FCW Insider: April 3

The latest news, analysis and other updates from FCW's reporters and editors.

With proposed cybersecurity funding levels flat for 2020, does the Department of Homeland Security have the resources it needs to protect federal civilian networks? Derek B. Johnson takes a look.

Can bureaucracies be learning organizations? In his latest blog, Steve Kelman offers an unexpected example of government committing to continuous improvement.

Data used by the FBI's Cyber Division to advise victims of cyber intrusions is unreliable, according to a Justice Department audit. Mark Rockwell has more.

Given the disparities between early estimates and actual funding requests, some on Capitol Hill are wondering if the Trump administration is short-changing the Census Bureau with the 2020 population count just around the corner. Chase Gunter reports.

Quick Hits

*** Nick Hart, a former Office of Management and Budget official and a 2019 Federal 100 winner, is taking over as CEO of the Data Coalition and interim president of the Data Foundation. The Data Coalition is a policy and advocacy group that focuses on making government data open, transparent and usable. The Data Foundation serves as the Coalition's research arm. Hart comes to the Data Coalition from the Bipartisan Policy Center, where he took a central role in developing the report that led to the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018.

*** Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), the ranking member of the House subcommittee that tracks the Department of Veterans Affairs’ push to modernize its electronic health record, is working on legislation to empower the Interagency Program Office -- the joint Defense-VA body created to promote interoperability standards in electronic health records -- to take a more assertive role in how the two agencies implement their joint commercial health record system, based on Cerner software.

Banks said at an April 2 hearing that "the IPO should be repurposed to organize all aspects of interoperability – not just electronic health records -- between DOD, VA and the Office of the National Coordinator," a unit at the Department of Health and Human Services that works on health IT. Banks added that, "we need to focus on comprehensive interoperability." A summary of the legislation is circulating at the staff level currently.

The leaders of the electronic health record program at VA have faced criticism on Capitol Hill for not designating a point person to make decisions on behalf of DOD and VA in the absence of a consensus on electronic health record governance issues.

At the hearing, Carol Harris of the Government Accountability Office said that if DOD and VA "can't formalize a process for how they're going to adjudicate these really tough issues, they're going to fail again in this fourth attempt at integrating their systems." Harris said that "having a single point of accountability is crucial [because] when the wheels start falling off the bus, we have to identify who is responsible in order to effectively take corrective actions."

CORRECTION: This edition of FCW Insider has been updated to clarify Nick Hart's new roles at the Data Coalition and the Data Foundation.

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