News in Brief

No on FITARA, yes on wearable gear, maybe on JSF software

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Do effective CIOs need more authority?

The debate over whether CIOs are properly empowered has gone on since at least the days of Clinger-Cohen, and the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act would codify new authorities for agencies' top IT executives.

As Department of Transportation CIO, Richard McKinney would stand to benefit from FITARA -- which has twice been passed by the House and is still awaiting Senate action -- but he sounds like someone who could be counted among the skeptics of any need to reform the system.

CIOs could have all the authority in the world, he said at the Aug. 13 Federal Forum in Washington, D.C., but if they don't use it well, then they won't be successful.

"Real authority comes from legitimacy, not from statute," said McKinney, who never mentioned FITARA by name. "From all the conversations I've had with CIOs, they've been successful not because of the statute. They get their authority from the people who work for them, from their bosses and customers."

McKinney, who worked in state and local government for years before coming to Washington, said the first step forward is changing the dialogue.

"We're just making excuses for ourselves. We ought to change that conversation," McKinney said, "and really have a conversation about what we can do as a community and not accept that's the way things will always be."

National lab shops for wearable gear for first responders

In an effort to enhance safety and performance of first responders in emergency environments, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is undertaking a multiyear project to create wearable communication systems for emergency responders, GCN reports.

According to a recent announcement on FedBizOpps, PNNL is looking for a partner with knowledge of the integration of communications systems typically used by the emergency management and first responder community, including 4G LTE cellular technology for public safety communications, Federal Land Mobile Radio System, as well as Wi-Fi and satellite systems.

Army lab to provide software analysis for Joint Strike Fighter

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program will soon be getting Army assistance for the safety analysis of the next-generation strike aircraft's flight software, Defense Systems reports.

The Joint Strike Fighter program office selected the Army Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center's Software Airworthiness and Safety Lab to perform independent software safety analyses of the plane.

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