'Sammies' to honor tech achievers

Service to America logo.

The Partnership for Public Service announced its annual Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals (also known as the Sammies) to federal employees in recognition of their outstanding public service.

This year, two winners will be recognized at the Sept. 20 awards ceremony for their outstanding technological contributions.

Jaques Reifman, a senior research scientist in the Department of the Army, will receive the Science and Environment award for leading the team that developed APPRAISE, an artificial intelligence system that collects and interprets soldiers' vital signs during transport to treatment centers so that medical personnel can be alerted if the patient will require an immediate blood transfusion, saving time and potentially saving lives.

Tate Jarrow, a Secret Service special agent, will be awarded the Call to Service Medal for his role in tracking down and catching cybercriminals involved in activities that include hacking, stock manipulation, illegal gambling, credit card fraud and money laundering schemes.

The full slate of Sammie award honorees can be found here.

Posted by Chase Gunter on Sep 20, 2016 at 10:33 AM0 comments


Obama nominates new OPM IG

Elizabeth Field, nominee to lead the OIG at OPM

Elizabeth Field is the president's pick to lead OPM's Office of Inspector General.

Elizabeth Field has been tapped by President Barack Obama to serve as the inspector general at the Office of Personnel Management. The nomination was announced Sept. 16.

The agency has been without a Senate-confirmed IG since longtime watchdog Patrick McFarland stepped down in February.

If confirmed by the Senate, Field will lead an office that has frequently had a frosty relationship with OPM. Days before departing, McFarland issued a memo challenging the legal standing of acting OPM Director Beth Cobert on the grounds that her appointment violated federal law.

For years, McFarland battled OPM for access to audit the agency's $1 billion revolving fund used for background investigations on incoming federal employees and others. In the wake of the hack of OPM databases last year, McFarland was highly critical of the culture inside the CIO operations at OPM.

Field is currently a senior adviser in the Office of the Undersecretary for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights at the State Department. She began her career in federal auditing in 2002 as a senior analyst on the International Affairs and Trade team at the Government Accountability Office.

She also served in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s Office of Inspector General in 2010 and held multiple positions with the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction from 2010 to 2014, including senior audit manager, chief of staff and assistant IG.

She has worked at the State Department since 2014.

Posted by Chase Gunter on Sep 19, 2016 at 2:05 PM0 comments


OFPP's Rung is leaving government

Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

Anne Rung, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy and U.S. chief acquisition officer, is leaving government service for the private sector, Office of Management and Budget officials confirmed to FCW.

Rung's departure was first reported by Federal News Radio, which said she is leaving to run Amazon Business' strategic supplier program for government.

Rung replaced Joe Jordan as chief acquisition officer two years ago.

OMB would not confirm where Rung was going, but the Amazon job would be in her wheelhouse. According to an internal memo to OMB employees, Director Shaun Donovan called Rung "a driving force" in implementing the White House's vision of strategic sourcing.

He credited Rung with streamlining $275 billion in acquisitions of common goods through category management and saving taxpayers more than $2.1 billion by reducing contract duplication and focusing the federal government's massive purchasing power to get good deals.

Donovan also noted Rung's efforts to make the sometimes Byzantine federal acquisition process a little more clear through innovative efforts such as TechFAR. In addition, she launched the Acquisition 360 program at OMB a year ago. That review identifies where agencies can improve interactions with vendors and customers.

In early 2014, Rung unveiled the far-reaching category management effort spearheaded by the General Services Administration and steered by OMB.

The initiative has resulted in a series of policy mandates aimed at saving money and reducing the number of federal contracts for personal computers, software licenses and mobile devices and services.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Sep 16, 2016 at 1:29 PM0 comments


Dawn Leaf retires as Labor CIO

Exit Sign

Dawn Leaf, who has served as the Department of Labor CIO since 2014, is retiring from the federal government. She announced her retirement on Sept. 5 and her last day on the job is Sept. 30. Leaf told FCW in an email that after a 35-year career in the public and private sectors, she wanted to spend more time with family and on personal interests.

Leaf earned Federal 100 honors in 2014, in part for her leadership (first as deputy CIO then as CIO) on Department of Labor IT modernization and consolidation. Under the plan, Labor has shifted nine legacy email systems to a single cloud-based service, and moved its human resources to a federal shared service system. Additionally, the agency has made some gains in data center consolidation. Next up, according to budget documents, is a move to unified communications, which is expected to yield annual savings of $20 million.

Leaf also is known as an early and enthusiastic backer of cloud computing in the federal space. She joined DOL after a stint as a senior advisor on cloud issues at the National Institute for Standards and Technology. Leaf has also served as deputy CIO and CTO at the Department of Commerce, CIO of the Bureau of Industry and Security and as CTO of the Smithsonian Institution.

Labor's deputy CIO Gundeep Ahluwalia will take over after Leaf departs. Ahluwalia joined DOL in August.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Sep 07, 2016 at 1:03 PM0 comments


FCC appoints senior tech adviser

Henning Schulzrinne

Henning Schulzrinne is returning to the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC has appointed him senior adviser for technology in the Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis.

Schulzrinne served as the FCC's CTO from 2011 to 2014 and has spent the past two years as a professor of computer science and electrical engineering at the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University.

He will serve as senior adviser until the end of the year, when he will return to his former position of CTO and replace Scott Jordan, who is leaving the agency.

"Henning's return to the agency ensures the commission will continue to have outstanding technology expertise on hand as we tackle the policy problems of today's complex communications networks," FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a statement. "Henning's experience and vision have been invaluable to our work. With complex technical challenges such as broadband privacy and confronting robocalls and spoofing, I am grateful both that Henning has agreed to return and that he and Scott will overlap for a time."

Posted by Chase Gunter on Sep 02, 2016 at 12:16 PM0 comments


OMB seeks IT buying expert

room of computers

The Office of Management and Budget is looking for an IT category management specialist to support its governmentwide policy to help streamline the federal government's $50 billion annual IT spending.

OMB's category management initiative includes 10 "super categories" of commonly purchased goods and services, each run by individual managers with particular expertise in that area. OMB named managers for those super categories in February.

In June, Mary Davie, GSA's assistant commissioner for integrated technology services, temporarily took on the role of IT category manager after former HP executive Kim Luke, who had been serving in that position since February, stepped down.

The listing on USAJobs.gov indicates that the IT category management specialist position pays $92,145 to $119,794 a year. It's a two- to four-year "term position," with the two-year extension dependent on management needs.

According to the listing, which closes Sept. 11, the specialist reports to the deputy administrator for federal procurement policy and works closely with the U.S. CIO to support governmentwide category management. The specialist should also be able to reap indirect improvements such as better performance management, increased availability of data, fewer transactions and a more efficient IT acquisition environment.

Candidates should be experts in supporting implementation of the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act and able to spot opportunities for collaborating more widely and reducing duplication, particularly by using improved acquisition techniques and managing software licensing.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Aug 31, 2016 at 12:43 PM0 comments


OPM hire means top detailees go back to their real jobs

Lisa Schlosser (L) and Margie Graves

Lisa Schlosser (left) and Margie Graves are going back to their regular jobs.

The Office of Personnel Management's hiring of David DeVries as CIO is having a domino effect on IT personnel.

Two top-level IT officials who were provisionally detailed to positions outside their agencies while OPM was between permanent CIOs will return to their previous posts.

Lisa Schlosser, who filled in as OPM's acting CIO, will return to her position as deputy administrator in the Office of Management and Budget's Office of E-Government and Information Technology, where she has served since 2011.

Margie Graves, who temporarily took over Schlosser's position at OMB, will return to the Department of Homeland Security as deputy CIO, where she has served since 2008.

Graves confirmed the moves to FCW at an Aug. 25 event sponsored by FedScoop.

Schlosser's and Graves' cross-agency assignments resulted from Donna Seymour's resignation as OPM CIO in February in the aftermath of the breach that exposed some 22 million personnel records.

Posted by Chase Gunter on Aug 25, 2016 at 11:44 AM2 comments


DeSalvo exits ONC

Karen DeSalvo

Since October 2014, Karen DeSalvo has been serving as national coordinator for health IT and acting assistant secretary for health. Her role was changed as part of the U.S. response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa.

Almost two years later, DeSalvo is having her workload eased. HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced that Vindell Washington is taking over as head of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.

In an Aug. 11 email message to staff, Burwell said Washington is being elevated from his position as ONC's principal deputy national coordinator. He has worked on several key initiatives, such as Delivery System Reform, the Precision Medicine Initiative and the government's response to the opioid drug crisis.

Before joining ONC as deputy director, Washington served as president and chief medical information officer of the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System in Louisiana.

In her role as national coordinator, DeSalvo has pushed for more effective data sharing at the agency and appealed for more efficiencies. In remarks at ONC's annual meeting in June, DeSalvo said she believed a shift to improved sharing of patient data and increased medical record interoperability depended on an appeal to the business benefits and the implementation of common standards.

"Karen has served tirelessly as the national coordinator since joining the department in January 2014," Burwell wrote in the email message, adding that ONC has pushed interoperability across the health care system, significantly advanced the Health IT Certification Program, expanded the secure flow of electronic health information and opened up health data application programming interfaces.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Aug 11, 2016 at 1:23 PM1 comments


NRC names David Nelson as CIO

David Nelson

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has appointed David Nelson as its CIO.

Nelson is a federal IT veteran, having most recently worked as CIO and director of the Office of Enterprise Information at the Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

"David's lengthy experience with the government's use of information technology will help the NRC keep pace with today's interconnected world," said Victor McCree, NRC's executive director for operations, in the statement.

Nelson’s start date has yet to be finalized, according to the agency.

CMS officials chose him to help rescue the ailing HealthCare.gov site and to oversee the technology backbone that supports services such as Medicare claims processing.

He has held several positions at CMS since joining the agency in 2004, including director of the Office of Information Services, director of the Office of Enterprise Management, and director of the Data Analytics and Control Group at the Center for Program Integrity.

Before joining CMS, Nelson worked in the private sector, where he helped establish two broadband development companies to support underserved U.S. markets.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Aug 09, 2016 at 1:28 PM0 comments


A 'money-making' CIO job

Shutterstock image: Help wanted.

The agency responsible for printing U.S. paper currency and sensitive security documents such as identification cards is looking for a CIO, according to a USAJobs post.

The Treasury Department's Bureau of Engraving and Printing wants to hire an associate director/CIO to be responsible for the overall direction, management and oversight of all agency IT systems, networks, authorizations, policies and procedures.

Duties include directing the bureau's overall IT policy and managing its Information Systems Security Program to ensure the safeguarding of all relevant assets and data. The CIO will also manage the bureau's office automation initiatives, which cover more than 2,200 desktop computers and intranet kiosks in the bureau's main production and satellite facilities.

Current CIO Will Levy III also serves as associate director for management. He will remain at the bureau as head of the management directorate, a spokesperson told FCW.

The job requires a top-secret security clearance and U.S. citizenship. The salary range is $123,175 to $185,100. Applications are due by Aug. 15.

Posted by Bianca Spinosa on Aug 03, 2016 at 9:55 AM0 comments


When security goes too far

Cartoon by John Klossner for FCW

Posted by John Klossner on Jul 28, 2016 at 11:01 AM0 comments


NASA taps new IT security leader

NASA logo

NASA has selected Jeanette Hanna-Ruiz as its new chief information security officer.

An announcement on the NASA.gov website states that Hanna-Ruiz, who will also serve as the senior agency information security official, will take over her new role on Aug. 8.

Hanna-Ruiz's 20-plus years of cybersecurity experience include being a primary author of the Cyberspace Policy Review for the White House and serving as chief of staff for the National Protection and Programs Directorate at the Department of Homeland Security.

While at DHS, she helped bolster the department's cyber readiness and shape its cyber mission. She also worked with a joint DHS/National Security Agency cyber coordination group and served as the program manager for a cyber crime and forensics training academy sponsored by the Defense Department.

In 2012, Hanna-Ruiz took her talents to Microsoft, where she was a senior leader of the company's consulting services with a focus that included cybersecurity. She also taught cybersecurity and policy at the University of Maryland University College.

Posted by Chase Gunter on Jul 20, 2016 at 2:40 PM0 comments


Tighe takes over naval intel, info warfare

Vice Admiral Jan Tighe. Photo courtesy: U.S. Navy

Vice Adm. Jan Tighe

The Navy has a new top spy and cyber official.

Vice Adm. Jan Tighe has moved into the post of Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare and Director of Naval Intelligence. The post taps Tighe's experience as one of the Navy's senior-most cyberwarriors. She's served as commander, U.S. Fleet Cyber Command and U.S. Cyber Command deputy.

Tighe is also a lead architect of the Fleet Command's five-year strategy, developed in part to respond to Iranian hacker intrusions into the Navy's vast and widely distributed network.  Her work included a push to detect and differentiate routine and critical threats on Navy networks. "I've got to have a diversity of different kinds of sensors and blocking capabilities and the analytic horsepower to be able to respond to that,” she told reporters in 2015.

The elevation of Tighe to this command also brings to a close an embarrassing chapter in the history of naval intelligence. Tighe's predecessor, Vice Adm. Ted "Twig" Branch, served in the post for more than two years with a suspended security clearance. Branch's clearance was suspended because his name came up in a corruption investigation. While Branch was never charged, his clearance was never restored, so he spent much of the recent years unable to view classified materials and receive classified briefings, severely curtailing his ability to do his job.

"The shortest version of the story is, it's frustrating in the extreme," Branch said at an AFCEA West conference, in remarks reported by Military.com. "Probably the most important point is, I am not a danger to national security, nor have I ever been, nor will I ever be, and the idea that I would be is insulting," he said.

Vice Adm. Mike Gilday is taking over for Tighe as commander of U.S. Fleet Cyber Command.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Jul 18, 2016 at 3:28 PM0 comments


Census seeks CTO

Shutterstock editorial image (by Gil C): State Census Bureau homepage.

The Census Bureau is looking for a new chief technology officer.

In the midst of the bureau's 2020 technology push -- an ambitious overhaul that watchdogs are monitoring closely -- the agency posted its official CTO job listing on July 11.

The posting comes three weeks after Avi Bender, who had served as Census CTO since 2010, moved to the National Technical Information Service.

The next CTO will serve under another newly arrived leader -- CIO Kevin Smith, who joined the bureau in June.

The CTO will be tasked with finding the right tools to carry out Smith's directives, researching risky but rewarding technologies and advising Census leaders on technical issues.

Applicants should have extensive technical and leadership expertise and the ability to obtain a top secret security clearance.

The position is slated to pay between $123,175 and $185,100. Census plans to accept applications through Aug. 8.

Posted by Zach Noble on Jul 12, 2016 at 2:11 PM0 comments


Google legend joins Defense Digital Service

Matt Cutts is taking a leave of absence from his job as head of Google's web spam team to work for the Defense Department's digital SWAT team.

Cutts announced his move to the Defense Digital Service in a June 17 blog post in which he described seeing technology professionals trying to improve the way the government works.

"They're idealists who are also making a large impact," he wrote. "From talking to many of them, I can tell you that their energy is contagious and they're trying to improve things in all kinds of ways."

He has been described as the Alan Greenspan of search engine optimization because of the impact his pronouncements have had on the business of SEO.

Cutts joined Google in 2000 and has been the public face and a key engineer behind the scenes on the company's efforts to improve search quality and minimize web spam. He wrote the first version of SafeSearch, Google's parental-control filter.

The Defense Digital Service consists of about 15 entrepreneurs and technology experts who are trying to get DOD to apply a startup mentality to certain projects.

A Pentagon spokesperson confirmed Cutts' hiring and told FCW that participants are typically assigned to a team based on what issues DOD faces, though Cutts might have a specific issue he'll want to work on.

The Defense Digital Service helped carry out Hack the Pentagon, a first-of-its-kind bug bounty program in May in which vetted hackers were allowed to probe DOD websites for vulnerabilities. Hackers found about 90 vulnerabilities in the process, including the ability to manipulate website content.

