medals Society of America, told USA Today, "the ultimate consequence is that it will diminish the prestige of the valor decorations. Nobody wants that, but that is basically what happens."

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Feb 15, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Is Werfel humorless about the budget?

Danny Werfel

Danny Werfel (AP photo)

Has Danny Werfel, controller at the Office of Management and Budget, lost his sense of humor?

During a Feb. 13 presentation at Association of Government Accountant’s National Leadership Conference, Werfel explained to the audience why he did not have a funny anecdote, which is his usual way of kicking off an AGA keynote.

“I said to Steve [VanRoekel], ‘it’s finally happened: I’m so busy I didn’t even have time to plan for an opening joke,” Werfel said. “We’ve gotten to that point at OMB; you can imagine what’s going on behind the scenes.”

Despite the preoccupation with the future of federal IT systems and financial management, Werfel’s presentation topic, the OMB controller did not seem entirely humorless, however. When AGA Executive Director Relmond Van Daniker urged conference attendants to take home several of the leftover AGA bags, Werfel grabbed the opportunity to finally make a joke – and like a pro, tie it back into his earlier speech.

“Maybe next time, you should lower your purchasing on bags, OK? Or use strategic sourcing!” Werfel mock-scolded.

Posted by Camille Tuutti on Feb 14, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


GSA gains a CFO

Mike Casella

USAID's Mike Casella is moving to GSA as CFO. (USAID photo)

Michael Casella, a budget official at the U.S. Agency for International Development, will become chief financial officer at the General Services Administration, GSA's acting administrator announced Feb. 13.

Casella has been director of USAID's Office of Budget and Resource Management since 2010, when the office was created. Previously, he was acting vice president for administration and finance at the Millennium Challenge Corp.

He replaces Alison Doone, who has accepted a position as deputy CFO at the Energy Department after a six-month detail at the Partnership for Public Service. Gary Grippo has been filling in as acting CFO.

Casella’s appointment comes on the heels of Tom Sharpe being sworn in as commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Service Feb. 12 and Dorothy Robyn being named commissioner of GSA’s Public Buildings Service in September 2012.

Dan Tangherlini, GSA's acting administrator, wrote on the GSA Blog that the new appointments build on the priorities the agency announced in January. "We are maintaining that momentum by bringing together a new leadership team that will help us deliver on our mission," he said.

Filling those important leadership positions shows that GSA is committed to supporting its customer agencies, Tangherlini wrote. "By having qualified, permanent individuals in place, we are making a clear statement about the importance and value of our customers, our vendors, and their needs," he added.

Agencies need to find ways to save money as the threat of sequestration looms and other budget cuts are implemented. "Other agencies are looking to us to help them find the savings and services that they need to more efficiently fulfill their responsibilities," Tangherlini wrote.

Posted by Matthew Weigelt on Feb 13, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Obama to host second 'fireside hangout' after speech

Obama video chat

President Obama, shown here during 2012's post-SOTU event, will answer some constituent questions in a similar event Feb. 14. (White House photograph)

Much as we'd like to hope otherwise, President Obama's Feb. 12 State of the Union address is not likely to devote much time to federal IT. But FCW readers have a chance to raise those issues themselves when the president hosts his second post-State of the Union online chat using a Google Hangout.

Dubbed a "Fireside Hangout," the discussion will take place at 4:50 p.m. ET on Feb. 14. Obama will talk with a pre-selected panel of questioners, but questions from the public are also being accepted.

Questions in text or video form must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. ET on Feb. 13. So get to asking!

Submit questions at www.youtube.com/user/whitehouse/askobama.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Feb 11, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Hammering home the point

hammer award recpients

In this picture from 1997, Defense Department officials show the Hammer Award they won for re-engineering DOD's temporary duty travel system. Pictured: Deputy Secretary of Defense John H. Hamre; Karen Alderman, director of DOD's travel re-engineering; and Bob Stone, project director of the National Performance Review. (DOD photo)

In the hunt for cost-savings across government, go to the people who handle the money—federal employees—and then offer incentives for smart decisions.

Employees, given the inspiration of the incentive, "are more than willing to do something," John Kamensky, senior fellow at the IBM Center for the Business of Government, told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Feb. 5.

Kamensky, who worked for eight years as deputy director of the National Partnership for Reinventing Government, reminded the committee members of then-Vice President Al Gore's Hammer Award. The award was given to teams of employees that went the extra mile in the areas of cost-savings, customer service, or cutting red tape. The teams received a $6 hammer, a ribbon, and a note from Gore, all in an aluminum frame.

The inexpensive display was meant to ridicule the Pentagon's infamous $400 hammer.

"I actually had the opportunity to deliver some of these awards in ceremonies across the country and there were people in tears, saying, 'I've worked 30 or 40 years for the federal government and no one has ever told me thank you,'" he said.

Posted by Matthew Weigelt on Feb 07, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Pick your sequester scenario

tea leaves

Can you read the tea leaves on sequestration? (Photo by Cyron via Flickr under Creative Commons license.)

