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FCW Insider: June 6

The FBI supports a facial recognition system that can search across 641 million photos housed in federal and state databases. At a June 4 hearing, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle told senior officials at law enforcement agencies that the policies that allow for the easy search of photo databases may not be adequately supported by existing law. Derek B. Johnson has more.

After months of delays stretching back to the government shutdown, the White House has finally released a data strategy and put a draft action plan out for comment. Troy K. Schneider looks at how policymakers are trying to reconceive federal data as a strategic asset.

A funding bill that just advanced in committee scuttles the Office of Personnel Management's proposed merger into the General Services Administration. The bill doesn't offer funding for the planned union and it blocks efforts to accomplish the goals of the merger administratively through outsourcing or interagency deals. Adam Mazmanian explains.

Also in appropriations news, the House bill funding the Department of Agriculture nixes plans to move two offices outside of the National Capitol Region.

The Defense Department's heavy investment in artificial intelligence means more congressional oversight to make sure the emerging tech isn't just a buzzword. Lauren C. Williams reports from the markup sessions of the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act on Capitol Hill.

Quick Hits

*** Rather than rebuild legacy IT systems from scratch, the work they do can be replaced with nimble apps, the Air Force's Nicolas Chaillan said.

Chaillan, the Air Force's chief software officer, is also the co-leader of the Department of Defense's Enterprise DevSecOps Initiative, which aims to create and make agile software development tools available across the department. In remarks at AFCEA's June 4 emerging technology summit in Washington, D.C., he said enterprises would pick and choose applications and services that could quickly and efficiently be snapped into use, while sustaining, but essentially starving off, legacy systems by moving work to those new applications. The process, said Chaillan, leverages containers so that enterprises can seamlessly deploy software, including automated Authorities to Operate, security updates and other automatic functions and microservices.

"Continuous ATOs mean enterprises can push software" out of the initiative's development shop in real time, instead having to wait six to eight months for accreditation, he said.

Currently, Chaillan said, the initiative has a pool of 20 containers DOD agencies can use, and it will have 172 containers within six months.

*** California Governor Gavin Newsom is establishing an Office of Digital Innovation with an eye to making state services "more accessible and intuitive." The state is recruiting a director to stand up the new office. 

*** Don't forget to submit your 2019 Government Innovation Award nominations. We're looking for individual Rising Stars, innovative public-sector projects and industry partners that are disrupting government IT.

Posted on Jun 05, 2019 at 2:20 AM


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