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*** The National Institute of Standards and Technology's Special Publication 800-53 is the bible of security and privacy controls for federal IT systems, so revisions are a big deal. Starting this summer, however, those updates will start coming far more frequently.

NIST Fellow Ron Ross said at FCW's Jan. 27 Cloud Security Workshop that a "web-based, automated content control development and delivery system" is in the works, and will debut mid-year. "We're basically not going to wait five or six years to update 800-53," he said. "We're going to have an online development process where you can propose new controls...and when the controls have gone through enough of that public review and vetting, we will then pull the trigger and put that control into the catalog."

The current controls will be easily downloadable in machine-readable formats, Ross said, so they can "go directly into the support tools that our customers are using." This new system will require stakeholders to adjust their approach to reviewing as well -- effectively moving from a waterfall process to a DevOps tempo -- but Ross was confident it would be a change for the better. "We're never going to sacrifice quality or our customer interaction," he said, " no matter what kind of process we use."

*** A Biden administration memorandum on "restoring trust in government through scientific integrity and evidence-based policymaking" looks to produce a account past political interference with established policies for communicating science and health information, the conduct of research and the collection of technical data. The memo also calls for expanding access to federal data in machine-readable format and for the incorporation of "scientific-integrity principles" into data policy as well as the improvement of the "production of evidence for use in policymaking."

"Improper political interference in the work of federal scientists or other scientists who support the work of the federal government and in the communication of scientific facts undermines the welfare of the nation, contributes to systemic inequities and injustices, and violates the trust that the public places in government to best serve its collective interests," the memorandum states.

*** Rebecca Piazza, a veteran of innovation shop 18F and once its acting executive director, was tapped by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to serve as senior advisor for delivery in the office of the undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services. This office administers USDA's food assistance programs including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) once known as the food stamps program the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).

Posted on Jan 28, 2021 at 2:13 AM


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