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FCW Insider: May 2

Christopher Krebs, director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, said the agency's focus on election security can serve as a model for other critical infrastructure sectors. Derek B. Johnson has more from the CISA chief's two days on Capitol Hill

A new focus on interoperability with allies and partners could alter the Army's buying practices as it matures, said Army Secretary Mark Esper. Lauren C. Williams explains.

Frequent turnover and persistent vacancies across the Department of Homeland Security are limiting the ability of employees to carry the agency's myriad missions. The agency's former IG and the current head of the Government Accountability Office warned lawmakers on potential leadership and morale problems. Get more from Chase Gunter.

The Transportation Security Administration is working on plans to improve pipeline cybersecurity and elevate the cyber expertise of its workforce. Mark Rockwell has the story.

Quick Hits

*** The Department of Veterans Affairs would get $1.6 billion toward its decade-long electronic health record modernization project for fiscal year 2020 under a draft House Appropriations bill released this week. The money is good through 2022. The legislative language specifies that the money can only be spent in alignment with existing deployment plans and that Congress must be notified of and approves of any changes. The VA is in the midst of a $16 billion plan to replace its homegrown Vista electronic health record with the Cerner system.

*** The FIPS security standard is going global. The Federal Information Processing Standard is now aligned with the international ISO standard, according to a Federal Register notice released May 1 by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. That means manufacturers of IT products and connected devices can use cryptography standards in the latest FIPS-3 iteration or the most recent International Standards Organization standard and be sure of satisfying U.S. requirements. The unified standard means vendors will be able to spend less time on testing to multiple standards before bringing their projects to market.

"Testing takes a long time and every day a company spends on it is a day its product is not on the market. We want to minimize that, because there's a limited time window before a product becomes obsolete," NIST computer scientist Mike Cooper said.

*** The Senate unanimously passed a bill to allow federal cyber workers to take assignments across government, gaining new experience and professional contacts. Sponsors of the Federal Rotational Cyber Workforce Program Act of 2019 hope the bill, if enacted, will help retain current federal employees with new opportunities and challenges.

"Our bipartisan legislation will help the federal government better fulfill the need for cybersecurity professionals by expanding opportunities for training and professional development. That means better recruitment and retention of this critical workforce and a more secure nation," said Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.)

Posted on May 02, 2019 at 1:07 AM


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