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FCW Insider: March 18

Activity is set to pick up on the General Service Administration's $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions telecommunications contract. Mark Rockwell reports.

As federal employees still wait to receive their retroactive pay raise, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle from both chambers are pushing appropriators to include back pay for federal contractors from the 35-day shutdown. Chase Gunter has more.

Evidence-based policymaking has been touted as an administration management priority, but the White House's 2020 budget requests no funds for the mandate, making early steps difficult for agencies. Chase explains.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan clashed with senators over the overseas contingency operations budget request – which some lawmakers are calling a "slush fund." Get more from Lauren C. Williams.

The Defense Department needs as better transition plan to shift certain responsibilities from the CIO to the chief management officer, according to a Government Accountability Office report. Lauren has more.

Quick Hits

*** Social media outlets are facing new calls for regulation in the wake of attacks on two mosques in New Zealand by a racist gunman which left 50 dead. In the United States, two former senior security officials want to see social media companies and video networks take more responsibility for material they host.

Appearing on the March 17 program of ABC's This Week, former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said there are constitutional concerns about the U.S. government regulating online content, but that companies have to start with self-regulation.

"It's incumbent upon social media providers, internet service providers to…be vigilant when it comes to hate speech content that violates their very own terms of service," Johnson said.

Tom Bossert, a former White House homeland security adviser to President Donald Trump, said on the same program that one area for regulation could be live streaming broadcasts by individuals. The New Zealand shooter streamed video of his massacre on Facebook and the video is still circulating widely on the internet despite efforts by companies to delete copies.

"I think it might be time to think about delaying or forcing those providers to delay live broadcasting or live streaming. There’s a lot of benefits that can come from individuals broadcasting from their telephones," Bossert said, adding, "there’s no negative or downside to forcing some delay into that broadcast. It’ll require some time and money, but I think it’s something that we should consider."

*** Federal agency CIOs are facing multiple overlapping mandates to cut down on redundant and excessive software licensing. Now the General Services Administration is looking to help technology managers get a quick handle on their software portfolios through a program called SLM Fast. In a March 12 blog post, Bill Zielinski, acting Assistant Commissioner, Office of Information Technology Category at GSA's Federal Acquisition Service, explained that the new service, an adaptation of an existing program, is designed to provide an 8-week path to better software inventory control.

*** Researchers say a technique designed to examine how neural networks arrive at their conclusions mitigates the "black box" problem that leads some to mistrust artificial intelligence. Learn more about generative adversarial networks from FCW's sibling publication GCN.

Posted on Mar 18, 2019 at 12:45 AM


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