The group is also focused on improving the Pentagon's widely disliked travel booking system.

Posted by Bianca Spinosa on Jun 20, 2016 at 1:00 PM0 comments


Obama taps former spy as CIA watchdog

CIA logo

After more than a year without a top watchdog, the CIA has a nominee to lead its Office of Inspector General. President Obama announced the nomination of attorney and onetime CIA operative Shirley Woodward on June 16. The appointment came on the same day that CIA Director John Brennan was quizzed by lawmakers about the absence of a Senate-confirmed agency minder.

Woodward has been a partner at the prestigious D.C. law firm WilmerHale for the past six years. She came to private law practice after a clerkship for Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

Woodward also brings serious national security experience to the job. She spent 12 years inside the CIA as an intelligence operations officer. She was associate general counsel and chief Iraq investigator for the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the U.S. Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction from 2004-2005.

The IG post has been vacant since David Buckley retired in February 2015. Since that time, Christopher Sharpley has been serving as IG on an acting basis.

In a rare open hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) asked Brennan about the longtime vacancy, and Brennan hinted that some news could be forthcoming.

"I think this is…one of the most important positions in government, particularly in the intelligence agencies, which don't have the oversight that other more public agencies do," King said.

The relationship between the CIA IG and Congress has been on shaky ground of late. According to press reports, the IG's office deleted, purportedly by accident, one of just a few electronic copies of a classified Senate report on torture of terror suspects at CIA-run secret sites overseas. In a May 2016 letter, committee vice chair Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) requested that the OIG be furnished with a new electronic copy of the report for its own oversight purposes.

The Intelligence Committee will hold hearings on the nomination before a vote of the full Senate.

Posted by Aisha Chowdhry on Jun 17, 2016 at 3:27 PM0 comments


FAA joining the chief data officer movement

help wanted ad

The Federal Aviation Administration is looking to hire its first chief data officer.

In a June 10 job posting, the FAA notes that the new leadership role will require thinking about data both offensively and defensively: The agency wants to use and share its data in new ways, while also minimizing the risk that valuable data might be hacked.

The CDO will work with leadership of FAA's NextGen modernization push, as well as the Air Traffic Organization's chief operating officer and the CIO within FAA’s Office of Finance and Management.

Successful candidates will need both leadership and tech experience, and the ability to obtain a top secret security clearance.

The CDO position is slated to pay between $124,900 and $175,700. The FAA plans to accept applications through July 12.

Posted by Zach Noble on Jun 13, 2016 at 2:16 PM0 comments


FBI names leader for investigative tech

Wikimedia image: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) logo.

Todd McCall has been named assistant director for the FBI's key investigative technology division, the agency said on June 9.

McCall took on the new job at the Operational Technology Division  in Quantico, Va. this month. The division develops and deploys technology to support the agency's intelligence, national security, and law enforcement operations.

The division's staff is an eclectic collection of FBI agents, engineers, electronic technicians, forensic examiners and analysts that work on some the agency's most significant investigations, including computer hacking, child pornography, terrorist plots and government corruption.  

McCall began his career with the agency in its Dallas Division in 1990, where he served on its Evidence Response Team. He most recently served as the special agent in charge of the Memphis Division.

Over his career, the FBI said, McCall helped manage investigations into the Oklahoma City bombing and the Sept. 11, 2001, crash of United Air Lines Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pa.

The agency said he has also held previous positions at the FBI Laboratory at the OTD, as well as special agent in charge of the Memphis Division.

In 2014, as he started his stint in Memphis, McCall wrote a guest column for the city's daily newspaper about the development of the bureau's Next Generation Cyber Initiative, which set long-term plans for the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to prepare for the future of crime, spying and terrorism.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Jun 10, 2016 at 9:40 AM0 comments


McCabe joins Deloitte to focus on digital

Kymm McCabe

Value Storm Growth Partners founder and former ASI Government CEO Kymm McCabe has joined Deloitte to focus on the firm's digital practice with the federal government. As a principal at Deloitte, she told FCW, her primary activity will be "helping to engage with the clients...to develop and execute solutions to try to bring their organizations and their missions into the digital space."

The hire is expected to be officially announced later on June 7.

McCabe, who won a 2015 Federal 100 award for her leadership on acquisition reform, said she spent the past 18 months doing commercial consulting primarily because she "wanted to be able to understand what capabilities were in the commercial space that we could bring back" into government. Deloitte Digital, she added, "has an incredible capability and platform for that."

McCabe said some of her Value Storm clients would be following her to Deloitte while others were being handed off to other firms. Her primary focus, however, will be on working with federal agencies to map and execute their digital efforts.

In addition to ASI Government and her own firm, McCabe has held senior positions at the U.S. Army, ICF International, Advanced Performance Consulting Group, the Alliance for Converging Technologies and EDS. But she said her position at Deloitte is intended to be "my last job."

The role will evolve over time, McCabe predicted, but "right now my focus is on making sure that we have the right solutions and capabilities, and that we're having the right conversations" with government agencies.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Jun 07, 2016 at 5:37 AM1 comments


Transportation IG wants a CIO fast

Shutterstock image.

The Transportation Department's Office of Inspector General is looking for a CIO.

In a June 6 job posting, officials ask experienced technology leaders to send in their resumes but say they will only review the first 100 they receive.

The new CIO will manage hardware, software, security and strategic planning for all things technology in the IG's office.

The salary range is $128,082 to $160,300. Successful applicants must be able to obtain a top secret security clearance.

The position is opening up because current CIO Jason Carroll will soon be leaving for another agency, a spokeswoman told FCW. She declined to name the agency, and Carroll did not respond to a request for comment.

DOT officials plan to accept applications through June 20 or until they receive 100 applications, whichever comes first.

Posted by Zach Noble on Jun 07, 2016 at 2:27 PM0 comments


MSPB hiring new privacy chief

MSPB logo

The Merit Systems Protection Board is seeking an experienced attorney to focus on privacy as chief privacy officer and director of information services.

The job comes with a heavy focus on how to manage, store and destroy personally identifiable information to keep it from falling into unauthorized hands.

The independent agency is responsible for investigating claims of wrongful termination or disciplinary action against federal civil servants, so MSPB handles a great deal of sensitive personal information.

The job posting comes as the new Federal Privacy Council is helping to push privacy issues to the federal fore.

MSPB Clerk of the Board Bill Spencer told FCW that officials hope to "double-down" on good privacy practices with the new hire. He said the previous job-holder left in August 2015, and back then the job was only director of information services.

The new dual position will not report to the MSPB CIO but will instead report directly to Spencer -- an independent set-up that is in line with White House declarations that "privacy is not a subset of cybersecurity or IT" but its own important field of work.

Qualified applicants must have a law degree in addition to leadership skills and privacy expertise. The position will pay between $108,887 and $160,300.

MSPB's job posting went live June 6, and the board plans to take applications through June 15.

Spencer noted that various regulations will apply to the hiring process, but he said that given MSPB's desire to stay abreast of the government's heightened focus on privacy, "obviously, we want to try to recruit as quickly as possible."

Posted by Zach Noble on Jun 06, 2016 at 12:43 PM0 comments


SEC promotes cyber adviser

Wikimedia image: Securities and Exchange Commission logo.

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced June 2 that Christopher Hetner would step into a new role as senior adviser for cybersecurity policy, working directly with SEC Chair Mary Jo White.

Hetner has been serving as cybersecurity lead for the SEC Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations' Technology Control Program.

Before joining the SEC in January 2015, Hetner worked in cybersecurity at major financial system players such as Ernst and Young, GE Capital and Citigroup.

His appointment comes as the financial industry and financial regulators are, like all critical infrastructure sectors, warding off ever-increasing breach attempts.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has been hit with a spate of major information security incidents, while the Treasury Department has, conversely, received high marks for its stewardship of financial industry cybersecurity.

Posted by Zach Noble on Jun 03, 2016 at 1:54 PM0 comments


Treasury seeks IT backbone manager

Wikimedia image: Department of the Treasury.

The Treasury Department, which has recently drawn praise for shepherding the nation's financial infrastructure, is looking for an experienced IT manager to tend its internal systems.

The associate CIO for infrastructure operations will oversee the security, maintenance and basic operations of Treasury's IT underpinnings, according to the department's May 31 job posting.

The position, which is based in Washington, is also charged with ensuring that Treasury's systems comply with privacy and records management mandates.

The winning candidate will manage a staff of 85 -- including many contractors -- and keep tabs on multiple enterprise-level systems.

Applicants should have GS-15-level leadership experience and the ability to secure a top secret security clearance. The position is slated to pay between $123,175 and $170,400.

Treasury is accepting applications through June 27.

Posted by Zach Noble on Jun 02, 2016 at 12:22 PM0 comments


New IT policy lead at OMB

OMB logo

Jamie Berryhill has stepped down from a senior role advising federal CIO Tony Scott at the Office of Management and Budget. The post of chief of policy, budget, and communication now goes to Sean Casey.

Casey has been acting as the project lead on the administration's $3.1 billion IT Modernization Fund proposal. Scott has been pushing Congress to back a revolving fund to modernize legacy IT systems; the goal is to kick-start projects with money agencies will pay back into a fund administered by the General Services Administration.

Berryhill is taking up a post with the U.S. mission to the UN's Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, as part of OECD's Public Sector Innovation team. That job is based in Paris.

Posted by Aisha Chowdhry on May 31, 2016 at 11:47 AM0 comments


TRANSCOM in search of deputy CIO

Transcom

U.S. Transportation Command is in search of a deputy CIO to help oversee IT investments and handle an ongoing transition to a joint IT architecture. The position pays as much as $170,400 a year and is on the front lines of an agency that has struggled to manage its cyber risk.

The command, located at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, is the U.S. military's main artery for distributing troops and equipment.

A 2014 investigation by the Senate Armed Services Committee concluded that Chinese hackers had breached the computer networks of contractors 20 times over the course of a year, but that the command was aware of just two of those intrusions. Commander Gen. Darren McDew has pledged to make amends. The incoming deputy CIO could play a role in those efforts.

The new hire won't be much longer on the job than his or her boss. In March, Col. Angela Cadwell replaced Brig. Gen. Mitchel Butikofer as the command's CIO and head of command, control, communications and cyber systems. Cadwell has been tapped for a promotion to brigadier general.

The command wants its deputy CIO to have experience managing an "expansive and diverse" IT and cyberspace portfolio, according to a job ad posted on May 23. Corporate experience is welcome, though candidates should still be well versed in technologies that protect classified and unclassified "strategic computer networks vital to national security," the ad states

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on May 25, 2016 at 1:02 PM0 comments


FCC wants a chief data officer

FCC logo.

The Federal Communications Commission is looking for a chief data officer, the agency announced with a May 18 job posting.

The CDO will be charged with managing the quality, governance and security of the FCC's data, as well as charting strategies for applications of existing FCC datasets, including those dealing with spectrum use.

The CDO will also drive the development of new programs and policies and the procurement of new data sets and IT systems.

Applicants will need to be able to obtain a top secret security clearance. The position will pay between $123,175 and $170,400.

A source close to the issue said that while FCC components have CDOs, the FCC does not currently have an agency-wide CDO. The FCC did not return an official request for comment by press time.

The FCC was among the first federal agencies to appoint a CDO back in 2010, though the debate over what exactly a CDO should do, and whether they're needed in the first place, have taken place.

Applications will be accepted through June 10, according to the job posting.

Posted by Zach Noble on May 18, 2016 at 1:35 PM0 comments


Air Force HR is hiring a CIO

help wanted sign

Many CIOs would agree that general management and communication skills are at least as important to the job as hard-core IT chops. For one Air Force position in particular, though, finding a people person is especially important.

The Air Force's headquarters office for manpower, personnel and services is seeking a CIO who will also serve as deputy director for plans and integration. The job includes responsibility for developing the human resources enterprise architecture, portfolio management and governance across some 160 IT systems. Other duties include providing integrated technology and business process solutions for HR requirements.

The job description calls for experience with commercial business processes and HR systems, as well as a demonstrated knowledge of various Air Force and Defense Department commands. The position opened up at the end of April when Bill Marion, a 2015 Federal 100 winner, became the service's deputy CIO. Marion had held the job for roughly a year.

The salary range for this Senior Executive Service position is $148,016 to $170,400. The job is based at Air Force headquarters in the Pentagon, and a top secret security clearance is required.

The Air Force is accepting applications through May 31.

Posted by Bianca Spinosa on May 16, 2016 at 9:12 AM0 comments


Education Department looks to staff back up in CIO shop

Wikimedia image: Department of Education.

The Education Department is looking for a new deputy CIO.

In a May 9 job posting, the agency asks for a deputy who can adeptly manage an existing tech portfolio, keep track of current and upcoming legislation and advise the CIO on new technology developments.

The search for a deputy CIO comes on the heels of two significant departures.

In February, longtime CIO Danny Harris testified about personal conduct issues in a particularly rough congressional grilling. He retired three weeks later.

Harris was replaced by then-Deputy CIO Steve Grewal, but Grewal reportedly left Education earlier this month. EdScoop reported that Education’s IT Director Ken Moore is serving as acting CIO.

An Education spokeswoman did not return a request for comment on this story.

The deputy CIO position will pay between $123,175 and $185,100. Candidates need to be capable of obtaining a top secret security clearance.

Education plans to take applications until May 31, according to the job posting.

Posted by Zach Noble on May 10, 2016 at 2:37 PM0 comments


Tech firm taps Tangherlini for D.C. operations

Dan Tangherlini

Cloud document platform provider SeamlessDocs has named former General Services Administration administrator Dan Tangherlini to lead its Washington operations.

The New York City-based firm said in a May 9 statement that Tangherlini will head up its D.C. operations as president of Seamless Federal. He will work out of tech incubator 1776 in Washington and be responsible for introducing the firm's services to the federal marketplace, according to the company.

Tangherlini left his post as chief operating officer of real estate investment firm Artemis Real Estate Partners last month, where he was in charge of corporate strategy and operations since leaving GSA in February 2015.

SeamlessDocs offers a cloud-based platform that hosts PDF versions of forms that users can fill out and submit with electronic signatures, payments and attachments, eliminating the need for paper forms. The firm was founded in 2011 and was formerly known as Bizodo.

"If government is going to deliver its services in the way people have come to expect in nearly every other transaction they engage in, it is going to need to update its systems to meet those expectations," Tangherlini said in the company statement. "SeamlessDocs provides an important step toward that future of better service and quality."

Correction: This story was updated May 11 to reflect the previous name of SeamlessDocs and Dan Tangherlini's departure from his previous position.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on May 09, 2016 at 11:53 AM0 comments


AT&T's Chris Boyer to chair NIST privacy board

Chris Boyer, AT&T

Chris Boyer, assistant vice president of global public policy at AT&T Services

A key advisory board at the National Institute of Standards and Technology is getting new leadership. Chris Boyer, assistant vice president of global public policy at AT&T Services, is taking over as chairman of NIST's Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board.

Boyer has been a member of ISPAB since 2012. At AT&T, he helps lead efforts to develop and promote the company's regulatory and legislative strategies. He's also instrumental in AT&T's strategic policy on cybersecurity, according to a NIST announcement.

Boyer has other government advisory experience, including serving on the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Council and the Communications Sector Coordinating Council, both at the Department of Homeland Security. His term as ISPAB chair lasts until June 10, 2020.

ISPAB advises NIST on matters related to the security and privacy of government information systems. The board hosts several annual public meetings at which members hear from government officials on issues, challenges and new programs. The meetings typically span a few days, and they provide some of the most open and expert discussions of executive branch IT policies and programs in any public setting. The board also advises NIST on standards.

Boyer replaces Google computer scientist Peter Weinberger as chairman. 

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on May 02, 2016 at 3:03 PM0 comments


The money factory needs a CTO

Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew and Treasurer of the United States Rosie Rios holding bricks of $100 notes.

Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew and Treasurer of the United States Rosie Rios pose with bricks of $100 notes. (Photo courtesy Bureau of Engraving and Printing)

In an April 25 job posting, the Treasury Department's Bureau of Engraving and Printing solicits applications for a chief technology officer, also referred to as a "currency technology officer."

Much of the job would revolve around printing cash; the bureau's URL is, appropriately enough, moneyfactory.gov.

The CTO will be tasked with driving technology investments for the design of U.S. currency and the detection and deterrence of counterfeiting, among other things.

Applicants must have strong leadership skills and a science or engineering background, the posting states.

The search for a CTO is tied to an ongoing reorganization and recapitalization at the bureau.

The position was created in 2014 and is currently filled by Michael Wash, who plans to stay on board until his successor is selected, a spokesperson told FCW. The salary range for the Senior Executive Service position is $123,175 to $185,100, and it requires a top secret security clearance.

Applications are open until May 13.

Note: This article was updated on May 10 to correct Wash's status. He is not serving in an acting capacity, as was originally stated here.

Posted by Zach Noble on Apr 26, 2016 at 10:18 AM0 comments


Gonzalez to step up as EPA CTO

EPA seal

Robin Gonzalez will replace Greg Godbout as the Environmental Protection Agency's chief technology officer, according to an internal email message obtained by FCW.

In the April 20 staff notice, EPA CIO Ann Dunkin said she has asked Gonzalez to step into the position after current CTO Greg Godbout departs for the private sector at the end of the month.

Godbout, who is also digital services lead at EPA, is leaving the agency for a position at cBrain, an international provider of digital workflow, knowledge processing, records management and communication software packages.

Dunkin praised Godbout as "the force behind a number of innovative efforts at EPA, including increased collaboration for the cloud-first strategy, developing an agile acquisition program and establishing EPA's Innovation Fellowship."

She added that Gonzalez, a senior EPA official who recently served as Godbout's deputy, will keep the agency on the same innovative path.

Godbout's last day at EPA will be April 29, and according to cBrain, he begins his new job on May 1.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Apr 21, 2016 at 11:01 AM0 comments


Senate confirms VA watchdog

VA logo

After more than two years without a Senate-confirmed watchdog, the Department of Veterans Affairs has filled the post of inspector general. Michael Missal, a Washington attorney who specializes in government enforcement and internal investigations, takes over after being confirmed by the Senate by unanimous consent on April 19.

The department had been without a permanent IG since George Opfer announced his retirement at the end of 2013. In the time since, senators repeatedly called for a full-time replacement, and in July 2015 an acting head stepped down amid criticism of being too cozy with the department he was charged with overseeing.

President Barack Obama appointed Missal in October 2015, but the nomination had been held since January by Sens. Jim Inhofe (R.-Okla.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and David Vitter (R-La.).  The three released their holds after receiving assurances that their various concerns about deficiencies within VA would be addressed.

"Michael Missal is the tip of the spear to restore much-needed transparency and accountability at the VA Office of the Inspector General," Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said in a statement. Johnson chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, which held Missal's confirmation hearing 

Sens. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, also praised Missal's confirmation.

"I look forward to working with Mr. Missal as we root out the problems and hold bad actors at the VA accountable. With veterans still waiting too long to receive their care and benefits, now is the time for strong oversight and a cultural change at the VA," Isakson said. 

Missal "will be a key leader in our ongoing accountability to ensure the VA honors and helps our country's heroes, like his own father, a decorated World War II veteran who served in the Army's 286th engineer combat battalion," said Blumenthal.

Missal will assume the IG role immediately.

Posted by Chase Gunter on Apr 20, 2016 at 7:02 PM1 comments


Godbout exits for software startup

Greg Godbout speaks February 18, 2015. Still from Federal Acquisition Institute video.

Greg Godbout, chief technology officer and digital services lead at the Environmental Protection Agency, has signed on with cBrain, an international provider of digital workflow, knowledge processing, records management and communication software packages.

He will join the company on May 1 and add "strong insight into U.S. government digital transformation" to the company's operations, according to a press release.

Godbout has been a central figure in spreading innovative digital approaches across federal agencies. Before joining EPA, he was executive director and co-founder of the General Services Administration's 18F digital workshop, a 2013 Presidential Innovation Fellow and 2015 Federal 100 award winner.

As a Presidential Innovation Fellow and at GSA, Godbout recruited and hired dozens of software developers, product managers and designers with the goal of bringing a more agile approach and improving everyday processes in the federal government.

At cBrain, Godbout will help develop the company's F2 suite of digital public administration software, focusing on the U.S. market.

The company said Godbout will work alongside team member David Cotterill, a former deputy director at the U.K. Cabinet Office responsible for technology strategies.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Apr 19, 2016 at 1:50 PM0 comments


Familiar face returns to Cyber Command

Photo credit: U.S. Army

After two years as commanding general of the Army's Intelligence and Security Command, Maj. Gen. George J. Franz III is heading back to Cyber Command, where he will be director of operations, the Pentagon announced.

Franz was previously commander of the Cyber National Mission Force at U.S. Cyber Command in Fort Meade, where his work earned him a 2014 Federal 100 award.

Franz returns to Cyber Command at a time when the command is stepping up efforts to hack the Islamic State terrorist group in Iraq and Syria. His previous battlefield experience in Iraq and Afghanistan could come in handy in that regard.

Franz's replacement at INSCOM is Maj. Gen. Christopher Ballard, who did a stint at Army Cyber Command from 2012 to 2013. The command, based at Fort Belvoir, Va., is a main Army hub for information security and intelligence operations.

The Pentagon also recently reassigned Rear Adm. Kevin Kovacich to be director of plans and policy at Cyber Command. Kovacich previously held that same position for U.S. Africa Command. He has a managerial background, having worked as a certified public accountant before joining the Navy over 30 years ago.

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Apr 18, 2016 at 1:08 PM0 comments


FBI taps 8-year vet for CIO post

Wikimedia image: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) logo.

FBI Director James Comey has picked Gordon Bitko, a Rand Corp. scholar and current FBI employee, to be the agency's CIO, an FBI spokesperson confirmed.

Jerome Pender stepped down as CIO last August. Brian Truchon, a 30-year veteran of the Bureau, has been acting CIO since then.

Judging by a January posting for the CIO job, it will require not only playing the traditional managerial role of the CIO but also going out in the field to understand the FBI's operational and tech needs.

The FBI is seeking $85 million in added cybersecurity funding for fiscal 2017, part of which will go to upgrading hardware and software.

Among the projects under Bitko's charge will be the Sentinel case management system, an estimated $500 million project once plagued by delays but which the bureau's CTO now claims as a success story in agile development.

Federal News Radio was first to report Bitko's appointment.

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Apr 14, 2016 at 3:38 PM0 comments


Photos from the Fed 100

The 2016 Federal 100 Awards gala was held on April 7 in Washington, D.C. Selected photos from the event are below, and you can learn more about all the 2016 winners here.

Click here to view all awards gala photos.

Posted by FCW Staff on Apr 11, 2016 at 12:37 PM0 comments


DIA names Melissa Drisko as deputy

Melissa Drisko. Photo courtesty DIA.

The Defense Intelligence Agency has picked Melissa Drisko, a career intelligence official with experience managing a big technology portfolio, to be the agency's No. 2 official. Drisko has served as DIA's director of science and technology and in several other positions in the intelligence community.

Her appointment as deputy director is effective in August. She will replace Douglas Wise, who is retiring.

In a statement, DIA Director Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart praised Drisko as "the right choice as a partner in leading this agency. She speaks truth to power, unbiased and unblemished -- this is the mark of a true leader."

As science and technology director, Drisko oversaw a portfolio covering advanced technologies, "foreign materiel exploitation," and measurement and signature intelligence (MASINT), according to DIA spokesman James Kudla. MASINT is intelligence gleaned from data that is not signals intelligence or imagery, and it uses sources such as radar signatures or chemical compositions, according to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Drisko is currently DIA's director for rank-in-person implementation, meaning she is in charge of how the agency assesses personnel performance.

She joined DIA as deputy chief financial executive in 2007. She has also worked for the CIA, the Office of Naval Intelligence, and the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research.

David Shedd, who was deputy DIA director for four years, said Drisko was the right pick to be the agency's de facto chief operating officer. "Her Navy background, keen understanding of resource management and passion for the DIA mission" will serve her well, Shedd told FCW.

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Apr 06, 2016 at 11:23 AM0 comments


Millennium Challenge Corporation lands new CIO

Millennium Challenge Corporation

After more than five years with the Peace Corps, including two as deputy CIO, Vince Groh will be moving to the CIO position at the Millennium Challenge Corporation FCW has learned...

MCC, which provides grants to developing countries with U.S.-approved governance and economic freedoms, advertised its vacancy in August 2015.

Groh's new gig will entail advising senior staff on technology infrastructure, keeping tech current and maintaining compliance with federal regulations.

Groh will be missed at the Peace Corps, say his bosses. In a farewell email,  Acting Associate Director for Global Operations Ken Yamashita called Groh, "one of our great champions of field operations in the Office of the Chief Information Officer,"

Groh's last day at the Peace Corps was April 1.

Posted by Zach Noble on Apr 01, 2016 at 2:23 PM0 comments


Intel privacy board chief resigns

David Medine, retiring chairman of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board

The leader of an independent government board designed to serve as a check on the intelligence community submitted his resignation to the White House on March 29.

David Medine, chairman of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, will leave on July 1 of this year. His term was set to expire in January 2018.

"During my tenure and thanks to the support of the president and Congress, the board has been able to carry out its timely mission of conducting oversight and providing advice to ensure that federal counterterrorism efforts properly balance national security with privacy and civil liberties," Medine said in a statement.

He is leaving to join a development organization that works on data privacy and consumer protection for lower-income financial consumers overseas.

"David has served our nation as PCLOB chairman during an especially momentous period, coinciding with a concerted examination of our national security tools and policies to ensure they are consistent with my administration's commitment to civil liberties and individual privacy," President Barack Obama said in a statement. "Under David's leadership, the PCLOB's thoughtful analysis and considered input [have] consistently informed my decision-making and that of my team, and our country is better off because of it."

The bipartisan five-member group is perhaps best known for a 2014 report that recommended ending the bulk collection of the phone records of U.S. citizens. A year later, Congress passed legislation eliminating the program, which had been authorized under Section 215 of the Patriot Act.

In February, the board announced it had appointed Columbia University Professor Steven Bellovin to be the group's first technology scholar.

Posted by Aisha Chowdhry on Mar 29, 2016 at 12:22 PM0 comments


Cobert names team for building National Background Investigations Bureau

Beth Cobert testifying before HSGAC Feb 4 2016

Acting Office of Personnel Management Director Beth Cobert described the new transition team as "a key milestone in what will be a long, inter-agency process."

Acting Office of Personnel Management Director Beth Cobert has named leaders for a transition team to help stand up the new National Background Investigations Bureau (NBIB). In an email to OPM staff obtained by FCW, Cobert said James C. Onusko will lead the effort, which will draw on "investigative, security, change management, and IT experts from several government agencies and departments."

Onusko has been the Department of Veterans Affairs' executive director for personnel security and identity management since December 2013, according to Cobert's email. His deputy will be Christy K. Wilder, a former OPM employee who is returning to the agency from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence's Office of Legislative Affairs.

Also on the team, Cobert said, are Tori Gold from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Laura Duke from the Office of Management and Budget. Current OPM employees Curtis Mejeur (the Federal Investigative Services' IT program manager) and Mark Sherwin (FIS' deputy associate director) "will also be playing a large role on the team."

Cobert added that Dean Hunter, OPM’s director of facilities, security and emergency management, will lead an internal, "parallel process within OPM" to complement the transition team's government-wide work.

OPM Press Secretary Samuel Schumach confirmed the team details to FCW, and noted that the participants "will be focused on standing up NBIB in a way that strengthens how the federal government conducts background investigations and protects vital information."

The White House announced plans to create the NBIB in January -- part of the administration's continuing efforts to address shortcomings in federal background checks and record security that surfaced in the wake of the OPM data breach that compromised personal information on more than 22 million individuals.

Posted on Mar 18, 2016 at 10:13 AM3 comments


CISO announces IT leadership shifts at VA

VA logo

The Office of Information and Technology at the Department of Veterans Affairs is undergoing a series of leadership changes to meet "evolving technology and security needs." The changes were detailed in a March 7 memo from  VA Chief Information Security Officer Brian Burns obtained by FCW.

Tina Burnette, formerly executive director for enterprise risk management at OI&T, will serve as executive director for field security services. Additionally, Susan Perez was named chief of staff for the Office of Information Security. Gary Stevens was will serve as lead for strategic and material weaknesses on OI&T's Enterprise Cybersecurity Strategy Team. 

Inside the Office of Information Security, Martin DeLeo will head cloud security and Ruth Cannatti will serve as lead for onboarding and PIV services. Casey Johle was named as lead for the Elevated Privileges project team.

"These leaders are very familiar faces to many, and we look forward to engaging with them in their new roles," Burns said.

Burns, a longtime VA IT official, was named to the CISO post in November 2015.

Posted by Aisha Chowdhry on Mar 07, 2016 at 1:00 PM2 comments


PSC picks new CEO

David J. Berteau (Photo by Sasha Haagensen/Tulane University)

David J. Berteau

The Professional Services Council announced on March 1 that longtime defense acquisition official David J. Berteau will be PSC's new CEO.  Stan Soloway, who headed the industry association for 15 years, announced his retirement last September and in February launched his own consulting firm. 

Berteau's hire was approved by the PSC board on March 1; he officially steps into the job on March 28.

Berteau has been the Defense Department's assistant secretary for logistics and materiel readiness since December 2014, and before that was senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where he also directed the National Security Program on Industry and Resources. He held a variety of DOD roles throughout the 1980s and early 90s, then spent nearly a decade working at SAIC.

 "I am excited to have the opportunity to lead such a respected organization in the fields of government technology and professional services," Berteau said in a statement announcing his hire. "Stan Soloway did a great job growing and improving the Council. I’m eager to build on those accomplishments." 

PSC Chairwoman Ellen Glover, who is executive vice president of ICF International, said, "we couldn't be more pleased to have as our new CEO someone with such a deep background in government services," noting that Berteau's career has consistently focused "on the heart of what PSC does."

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Mar 01, 2016 at 6:50 AM0 comments


Veterans Affairs deputy CIO to depart

VA logo

Art Gonzalez, deputy CIO for Service, Delivery, and Engineering at the Department of Veterans Affairs has given notice that he will leave his position on March 5. Veterans Affairs CIO LaVerne Council announced the move in a Feb. 22 memo obtained by FCW.

Gonzalez, said Council, "joined VA in 2013 to lead SDE through several phases of change," including the agency's Enterprise Strategy, said Council, who also thanked him for his time serving as the acting head of the Office of Information and Technology after former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Stephen Warren departed and before Council began her tenure.

Susan McHugh-Polley, who led the cybersecurity team that was among Council's first efforts as CIO, will take over the deputy CIO post on an acting basis.

Gonzalez has moved between government and the private sector several times in his career. Prior to coming to the VA in 2013, he was senior vice president and CIO and TISTA Science and Technology Corporation. Before that, however, he was CIO at the Internal Revenue Service for five years from 2004 to 2009. From 1998 to 2002, he was CIO at Oxford Health Plans.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Feb 22, 2016 at 1:00 PM6 comments


A new job for Darren Ash

Ash Darren

Darren Ash

Darren Ash is leaving the CIO job at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to take up the top IT post at the Farm Service Agency at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Ash will be leaving NRC in about two weeks, and starts at the USDA on March 6, according to his Feb. 17 email to colleagues announcing the move.

"I've had the distinct pleasure and honor of working for one of the best places to work in the Federal government for almost nine years," Ash wrote.  "In the time I have been here, I’ve come to appreciate that NRC is a very special, incredibly talented organization."

Ash joined the NRC in 2007. In a 2014 profile in FCW, he explained his centralized, holistic approach to managing technology inside a large organization.

