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*** Lawmakers are kicking off the lame duck session of Congress this week with a series of votes on non-controversial bills in the House, including two federal technology measures. The CIO Authorization Act, sponsored by Reps. Will Hurd (R-Texas) and Robin Kelly (D-Ill.), elevates the role of the federal CIO by making the occupant of the post a direct report to the Office of Management and Budget director. The legislation also codifies the federal chief information security officer post and makes that individual a direct report to the CIO. 

The House is also voting on the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act from Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.). That bill requires government websites to accept e-signatures and to scale to any screen size. It also incorporates and codifies design and usability best practices. 

Both bills are among a number of measures coming up for votes under suspension of the rules on Nov. 28.

***Eric Chewning, the Defense Department's deputy assistant secretary for industrial policy, told the audience at a Nov. 26 Atlantic Council event that his office was considering ways to incorporate more business-savvy professionals.

"The affinity I have for folks that should have this kind of job," working with the defense industrial base, includes a background that's "a combination of military intelligence and then time spent working Wall Street," Chewning told reporters following the event. "If you think about our office, we run a law firm, a management consulting firm, and to some degree we run an investment firm because we're making investments in the industrial base and that requires a different skillset."

Chewning, a former investment banker himself, added that direct hiring authority in the 2019 defense spending bill could facilitate recruiting more people with similar experience.

*** Since February, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission has operated with only two members, Chair Thomas Hicks and Christy McCormick. The lack of a quorum has prevented the four-member body from voting on a number of election and security-related initiatives. That dynamic is set to change as the Senate Rules Committee scheduled a hearing this week to consider the nominations of two additional commissioners, Donald Palmer and Benjamin Hovland, to fill the remaining slots. 

During a Nov. 26 board meeting, Hicks noted that "should they be confirmed, hopefully by early January or February, this will be the first time since 2010 we'll have a full contingent of four commissioners at EAC."

Confirming even a single nominee would allow the commission to approve an update of voluntary voting system guidelines that states use to guide procurement decisions when purchasing voting machines. The new version, developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and containing a range of updated guidance around cybersecurity, has languished over the past year waiting for EAC approval. 

Posted on Nov 27, 2018 at 1:01 AM


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