FCW Insider: July 22, 2021

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

Can JADC2 fly without budget reform?

Tim Grayson, the director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Strategic Technology Office, said there's a risk that "monolithic platforms get replaced with monolithic architectures."

Senate breach disclosure bill targets agencies, contractors, infrastructure

A bipartisan bill introduced by the leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee sets up a 24-hour deadline for infrastructure operators, federal contractors and federal agencies to report confirmed cybersecurity breaches and ransomware attacks.

Local officials look to federal funding fill gaps in rural cyber preparedness

Utility firms in small towns and rural communities across the country lack critical funding and staffing resources necessary to counter an escalation in nationwide cyberattacks, state and local infrastructure experts warned on Wednesday.

Quick Hits

*** Members of the House Veterans Affairs Committee on both sides of the aisle are growing increasingly impatient with the stalled progress on the more than $21 billion IT project at the Department of Veterans Affairs to replace the agency's homegrown electronic health records system with a commercial system from vendor Cerner. Reps. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) and Mike Bost (R-Ill.), the chairman and ranking member of the committee, introduced a bill on Wednesday to consolidate cost accounting for the project and to keep Congress apprised of ongoing expenditures. Rep. Frank Mvran (D-Ind.), the chairman of the Subcommittee on Technology Modernization, is also sponsoring the Electronic Health Record Transparency Act.

*** The General Services Administration's 8(a) STARS III contract vehicle covering small, disadvantaged business offerings in IT services was designated "Best In Class" by the Office of Management and Budget. STARS III has ceiling value of $50 billion.

*** The Department of Veterans Affairs announced a "reset" of its relations with labor unions that represent more than 280,000 workers at the agency. VA reestablished the National Partnership Council, a forum for labor-management communication that was dissolved under the Trump administration and reinstituted official time for clinical employees covered by Title 38. Official time – which allows unionized employees to conduct union business while on the job – was dramatically pared back at VA and across government under the Trump administration, partly via an executive order that was repealed by the Biden administration.

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