FCW Insider: May 8

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

New AWS protest spawns JEDI blog wars

Microsoft takes rival AWS to task for filing a confidential protest with the Defense Department in the ongoing dispute over the controversial $10 billon, 10-year cloud deal. Adam Mazmanian has the story.

Could DOD's maximum telework policy boost AI, tech recruiting?

Keeping telework capabilities could make it easier for DOD to hire AI scientists. Lauren C. Williams explains.

Lawmaker looks to tighten up rules for acting officials

Rep. Katie Porter's plan to update the Federal Vacancies Reform Act would reduce amount of time acting officials can serve and require more frequent legislative updates. Lia Russell reports.

PPE acquisition used as bait in global phishing scheme

At least 10 distinct phishing campaigns were identified between January and April, targeting governments and organizations desperate to buy Personal Protective Equipment. Derek B. Johnson reports.

Quick Hits

*** The Transportation Security Administration is requiring employees conducting passenger screening to wear facial covering, agency chief David Pekoske announced May 7. FCW learned that the agency plans to provide protective coverings to employees. The IRS caught flack from employees and their union for requiring workers to supply their own masks and face coverings when returning to office work.

TSA is also urging travelers to wear face coverings to protect against the spread of COVID-19 but said that individuals may be asked to lower coverings to facilitate identification.

"TSA is making this change to protect our employees and travelers as social distancing cannot always be maintained in the screening process," Pekoske said in a statement.

*** The General Services Administration unveiled a Centers of Excellence partnership with the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Information Management & Technology (OIMT).

GSA's Technology Transformation Services Director Anil Cheriyan said in a May 7 statement that the CoE initiative will help OIMT drive the FDA's modernization of its core capabilities, focused on new technologies and processes that support its regulatory responsibilities.

"The FDA's OIMT is responsible for the technical infrastructure of the agency," said FDA Chief Technology Officer Vid Desai. "OIMT enables us to support public health by providing critical technology to all of our offices and centers. When we put our workforce first we know they’ll be better equipped to meet the challenges of the FDA's diverse mission by enabling a modern organization, strategies, and infrastructure."

The CoE announcement with the FDA comes only days after the GSA said it was partnering with a division of the National Institute of Health. NICDH and GSA signed an agreement that will leverage GSA's CoE initiatives to develop and adopt an IT modernization strategy at the institute.

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