FCW Insider: Nov. 8

Top stories, quick hits and more from FCW's reporters and editors.

FCW Insider: Nov. 8

Tonight FCW and sibling publications GCN and Washington Technology will honor 20 Rising Stars at the 2018 Government Innovation Awards gala. Here are five more Rising Stars worth knowing about:

*The cybersecurity accomplishments of Air Force Capt. Anthony N. Rodriguez puts him on the fast track to become the aide-de-camp for the 24th Air Force Commander, Maj. Gen. Christopher Weggeman. Rodriguez has identified vulnerabilities in the F-16 fleet, served at Cyber Command and worked at the White House.

*Contracting whiz Katherine M. Katina has made herself an indispensable expert in "other transaction authority" procurements, managing seven of SAIC's OTAs, including those for the Army and Air Force research labs.

*Anjelica B. Dortch , senior policy advisor, Office of the Federal CIO, Office of Management and Budget, led the planning for the IT and cybersecurity hiring fair last year and worked with the CIO Council's Workforce Committee to launch key initiatives.

*At the FBI and later as CIO of Hortonworks Federal, Henry Sowell has dedicated his career to providing law enforcement with the most advanced technical tools to hunt down criminals.

*Nicholas Holtz , digital services expert at the Department of Veterans Affairs, used his experience at the Board of Veterans' Appeals to modernize the appeals process and help reduce a five-year backlog of claims.

What does a divided Congress mean for the federal workforce? The unions, workforce experts and one key House Democrat weigh in on the future of the government reorg and more. Chase Gunter has the story.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned at the request of President Donald Trump on Nov. 7. More senior-level exits are expected in the wake of the midterm elections – including one that could hit close to home for the federal IT community. Mark Rockwell reports.

Election Day isn't over for Will Hurd. One of the most popular and active lawmakers on IT modernization issues is in a tight race for his political survival with a ballot count that could last until the end of the month. Get more from Adam Mazmanian.

The National Labs are bringing emerging tech to bear on grid security. As Mark explains, researchers are at work on advanced solutions to help protect vulnerable networks across the energy industry.

Quick Hits

*** The Defense Department is looking to boost its skilled acquisition workforce through an exchange program that would let private sector employees to keep their salaries while working for the government.

"We have to address the pay and benefits or its not going to work," said founding Defense Business Board member Arnold Punaro Nov. 7 during the DOD Chief Management Office's first public meeting on DOD's study for an acquisition industry-exchange program.

Punaro, who is leading the review group for the study, added that an ideal scenario would mean that "while [the exchange employee] is a government employee, they're getting paid by a company."

There is precedent for it through other government exchange programs. Punaro compared it to the Cyber IT Exchange Program in the DOD CIO office, which allows for short-term assignments as a potential model for the acquisition program and requires companies to pay private sector participants' salaries while on assignment.

But while pay is one of the biggest concerns from technical and other skilled personnel shortages, Punaro noted potential legal barriers that still need to be reconciled before recommendations can be made.

The board is scheduled to submit its final findings to House and Senate Defense committees and DOD's Acquisition and Sustainment head Ellen Lord by March 1, 2019. Lawmakers are to be briefed by Dec. 31. Punaro said he expects to beat all deadlines.

*** The Department of Health and Human Services is moving to fulfill a series of statutory requirements dating back to 2011 to improve the sharing of foster care and child welfare case-level data between the federal government and state agencies. In a request for comment set to publish Nov. 8 in the Federal Register, the Administration for Children and Families at HHS wants to hear from stakeholders about barriers to automated data exchange, whether technical or regulatory or legal. The notice points out that variances on basic data elements like how dates are rendered can make it difficult for systems to communicate. Under the regulation required by the law, ACF plans to work with states to create a data exchange that would help track individuals across multiple agencies and prevent improper payments to recipients of cash assistance.

*** FCW's sibling publication Washington Technology announced its 2018 class of Industry Innovators . Editor-in-Chief Nick Wakeman writes that, "All 25 companies have developed capabilities and solutions that are laser-focused on their customers' missions."

NEXT STORY: Quick Hits for Nov. 7

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