News in Brief

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

Shutterstock image: vector of managerial skills utilized throughout a project.

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.

About the Author

Connect with the FCW staff on Twitter @FCWnow.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

  • Shutterstock image.

    Merged IT modernization bill punts on funding

    A House panel approved a new IT modernization bill that appears poised to pass, but key funding questions are left for appropriators.

  • General Frost

    Army wants cyber capability everywhere

    The Army's cyber director said cyber, electronic warfare and information operations must be integrated into warfighters' doctrine and training.

  • Rising Star 2013

    Meet the 2016 Rising Stars

    FCW honors 30 early-career leaders in federal IT.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group