"Where an organization can struggle is when different programs or projects are out on their own, without a connection," he said. "When organizations struggle, it's because something is thought of as an afterthought at the back end -- I'd rather deal with it at the front end."

Ash won Fed 100 honors in 2013, for his work with the American Council for Technology on behalf of the federal IT community. More recently, he has been co-leading efforts to develop an IT management maturity model to help agencies more effectively implement the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Feb 17, 2016 at 10:09 AM0 comments


Former PSC head launches consultancy

Stan Soloway of the Professional Services Council.

Stan Soloway, longtime leader of the Professional Services Council, is starting a new consulting venture to help vendors make sense of the federal acquisition environment.

Celero Strategies, launched Feb. 8, targets companies that are navigating an increasingly confusing federal acquisition world in which policy, budgets and market forces are colliding, Soloway told FCW. The firm will offer strategic and growth consulting, market analysis and positioning, organizational development, merger and acquisition support, and crisis communications.

Celero Strategies will not market its services to agencies. "There will be no direct delivery to government," he said, adding that the company's website will be up in a couple of weeks.

Soloway's experience in acquisition is long and deep. Before his 15-year tenure at PSC, he was the Defense Department's deputy undersecretary for acquisition reform during the Clinton administration. He said he continues to "do a lot of work with the government as a resource."

Soloway announced his retirement from PSC in September 2015. At the time, he did not indicate what his plans were. He said it was a difficult decision to leave, but "if I want to do something different and substantial before I retire, the time to do so is now."

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Feb 08, 2016 at 10:22 AM0 comments


Brand Niemann, early data scientist, dead at 74

Brand Niemann Brand Niemann

Brand Niemann, a former senior enterprise architect and data scientist at the Environmental Protection Agency, died last week.

Niemann retired in 2010 after 30 years of public service, largely with EPA. But the scope of his work went well beyond the agency. In the past 15 years, Niemann was one of the federal community's subject-matter experts on XML, service-oriented architecture, semantic interoperability and other technologies that have provided the underpinnings for the current generation of digital services.

In a January 2005 cover story, FCW singled out Niemann as one of the federal government's "unconventional thinkers."

In an interview at the time, Mark Forman, who had recently served as the first administrator for e-government and IT at the Office of Management and Budget, praised Niemann's tireless work to help agencies understand the role of standards in supporting the emerging field of e-government.

"He was one of those guys really focused on leveraging open standards like XML," Forman said at the time. "That was critical not just for e-government but for many of the missions of government."

After retiring from EPA, Niemann took the helm as director and senior data scientist at the Semantic Community, which focuses on applying data science principles to help federal agencies and other organizations make information more accessible and useful. He also founded the Federal Big Data Working Group to encourage collaboration among government data scientists.

Services for Niemann are being held Feb. 6 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Fairfax, Va. 

Posted by John Stein Monroe on Feb 04, 2016 at 10:44 AM0 comments


OPM status page is the place to be during the blizzard

Shutterstock. Copyright Dave Newman.

As Washington shoveled its way out of the aftermath of a major snowstorm, apparently one of the hottest places to be was the Office of Personnel Management's Current Status page.

Federal workers wondering if their offices would be open today visited the site in huge numbers last night. According to DigitalGov's analytics, 34,712 people checked the page at 9:50 p.m. on Jan. 25 -- enough to fill Nationals Park and Verizon Center combined. At that hour, OPM's status page was the most visited government web page. The second most visited page was OPM.gov, with 26,128 visitors.

Thousands of people were repeatedly refreshing the Current Status page until OPM made the call to close federal offices on Jan. 26, giving feds a snow day worthy of celebration or another day cooped up indoors, depending on how you look at it.

The verdict is still out for Jan. 27's status, but all signs point to a normal opening, so chances are OPM's status page will be bustling on the evening of Jan. 26 as well.

Traffic numbers for OPM and other government sites are available on the General Services Administration's analytics site.

Posted by Bianca Spinosa on Jan 26, 2016 at 1:41 PM5 comments


IARPA taps Dixon as deputy director

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity has tapped Stacey Dixon, an intelligence official with significant Capitol Hill experience, as its new deputy director.

Dixon, who previously oversaw geospatial R&D at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, has also served as NGA's liaison to Congress and as a staffer on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

This is the second recent leadership appointment at IARPA, the intelligence community's R&D shop; Director of National Intelligence James Clapper named biotech wonk Jason Matheny to head the organization last August.

Dixon's work with satellite-derived intelligence includes a stint at the National Reconnaissance Office, where she led the Science Division at NRO from 2003 to 2007.

IARPA's research interests over the last year or so have included quantum computing, "insider threats," and predicting computer hacks via a program called Cyber-attack Automated Unconventional Sensor Environment.

The research organization has in recent years increasingly focused on anticipatory intelligence, which might be described as the science of predicting unpredictable events. Dixon's background as a mechanical engineer, with a PhD from the Georgia Institute of Technology, could help the cause.

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Jan 13, 2016 at 10:09 AM0 comments


DNI announces CTIIC leadership

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has named a career FBI analyst and an Iraq War veteran to head up the cyber intelligence center that the White House ordered created after the massive hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Tonya Ugoretz, the FBI's former chief intelligence officer, will head the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center. She has done stints at the CIA, Department of Homeland Security and National Intelligence Council, and is listed as an adjunct associate professor at Georgetown University.

Maurice Bland, who most recently was the National Security Agency's associate deputy director for cyber, will serve as Ugoretz's deputy. Bland has done two combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to his official biography.

Ugoretz and Bland could be talking face-to-face with President Obama following the next large-scale hack of U.S. assets.

Clapper also tapped Thomas Donahue, a nearly three-decade veteran of the CIA with a PhD in electrical engineering, as CTIIC's research director. The center will "build understanding of cyber threats to inform government-wide decision-making," Clapper said in a statement.

The White House announced the creation of CTIIC last February. It is based at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and is modeled after the National Counterterrorism Center in an effort to "connect the dots" on cyber threats. Michael Daniel and Lisa Monaco, respectively the top White House advisers on cybersecurity and counterterrorism, have been the driving forces behind CTIIC, according to an administration official involved in the agency's standup.

CTIIC is meant to fill a void in the bureaucratic chain of command wherein Obama had no one entity to turn to for an all-source briefing on foreign cyber threats. That void became abundantly clear to White House officials after the digital destruction of Sony Pictures' IT systems in November 2014.

The agency got off to a rocky start. House lawmakers were irked that they didn't get a heads-up on its creation, and DHS officials were worried that the new agency might encroach on their own work.

But several months later, agency turf battles that appeared ready to unfold have been quieted, and there is agreement on Capitol Hill on the need for CTIIC, according to the administration official. The omnibus package funding the government this fiscal year includes money for CTIIC; the exact amount of funding is classified.

"CTIIC is vital because the foreign cyber threats we face as a nation are increasing in volume and sophistication," DHS Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement. "The CTIIC will help DHS better understand various cyber threats and provide targeted intelligence community support" to the department's own cyber threat center.

Bland's battlefield experience could come in handy, as there is increasingly a cyber dimension to kinetic war. A key to the "surge" of U.S. troops in Iraq in 2007 was an accompanying surge in cyber weapons that the NSA unleashed, as journalist Shane Harris reported in his book "@War."

Bland's LinkedIn profile touts his experience "leading numerous efforts regarding the organization of cyber units, policy, and authorities related to cyber operations."

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Jan 07, 2016 at 4:47 PM1 comments


Armstrong, Soloway honored at CES

Alan Balutis (background) presents Anne Armstrong with the CES Government 2016 Technology Leadership Award (Photo: Arias Interactive)

Anne Armstrong (pictured) and Stan Soloway received the CES Government 2016 Technology Leadership Award on Jan. 4 in Las Vegas.

Anne Armstrong and Stan Soloway are the winners of the CES Government 2016 Technology Leadership Award, which was announced Jan. 4 at the CES Government conference in Las Vegas.

Soloway stepped down as president of the Professional Services Council in December after 15 years leading that organization. Prior to PSC, he was the Defense Department's deputy undersecretary for acquisition reform during the Clinton administration.

Armstrong is co-president and chief content officer of 1105 Public Sector Media Group (the parent company of FCW) and one of the founding editors of FCW.

"Individually or together, Anne and Stan have no peers in terms of the broad and positive impact they have had, and continue to have, on our government tech sector," said the Upson Technology Group's Don Upson, who manages the Government Business Executive Forum that produces the CES Government conference.

The award honors "a long history of significant leadership in and for the technology community," Brad Antle, president and CEO of Salient Federal Solutions, told FCW.

Antle, who presented Soloway's award, praised the former PSC president for his wide range of advocacy efforts to "help inform and educate a very broad audience on policies and practices that impact our collective best interests" in government IT.

Cisco Senior Director and Distinguished Fellow Alan Balutis, who presented Armstrong's award, told FCW that she is "unmatched as a leader and mentor and facilitator of dialogue." In the federal IT community, he said, "virtually every good tech reporter has worked for her at some time or another," learning how to drive the important conversations.

Sage Communications Executive Vice President Steve Vito agreed. Noting that he'd been her competitor and colleague at different times, Vito said, "Whether a champion or a critic, [Armstrong] holds an uncanny grasp of the important issues impacting this important business."

Posted by FCW Staff on Jan 06, 2016 at 12:20 PM0 comments


OPM COO resigns

Angela Bailey

Angela Bailey will be the chief human capital officer in the Department of Homeland Security's Management Directorate.

Angela Bailey is stepping down as the Office of Personnel Management's chief operating officer to take a management job at the Department of Homeland Security, FCW has learned.

Bailey has been at the center of an organization under intense pressure to improve its IT programming following the large-scale hack affecting millions of federal employees that OPM revealed last June.

"This past year was especially tough both personally and professionally, and what I've come to realize is that unexpected things are always going to happen in life," Bailey wrote in a farewell note to colleagues. She added: "We survived all that was thrown at us by using courage, humor and grace, and for that I will be forever grateful."

Bailey has been OPM COO for over two years, prior to which she was the agency's chief human capital officer. She starts her new job as chief human capital officer in the DHS Management Directorate on Jan. 11.

As COO, Bailey has been responsible for wielding human and financial resources to achieve programmatic objectives. Under her watch, OPM has struggled to come up with the money it needs for crucial IT modernization projects worth at least $117 million, FCW has reported.

While acknowledging challenges in her farewell note, Bailey also touted successes.

"I'm quite proud of the things we accomplished together -- from overall design and implementation of hiring policy reform throughout the federal government, to the dogged determination we had to refine and improve our internal processes," she wrote.

Bailey "has brought an enormous amount of creativity and a spirit of innovation to every role she has had at OPM," Acting Director Beth Cobert wrote in her own note to OPM staff.

Bailey began her career as a clerk in the Social Security Administration, according to her agency and LinkedIn biographies. She also spent several years on human resources issues at the Defense Logistics Agency

Bailey will likely remain in close contact with OPM leadership. "Many of us expect to continue to work closely with Angie through her leadership on the CHCO Council," Cobert wrote.

Chief Financial Officer Dennis Coleman, who has been at OPM over 20 years, will fill in for Bailey as interim COO. Coleman "has an excellent relationship with OMB and with DOD, one of our biggest customers," Cobert wrote.

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Jan 05, 2016 at 3:08 PM0 comments


Secret Service taps Nally for CIO post

Brigadier General Kevin J. Nally, Deputy Chief Information Officer (Marine Corps)

Retired Brig. Gen. Kevin Nally

The Secret Service has a new CIO, and he’s a familiar face in federal IT circles. Retired Brig. Gen. Kevin Nally, who stepped down as CIO of the Marine Corps in July, assumed that position at the Secret Service on Nov. 15, an agency spokeswoman said.

Nally takes the IT reins of an agency beset by scandal – the latest coming this week when a Secret Service officer's gun, badge and flash drive were stolen from the officer's car near the agency’s Washington headquarters.

The IT challenges facing the Secret Service are not far removed from the scandals that are cable news fodder. For example, the crash of a quadcopter drone on White House grounds in January renewed attention on the Secret Service’s investments in drone mitigation technology.

In addition, The Secret Service has a set of very particular tech challenges based on the scope of its operations. USSS communications structure, including email, voice and radio, are determined by the White House Communications Agency. The Service, "cannot build or maintain its own structure," former Secret Service agent Jonathan Wackrow said in an email to FCW. The Secret Service has also been limited in its ability to rapidly deploy new technology across its entire workforce, so that "enhancements are compartmentalized rather than used as an agency wide initiative," Wackrow said.

The job will pay well into six figures, and give Nally the opportunity to "transform" how the Secret Service uses technology, from mobile phone modernization to "advanced surveillance and threat mitigation," according to a January job posting.  

As Marine Corps CIO, Nally focused on collapsing the Corps' networks to make them less vulnerable to hacking, and said he felt empowered by the commandant to gain a clearer picture of the service’s IT footprint.

Nally, a former deputy director for C4 at U.S. Central Command, won a Federal 100 Award in 2012 for his efforts to virtualize USMC networks and consolidate data centers.

Asked to comment on his new position, the retired brigadier general wrote in an email, "I love the mission, the people." 

The Secret Service has over the last several years undertaken a big IT overhaul dubbed the Information Integration and Technology Transformation, which had a fiscal 2015 budget of $45.6 million.

The program started from a low bar: a 2011 Department of Homeland Security inspector general report found that 42 applications supporting the agency’s mission were running on a 1980s IBM mainframe with a 68 percent "performance reliability rating."

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Dec 23, 2015 at 5:03 PM2 comments


VA hires second-ranking IT official

Ron Thompson

Ron Thompson, most recently a senior IT executive at the Department of Health and Human Services, is joining the Department of Veterans Affairs as the deputy to CIO LaVerne Council.

Thompson's official job title is principal deputy assistant secretary. He will occupy the role vacated by longtime senior official and former acting CIO Stephen Warren. Prior to serving at HHS, Thompson worked at the Internal Revenue Service and the Census Bureau.

"Ron's breadth of hands-on experience in organizational design and transformation will bring new perspectives in partnership and creative problem solving, and his years of service in the United States Army will help him ensure that the Veteran remains the focal point of everything we do," Council wrote in an email to staff.

Council, who has been on the job since July 2015, has been working to fill a raft of senior positions. In November, Council tapped Brian Burns, a leader in the health record interoperability effort, to serve as chief information security officer. With the appointment of Thompson, she has filled out the very top ranks of the executive suite at the Office of Information and Technology.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Dec 18, 2015 at 1:37 PM1 comments


Micheline Casey heads west

Micheline Casey

As more Silicon Valley technologists and data scientists make the move to Washington, one in the federal IT community is headed in the opposite direction. Micheline Casey, former chief data officer at the Federal Reserve, has been appointed to ClearStory Data's advisory board, the data intelligence solutions provider announced Dec. 15.

Casey has more than 20 years of technology experience in both the private and public sectors, most recently as the Federal Reserve's first chief data officer. She was brought on in 2012 when the role was relatively new to the federal government; the first agency to adopt the position was the Federal Communications Commission in 2010.

At the Federal Reserve, Casey was tasked with leading a growing team, managing a $12 million budget and expanding the agency's data organization.

Previously, Casey worked as a consultant at CDO, and from 2009 to 2011, she served as the nation's first state-level chief data officer, in Colorado.

"One of the many reasons we are excited to have Micheline as adviser is the deep knowledge of the data silo and data analysis challenges faced by highly regulated industries such as financial services, health care, insurance and government," said Sharmila Mulligan, founder and CEO of ClearStory Data, in a press release.

Casey told FCW that she was honored to have served as the Federal Reserve's first chief data officer and proud of the work she and her team accomplished, but she was excited to return to her private-sector roots.

Although her official role as adviser has already begun, she will not be actively involved until after the holidays.

Posted by Aleida Fernandez on Dec 17, 2015 at 1:00 PM0 comments


Ashkan Soltani to join White House tech team

Former Federal Trade Commission chief technologist and Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Ashkan Soltani has joined President Barack Obama's team of techies. He'll be a senior advisor to U.S. CTO Megan Smith at the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy.