Is the sequester a certainty? Legislators and agency leaders alike are now saying the March 1 cuts will likely take effect. But former Government Accountability Office executive Paul Posner told the Federal Times this week that "the full sequester is only one of 20 potential scenarios."

Posner, who was GAO's director of Federal Budget and Intergovernmental Relations and now heads George Mason University's Master's in Public Administration program, told FCW on Feb. 5 that a "short sequester" seems probable, but there is still "considerable uncertainty surrounding the outcome."

Name a solution

Full sequester? Another extension? Call the whole thing off? Let us know in the comments what you think should be done.

The March 1 cuts are relatively small compared to past sequesters, Posner said, noting that cuts of 25 percent were threatened in a 1990 sequester that prompted a bipartisan grand bargain. And this time, he said, is appears that most everyone "dislikes the alternatives to sequester even more than they dislike the sequester."

However, a budget deal to extend the continuing resolution that expires March 27 could roll back some or all of the sequester, Posner said. And there could be legislation that preserves the overall cuts, but gives agencies more flexibility in how to apply them.

Those hoping for an expert prediction, however, are out of luck: "I would not bet on any outcome at this point," Posner said.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Feb 06, 2013 at 12:10 PM3 comments


Does IBM's Kamensky have a future in impressions?

Harry Reid

Sen. Harry Reid did not make a surprise appearance at a House committee hearing, but his voice did -- in a way.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) paid a surprise visit to a Feb. 5 House oversight hearing -- or at least that's what it sounded like.

The witness was actually John Kamensky, senior fellow at the IBM Center for The Business of Government. But as Kamensky discussed ridding waste from the government before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) stopped him.

"Has anyone ever told you, if you close your eyes, you sound exactly like Harry Reid?" the congressman asked. He added quickly, with a glance toward committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.): "And that's a compliment from this side of the aisle."

Posted by Matthew Weigelt on Feb 05, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


DISA program among finalists for Excellence.gov award

Excellence.gov Logo

A Defense Information System Agency collaboration platform is up for honors as a top example of government management and IT.

Defense Connect Online, a Defense Department-wide tool used for both classified and unclassified information sharing, is one of five contenders to be recognized for excellence in intergovernmental collaboration. The awards program is facilitated by the American Council for Technology and Industry Advisory Council (ACT-IAC).

"ACT-IAC is once again honored to provide a premiere forum for recognizing the exceptional work being done and the value being delivered through government programs," Dale Luddeke, IAC chair, said in a released statement from ACT-IAC. "In each instance, the finalists have inspired us all to seek new, innovative, and collaborative ways to approach the most challenging areas of mission and business needs and to achieve ever greater levels of service and efficiency."

In total, there are 25 finalists across five categories for the awards. According to DISA, DCO "is a free service provided to all DOD partners, allowing users to communicate and share information in a secure forum through the use of instant messaging, low-bandwidth text chat and audio/video Web conferencing." Winners will be announced at an awards luncheon, to be held March 5 in Washington.

Posted by Amber Corrin on Jan 31, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


VA academy gets new leader

Melissa Starinsky

Melissa Starinsky

Melissa Starinsky, a member of the senior executive service, is the new chancellor of the Veterans Affairs Department's Acquisition Academy, the department announced Jan. 28.

Starinsky previously was deputy director of the Office of Acquisition and Grants Management for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. She oversaw more than $8 billion annually in discretionary contract, grant, and interagency spending.

Prior to that, Starinsky was the first vice chancellor of the VAAA’s Acquisition Internship School, a program aimed at accelerating the learning curve of VA acquisition interns and strengthening the VA acquisition workforce.

In her new role, she presides over five schools, including the Acquisition Internship School, the Program Management School, the Contracting Professional School, the Facilities Management School, and the Supply Chain Management School.

As chancellor, Starinsky sets the VAAA's executive direction and reinforces its commitment to building up the VA acquisition workforce.

"She brings a wealth of experience in acquisition, contracting, strategic workforce planning, organizational development, resource allocation, and talent and performance management," said Jan Frye, VA's deputy assistant secretary for acquisition and logistics. "Her passion for developing employees into highly trained and skilled professionals makes her well-suited for this position."

Posted by Matthew Weigelt on Jan 29, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Armed Services Committee assigns subcommittee leaders

Buck McKeon

Rep. Buck McKeon, chairman of the Armed Services Committee

The House Armed Services Committee leadership on Jan. 29 announced the chairs and members of their subcommittees. They include:

  •  Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities;
  •  Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), Military Personnel;
  •  Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), Readiness;
  •  Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), Seapower and Projection Forces;
  •  Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), Strategic Forces;
  •  Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio), Tactical Air and Land Forces, and;
  •  Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.), Oversight and Investigations.

Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), is the committee chairman, and Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) is the ranking member.

For the full list of subcommittee members, click here.

