FCW Insider: May 10

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

The General Services Administration rolled out its plans for a five-year pilot to test a planned e-commerce platform required under a recent defense bill. Lawmakers wanted to apply an Amazon-like customer experience to small-scale federal procurement. Three industry experts told Mark Rockwell that GSA's latest plan is mostly on the right track.

Lawmakers and policy experts are demonstrating increased interest in open source technology as a way to solve longstanding challenges and roadblocks around election security. The vendors who dominate the niche market for election tech and some state officials are wary of both change and federal mandates. Derek B. Johnson explains.

The recent cyber workforce executive order looks to make it easier for employees to take on cybersecurity roles within government, but agency IT officials say the measure has limitations when it comes to retention. So what will it take to get government-trained cyber talent to stay on the job? Chase Gunter takes a look.

The Department of Justice charged Daniel Everette Hale with passing classified documents related to U.S. drone warfare and counterterrorism policy to a reporter. Hale, a former intelligence specialist in the Air Force who worked for a time at the National Security Agency, allegedly passed the documents while working as a contractor inside the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Derek has more on the story.

Quick Hits

*** President Trump plans to nominate acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan to fill that job on a permanent basis. Shanahan, who was confirmed as DOD's deputy secretary by a 92-7 vote in July 2017, has been serving as acting secretary since Jan. 1 of this year.

Shanahan was seen as a leading candidate for the job, but an internal probe of alleged conflicts arising from allegations that Shanahan had promoted the interests of his former employer Boeing while in office put the selection process on hold. An Inspector General investigation concluded that Shanahan had not acted improperly.

Word of the nomination came via a May 9 tweet from White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. When reporters asked how he responded to the news, Shanahan replied, "I called my mom."

*** The House Appropriations Committee approved a funding bill for FY2020 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies. The vote was 31-21. In the legislative report, lawmakers indicated they had declined an administration request to allow the transfer of funds from other VA accounts into the Electronic Health Record Modernization program, which is slated to receive $1.7 billion in 2020. The committee also said it wants the program – which uses the same Cerner software as the Defense Department's new system – to continue to be led out of the deputy secretary's office. The report also directs VA to explore hybrid cloud and software-defined networking to support implementation of the Cerner system on VA networks.

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