In his new role, Soltani will focus on consumer protection, big data and privacy issues, including algorithmic accountability, data ethics and data discrimination.  He also will help with IT capacity-building in government, including working with agencies to build career paths for technologists across the executive branch.

CTO Megan Smith tweeted, "excited to welcome our extraordinary colleague."

Before joining the White House, Soltani was chief technologist at the FTC, advising the agency on evolving technology and policy issues. Prior to that he worked as an investigative journalist at the Washington Post, where he earned a Pulitzer Prize in 2014 for his work on series of reports on the National Security Agency's surveillance programs. Soltani was also the primary technical consultant on the Wall Street Journal's investigative series, "What They Know," which was a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting.

In 2010, as one of the first staff technologists in the Division of Privacy and Identity Protection at the FTC, Soltani helped lead investigations into Google, Facebook, Twitter, HTC and PulsePoint. 

Carnegie Mellon professor Lorrie Faith Cranor will succeed Soltani at the FTC in January. 

Posted by Bianca Spinosa on Dec 16, 2015 at 5:16 PM3 comments


Remembering programming pioneer Ada Lovelace at 200

Detail of portrait of Ada Lovelace by Margaret Sarah Carpenter.

A portrait of Ada Lovelace by Margaret Sarah Carpenter.

One of the earliest women in technology and arguably the first computer programmer, Ada Lovelace, was born 200 years ago today in London.

The so-called Enchantress of Numbers is an inspiration to modern women pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Lovelace worked with mathematician Charles Babbage on his analytical engine, one of the earliest computers, in 1843 when she was 28 years old. She is credited with writing the first algorithm to be processed by a machine, and her detailed descriptions of the engine -- in the form of "Sketch of the Analytical Engine, with Notes from the Translator" -- became the first program to be published.

According to the website Finding Ada, her work inspired computer scientist Alan Turing, who pioneered modern computing in the 1940s.

Long before such pursuits were acceptable for women, Lovelace gravitated to technology. When she was 12 years old, she began studying geometry and imagined a steam-powered "flying machine." Her mother, Anne Isabella Milbanke, studied mathematics and encouraged her daughter to do the same. (Lovelace's father, the poet Lord Byron, called Milbanke the Princess of Parallelograms.)

Lovelace married at the age of 20 and had three children. She died of cancer in 1852, shortly before her 37th birthday.

Today her legacy lives on in the Ada programming language, named after her in 1979 and used by the Defense Department for decades. Her landmark birthday has been commemorated on Twitter by the National Science Foundation, Oxford University, NPR's "Science Friday" and many more.

Posted by Bianca Spinosa on Dec 10, 2015 at 10:05 AM0 comments


Carnegie Mellon professor to serve as FTC's chief technologist

The Federal Trade Commission is getting a new chief technologist. Carnegie Mellon University professor Lorrie Faith Cranor will replace Ashkan Soltani in that role, the agency announced on Dec. 3.

"Technology is playing an ever more important role in consumers' lives," FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said, adding that "Cranor will play a key role in helping guide the many areas of FTC work involving new technologies and platforms."

Cranor will be responsible for advising the FTC on policy for emerging technology. The agency is charged with regulating consumer privacy and marketing, among other areas.

At CMU, Cranor teaches courses in computer science and in engineering and public policy, and serves as director of the CyLab Usable Privacy and Security Laboratory. She has worked as a researcher at AT&T Labs Research and taught at New York University's Stern School of Business before joining the faculty at CMU. She's the author and editor of more than 150 research papers on online privacy and usable security. She will be the commission's fifth chief technologist since the position was established in 2011 and the fourth academic to serve in that role.

Cranor told FCW she is excited about her appointment. As "agency decisions become increasingly grounded in technology," she said, CTOs provide not only information but guidance to those who might not understand all the intricacies of technology.

Cranor will start work at the FTC in January.

Posted by Aleida Fernandez on Dec 04, 2015 at 1:26 PM0 comments


Kerber leaves GSA

Jennifer Kerber

Jennifer Kerber, director of the Connect.gov program at the General Services Administration's Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, is leaving government.

Kerber announced in an email message to staff on Dec. 1 that she will be moving back to her home state of Texas, where she will join accounting and consulting firm Grant Thornton as a director in the state and local government practice and focus on government affairs and marketing. Her last day at GSA is Dec. 3.

Kerber joined GSA in 2014 to focus on the federal identity management system then known as the Federal Cloud Credential Exchange; it has since been renamed Connect.gov. She was brought on, in part, because of her previous work on cloud policy and innovation -- work that earned her a Federal 100 award in 2012, when she was a vice president at TechAmerica.

During her tenure at GSA, Kerber oversaw the launch of the Connect.gov website and the awarding of multiple contracts to sign-in partners, including Verizon and ID.me.

Previously, Kerber served as executive director of the Government Transformation Initiative, a nonprofit coalition dedicated to improving the effectiveness of federal operations and programs. Her work at TechAmerica also included serving as president for more than a year.

Kerber said in a statement to FCW that the decision to leave her post at GSA was not easy, and she was honored to have contributed to Connect.gov.

Posted by Aleida Fernandez on Dec 02, 2015 at 1:40 PM1 comments


Wiltsie steps down at Army PEO EIS

Doug Wiltsie will soon be director of system of systems engineering and integration in the Army's office of the assistant secretary for acquisition, logistics and technology.

After more than four years at the helm, Doug Wiltsie has stepped down as the program executive officer for the Army's Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems. His deputy, Terry Watson, replaced him in an acting role.

Wiltsie will on Dec. 1 become director of system of systems engineering and integration in the Army's office of the assistant secretary for acquisition, logistics and technology (ASAALT).

PEO EIS is the Army's all-purpose shop for getting IT into the hands of soldiers. It manages $3.5 billion in investments and field systems worldwide, according to the office's website.

In a changeover ceremony, ASAALT Heidi Shyu praised Wiltsie for "strengthening the link and solidifying the trust between our soldiers and the information they rely on for mission success and a safe return home."

Wiltsie has been at the forefront of Army IT efforts such as network modernization and deploying mobile devices. In a 2012 interview with FCW, he had his mind on keeping pace with the rate of change of IT. "We need to be able to work together to figure out how what we've bought will integrate with the technology of the future," he said at the time.

Watson has over 30 years of acquisition experience and served as acting program executive officer before Wiltsie's arrival, according to a PEO EIS statement.

The shift is also a homecoming of sorts for Wiltsie, who spent four years in the ASALT office, from 2004 to 2008, as the assistant deputy for acquisition and systems management.

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Nov 24, 2015 at 12:45 PM0 comments


Commerce hires first chief data scientist

Jeffrey Chen was recently hired to serve as Commerce's chief data scientist as part of an ongoing effort to share the department's data more widely.

The Commerce Department has hired a data scientist to support its launch of the Commerce Data Service in another step toward building a data-driven government, an agency official said.

In a Nov. 17 blog post, Tyrone Grandison, Commerce's deputy chief data officer, said the agency had hired Jeffrey Chen as its first chief data scientist to "help supercharge our data projects that will fundamentally change the way people and businesses interact with the department and its bureaus using the power of data science."

Grandison himself is a new hire at the agency. He was named head of the CDS on Nov. 10, when Commerce announced the creation of the service as a "start-up within government" aimed at standardizing and streamlining data flows among Commerce's bureaus, other parts of government and the private sector.

Grandison said Chen will incorporate experimental data science and product development in support of CDS' strategic goals.

Chen previously worked at NASA, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the New York City Fire Department. At those agencies, Chen developed products and services to serve a diverse set of government markets, including emergency services, international public health, legal affairs and trade economy, according to Grandison.

At Commerce, Chen will advance key CDS projects, including using weather data to predict severe incidents, using trade data to support American exports and modernizing patent data.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Nov 17, 2015 at 1:48 PM0 comments


Cobert nominated to head OPM

OMB DDM Beth Cobert, testifying before the Senate Homeland Security Committee on Jan. 14, 2014

The White House announced Nov. 10 that President Barack Obama will nominate Beth Cobert, who has served as the Office of Personnel Management’s acting director since she took over for Katherine Archuleta in July, to serve as OPM’s permanent director.

 “Beth will bring tremendous depth and quality of experience to her role as director,” Obama said in a statement. “As acting director, Beth has effectively pursued strategies to strengthen cybersecurity and improve the way the government serves citizens, businesses, and the federal workforce both past and present. I thank Beth for her commitment to serving the American people and look forward to working with her in the months ahead.”

OPM came under public fire after the April revelation that the agency had suffered a massive breach under Archuleta’s leadership.

It has continued to face IT trouble, but even critics have acknowledged Cobert’s competency at the helm.

“In my initial meetings with Beth Cobert, she has impressed me as a talented, qualified, and competent choice for OPM Director,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah).  Chaffetz is chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which has hammered OPM’s leadership over the breach. “I am hopeful that she can lead and fix this agency," he added. "I am pleased the president has opted for a credible selection this time rather than a political one.”

Chaffetz’ statement also included a call for OPM’s CIO, Donna Seymour, to resign.

“I strongly urge Ms. Cobert to immediately remove Ms. Seymour and replace her with a qualified CIO who will protect the critical information housed at OPM,” Chaffetz said.

Chaffetz's Democratic counterpart on the committee welcomed Cobert without reservation. "While she’s only been in this position for just a few months, [Cobert] has been steadfast and resolute in her efforts to strengthen the agency’s cybersecurity efforts and keep Congress informed on these improvements," Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said in a statement.  

Cobert, a former top executive at McKinsey, came to government as the deputy director for management in the Office of Management and Budget. OMB Controller Dave Mader is currently serving in the DDM role on an acting basis.

Posted by Zach Noble on Nov 10, 2015 at 2:19 PM4 comments


Former DOE CTO Tseronis joins Deep Water Point

Peter Tseronis, previously the associate CIO and CTO for the Department of Energy.

Peter Tseronis, formerly CTO at the Energy Department, has joined Deep Water Point.

DOE announced in September that Tseronis would leave his post as CTO and associate CIO for technology and innovation at the end of October. Tseronis did not officially say where he was going, but he noted on LinkedIn that on Nov. 1, he would "begin a new chapter in my professional life as a member of the private sector."

Deep Water Point officials said Tseronis will develop and lead the firm's new-business practice to help the investor and entrepreneurial communities navigate agency opportunities and gain access to federal funding.

Tseronis joins other former federal IT leaders at the firm, including Robert Bigman, former chief information security officer at the CIA, and Mary Ellen Condon, former director of information management and security at the Justice Department.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Nov 02, 2015 at 11:53 AM0 comments


VHA taps Fred Mingo to help lead Vista Evolution

VA logo

A 2006 Federal 100 winner its taking a leadership role in one of the biggest IT projects in the federal government.

Fred Mingo, a former Navy officer, is moving to the Veterans Health Administration to take a lead role in redefining the agency's open-source health record system.

Mingo will serve as VHA's deputy program executive for Vista Evolution, a multibillion-dollar, multiyear plan to improve the Department of Veterans Affairs' Vista electronic health record system. Goals include streamlining regional instantiations by centralizing the software and basing it in the cloud, meeting federal interoperability requirements, and exchanging data more freely with proprietary private-sector systems, including a commercial system that the Defense Department is working on deploying.

Vista Evolution will also deliver apps and services via application programming interfaces and add more advanced functionality, including analytics.

Mingo comes to VHA from professional and IT services firm ICF International, where he was chief technology officer. He earned a place among FCW's Federal 100 in 2006 for his work in maintaining the continuity of operations at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. The center provides IT services and support to the U.S. Navy.

In 2006, David Wennergren, who was CIO at the Department of the Navy at the time, said, "Mingo is a visionary leader who is committed to the people and mission of the Department of the Navy."

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Oct 30, 2015 at 3:33 PM2 comments


DHS secretary praises CISA, but college kids don't much care

Jeh Johnson

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told American University students that newly passed legislation would give DHS "added authority to deal with our cybersecurity."

For a brief moment, a college student knew more about the state of American cybersecurity legislation than Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.

"There is cybersecurity legislation before the U.S. Senate right now, as I speak," Johnson said, addressing students at American University on Oct. 27. "I've got to look at my BlackBerry to see whether or not that legislation passed."

A smartphone-equipped student in the front row quickly offered the answer: the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 had passed, 74-21.

"Good," Johnson replied. "And what about the Cotton amendment?"

The student didn't know.

"But something passed. OK, good," Johnson said. "We'll have new laws that will give the Department of Homeland Security added authority to deal with our cybersecurity."

But once they had learned the fate of the legislation, the millennials in the audience showed no additional interest in cybersecurity.

CISA aims to encourage companies to share cyberthreat data with one another and with DHS and the intelligence community. The amendment by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), which would have added the Secret Service and the FBI to the information-sharing loop, had been blocked.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce backed the legislation, but privacy activists warned that it would enable surveillance without meaningfully improving cybersecurity.

The topic played a minor role in Johnson's talk, "Securing Our Nation Against 21st-Century Challenges." He mentioned the encryption debate in passing and talked about information sharing by way of emphasizing DHS efforts to work more closely with state and local law enforcement.

"It's a more complicated world, and it requires a whole-of-government approach," he said of the fight against homegrown, social media-encouraged terrorism. "The next terrorist attack could be first identified by the cop on the beat."

Johnson focused much of his speech on his own education and career path, and he told students that mediocre grades need not prevent them from achieving greatness.

The students asked questions about the Islamic State group, immigration, the future of DHS and the war on drugs, but no one asked about cybersecurity. (The closest was a question about court approval of roving wiretaps.)

"I was opposed to the Cotton amendment, and I'm very supportive of CISA as written," Johnson told FCW after his presentation. "I think this is huge, I think this is terrific, and I'm really pleased."

DHS released a statement in the same vein later that evening.

Posted by Zach Noble on Oct 28, 2015 at 11:00 AM0 comments


Herb Strauss wins Mendenhall award

Herb Strauss (image courtesy of ACT-IAC).

Social Security Administration Deputy CIO Herb Strauss is the recipient of the 2015 Janice K. Mendenhall Spirit of Leadership Award.

Strauss, who is also assistant deputy commissioner for systems at SSA, was honored Oct. 26 at ACT-IAC's Executive Leadership Conference in Williamsburg, Va. A longtime Gartner executive who joined SSA in 2013, Strauss has been an active leader in ACT-IAC, particularly in the areas of customer experience and citizen services.

"I'm humbled by this award," Strauss said. "It is really nice to walk into this room and realize how many people you know, how many people you want to know and how proud you are to be a member of this august organization."

The Mendenhall award, established in 2001, commemorates longtime civil servant Janice Mendenhall and her history of mentoring others and encouraging government/industry collaboration. Recent Mendenhall winners include AT&T Government Solutions President Kay Kapoor (2014), former Office of E-Government and IT Administrator Mark Forman (2013) and former Agriculture Department CIO Anne Reed (2012).

Other honorees at the conference included CenturyLink's Wayne Davis, the IBM Center for the Business of Government's Dan Chenok and Gartner's Rick Holgate -- all of whom were recognized for their ACT-IAC leadership efforts and encouragement of industry/government collaboration.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Oct 27, 2015 at 11:17 AM0 comments


Fed 100 nominations are now open!

Fed 100 logo

The nominations for the 2016 Federal 100 awards are now open. So please help the most exceptional women and men in our community get the recognition they deserve!

For more than a quarter-century, the awards have honored individuals who go far beyond their assigned duties to make a difference. The Federal 100 are the most prestigious awards in federal IT -- and for good reason. But it all starts with a great pool of nominees. So if you know people you believe should be among the 2016 Federal 100, please make sure our judges know about them, too.

Not certain what it takes to make the Federal 100? Here are five points to remember:

  1. Anyone in the federal IT community is eligible: career civil servants, political appointees, contractors, academics, even members of Congress.
  2. The awards are for individual accomplishments in 2015.
  3. Winners go above and beyond, whatever their level or rank. A fancy job title is not required, and just doing one’s job well is not enough.
  4. You can make multiple nominations. Do so early and often.
  5. Impact matters. Tell us what a nominee did and what that work accomplished.