Posted by Amber Corrin on Jan 29, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


A new name for the Telework Exchange

teleworker at laundromat

'Telework' is no longer a big enough word to describe working on the go. (Stock image)

The Telework Exchange has changed its name to Mobile Work Exchange, part of public-private partnership’s rebranding efforts to expand its mission to increase focus on telework and lead mobile IT discussions in the federal government.

According to a Jan. 28 announcement, the Mobile Work Exchange will continue to provide best practices in telework, performance management, effective communication, recruitment and retention and other workforce-related topics, but will begin to key in on prime issues in mobile IT, such as cybersecurity, privacy, bring-your-own-device policies, mobile device management, virtualization and cloud. In making the shift, the organization has added a new resource center on mobile IT, and refreshed its monthly publication, now called The Mobile Worker.

The organizational change comes following the growth in government telework adoption as well as a new focus on encouraging mobility in the federal workforce. 

"We’ve spent the last eight years supporting the awareness and adoption of telework," said Cindy Auten, general manager of Mobile Work Exchange.  "Now that the federal government is moving telework in the fast lane, the conversation is changing.  And so are we. As telework drives the mobile IT discussion forward, we will expand our role to cover both telework and mobile IT topics."

Mobile Work Exchange plans to continue its annual Telework Week, which starts this year on March 4.

For more information, visit www.mobileworkexchange.com.

Posted by Frank Konkel on Jan 28, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Berry to leave OPM for Interior?

John Berry of OPM

John Berry

Is John Berry, the head of the Office of Personnel Management, looking at the Interior Department as his next gig? Possibly.

The rumor isn't new. The Washington Post reported last September on the possibility of Berry as "a leading contender" for the role as cabinet secretary at Interior. Then on Jan. 16, The Post’s Lisa Rein wrote Berry is the likely replacement for Ken Salazar, who is resigning in March.

As the government’s chief people person, Berry is tasked with recruiting, hiring and setting benefits policies for nearly 2 million federal civilian workers. He was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009. Berry himself has kept mum about a possible move from OPM. Asked by Federal Times whether he was planning on taking the reins at Interior, Berry replied: "No comment. At this point, I stand ready to serve the president in any capacity he desires."

A transition to Interior would be no stretch for Berry. He previously served as director of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the National Zoo, where a lion cub was named after him.

Posted by Camille Tuutti on Jan 28, 2013 at 12:10 PM1 comments


TechAmerica gains former Hill staffer

Scott Bousum

Scott Bousum

A former congressional staffer is heading to TechAmerica to work on issues related to the Defense Department and the intelligence community.

Scott Bousum, who previously supported the House Armed Services Committee, has joined the technology trade association’s global public sector team. His prior work includes supporting the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee, which has oversight of Army and Air Force acquisition programs, as well as all Navy and Marine Corps aviation programs and a number of National Guard and Reserve matters. Before joining the committee staff, Bousum worked for Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.).

“Scott’s expertise and experience has immediately benefitted our members and will be an asset in representing our interests before Congress and the administration as well as providing in-depth analysis of the most important national security-related topics,” said Trey Hodgkins, senior vice president of TechAmerica's global public sector team. 

Posted by Camille Tuutti on Jan 25, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


The bright side of obsolescence

Cobol code

An optimist cheers the smallest boons, even ones camouflaged in absurdly old IT systems.

At Jan. 22 House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on IT reform, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) asked whether the government should devote more of their limited budgets to securing older computer systems.

Some systems, however, are so dated that they are in no way threatened by hackers. Some internal systems can only be run locally and are unable to connect to the Web. And some run on such obsolete machines and operating systems that it is useless for hackers to even attempt to infiltrate them.

Systems written in Common Business-Oriented Language, or COBOL, are “pretty much hack-proof,” said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the committee. “It’s so bad that hackers can’t even bother,” he said, adding that most hackers are not even old enough to understand the language.

“Be grateful for small favors,” Holmes Norton said.

Posted by Matthew Weigelt on Jan 23, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Federal Acquisition Service gets a new leader

Dan Tangherlini GSA image

GSA Acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini (pictured) announced the appointment of Treasury's Tom Sharpe to lead FAS.

Tom Sharpe is the General Services Administration’s new Federal Acquisition Service commissioner, the agency announced Jan. 22.

Sharpe will oversee the acquisition and provision of more than $55 billion in products, services, and solutions to federal agencies.

Sharpe has 30 years of experience in both the private sector and government. He has served most recently as the Treasury Department’s senior procurement executive. He was responsible for Treasury-wide procurement policy, procurement career management, and oversight and continuous improvement of bureau procurement operations.

Before Treasury, Sharpe was as a consulting principal with IBM Business Consulting Services. He was responsible for the marketing, sales and delivery of procurement transformation engagements with IBM’s commercial and government customers.

GSA Acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini said his agency has worked to refocus itself in the last year after a blowup in April 2012 over lavish conference spending. He said Sharpe as the new FAS commissioner is one more example of change.

