FCW Insider: Sept. 27
No shutdown. The House passed an appropriations bill that includes a continuing resolution to keep the government funded until well after the fall elections. President Trump is expected to sign the bill, which funds Defense, Health and Human Services and other departments.
In the absence of a ritual panic over a lapse in appropriations, members of Congress can focus on the weedy details of government funding. In the federal IT community, one big question is whether the central revolving fund authorized under the Modernizing Government Technology Act will get another round of funding for FY2019.
MGT sponsor Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) thinks senators have reached a comfort level with the revolving fund, award transparency and payback practices. While funding for the central fund was zeroed out in a Senate bill, Hurd told FCW's Derek B. Johnson that he thinks the Technology Modernization Fund will be back.
Also from Hurd and his partner on the IT subcommittee Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Ill.) is a new bill to give the federal CIO and CISO more permanence and authority. Chase Gunter explains.
The Air Force gets digital. The U.S. Air Force launched a new digital program office with a focus on software. Steven Wert is the program executive officer and he's looking for the service to pivot to agile procurement and development to deliver apps and functionality "in a way that would be recognizable to any smartphone user." Lauren C. Williams has more.
By automating mundane administrative tasks, AI creates work experiences that unleash productivity, bringing out the best in human workers explains Bob Osborn, CTO Federal of ServiceNow, in this FCW commentary.
*** The Army announced a slate of awards in its $12 billion Information Technology Enterprise Solutions 3 Services vehicle. The nine-year contract covers cybersecurity, telecommunications, supply chain management, business process engineering, training and more. Ross Wilkers has the story for Washington Technology.
*** The Department of Veterans Affairs is planning a relaunch of the VA.gov website on Veterans Day, agency chief Robert Wilkie told lawmakers at a Sept. 26 Senate hearing. According to prepared testimony, VA.gov will feature more integration of disparate VA websites and portals and the agency is looking to integrate data on veterans into mobile apps. Wilkie also said that a new governance structure will loop in VA's senior leaders into an agency-wide customer service focus.
***The Navy announced a $22.5 million award for a blanket purchase agreement for cloud services Sept. 26. CSRA, now a General Dynamics IT subsidiary after a recent merger, won the contract. The BPA offerings include infrastructure, platform, and software as a service. The contract is for one year with four option years and could reach $95.8 million. The Navy used the General Services Administration's Schedule 70 vehicle to conduct the acquisition.
CSRA's cloud partners on the BPA include Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services. Service partners includeBeyond20, Carahsoft, and Minburn Technology Group.
"The cloud model is a new one for us and we are mindful of the shared cybersecurity responsibility, which is different than how we manage and protect data today...and we will learn more as we progress," Navy Cybersecurity Division Director Rear Adm. Danelle Barrett said in a statement announcing the award.
*** A new field guide to bid protests from the Congressional Research Service discusses how vendors go about appealing adverse contracting decisions at various legal venues, including at the Government Accountability Office, Court of Federal Claims and at the contracting agency. CRS reports of this type are made at the request of members, so it's possible that lawmakers are looking at updates to existing law. CRS incudes mention of concern among observers that "contractors are filing protests that are highly unlikely to be successful, if not entirely baseless, as a way to harm competitors or extend the performance of existing contracts."
*** The Department of Homeland Security is piloting the use of the LiveSafe mobile safety app among employees for reporting potential risks to its insider threat program. According to a Privacy Impact Assessment published Sept. 25, the LiveSafe app will be available to 50,000 D.C.-area DHS employees, contractors and other feds with DHS-issued phones. Participation is voluntary. Tips provided via LiveSmart's two-way voice and text communication are transmitted to a cloud-based dashboard that is operated DHS.
***The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee advanced bipartisan bill to protect federal networks from potential risks in the technology supply chain.
The Federal Acquisition Supply Chain Security Act , co-sponsored by Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) was introduced in June as a governmentwide response to improve information sharing across government in the wake of crackdowns on the Russian cybersecurity vendorKaspersky Labs and the Chinese telecommunications company ZTE.
The bill would create a cross-agency council to share information and develop policies, processes and a governmentwide strategy for agencies to make sure they're buying secure IT. The bill would also empower agency heads to exclude contractors and subcontracts for supply chain security reasons.
*** The National Institute for Standards and Technology wants to hear from experts and stakeholders on a draft document that outlines a framework for discussing the security of Internet of Things devices and offers a list of baseline security measures for IOT, including supporting over-the-air updates to firmware and software, remote access management, data encryption and more. NIST is collecting comments through Oct. 24.
*** The General Services Administration has updated its $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Services contract to account for a merger between two vendors. Level3 is being removed from the list of EIS vendors now that it is merged with CenturyLink. Level3's contact is being converted to cover CenturyLink and the initial CenturyLink contract has been terminated. Activity on EIS, the successor to the Networx telecommunications vehicle, has been limited so far, with agencies slow to adopt the new vehicle.
Posted on Sep 27, 2018 at 1:48 AM