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Trade automation review, online SBA loans and a CIS retirement

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IG: More controls needed in trade automation system

Although Customs and Border Protection is making progress on its Automated Commercial Environment trade automation system, the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General said the agency should implement more internal controls on the system.

A report from the DHS Office of Inspector General said CBP's restructuring of the ACE program to agile techniques in 2013 has kept the program on track. ACE, begun in 2001, is a multi-pronged effort to give private-sector cargo shippers better, more nimble, "single window" electronic reporting capabilities, cutting down on the piles of forms they must file to comply with regulations and laws.

In spite of the leg-up agile DevOps techniques have lent to the ACE program, the OIG said CBP's internal control environment that identifies potential gaps in data reliability hasn't kept up, and that the agency hasn't developed performance measures for the program.

CBP said it appreciated OIG's recognition the ACE program is on track to meet implementation milestones and its "positive conclusion that the agile development methodology improves the effectiveness and efficiency" of the program. The agency did not concur with the OIG recommendations, however. It said it has been conducting risk assessments as part of each deployment of technology under agile development methodology.

SBA launches online loan process

The Small Business Administration wants to be a sort of Match.com for small firms and lenders, SBA Acting Regional Administrator Stanley Nakano wrote in a blog post.

"Our commercial loan matchmaking service will help entrepreneurs get a 'date' with a lender," Nakano wrote, touting SBA's LINC (Leveraging Information and Networks to access Capital) initiative.

Small businesses can answer a dozen questions and submit a 1,000-word statement online, which SBA then uses to match them with suitable lenders.

The first phase of LINC, which began in April, connects small businesses and non-profit lenders, while a second phase later this year will fold traditional banks into the mix.

There's room for LINC to grow, Nakano added. "In the longer term, we also believe LINC could be modified to facilitate government contracting by connecting eligible small businesses with procurement officers, prime contractors, and federal buyers," he wrote.

Pelgrin retiring from CIS

William F. Pelgrin, president and CEO of the Center for Internet Security, is retiring at the end of May, drawing a close to his nearly four-decade long career in cybersecurity.

Former DHS Deputy Secretary Jane Holl Lute was named the new CEO and retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Steven J. Spano was tapped as president and chief operating officer.

In addition to his years of service spanning both the public and private sectors, Pelgrin established the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center in 2003 to produce a collaborative resource for state and local governments -- a program that has since been recognized by DHS for its role in coordinating cyber readiness and response.

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