“Over the past year, GSA has made significant progress toward refocusing on our mission and giving the American people the kind of efficient and effective service they deserve,” Tangherlini said.

Tangherlini complimented Sharpe’s experience as an acquisition leader and his work representing for many years Treasury, a key GSA customer.

That experience makes him “uniquely qualified to help GSA better serve all of our partners,” he said.

Posted by Matthew Weigelt on Jan 22, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Locatis leaving DHS cybersecurity role

Mike Locatis

Mike Locatis is leaving DHS after nine months, according to reports.

Mike Locatis, the assistant secretary for the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications at the Homeland Security Department, is leaving the position after just nine months, Federal News Radio reports.

Citing an e-mail from Rand Beers, the DHS undersecretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate, Jason Miller reports that Loactis is returning to his Colorado home. Bobbie Stempfley, who held the position before Locatis came from the Energy Department, will return to it. Stempfley is currently deputy assistant secretary in the same office.

Posted by FCW Staff on Jan 17, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Interior secretary to step down

Obama and Salazar

President Barack Obama talks with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar in this photo from 2011. (White House photo)

Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar has announced he plans to leave his post in March, ending his nearly four-year stint at the agency.

The Denver Post first reported in December that Salazar was expected to make an official announcement about his departure in the coming months. The Associated Press reported Salazar’s resignation on Jan. 16, citing a senior administration official.

Salazar, a former Colorado senator, spearheaded renewable energy efforts at the department and worked to overhaul offshore oil and gas development oversight. Following the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Salazar held a key role in implementing a six-month deepwater offshore drilling moratorium.

Salazar becomes the latest top official to leave the administration as Obama’s new term begins. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis have also announced their exits. Meanwhile, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack have announced their intent to stay on.

Posted by Camille Tuutti on Jan 16, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


DHS, Agriculture to keep secretaries in second term

Napolitano and Vilsack

Janet Napolitano and Tom Vilsack

Two more agency leaders are being added to the roster of senior officials who announced they are staying on for President Barack Obama’s second term.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will continue their service, according to news reports.

“As we look ahead to a promising future in our small towns and rural communities, I am pleased to continue working alongside President Obama to grow more opportunity in rural America,” Vilsack said in a Jan. 14 statement.

Napolitano, former governor of Arizona, and Vilsack, former governor of Iowa, have each been in their current roles since 2009. Napolitano leads counterterrorism efforts and oversees the nation's immigration enforcement agencies, while Vilsack works to boost the U.S. agricultural economy.

Posted by Camille Tuutti on Jan 15, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Obituary: Joe Caggiano

Joe Caggiano

Joe Caggiano

Joe Caggiano, a 23-year veteran of the federal contracting marketplace, died Jan. 14 at his home in Bethesda, Md., according to a friend and former co-worker.

He died from a massive heart attack, said Larry Allen, president of Allen Federal Business Partners. Caggiano and Allen worked together at The Washington Management Group before it was purchased by Deltek.

Caggiano, 48, was a principal at Reznick Government, a business advisory firm.  He is perhaps best known for turning around FedSources, where he was chief operating officer. He left FedSources when it was purchased by Deltek in April 2011.

He joined Reznick Government in October 2011. His aim was expanding the firm into the federal market. He had extensive experience in knowledge management, business performance consulting and customer relations within the federal market, according to colleagues at Reznick.

Reznick did not return calls for comment.

Before joining the private sector, Caggiano served in the U.S. Navy for eight years. 

He is survived by his wife, five children, and his father, Paul Caggiano, who has served as president of the Washington Management Group and the Coalition for Government Procurement.

Posted by Matthew Weigelt on Jan 14, 2013 at 12:10 PM5 comments


Former White House CIO jumps into publishing

Brook Colangelo

Brook Colangelo, seen here testifying before the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform, resigned his White House position in December 2012. (Photo: Office of Rep. Darrell Issa/Flickr)

A former White House IT official – and 2011 Federal 100 winner – has a new gig in the private sector.

Brook Colangelo, who served as CIO at the Executive Office of the President from 2009 through 2012, is joining Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to lead IT strategy and technology infrastructure development.

Colangelo will be based in the Boston-located global headquarters of the publishing house. His responsibilities will include core IT operations and infrastructure services across HMH's global office network.

Colangeo resigned from the White House in December. Before that position, he held several senior IT leadership roles, including within the Democratic National Convention Committee, The American Red Cross' Hurricane Recovery Program and QRS Newmedia.

In addition to being recognized for his IT leadership as a Fed 100 winner, Colangelo made Computerworld’s 2012 Premier 100 IT Leaders and InformationWeek's The Government CIO 50 lists.

Posted by Camille Tuutti on Jan 10, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Second VA official resigns in scandal

Rep. Darrell Issa

Issa: 'VA is not yet positioned to move beyond this abuse.'

A second official from the Veterans Affairs Department has resigned after a conference spending scandal erupted in 2012, according to a news report.

