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FCW Insider: March 19

The federal IT budget will likely remain essentially flat for fiscal year 2020, with the Trump administration seeking about $88 billion overall for non-classified technology spending. Chase Gunter has more.

A single simple acquisition policy change could help pave the way for smarter, more economical cloud buys by the federal government. In an FCW commentary, procurement law expert Michael Garland explains how a recommendation by the Section 809 panel to create a new contract type for consumption-based solutions could change everything when it comes to cloud.

Chase reports on a $500 million push to escalate the supercomputing arms race with a new exascale computer planned for the Argonne National Laboratory outside of Chicago.

DHS is seeking $11.4 million in the 2020 budget to put a new Cyber Talent Management System to get around some aspects of the general schedule to improve compensation for proven cybersecurity workers. Derek B. Johnson explains.

DHS is also leading a governmentwide effort to shore up the technology supply chain. Bob Kolasky, the chairman of a supply chain task force, teed up his plans in a recent interview. Get the story from Derek.

Quick Hits

*** A U.S. Digital Service report obtained and published by ProPublica reveals that the techies at the Department of Veterans Affairs recommended stopping development on a decision support tool intended to help implement the VA Mission Act of 2018. The law revised the eligibility requirements for veterans seeking community care. According to the USDS report, the planned tool relies on integrating six legacy VA systems that don't work together well, and will take too long to develop. Additionally, the tool as being designed has a pop-up function for eligibility calculations that will interrupt and stall VA caregiver workflows.

A big part of the issue USDS identifies is that many of the underlying policies about eligibility determinations haven't been finalized, even as the software designed to assist in coverage decisions goes forward.

Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, called the report "incredibly alarming" and said that "this report raises real concerns that implementation may be delayed and could even disrupt healthcare for 75,000 veterans every day."

Read the ProPublica story here.

*** The days of the DUNS number may be nearing an end, at least in federal procurement. The General Services Administration awarded a $41 million contract to Ernst and Young to provide identity validation services for the federal contracting process. The contract will run through March 2024. The DUNS replacement will be owned by the federal government and operate throughout the entire System of Award Management. The DUNS number, a Dun and Bradstreet product, has come under criticism because it is a proprietary service which the government does not control.

*** Patch management and documentation as well as access management issues continue to dog agencies at the Department of the Interior, according to a cybersecurity audit released by the agency's Inspector General on March 15. The heavily redacted document doesn't include details on impacted systems, but reports multiple issues at the Bureau of Reclamation, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Geological Survey, the Fish and Wildlife Service and other agencies. The auditor made 14 recommendations – some of which are also redacted – in which agency IT officials concurred.

Posted on Mar 19, 2019 at 12:30 AM


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