News in Brief

NS2020 get-together, PortfolioStat data goes public, DHS' Silicon Valley outpost and more

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GSA sets public meeting on NS2020

Registration for the first of three public meetings promised by the General Services Administration to talk about its Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions contract under its NS2020 telecommunications platform closes on April 24.

The GSA's Integrated Technology Services Network Services Program, in conjunction with the American Council for Technology-Industry Advisory Council, advised ACT-IAC members in an email that the first public "information exchange" session on the EIS draft request for proposals will be held in the GSA's public auditorium at its 1800 F St. NW headquarters in Washington. The event is free and open to government and industry, but capacity at the facility is limited to 275.

The session will include an overview of the EIS draft RFP, with an audience question and answer period following.

The EIS draft RFP was posted on on Feb. 28, with comments from agencies and industry submitted on March 31, 2015. In mid-April, a GSA spokesperson said the agency had received 1,215 questions/comments from 15 companies and 405 questions/comments from government agencies on the document.

The first information exchange session, said the GSA and ACT-IAC announcement, will be "off the record" and closed to the press. However, in its wording on the press limitations for the first session, GSA left the door open on press access to the two subsequent sessions, on May 28 and June 30.

ACT-IAC said it is supporting the online registration process for all government and industry attendees at Association membership is not required to register for the event.

OMB puts PortfolioStat metrics on the IT Dashboard

The Office of Management and Budget has published some of the IT performance metrics it uses for internal discussions with agencies as part of PortfolioStat reviews.

According to an April 21 blog post on the federal CIO Council website, the newest metrics on the IT Dashboard site reflect three core objectives for the Federal IT portfolio:

driving value in federal IT investments; delivering world-class digital services; and protecting federal IT assets and information. The post also promises that "OMB intends to continue to increase the breadth and depth of performance metrics and visualizations available publicly on the IT Dashboard in order to better show agency progress on IT policies or initiatives."

DHS to open Silicon Valley office

The Department of Homeland Security will open an office in Silicon Valley to tap into area talent and R&D, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson announced in an April 21 speech. “We want to convince some of the talented workforce here in Silicon Valley to come to Washington,” he told a large crowd at the Moscone Center in downtown San Francisco.

The office announcement was one of a series of talking points Johnson had for the audience of tech wonks. Johnson reiterated the Obama administration’s concern about encryption on mobile devices. “Our inability to access encrypted information poses public safety challenges,” he said.

Johnson also said he will soon hire a new head of DHS’s National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, the government’s primary civilian interface with the private sector on cyber threats.

EFF steps into airplane network security brouhaha

The founder of a security intelligence firm has lawyered up with the Electronic Frontier Foundation in the wake of being detained by the FBI after sending an inflight tweet criticizing airplane network security.

The EFF said in an April 18 blog post that it now represents Chris Roberts, a founder of the security intelligence firm One World Labs.

Roberts was met by FBI agents when his United Airlines flight landed in Syracuse, after he had posted a tweet referencing a Government Accountability Office report that said commercial aircraft were vulnerable to hacking through their Wi-Fi networks. The FBI questioned Roberts and ultimately seized a number of his electronic devices, said EFF.

But Roberts was barred from using United Airlines when he tried to head to San Francisco on April 18 for the RSA Conference, where he is scheduled to give a presentation on April 23. United corporate security personnel stopped him from boarding the plane, said EFF, and Roberts was told to expect a letter explaining the reasons for not being allowed to travel on the airline.

Raytheon makes $1.9B cyber statement

Raytheon's $1.9 billion acquisition of Websense is more than just a large government contractor making a move to bolster its cyber capabilities, Washington Technology reports.

Raytheon is making a huge investment because it thinks it can do what so many other government contractors have failed to do – build a commercial business. The deal for the privately held Websense is expected to close by the end of June.

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