Alice Muellerweiss, dean of the VA Learning University, has left her position, the Washington Examiner reported Jan. 8.

According to a VA inspector general report, Muellerweiss had oversight of the planning and execution of the two human resources conferences in 2011. Before Muellerweiss, John Sepulveda, VA’s assistant secretary for human resources and administration, resigned a day prior to the IG report’s release Oct. 1, 2012.

In a statement, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said the department is in a leadership crisis.

“The parade of VA officials slowly stepping down over several months without accepting responsibility is a troubling sign that the VA is not yet positioned to move beyond this abuse,” he said.

Posted by Matthew Weigelt on Jan 08, 2013 at 12:10 PM1 comments


Obama picks counterterrorism adviser to head CIA

John Brennan

John Brennan, deputy national security adviser for homeland security and counterterrorism, is President Obama's choice to lead the CIA. (White House photo)

President Barack Obama has nominated his chief counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, as the new director of the Central Intelligence Agency, reports CNN.

Brennan, whose official title is deputy national security adviser for homeland security and counterterrorism, has served at the spy agency for 25 years. If the Senate confirms the nominee, Brennan will replace Gen. David Petraeus, who stepped down Nov. 9, 2012 after admitting an extramarital affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell.

After joining the CIA in 1980, Brennan held various roles at the agency, including Near East and South Asia analyst, chief of staff and first director of the National Counterterrorism Center. He also served as intelligence briefer for President Bill Clinton. In 2009, Brennan was named assistant to the president for counterterrorism and homeland security.

In 2005, Brennan left government and spent three years in private industry, serving as president and CEO of The Analysis Corporation, now named Sotera Defense, a security technology company. He also chaired the Intelligence and National Security Alliance.

Along with news of Brennan’s new role, Politico reported Jan. 7 that Obama will also announce his nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) as the next defense secretary, replacing Leon Panetta who took office July 1, 2011.

Posted by Camille Tuutti on Jan 07, 2013 at 12:10 PM0 comments


NASA's Gangnam video delights some, baffles others

nasa video

Interns at NASA's Johnson Space Center produced a parody of the popular 'Gangnam Style' video. The parody has drawn more than 2.7 million views on YouTube.

Sick of Korean rapper PSY's  "Gangnam Style" video yet?  If so, you might want to click away now -- but NASA's parody version appears to be paying PR dividends for the space agency.

The video produced by Johnson Space Center Pathway interns, called “NASA Johnson Style (Gangnam Style Parody),” was shot at several JSC facilities and features astronauts as well as interns.  Posted to NASA's YouTube channel on Dec. 14, it has drawn nearly 2.7 million views, and mentions in the Los Angeles Times, the popular BoingBoing blog and elsewhere.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said the video serves a valuable educational purpose, but he acknowledged that not everyone in the NASA community gets it.

“I get a lot of notes from my friends from the Apollo era who say we're lost, we don't know what we're doing,” the Los Angeles Times quoted Bolden as saying at a Dec. 20 event. “And after one of them saw this YouTube video, they were completely convinced we are really messed up.”

 

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Dec 21, 2012 at 12:10 PM3 comments


Energy picks deputy CIO

Donald Adcock, DOE

Donald Adcock joined the Energy Department in April 2012.

The Energy Department has settled on a new deputy CIO, FCW has learned.

Donald Adcock, who has been serving as associate CIO for energy IT services, is expected to assume his new duties as DOE’s deputy CIO on Dec. 30, according to inside sources speaking on background. He will succeed Robert F. Brese, who moved up to the agency CIO position in July 2012.

In his most recent role, Adcock has been responsible for leading and delivering mission-critical IT services for DOE, according to his bio on the agency’s website.

“Mr. Adcock provides strategic leadership and operational oversight of the department’s primary IT infrastructure and is responsible for implementing the Office of the CIO’s services transformation activities and for providing secure, national-level decision making capabilities for the Secretary of Energy, his advisors and the principal leadership of the department,” his bio states.

Prior to coming to DOE in April 2012, Adcock served as the executive director of the Army IT Agency, where he was based at the Pentagon.

Posted by Amber Corrin on Dec 21, 2012 at 12:10 PM2 comments


Former ARPA-E director joins Google

Arun Majumdar

Arun Majumdar, former director of the Energy Department's advanced research effort, will lead energy initiatives at Google. (Energy Department photo

Google has tapped a former federal executive to further its energy initiatives and advise on a broader energy strategy.

Arun Majumdar joins Google after serving as director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy from October 2009 to June 2012. ARPA-E is the only agency devoted to transformational energy research and development, according to its website. In a blog post, Google did not announce his job title.

Before joining ARPA-E, Majumdar held academic and research positions at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley. His research career focused on the science and engineering of energy conversion, transport, and storage ranging from molecular and nanoscale-level to large energy systems, according to Energy.gov. In 2005, Majumdar was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Posted by Emily Cole on Dec 18, 2012 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Air Force assigns general to new Cyber Command role

Sheila Zuelhlke official photo

Brig. Gen. Sheila Zuehlke, nominated for promotion and assigned as mobilization assistant to the commander of U.S. Cyber Command. (Air Force photo)

The Air Force has announced three new personnel appointments in the Washington metro region.