The deadline for submissions is Dec. 23, but don't delay. Go to FCW.com/2016fed100 for details, and get started on your nominations today.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Oct 23, 2015 at 9:26 AM0 comments


Greg Ambrose to depart VA

VA logo

Greg Ambrose, the deputy CIO for product development at the Department of Veterans Affairs, is stepping down to work in the private sector, he told FCW Oct. 13. Ambrose joined the VA in June to fill a post that had been vacant since Lorraine Landfried's exit in July 2014.

Ambrose's departure comes on the heels of other high-profile exits in the VA Office of Information and Technology, with the agency's former acting CIO, Stephen Warren, and chief information security officer, Stan Lowe, both leaving this summer. The exodus follows the arrival of IT chief LaVerne Council, who took over as assistant secretary for information and technology in July.

Ambrose was previously the State Department's director of consular systems and technology. In July 2014, he led the department's response to a system-wide data warehouse crash that left the government unable to handle requests for three days. It took officials two weeks to clear the backlog.

Prior to his work at State, Ambrose served as CIO for the Department of Homeland Security's US-VISIT program, whose successor is the Office of Biometric Identity Management. Ambrose earned a 2013 Federal 100 award for his work at DHS.

From 2004 to 2011, Ambrose served in different IT roles at the Defense Department, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Oct 13, 2015 at 5:48 PM4 comments


GSA, DCMA honored for EA accomplishments

The General Services Administration and the Defense Contract Management Agency were among the winners of this year's Excellence in Enterprise Architecture Awards. GSA was recognized for leadership in EA-driven results, while DCMA received an award for leadership in using EA to transform government.

GSA's application rationalization project, led by Chief Enterprise Architect Kevin Wince, trimmed 30 applications from the agency's portfolio and produced a nearly 1,600 percent return on investment. DCMA, led by Chief Enterprise Architect Theon Danet, was honored for its overall achievements in using EA, including its commitment to monitoring technology markets.

The awards recognize the impact of EA best practices on efficiency and innovation in government systems. Gopala Krishna Behara won the only award for individual achievement and was inducted into the Enterprise Architecture Hall of Fame. Behara is a senior enterprise architect at Wipro, a multinational IT consulting and systems integration services company.

The awards are presented by FCW parent company 1105 Media, the Federated Enterprise Architecture Certification Institute and Zachman International. The full list of winners includes:

Leadership in Enterprise Architecture-Driven Results — Government Project, Defense

Chemical and Biological Early Warning Experiment, Battelle and the Joint Experimentation and Analysis Division

Katie Froneberger
Mitch Biondich
Madeline Cavileer

Leadership in Enterprise Architecture-Driven Results — Government Project, Civilian

Application Rationalization, General Services Administration

Kevin Wince
Kathryn Palmer
Christopher Brause

Leadership in Government Transformation using EA — Government Project, Civilian

Smart Capability Investments, Dubai Customs

Hussam Juma
Ahmad Khatib
Omar Alqaryouti
Mohamed Zaki
Mohamed Akoub

Leadership in Government Transformation using EA — Government Project, Defense

Defense Contract Management Agency

Theon Danet
Heryzin Baskerville
Richard Shipmon
Christina Payette
Karen Noland
Charles Collins
Sidney Antommarchi
Peter Wilson
John Kelly
Shawn Tilley
Daniel Askin

Leadership in Enterprise Transformation using EA — Industry

European Air Traffic Management Architecture, European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation and NATS Ltd.

Tony Vaudrey
Allen Clarke
Philippe Naves
Mariya Koleva
Siegfired Schäfer
Niklas Häggström
Claus Scheuren
Jun Chen Xu
Ciro Pappagallo

EA Hall of Fame — Individual Leadership in EA Practice, Promotion and Professionalization

Gopala Krishna Behara, Wipro

Posted by Aleida Fernandez on Oct 08, 2015 at 11:17 AM0 comments


Obama names new watchdog at VA

VA logo

President Barack Obama on Oct. 2 named Michael J. Missal to take over the Office of Inspector General at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Missal, a partner at the Washington, D.C., firm of K&L Gates, has experience conducting internal investigations on behalf of corporate clients, including firms in financial services, government contracting, and technology. He assisted in the U.S. Senate Ethics Committee investigation of former Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), and was the top lawyer on the independent review panel that examined claims by the TV program "60 Minutes" about former President George W. Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard.

The VA Office of Inspector General has been without a Senate-confirmed head since January 2014. Recent acting director Richard Griffin stepped down in July, in the wake of criticism that he whitewashed internal probes of agency personnel, particularly in the investigations arising from whistleblower allegations of tampering with scheduling software at VA medical centers.

Linda Halliday currently leads the department as Deputy IG.

In a Sept. 22 hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, three whistleblowers alleged retaliation and intimidation by OIG investigators.

"For far too long, the VA OIG's lack of permanent leadership has compromised veteran care, fostered a culture of whistleblower retaliation within the agency, and compromised the independence of the VA's chief watchdog," committee chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said in a statement regarding the nomination. "Since January, I have been calling on President Obama to appoint a permanent VA inspector general, and I am pleased that he finally has nominated one today."

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Oct 02, 2015 at 2:59 PM2 comments


Martha Dorris is leaving GSA

Martha Dorris, formerly of GSA.

Longtime federal IT leader, Martha Dorris, is retiring from government service on Oct. 31. (Photo by Zaid Hamid)

Martha Dorris is stepping down.

Dorris, a career public servant who is currently director of strategic programs within the General Services Administration's Office of Integrated Technology Services, told her staff on Sept. 30 that she will retire from government on Oct. 31.

"GSA has been like my second home," Dorris, who took her first government job at age 18, told FCW. "I've grown up here." But she had known for some time that she wanted to try her hand in the private sector, and felt that after 34 years of service, it was high time.

"I've had an entrepreneurial kind of mindset and spirit for a long time," Dorris said, noting that she comes from a family of small business owners. While she's been careful to "not get too far ahead of myself" before formally exiting government, a firm of her own is on the drawing board -- with customer experience, acquisition and digital service all very much part of the business plan.

Dorris had moved into her current job in April, after working in GSA's Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies for more than a decade. The role in the Office of Integrated Technology Services was always intended to be relatively short-term, she explained -- "they knew what my plans were" -- but it was a chance to learn "a whole new area and space," and to "bring the customer focus ... and really help to structure and design the category management side of the ITS org chart."

A strong advocate for customer-centric government and cross-agency collaboration, Dorris was one of GSA's earliest proponents of journey-mapping and other customer-experience design efforts for federal IT projects. And she helped create GSA's Office of Intergovernmental Solutions, with the goal of helping governments at all levels -- both in the U.S. and internationally -- to better work together.

A two-time Federal 100 Award winner, Dorris also received ACT-IAC's 2015 John J. Franke Award, and has been recognized with host of other honors in the federal IT community. And though she's planning some big trips for November and January, she's certainly not stepping away from federal IT.

"I really think I can make as big a difference on the outside as I did on the inside," Dorris said.

And while leaving GSA after all these years is a little scary, she added, one worry that's not on her list is whether the government efforts she's led will maintain their momentum.

"We've been talking about the silver tsunami for a long time, but it didn't really happen," Dorris said, referring to the concern that a wave of retirements will rob agencies of critical IT expertise. "People will rise to the occasion. They just need the opportunity to show what they can do."

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Sep 30, 2015 at 11:52 AM1 comments


Wynn takes the CIO reins at NASA

Renee Wynn (Photo: Zaid Hamid)

Renee Wynn took over NASA's IT operations on Sept. 28 -- a few days ahead of schedule, according to the space agency.

Prior to joining NASA in July as deputy CIO, Wynn served 25 years with the Environmental Protection Agency, where her final position was acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Environmental Information.

The agency had announced earlier in September that CIO Larry Sweet, who joined NASA in 1987, was set to retire on Nov. 30 -- adding that for the next two months, he would work with the Office of the NASA administrator to ensure a smooth transition of the CIO duties to Wynn.

The timetable for Wynn's promotion was accelerated when Sweet was assigned to work on a special project at the request of the Associate Administrator Robert Lightfoot, according to a NASA source.

As the top IT official, Wynn is responsible for ensuring IT assets are in line with federal policies, procedures and legislation, per a NASA press release. She will be focused on some of the same areas Sweet had stressed, including increasing collaboration among NASA's centers and with the other executive branch agencies, strengthening IT security posture, optimizing costs of current programs, maximizing the use of Enterprise and shared services, and providing innovation through data analytics and visualization.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Sep 29, 2015 at 12:09 PM0 comments


DOE tech officer set to leave

Peter Tseronis, previously the associate CIO and CTO for the Department of Energy.

DOE CTO Peter Tseronis is a three-time Federal 100 winner.

Peter Tseronis, the Department of Energy’s CTO and associate CIO for technology and innovation, is leaving his post at the end of October.

Tseronis has been a federal employee for more than 24 years across three departments, including most recently as the Energy Department’s chief technology officer, DOE said in a statement to FCW. 

Tseronis announced his plans to leave late last week, but didn’t say where he was going next. “Effective November 1, 2015, I will begin a new chapter in my professional life as a member of the private sector,” he wrote in a LinkedIn notice.

Tseronis is a three-time Federal 100 honoree, winning in 2008, 2011 and 2012.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Sep 28, 2015 at 10:23 AM0 comments


NTSB looking for a new CIO

help wanted sign

The National Transportation Safety Board is looking for a new CIO.

The agency has a posting on USAJobs for the Washington, D.C.-based Senior Executive Service position, with a salary range of $121,956 to $183,300.

The CIO will be responsible for leading support of the IT needs of a geographically dispersed, constantly-on-call workforce, the posting noted.

Former NTSB CIO Robert Scherer departed in April to become CIO at the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. Scherer began his federal career in 1985, and became NTSB CIO in February 2007.

Posted by Zach Noble on Sep 22, 2015 at 2:40 PM0 comments


Library of Congress names new CIO

Shutterstock image: revolving door.

Bernard A. Barton Jr. is taking over the CIO post at the Library of Congress, effective Sept. 8. Barton comes to the library from the Department of Defense. Until recently, Barton was the CIO and deputy administrator of the Defense Technical Information Center, a repository of research and technical information.

“Mr. Barton brings to the Library of Congress the knowledge, expertise and leadership skills crucial to the institution’s mission of serving Congress and the American people in an age of rapidly evolving information technology," said Librarian James H. Billington. "He has a demonstrated, outstanding record of providing executive-level direction in the planning, implementation and evaluation of long-term information-technology operations and strategy."

The Library of Congress has been without a permanent CIO since 2012. A March 2015 Government Accountability report found that the library lacked a strategic plan for the deployment of its $119 million IT budget. Most recently, as FCW first reported, the Copyright Office, housed at the Library of Congress, suffered a week-long outage of its online copyright registration system as the result of an equipment failure that followed electrical maintenance. That system was back online Sept. 6, according to an LOC press release.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Sep 08, 2015 at 1:18 PM0 comments


DOE CISO heads to Commerce

Rod Turk, previously the Department of Energy's Chief Information Security Officer.

Rod Turk has returned to the Commerce Department as CISO, after a year at the Department of Energy.

The Department of Energy’s chief information security officer has departed for a similar post at the Commerce Department.

Rod Turk, whose official title at DOE was associate chief information officer for cybersecurity, managed the department’s enterprise cybersecurity program.

Turk will serve as CISO at the Commerce Department, where he had been prior to joining DOE a year ago.

DOE said his first day in the new job is Sept. 8.

At the Energy Department, Turk advised the CIO and senior officials on cybersecurity and risk management, as well as providing executive leadership for joint agency and administration cybersecurity initiatives such as the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative.

Prior to arriving at DOE in 2014, Turk managed and oversaw the Department of Commerce's compliance with the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) and implementation of IT security best practices.

Turk joined the Senior Executive Service with the Transportation Security Administration in September 2004 and has also served as CISO at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Sep 08, 2015 at 10:10 AM0 comments


Facebook's Miller named first White House product director

Josh Miller, the first product director of the White House.

Josh Miller, the White House's first product director, was a Senate intern in 2009. (Josh Miller)

Facebook veteran Josh Miller is joining the Obama administration as the White House’s first director of product.

“I’m as giddy, wide-eyed, and determined as ever,” Miller wrote in a blog post announcing his move.

He said Sept. 1 was his first day on the job.

Miller is young (he noted that 2008 was the first election for which he was old enough to vote) and has focused on the social web during his nascent career. He dropped out of Princeton to dedicate himself to conversation startup Branch, then joined Facebook when the social giant acquired Branch in January 2014.

He indicated that he plans to bring that tech-powered-communication focus to his White House role.

“Wouldn’t it be great if your government had a conversation with you instead of just talking at you?” he asked. “Imagine if talking to the government was as easy as talking to your friends on social networks?”

He pointed to online petitions and Twitter engagement as examples of “amazing” government progress, and promised more to come.

As Quartz noted, Miller was mentored by Twitter veteran Jason Goldman, who became the White House's first chief digital officer in March. Miller will report to Goldman in his new post, a White House spokesperson said.

“As the White House's first director of product, his focus will be on prioritizing the experience of our users -- the American people -- across our platforms of engagement,” the White House said in an emailed statement. “He'll also draw on his background building a company and in industry to infuse an entrepreneurial perspective into our processes and approach to work.”

Miller, Goldman and former Google executive Megan Smith are just a few of the techies who have made the jump from big private tech firms to Uncle Sam’s digital team recently.

Miller may be new to the role, but he’s not new to Washington; he noted that he served as a Senate intern in 2009.

Posted by Zach Noble on Sep 01, 2015 at 11:28 AM0 comments


Brubaker joins IT Cadre

Paul Brubaker

Paul Brubaker

Paul Brubaker is joining Ashburn, Va.-based IT Cadre as vice president, strategic accounts and customer strategy. An official announcement by the company, which does enterprise systems engineering and software development for both federal agencies and commercial clients, is expected on Aug. 25.

Brubaker confirmed the move to FCW, and said he'd long been an admirer of IT Cadre's "low key" but effective approach. "I was incredibly impressed by the work they did for me [at the Defense Department]," he added.

Brubaker, a two-time winner of FCW's Federal 100 award, has held a number of leadership positions in both government and the private sector. He held executive branch posts under Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama -- most recently as director of planning and performance management in DOD's Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer.

Earlier in his career, Brubaker served as an evaluator with what was then known as the General Accounting Office, and as an investigator, deputy staff director and minority staff director of the Senate Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management -- where he worked with then-Sen. William S. Cohen (R-Maine) in the effort to enact the Clinger-Cohen Act.

Brubaker left the Pentagon in May 2014 to join AirWatch by VMware as director for U.S. federal government. He subsequently left AirWatch earlier this summer.

For IT Cadre, the hire comes on the heels of several other management shuffles. The firm will have to share Brubaker's attention for at least the next few months, however, and possibly longer: Brubaker is on the ballot this fall in Virginia's 86th District for an open House of Delegates seat.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Aug 25, 2015 at 5:59 AM1 comments


Holgate to depart ATF

Rick Holgate

Rick Holgate, the CIO of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and a longtime leader in the federal technology community, is leaving government service to take a post as a federal analyst with Gartner.

In addition to his work at ATF, Holgate served as president of the American Council on Technology, the government side of the ACT-IAC group. Before joining ATF in 2009, Holgate was Assistant Director for IT and Command Information Officer at the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. He is a two-time winner for FCW's Federal 100 award.

Holgate's wife Laura Holgate was recently nominated by President Obama to serve as U.S. Representative to the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, an important post in implementing and overseeing the proposed nuclear deal with Iran. She will have the rank of ambassador, and the position requires Senate confirmation.

Rick Holgate will work for Gartner from Austria, according to an email he sent to colleagues announcing his pending departure.

