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FCW Insider: April 10

Attorney General Bill Barr testified in a House hearing April 9. Between questions about the Mueller report, he and his top lieutenant managed to get a word about a low-cost, high-impact proposal to extend protections to agency data in the cloud beyond the perimeters of in-house networks. Mark Rockwell has more.

The Defense Information Systems Agency is making owners of legacy applications go through a few hoops before they're allowed to go into the cloud. Lauren C. Williams explains why DISA is leery of legacy.

CenturyLink and NASA inked the first contract for services under the General Services Administration's next-generation telecommunications contract. Mark has the story.

Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) introduced a bill designed to make it more difficult for social media companies to use psychology and deceptive interfaces on their customers – particularly younger users. Derek B. Johnson reports.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle questioned the wisdom of budget cuts for the National Institute of Standards and Technology as the agency pushes research and innovation in artificial intelligence, quantum computing and cybersecurity. Chase Gunter has the story.

Quick Hits

*** The Army is updating its data strategy, with a new draft expected by the end of April. Thomas Sasala, the chief data officer and director of operations and architecture in the Army's Office of the CIO/G-6, said at FCW's April 9 Cloud summit that the original strategy, released in 2016, is already shaping the service’s cloud migration priorities and surfacing inefficient data-storage practices.

"Just because the application goes, doesn't mean that all of the data goes," Sasala said.

"Headquarters Department of Army has 1.8 petabytes worth of storage on our file servers," he added, by way of example. "Sixty percent of the data hasn't been accessed in five years, at all, by a human being or a computer… and yet it's on a very expensive SAN. … So the concept of tiering the storage and aging things out, and really archiving -- or destroying -- the information is something we need to wrap our heads around."

*** The National Security Agency couldn’t justify more than half of the award fee contracts it awarded in 2016 and 2017, according to an unclassified version of an audit conducted by the agency's Inspector General.

While most government contracts pay out a specific dollar amount over a period of time or lay out strict criteria governing compensation, award fee contracts are designed for services where contract performance can’t be objectively measured and give an agency wider latitude to determine contractors' pay based on periodic evaluations.

Agencies are given guidance on how to use award fee contracts and told to tie their criteria to identifiable outcomes, discrete events or milestones, but NSA could not provide that data for a range of expenditures.

In total, auditors flagged $636 million in award fees to 54 different contracts over multiple years, saying the NSA failed to justify and document that the payments were in the best interest of the government. While the Department of Defense cut its use of such contracts from $34 billion in 2010 to $10 billion in 2015, the NSA more than doubled its award fee contract spending between 2010 and 2017.

Posted on Apr 10, 2019 at 1:00 AM


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