Brig. Gen. Sheila Zuehlke was nominated for appointment to the rank of major general and assigned as mobilization assistant to the commander of U.S. Cyber Command, director of the National Security Agency and chief of the Central Security Service. Zuehlke will work at Ft. George G. Meade, Md.

Brig. Gen. Jocelyn Seng was nominated for appointment to the rank of major general and for assignment as military deputy in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition. Seng will be based at the Pentagon.

Col. Wade Smith was nominated for appointment to the rank of brigadier general and for assignment as mobilization assistant to the director of the Defense Contract Management Agency in Alexandria, Va.

Posted by Amber Corrin on Dec 10, 2012 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Issa's home robbed

Rep. Darrell Issa

About $100,000 in jewelry was stolen from Rep. Darrell Issa's California home, according to police.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, had an estimated $100,000 worth of jewelry stolen from his home in Vista, Calif., on Nov. 29, according to San Diego County authorities.

Police records indicate more than 50 pieces of jewelry, including rings, bracelets and watches, were taken in the burglary, and authorities have thus far not made any arrests.

Issa is one of the wealthiest members of Congress, having made much of his fortune as the CEO of a company that manufactures automobile security products. A spokesman for Issa said the stolen items were family heirlooms.

Posted by Frank Konkel on Dec 07, 2012 at 12:10 PM0 comments


The BYOD solution

The byod solution

Posted by John Klossner on Dec 07, 2012 at 9:03 AM0 comments


National Archives picks first 'chief innovation officer'

Pamela Wright

Pamela Wright

Editor's Note: This story was modified after its original publication to correct Wright's title.

Pamela Wright has been chosen as the National Archives’ first-ever chief innovation officer, effective Dec. 2.

Archivist of the United State David S. Ferriero made the announcement in a Nov. 30 statement.

“This new office is charged with fostering a culture of innovation at the National Archives, and I am pleased that Pamela Wright has been selected to lead it,” he said. ”With her extensive experience, proven leadership, and innovative spirit, she is well suited to lead this effort."

Wright’s tasks will include finding innovative ways to share the archives’ extensive holdings with the public. Her plan is to create an “Innovation Hub” to develop and launch collaborative projects, raise public challenges, and partner with the archival community, private sector and academia.

Wright has been at the National Archives since 2001. Her past seven years were spent promoting digital access and strategy. Wright previously served as the agency’s first chief digital access strategist and launched many of the National Archives’ social media platforms.

Her “Citizen Archivist Dashboard” initiative is intended to make National Archives records more accessible online by using crowdsourcing to tag, transcribe, and edit articles, as well as to upload and share scans or images of records.

Wright also represents the National Archives on the White House Open Government Working Group. Her efforts include several internal working groups and teams aimed at fostering the open government.

Posted by Camille Tuutti on Dec 07, 2012 at 12:10 PM0 comments


White House CIO resigns

Brook Colangelo

Brook Colangelo, seen here testifying before the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform, has resigned his White House position. (Photo: Rep. Darrell Issa/Flickr)

The White House Office of Administration in the Executive Office of the President is losing its CIO this week.

Brook Colangelo submitted his resignation this week, according to a Dec. 5 report by FedScoop.

Colangelo joined the office in 2009, after having served CIO of the Democratic National Convention Committee. He led a green-technology effort to cut the committee’s carbon footprint, and served as the IT project manager for the American Red Cross’ Hurricane Recovery Program.

Before that role, Colangelo was director of technology for QRS Newmedia Inc, a Washington, D.C.-based communications and consulting company.

Fed 100 nominations open

Brook Colangelo won the 2011 Fed 100 for his work protecting White House technology from heavy snows. To nominate a deserving leader for the 2013 awards, click here.

Colangelo was recognized in 2011 for a Federal 100 award for his work in ensuring the White House technology infrastructure was resilient enough and allowed 60 percent of White House employees do to mission-critical work during the February 2010 blizzards.

There’s no word yet on who will replace Colangelo. Attempts to contact him and his office were unsuccessful.

Posted by Camille Tuutti on Dec 06, 2012 at 12:10 PM0 comments


IBM's Altman wins Heroes in Technology Award

Anne Altman and Xavier Alire

Anne Altman and husband Xavier Alire

Anne Altman is now a Lifetime Achievement Heroine, thanks to the 12th Annual 2012 Heroines in Technology Awards, presented by the March of Dimes and the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association.

Presented Nov. 9, the awards honor women in the technology community including government, nonprofit and commercial organizations for their outstanding commitment to community service. The event raised more than $180,000 to support the March of Dimes.