"Though it's with some significant regret I'm leaving the ATF family, the DOJ community, and federal service, I'm excited to join Gartner and for their willingness to support a move to Vienna. I'll still be a member of the federal community at large, and I look forward to continuing to work with you to ensure Gartner’s research is as relevant, timely, and usable as it can be in the federal space (I reserve the right to reach out to you for your suggestions!). And I’ll still be active in the ACT-IAC community, as well," Holgate wrote.

Holgate, one of the more active agency CIOs on Twitter, had hinted in early August that his wife's nomination could require some changes:

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Aug 24, 2015 at 5:18 AM0 comments


USPTO hoping for some iconic collaboration

Patent Icon - Dan Hetteix / The Noun Project

(Dan Hetteix / The Noun Project)

Agency-sponsored hackathons and datapaloozas are old hat, but how about an iconathon?

That's what the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is hosting on Aug. 28, with the goal of creating "a set of internationally recognizable icons that will help increase communication around intellectual property." Concepts in need of iconification include infringement, trade secrets, prior art, inventions, counterfeiting and several different types of patents.

And while USPTO's mission centers on securing and protecting intellectual property, any icons that come out of the five-hour session will be released into the public domain.

The agency is collaborating with the Noun Project -- a firm devoted to building a global library of icons and symbols that has been holding iconathons since 2011. AIGA DC, an association for design professionals, and Code for NOVA, a local offshoot of Code for America, are also participating.

USPTO Deputy Director Russ Sliffer will give a talk on intellectual property, and participants will then work in small groups that include both designers and IP experts -- the invitation stresses that "everyone will be able to participate and contribute – no art skills necessary!"

More details and an RSVP form can be found on the USPTO website.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Aug 21, 2015 at 8:14 AM0 comments


Millennium Challenge Corporation needs a CIO

help wanted sign

A U.S. foreign aid agency helping lead the fight against global poverty is looking for a new CIO.

The Millennium Challenge Corporation’s mission is to provide grants to developing countries committed to good governance and economic freedom in order to improve the lives of the world’s poor.

The MCC is looking to pay $125,000 to $168,317 to a candidate who will serve as a key member of the Department of Administration and Finance management team “with responsibility for providing strategic, compliance and operational expertise on matters relating to MCC’s information technology and privacy programs and operations.”

Some of the duties outlined in the job notice include serving as the principal advisor to the A&F vice president and MCC senior staff on technology infrastructure, ensuring compliance with all federal cybersecurity regulations, and keeping the technology current and on platforms that improve productivity. The ideal candidate would also have significant skills in management.

In order to qualify for the post, candidates must be U.S. citizens and able to obtain and maintain a federal security clearance.

Posted by Bianca Spinosa on Aug 19, 2015 at 8:10 AM0 comments


Out-of-sight CIO resigns over the weekend, posts new job to LinkedIn

LinkedIn screenshot: Barry West's LinkedIn update (08.17.2015).

Barry West's unexplained absence from FDIC came to an end over the weekend, when he updated his LinkedIn page to reflect his new role as president of Mason Harriman Group. (Barry West / LinkedIn)

Barry West, the long-absent Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation CIO, has resigned. He seems to have quietly made a move to greener pastures.

After going on leave in his FDIC role on or before June 4, West spent more than two months missing before changing his LinkedIn page at some point over the August 15-16 weekend to reflect a new position: president at Mason Harriman Group, a firm that connects retired CXOs with government and industry.

It’s unclear when exactly the update was made, or whether West personally made it.

He was still listed as the CIO on the FDIC website on the morning of Aug. 17, but FDIC spokesperson Barbara Hagenbaugh confirmed that he resigned effective Aug. 15.

Hagenbaugh has consistently declined to say whether West was on paid administrative leave, despite Federal News Radio reporting on multiple occasions that it was administrative leave.

Before coming to FDIC, West served as CIO for the National Weather Service, FEMA, the Commerce Department and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.

Hagenbaugh said that Acting Chief Information Officer Martin Henning, who was doing West’s work during his absence, would continue to handle the job as a permanent replacement was sought.

Neither West nor Mason Harriman immediately responded to requests for comment.

Posted by Zach Noble on Aug 17, 2015 at 9:48 AM0 comments


NTEU elects new president

 

Tony Reardon has been the No. 2 official at the NTEU since 2013.

Tony Reardon was elected the next president of the National Treasury Employees Union on Aug. 11, the union announced.

The 25-year NTEU veteran has served as the union’s No. 2 since 2013, and will replace outgoing National President Colleen Kelley.

“I am committed to building on Colleen’s legacy and strengthening NTEU’s role as the voice of the federal workforce on Capitol Hill, at the agencies, in the media and in the courts,” Reardon said in a statement.

Another NTEU veteran, Jim Bailey, was elected to take over the national executive vice president role Reardon will be vacating.

Both men will be sworn in Aug. 13, the final day of NTEU’s 55th national convention.

Kelley, who is retiring, served as NTEU president since 1999, and has recently taken a prominent role in holding the Office of Personnel Management to account for the breaches that exposed tens of millions of current and former feds’ personal information.

NTEU represents 150,000 employees in 31 agencies and departments.

Posted by Zach Noble on Aug 11, 2015 at 3:01 PM0 comments


NARA's new FOIA ombudsman settles in

revolving door

James Holzer is the new head of the Office of Government and Information Services, an office inside the National Archives and Records Administration charged with oversight of agency compliance with the Freedom of Information Act and government-wide FOIA policies. His first day on the job was Aug. 10.

The post has been vacant since November 2014, when Miriam Nesbit, the first person to hold the job of OGIS director, retired from federal service.

"Dr. Holzer's experience administering FOIA and his demonstrated commitment to transparency will benefit OGIS, the National Archives, and the American public," National Archivist David S. Ferriero said in a statement.

Holzer comes to NARA from the Department of Homeland Security, where he served as senior director of FOIA operations and as an advisor to top DHS officials on Privacy Act and FOIA compliance. At DHS, Holzer implemented a system of tracking and managing FOIA requests made to the agency’s many large components at an enterprise level. Holzer served in the Air Force for 13 years before his work at DHS, and was deployed to Iraq in 2003 and Afghanistan in 2007.

DHS has the busiest FOIA operation in the federal government, in large part because of demands for immigration data. FOIA processing at DHS was among the most improved in the federal government from 2014 to 2015, per a report by the Center for Effective Government. DHS was tabbed as a top performer for its disclosure rules and useful FOIA website. However, DHS ranked near the bottom for timely responses to FOIA requests and in its efforts to reduce its backlog, as well as for actually releasing information to requestors.

The OGIS director also serves as chair of the FOIA Advisory Committee, a group that mixes government officials and representatives of the requestor community, including nonprofit government watchdog groups, journalists and others, which is charged with developing policy recommendations. The job also includes providing mediation services between agencies and requestors to resolve disputes outside of the courts.

Ferriero also announced the appointment of Oliver Potts as director of the Federal Register, which manages the production and publication of proposed federal regulations, public meeting notices, executive orders and other documents. Potts also assumed his new duties Aug. 10.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Aug 10, 2015 at 10:37 AM0 comments


VA CISO Lowe retires

Stan Lowe, who worked at VA for 25 years is retiring Aug. 22.

Another top IT official is departing the executive ranks at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Stan Lowe, the agency's chief information security officer and third-ranking technology official will retire from federal service Aug. 22. Lowe served at VA for 25 years.

The move comes a day after Deputy CIO Stephen Warren, who led IT at VA on an acting basis for more than two-and-a-half years, announced his move to take on the CIO post at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in the Treasury Department.

The shakeup comes as new CIO LaVerne Council, who started work in early July, begins to put her stamp on the $4 billion IT department charged with supporting the technology that serves VA staff and, increasingly, offers direct access for America's veterans to benefits and services. In her first move, she announced the formation of a team to develop a new cybersecurity strategy for the agency to be led by VA program manager Susan McHugh-Polley.

Lowe led IT security at VA during a time when the agency was trying to restore its reputation after several key incidents involving lost or compromised data, failing grades on information security from the VA's inspector general, and attacks from nation-state sponsored hackers. The Einstein 3 network defense system was activated at VA on Lowe's watch, and he presided over efforts to encrypt 100 percent of the desktops and laptops connected to VA networks.

"Our workforce has done an outstanding job in the face of significant adversity. In two and a half years, we have made more strides towards improving VA’s information security posture than ever before. These achievements have been recognized externally by our peers and internally by our customers," Lowe wrote in an email to colleagues obtained by FCW.

There's no word yet on a replacement.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Aug 07, 2015 at 8:37 AM8 comments


IARPA gets a new director

Dr. Jason Matheny, IARPA Director

Jason Matheny was formerly head of IARPA's Office for Anticipating Surprise. (Jason Matheny / IARPA)

Jason Matheny is the new head of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, the intelligence community’s R&D arm.

Matheny previously served as head of IARPA’s Office for Anticipating Surprise, which develops new forecasting capability for national security threats. Prior to that, he worked at the Office of Incisive Analysis, an analytics shop that works with data sets old and new.

Matheny has worked at Oxford University, the World Bank and the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University, where he earned a doctorate in applied economics. He also has co-founded two biotechnology firms, according to his IARPA biography.

“Jason brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the position and I’m confident that he will continue to maintain the high bar for technical excellence and relevance to our intelligence community mission,” Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in an Aug. 3 statement.

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Aug 03, 2015 at 10:53 AM0 comments


House of Representatives seeking new CIO

help wanted ad

The two-month search for a new CIO for the U.S. House of Representatives has flown mostly under the radar, but the post is still open -- and applications are being considered.

Former House CIO Nelson Moe left in May to become CIO for the state of Virginia, and Deputy CIO Catherine Szpindor has been serving as acting CIO since then. The House's Office of the Chief Administrative Officer has not actively advertised the vacancy, instead choosing to work with a private recruiting firm.  But if you’re interested in applying, more information is available here.

Posted by Jonathan Lutton on Jul 30, 2015 at 12:33 PM0 comments


HumanGeo acquired by Radiant Group

 Al Di Leonardo President and Chief Executive Officer (left) and  Abe Usher Chief Technology Officer (right) of HumanGeo.

HumanGeo was founded by Federal 100 award winners Al Di Leonardo (left) and Abe Usher.

The startup HumanGeo, launched in 2011 by Federal 100 award winners Al Di Leonardo and Abe Usher, has been acquired by the Radiant Group

HumanGeo focuses on developing big data analytics and visualizations to identify patterns in geospatial data, and has worked with clients ranging from the Department of Defense to the British government. The Radiant Group has advanced capabilities relating to network operations and cyber-defense, and “integrating some of our geospatial capabilities with the cyber-defense capabilities of the Radiant Group we think is going to be a really positive way we can help the government and commercial customers maintain their cybersecurity in the future,” Usher told FCW.

Usher was selected as a Federal 100 award winner in 2015 for putting together the Nerd Brigade—an agile consortium of software engineers organized similarly to military special operations concepts in that all the skills needed by the team are self-contained—in support of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)’s Analytical Modernization Program. 

Lt. Col. Al Di Leonardo won his Federal 100 Award in 2011 for developing the Skope Cell, a new approach to analyzing intelligence data at Special Operations Command. The Skope Cell grew to meet needs not traditionally filled by intelligence analysis techniques and has since exported its innovative collaboration and high-quality analytics to the entire intelligence community.

Di Leonardo and Usher said the future is bright for HumanGeo, predicting expansion in data analytics, cloud infrastructure and cloud migration strategies for federal agencies.

Posted by Eli Gorski on Jul 27, 2015 at 10:29 AM0 comments


Hruby to begin as Sandia director

Jill Hruby, director of Sandia National Laboratories (2015).

Jill Hruby will be the first woman to lead one of the Energy Department's nuclear security laboratories.

When Jill Hruby steps into her new leadership position at the nation's largest national research lab, Sandia National Laboratory, she will also make a bit of nuclear technology history.

Hruby was named the next president and director of Sandia on June 22, and is slated to take up her new role July 17, according to a statement from the facility.

As she begins her new job as the facility's 14th director, she will have the distinction of becoming the first woman to lead one of the nation's three national nuclear security laboratories -- Sandia, Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore. The labs operate under the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and are responsible for developing, engineering and testing non-nuclear components of nuclear weapons.

Sandia has principal sites in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., with operating revenue of about $2.6 billion, and more than 10,000 employees.

Hruby succeeds Paul Hommert, who is set to retire July 16 after serving as Sandia president and laboratories director since 2010.

In 2010, according to Sandia officials, Hruby came to the lab's New Mexico site after 27 years at its Livermore location to become vice president of the Energy, Nonproliferation, and High-Consequence Security Division, and leader of its International, Homeland and Nuclear Security Program Management Unit (PMU). The unit's mission encompasses nonproliferation and arms control; securing and safeguarding nuclear weapons and nuclear materials; protecting critical U.S. government assets and installations; ensuring the resilience of physical and cyber infrastructures; and reducing the risks of terrorist threats and catastrophic events.

As PMU vice president, Hruby oversaw more than 1,300 employees and contractors and managed work in such areas as global security, energy technologies, weapon and force protection, critical asset protection, the nuclear fuel cycle, geoscience and climate.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Jul 14, 2015 at 9:06 AM1 comments


What Cobert brings to OPM

OMB DDM Beth Cobert, testifying before the Senate Homeland Security Committee on Jan. 14, 2014

Beth Cobert is leaving her relatively sleepy perch as deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget to take over the scandal-wracked Office of Personnel Management.

OMB has provided emergency leadership to embattled agencies before. Former OMB Controller Danny Werfel stepped in as acting commissioner of the IRS amid a scandal in 2013. And a few months after the botched launch of HealthCare.gov, OMB Director Sylvia Matthews Burwell was tapped to replace Kathleen Sebelius as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Cobert, in her tenure as DDM, has been leading the implementation of President Barack Obama's data-driven management initiative. She's also a leader on implementing the overall administration goal of "Smarter IT delivery," launched in the wake of the HealthCare.gov debacle. On the OMB org chart, she's charged with supervising the federal CIO operation, and her job ranges across federal activities like workforce development, employee performance, financial management, and updating and reforming the security clearance process.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest touted Cobert's qualifications for the OPM post. "Given the urgent challenges that they're facing right now, it's clear that a manager with a specialized set of skills and experiences is needed," Earnest said in a July 10 press briefing. "Those are, conveniently enough, the skills and experiences that Ms. Cobert brings to the job." He added, "but ultimately we'll need a permanent replacement. And that's something that we'll start working on today."

While Cobert is at OPM, Dave Mader, the current controller at OMB, will serve as acting deputy director of management.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Jul 13, 2015 at 2:33 PM5 comments


Sweating the stolen data

The federal employee records stolen from the Office of Personnel Management were bad enough, but Standard Form 86 -- the 127-page questionnaire used for most security clearances -- gives hackers a jaw-dropping range of personal data. (OPM confirmed on July 9 that information from 19.7 million background checks was breached, impacting 21.5 million individuals.)

If you're one of the millions of feds who've completed an SF86, the information exposed includes:

Sweating the OPM data breach -- Illustration by Dragutin Cvijanovic.  Click for larger image.

Source: Office of Personnel Management

Posted by FCW Staff on Jul 10, 2015 at 7:03 AM2 comments


ICE names new CIO

Michael C. Brown, former executive director of IT Services Office at US Department of Homeland Security.

Michael Brown will take over as CIO at Immigration and Customs Enforcement on July 26.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement went with a veteran executive inside the Department of Homeland Security's Office of the CIO to head up its IT operations.

According to an internal ICE memo issued July 6, Michael Brown, now an IT executive in DHS’s CIO office, will take over as ICE's new chief information officer on July 26.

Brown, an FCW Fed 100 winner in 2013, will replace Kevin Kern, who left the CIO slot about nine months ago. Before his stint at ICE, Kern had been a senior vice president and CIO at Unisys.

Since Kern's departure, ICE Deputy CIO Steve Smith served as acting CIO, while Jim Spratt had stepped in to serve as the acting deputy CIO during the period.