Altman has been the General Manager for IBM’s Global Public Sector since August 2009, and serves as the most senior executive for the strategy, direction and development of solutions for public sector clients worldwide. She has worked with IBM since 1981.

Posted by Emily Cole on Dec 05, 2012 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Jack Brooks, father of modern procurement, dies at 89

Jack Brooks

Jack Brooks, an early pioneer in the laws of federal IT procurement, passed away in Texas.

Editor's Note: This item was first published at FCW.com's sister site, WashingtonTechnology.com.

The man considered to be the father of modern IT procurement died Dec. 4, at the age of 89, in a hospital in his hometown of Beaumont, Texas.

Jack Brooks was a Democrat from Texas who served in the U.S. Congress for 42 years. Among his accomplishments is the 1965 Brooks Act, legislation that opened government IT procurement to competition.

The act, which was not signed into law until 1972, mandated procurement competition, lowest price bidding and centralized management of IT. The law has been credited with helping to build the IT industry and for spurring innovation at government agencies.

In 2002, he was recognized by GCN as the top civilian executive of the last 20 years.

“I wanted the government to be on the leading edge of technology, and it is,” he said at the time.

While in Congress, he chaired the House Government Operations Committee and the Judiciary Committee. He introduced the Government Paperwork Reduction Act, and the legislation that created the Office of Federal Procurement Policy and independent inspector generals at major government agencies.

A life-long Democrat, Brooks was a protégé of fellow Texan, and long-time House Speaker, Sam Rayburn.

Brooks was in the motorcade in Dallas in 1963, when President Kennedy was assassinated, according to his obituary in the Dallas Morning News.

While serving on the House Judiciary Committee, Brooks drafted the articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon. Nixon later called him the executioner.

He was reelected to Congress 20 times, but was voted out of office in 1994 as Republicans took control of the House.

He was born Dec. 18, 1922, in Acadia Parish, La., and moved to Beaumont, Texas, in 1927. He lived there the rest of his life.

He and his wife had three children and two grandchildren.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Dec 05, 2012 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Klossner: What comes after big data?

Klossner small data

Posted by John Klossner on Nov 26, 2012 at 9:03 AM0 comments


Klossner on the CIO

Klossner on the CIO

Posted by John Klossner on Nov 20, 2012 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Navy makes intell, cyber personnel moves

Navy logo

The Defense Department on Nov. 15 announced personnel movements in its naval cyber and intelligence operations.

Navy Rear Adm. Samuel Cox will be assigned as director of the National Maritime Intelligence Center in Washington and as commander of the Office of Naval Intelligence at Ft. Meade, Md.  Previously, Cox served as director of intelligence/J2 at U.S. Cyber Command, also based at Ft. Meade.

Joining Cyber Command will be Capt. Robert Hoppa, who has been selected for promotion to rear admiral (lower half) and for assignment as deputy director of operations/J3, Cyber Command, at Ft. Meade, Md.  Hoppa currently serves as director of the National Maritime Intelligence Center, Washington, D.C.

Posted by Amber Corrin on Nov 15, 2012 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Want to be FAS Comissioner? Better hurry!

GSA logo

Interested in being Federal Acquisition Service commissioner, but haven’t gotten around to polishing that resume? The General Services Administration just extended the deadline, but the window is closing fast.

GSA officials tweeted on Nov. 14 that applications are now being accepted until Nov. 16 on the USAJobs site. The agency has been advertising the open position since September.

The FAS commissioner is the senior executive responsible for the procurement side of GSA, and the primary advisor to the administrator and the deputy administrator on all FAS matters. The commissioner guides nearly $95 billion in government spending annually while driving FAS to find greater savings through high-value contracts.

Steve Kempf was the most recent commissioner, but he left the position in July for medical reasons. Mary Davie, assistant FAS commissioner for the Integrated Technology Services, has been standing in as acting commissioner since then.

Or do you want another job in the second Obama administration? Here’s some information on how to apply.

Posted by Matthew Weigelt on Nov 14, 2012 at 9:03 AM0 comments


Former Pentagon CIO joins company advisory board

Arthur Money and Peter Marino

Arthur Money (left) and Peter Marino have joined the advisory board at Thinklogical.

Former Pentagon CIO Arthur Money is a founding member of a newly formed advisory board for Thinklogical, a provider of fiber optic-based peripheral routing systems.

Money was named Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence in 1999 and served simultaneously as DOD’s CIO, according to Thinklogical’s announcement. Having held other positions in DOD and in industry, he now serves as the chairman of the Outside Advisory Board for the National Security Agency and the FBI.

Money’s fellow founding advisory board member is Peter Marino, a longtime CIA official who is now chairman of the board of directors for TASC Group.

 “We are honored to welcome Art and Peter as founding members of the newly established Thinklogical Federal Advisory Board," said Joe Pajer, president and CEO of Thinklogical. "We are growing very fast as a company, spearheaded by our tremendous success in the military, intelligence and homeland security sectors of the U.S. federal government.”

Posted by Michael Hardy on Nov 13, 2012 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Performance management pro moves from ODNI to private sector

Cherreka Montgomery

The woman who developed the State Department’s systems for measuring the effectiveness of public diplomacy efforts has joined a contractor that specializes in analytics and database systems for intelligence and national security projects.

Cherreka Montgomery spent five years at State, where she was director of evaluation and measurement in the Office of the Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.  Since 2011, she had been with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, serving as the principal media spokeswoman for the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency. 

In October Montgomery joined SAP National Security Services as national vice president for corporate development.  In that role, SAP NS2 announced, Montgomery will “work with the intelligence community, Department of Defense, and systems integrators.” 

While at State, Montgomery developed an integrated performance management plan to “measure and assess” the public diplomacy efforts that Karen Hughes began in the Bush administration, and that current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her team have continued and expanded.  Before, Montgomery said, diplomats could point to anecdotal evidence of public diplomacy payoffs, but ultimately “you have to demonstrate return on the public’s investment… So I looked for ways to synthesize the strategy and performance.”

In an interview with FCW, Montgomery said that after years in government, the chance to develop public-private partnerships from the other side was too appealing to pass up.  And based on her State Department performance-management projects, which relied on SAP software, “I’m a believer in the [these] solutions,” she said.

As someone who was only recently wrestling with budget limitations on the federal agency side, Montgomery said she is acutely aware of the effect sequestration could have on her new responsibilities.  “We definitely want to avoid it,” she said, but “shrinking budgets are a reality.  We have to be agile and be flexible.” 

And agencies must do the same, she said – not just for fiscal reasons, but also to reflect today’s national security realities.  “We face multifaceted threats,” Montgomery explained, “and we have to modernize our I.T. to identify and defend against those threats.”

Note: When originally published, this article incorrectly stated that Montgomery had worked at ODNI prior to the State Department, not after.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Nov 07, 2012 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Mark Drapeau's Movember mustache move

Mark Drapeau stache

Mark Drapeau, accompanied by a couple of friends, displays his Movember mustache in a picture he posted to Facebook.

Many men have grown mustaches for "Movember," an annual charity event that benefits organizations dedicated to men's health issues, testicular and prostate cancer in particular.

Some men who want to take part but can't or prefer not to grow a mustache come up with creative solutions. Microsoft's director of innovative solutions, Mark Drapeau  posted his effort on Facebook, commenting, "I may not be growing a Movember mustache in real life, but at least I can pretend to have one on Facebook."

(Drapeau tells us this picture is actually from a gala in 2011.)

Posted by Michael Hardy on Nov 02, 2012 at 12:10 PM0 comments


Hasbrouck takes over DISA field office command

Capt. Carrie Hasbrouck, USN

Capt. Carrie Hasbrouck, the new commander of DISA's Special Operations Command's field office. (Photo: DISA)

The Defense Information Systems Agency has a new commander in place in its Special Operations Command field office. Navy Capt. Carrie Hasbrouck assumed command on Oct. 19, DISA officials posted on the agency’s Facebook page on Nov. 2. While DISA did not immediately confirm where Hasbrouck is based, the DISA SOCOM field office is headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. No further details on Hasbrouck or the assignment have been released thus far, according to a DISA spokesperson.

Back at the Pentagon, the Defense Department on Nov. 1 announced that Charles Beames has been appointed to the Senior Executive Service and assigned as principal director of space and intelligence in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology and Logistics). Beams, who previously served in the same office as strategic advisor for space and intelligence, will be based in Washington, according to the DOD release.

Posted by Amber Corrin on Nov 02, 2012 at 12:10 PM0 comments


NIST fellow wins Nobel

David J. Wineland

David J. Wineland adjusts an ultraviolet laser, which he uses to manipulate ions as part of a research project. (Photo: NIST)

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics to David J. Wineland. Wineland is a physicist at the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and receives the award “for ground-breaking experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems,” according to an Oct. 9 press release. This is NIST’s fourth Nobel Prize in Physics in the past 15 years.

Wineland, who said he learned of the award when Academy officials called his Colorado home at 3:30 a.m., shortly before making the official Oct. 9 announcement, shares the honor with French native and longtime friend Serge Haroche of the Collège de France and Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. Wineland holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University and is currently based in Boulder, Colo., as a NIST Fellow.

Posted by Emily Cole on Oct 09, 2012 at 12:10 PM0 comments


David Bennett

David Bennett has been named DISA CIO. (DISA photo)

The Defense Information Systems Agency has made changes in two posts key to the agency’s IT operations.

David Bennett has been named the new CIO of DISA, according to an Oct. 2 announcement from the Defense Department. Bennett previously served as the agency’s vice component acquisition executive.

Bennett was preceded as CIO by Henry Sienkiewicz, who served in the position since May 2010. Sienkiewicz has been named as DISA’s vice chief information assurance executive.

Posted by Amber Corrin on Oct 02, 2012 at 12:10 PM0 comments


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