Brown has been executive director for the Information Technology Services Office (ITSO) within the DHS Office of the Chief Information Officer since 2007. In that position, said the memo, he supervised the management of all DHS-wide infrastructure services and ensured that ITSO was aligned with DHS’s mission and strategic goals, as well as the agency's “One Network, One Infrastructure, One DHS” business objectives.

Brown had previously served as DHS’s deputy director for infrastructure operations and as director of systems operations, and as director of enterprise infrastructure at Customs and Border Protection, like ICE a DHS component agency.

In his work at DHS ITSO, Brown completed the migration of 16 data centers to two enterprise centers, which the department said would save $2.8 billion through 2030. He also transitioned more than 100,000 DHS employees to a private cloud email service, and launched a platform-as-a-service that supports Linux, open-source and Wintel environments.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Jul 06, 2015 at 8:40 AM0 comments


Kathy Conrad to leave GSA

Kathy Conrad of GSA

Before joining GSA in 2011, Kathy Conrad worked in the private sector.

Multiple sources tell FCW that Kathy Conrad, the principal deputy associate administrator for the General Services Administration's Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technology, will leave GSA in July.

An internal announcement for GSA staff went out today.

Conrad joined GSA in 2011 from the private sector, and has been a central figure in the administration's launch of 18F, Data.gov, Connect.gov and the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program for cloud security. She is a three-time Federal 100 Award winner, and served as acting associate administrator for OCSIT and 18F for much of 2014. 

Conrad confirmed her departure to FCW, but did not specify an exact date or share details on her next steps beyond "take some time off."

Update:  In her email to GSA colleagues, Conrad said that her last day would be July 24. 

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Jun 30, 2015 at 10:46 AM3 comments


PSC calls Saull

Bradley Saull, former senior staff for the House of Homeland Security Committee.

Hill staffer Bradley Saull is joining the Professional Services Council as a vice president. (Image: Bradley Saull / LinkedIn)

Bradley Saull, a senior staffer on the House Homeland Security Committee, is joining the Professional Services Council as vice president, handling issues facing civilian federal government agencies.

Saull joins the PSC on July 6.

On the Hill, Saull has served as management advisor on Department of Homeland Security issues for the Homeland Security Committee since 2013. He worked in the federal government from 2004 to 2007, at the Department of Justice and at DHS. He has also worked as a consultant at Deloitte.

In his newly created PSC post, Saull will serve as lead staffer for the Civilian Agencies Council, which focuses on issues facing DHS, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Health and Human Services, and other federal agencies. The PSC is composed of a board of industry CEOS and other leaders from across the professional services and IT sectors.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Jun 29, 2015 at 10:19 AM0 comments


Planning, procurement and purchasing the cloud: A primer

Shutterstock image.

When planning for the cloud, don’t forget procurement.

That was the message delivered by two experts with a shared and vested interest in successfully migrating federal agencies to cloud services, speaking on a panel at Amazon Web Services’ government symposium in Washington, D.C., on June 26.

"If procurement is left out, all the good intentions of cloud are reduced or eliminated," said David DeBrandt, business development capture manager for Amazon Web Services. “If you use traditional procurement frameworks, the benefits of cloud are taken away.”

Karen Petraska, service executive for data centers at NASA's Office of the CIO, said acquiring cloud services requires a different way of approaching procurement while still employing more traditional procurement techniques. NASA has been among the early movers toward cloud solutions.

NASA's Solutions for Enterprise Wide Procurement (SEWP) government wide procurement vehicle has been an instrumental part of her agency's cloud work, Petraska said. SEWP has issued statements of work that can give agencies varying levels of control over their services. NASA, for example, chose one with a high level of control over its data and high-level access. It also made sure it retained intellectual property rights to all of its data, she said.

That kind of detailed consideration is required when agencies craft requests for proposals for cloud services, according to both Petraska and DeBrandt.

That means including top managers from legal, budget, security and IT departments -- and not just acquisition personnel -- in initial procurement planning meetings, said DeBrandt.

Although cloud procurement is being learned by agencies like NASA, sometimes older procurement techniques can be tweaked to pitch in. Petraska said she uses "non-specific ordering" on procurement documents, which essentially creates a refillable "Starbucks Card" for NASA personnel who buy cloud services.

The technique, she said, has to be monitored to ensure regulatory compliance. AWS sends NASA a detailed bill on exactly what was used, which helps with federal audits, said Petraska said, who added that NASA is working with AWS to automate the process. 

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Jun 26, 2015 at 11:01 AM0 comments


Lynn to replace Hawkins as DISA director

Alan Lynn

U.S. Army Major General Alan R. Lynn (above) is set to replace Lt Gen Ronnie D. Hawkins Jr. as director of DISA.

Army Maj. Gen. Alan Lynn will succeed Lt. Gen. Ronnie Hawkins as head of the Defense Information Systems Agency sometime this summer, DISA officials said June 16.

Lynn is currently vice director of the Pentagon’s IT infrastructure agency. Hawkins announced in January that he would retire.

Lynn has been DISA’s vice director since September 2013, prior to which he was commanding general of the Army's Network Enterprise Technology Command at Fort Huachuca, Ariz. He has also served as DISA’s chief of staff and as head of the Army Signal Center of Excellence.

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Jun 16, 2015 at 8:23 AM0 comments


Event touts D.C. women in tech

Shutterstock image (by Spectrum Studio): Washington, D.C. skyline.

(Image: Spectrum Studio / Shutterstock)

Anyone walking into Smith Public Trust in Washington, D.C., on the evening of June 10 noticed something immediately: Very, very few dudes.

More than 100 women techies attended "Celebrating DC Women in Technology" in Washington, D.C. tweeting with the hashtag #DCWIT2015. Among the attendees were the founder of a tech firm, members of Tech ladyMafia (a networking group for developers and digital strategists), and a woman switching careers and learning to code.

Instead of listening to panels and speeches, they had a chance to meet other women in the field, network and get recognition for the work they do.

The event stemmed from an article Meredith Fineman, CEO of Finepoint, wrote in May listing 14 outstanding-but-underrecognized D.C. women in tech. The piece was in response to Washingtonian Magazine's list of the 100 most powerful people in tech, which featured no women on the first page and only 27 total.

Fineman was "mystified" no one had spoken up about the disparity in the list, so she decided to make her own.

"There are so many amazing women I know in tech or technological positions that are friends and people I admire, work with, who I've hired, who have hired me, so I just made this list," she said.

The article went viral, and Fineman got hundreds of emails from women in tech wanting to share their stories. She put together the event quickly, finding a sponsor and a venue in just two weeks. The goal was to build a stronger platform for D.C. techies – government and private sector alike -- and to keep the conversation going.

"I had to be a PR person for a group of people that wasn't totally being spoken for, and I think it took someone slightly outside the industry," Fineman said "It was very clear within five seconds of my posting that piece, and within five seconds of my posting the event, that it was something people really wanted and needed."

DC has been ranked as the top city for women in tech, with 37 percent of tech jobs filled by women. Fineman said she hopes to have a similar event next year, but wants to keep it a celebration most of all. "It's such a mired topic. It's just very hard to be a woman in or around technology and sometimes you don't want to talk about how hard it is. … You just want to hang out and have fun."

Posted by Bianca Spinosa on Jun 11, 2015 at 12:51 PM0 comments


FDIC CIO on leave

vacant desk

Barry West, CIO at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, is on leave of an unspecified nature and is stepping down as president of the board at the Association For Federal Information Resources Management (AFFIRM).

The circumstances surrounding West’s changing roles are unclear.

Early in the day on June 4, West’s name was removed from the FDIC website directory and replaced with Acting Chief Information Officer Martin Henning, though by the end of the day West’s name had been restored and Henning’s removed.

FDIC spokeswoman Barbara Hagenbaugh told FCW that West was on leave for “personal reasons” but could not say when the leave had started, when it might be over or whether it was paid. Hagenbaugh said the removal of West’s name from the FDIC website was an “error,” though she confirmed that Henning was handling West’s workload while West is out of the office.

AFFIRM board member Stacy Riggs told FCW that West had completed one year as president and had planned to serve a second, but recently decided to step down when his first term ends this month. She added that he was an “awesome president” and said she knew nothing of his leave at FDIC. A spokeswoman for Potomac Resources Management, which manages AFFIRM, confirmed that elections had been held for new board positions and a new president would be announced June 17.

West has extensive experience in and out of government, having served as CIO at the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Federal Emergency Management Agency and Department of Commerce. He also served as president of the American Council for Technology & Industry Advisory Council from 2003 to 2007. He started at the FDIC in December.

West did not respond to multiple inquiries seeking comment.

Posted by Zach Noble on Jun 04, 2015 at 1:24 PM2 comments


GSA taps Starinsky for acquisition institute

Melissa Starinsky

Melissa Starinsky began her career as an acquisition intern in 1989 with the Navy Department.

The General Services Administration has named Melissa Starinsky director of the Federal Acquisition Institute, the agency’s training arm for the acquisition workforce.

Starinsky has more than 25 years of public and private-sector experience in acquisition, and was previously chancellor of the Veterans Affairs Acquisition Academy, where she oversaw five schools: Acquisition Internship, Program Management, Contracting Professional, Facilities Management, and Supply Chain Management.

"OFPP looks forward to working closely with Melissa and the talented FAI staff in continuing to strengthen the federal acquisition workforce," Office of Federal Procurement Policy Administrator Anne Rung said in a June 1 statement.

FAI works with organizations such as OFPP, the Chief Acquisition Officers Council, and the Interagency Acquisition Career Management Council on a variety of training and research efforts. FAI is located within GSA’s Office of Government-wide Policy and receives policy direction from the OFPP.

According to GSA, Starinsky began her career as an acquisition intern in 1989 with the Navy Department and has held various acquisition and programmatic leadership positions with the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Veterans Affairs and in the private sector. While at HHS she served as deputy director of the Office of Acquisition and Grants Management for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Jun 01, 2015 at 11:39 AM0 comments


HHS picks Fox for CTO

Susannah Fox of the HHS Idea Lab

Susannah Fox succeeds Bryan Sivak as chief technology officer at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Susannah Fox, who ran the health and technology surveys for the Pew Internet Project, and was most recently the entrepreneur-in-residence at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has been tapped to serve as CTO of the Department of Health and Human Services.

At Pew, Fox led efforts to understand how Americans use new technology to access health care and health information, as technology to monitor individual health was entering the everyday lives of health care consumers.

Fox wrote on an HHS blog post that she is looking forward to aiding administration efforts to open more health data, and to supporting the HHS Idea Lab, which gives government employees more freedom to experiment with new ideas and connects individual entrepreneurs with pressing health technology problems.

"Technology's true impact is only just now emerging in this area. The Internet gives us greater access to information, yes, but even more importantly, it gives us access to each other," Fox wrote.

Fox takes over for Bryan Sivak, who founded the Idea Lab. Sivak announced his departure in late March and stepped down at the end of April.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on May 29, 2015 at 12:12 PM0 comments


Roth tapped to head GSA

Denise Turner Roth.

Denise Turner Roth joined GSA as deputy administrator in 2014.

President Barack Obama intends to make Denise Turner Roth's job as acting head of the General Services Administration into a more permanent one.

The president said in a May 21 announcement that he will nominate GSA's acting administrator to fill the position full time.

“As acting administrator and deputy administrator, Denise led the General Services Administration to become more efficient, innovative and effective," said the president.

Roth stepped into the acting administrator position after Dan Tangherlini left the agency in February to become chief operating officer at the Washington-area real estate investment firm Artemis Real Estate Partners.

In assuming the acting administrator position, Roth told FCW that she sees her mission as perpetuating the successes her predecessor's strategies yielded.

Before she came to GSA in 2014 to be deputy administrator, she was city manager in Greensboro, N.C. Before that, she had worked on Capitol Hill and in local D.C. government.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on May 21, 2015 at 1:07 PM0 comments


McClure elected to IAC leadership role

Dave McClure_Veris Group

Dave McClure

One of the traditions at ACT-IAC's annual Management of Change conference is the naming of new leadership for the industry side of the organization. At the evening proceedings on May 18, departing Executive Chair Dan Chenok announced the Dave McClure had been elected as Industry Advisory Council executive vice chair. 

IAC has a built-in succession plan, where an industry leader serves one term as vice-chair before ascending to the top job. Current Executive Vice Chair Ted Davies will take over for Chenok this summer, and McClure will be in line to succeed him in 2016.

Chenok said that McClure, with his deep experience in both industry and government, was a great pick to help lead the organization -- noting his previous service on the ACT-IAC Executive Advisory Board and recognition as the John J. Franke Award recipient in 2013. "He's a visionary," Chenok told FCW. "The organization will be in terrific hands."

McClure, who retired from the General Services Administration in 2014 and is now chief strategist for the Veris Group, said he was excited to return to a larger role in ACT-IAC -- particularly for a two-year stint that will span a transition in administrations. "It'll be a fun time, and exciting," he said. "It's my kind of environment."

IAC also announce the selection of four new executive committee members: Susan Becker of Unisys, Malcolm Harden of CGI Federal, Richard Spires of Resilient Network Systems and Paul Strasser of PPC.

McClure and Spires are both winners of FCW's Government Eagle Award, and both write occasional columns for FCW.

Posted by FCW Staff on May 18, 2015 at 5:47 AM0 comments


(ISC)² honors information security leaders in government

The International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium -- more commonly know as (ISC)² -- honored a wide range of federal information security executives at the group's annual awards ceremony last week.

Among the winners of the U.S. Government Information Security Leadership Awards was the Marine Corps' Cyber Protection Team -- for its training and capacity-building efforts, which include the development of a cyber protection toolkit that has become the standard for all such toolkits at the Defense Department.

The other government awardees were:

  • The Department of Homeland Security's John Simms for speeding the deployment of the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation program to 21 agencies in a way that also reduced costs.
  • The Education Department's Benjamin Bergersen for making MAX.gov shared services the first agency-run software-as-a-service offering to receive Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program authorization.
  • The U.S. Army's Michael Redman for identifying a training gap among DOD cybersecurity professionals and crafting in-house courses that more than 300 of his colleagues have now used.
  • The State Department's Samuel Maroon for his volunteer efforts teaching and managing the Wounded Warrior Cyber Combat Academy -- a program administered by the Federal IT Security Institute that trains injured veterans for careers in cybersecurity.

In addition, U.S. Navy Reservist Wajahat Qureshi received the (ISC)² Foundation's USA Cyber Warrior Scholarship for 2015, the vulnerability research and coordination team at Carnegie Mellon University's CERT Division was honored as the most valuable industry partner, and former (ISC)² Executive Director W. Hord Tipton was chosen for the organization’s F. Lynn McNulty Tribute Award.

Posted by FCW Staff on May 18, 2015 at 8:46 AM0 comments


Nally to retire in July

Brigadier General Kevin J. Nally, Deputy Chief Information Officer (Marine Corps)

Brig. Gen. Kevin J. Nally has served more than three decades in the Marine Corps.

Brig. Gen. Kevin Nally, the Marine Corps' CIO and director for C4, is retiring in July. 

Speaking at AFCEA Nova's May 14 Naval IT Day in Vienna, Va., Nally -- who has filled a variety of IT leadership roles for the Corps over the last 10 years -- told the audience that this would be his last time speaking at the annual event. "Unless," he quipped, "I become president of the United States -- in which case I'll be happy to come back and talk to you."

Nally won a Federal 100 Award in 2012 for his efforts to virtualize USMC networks and consolidate data centers. That work helped put the Marine Corps in a position to skip versions 1.0 and 1.5 of the Defense Department's Joint Regional Security Stacks initiative, because the Corps' existing cybersecurity stacks have more capacity and are significantly cheaper than JRSS 1.5. (Nally did say he expected the Corps to "be a big player in JRSS 2.0.")

Speaking to reporters after the speech, Nally said that after "34-plus years, it's time to transition." He demurred when asked if he knows what he'll do next, saying only, "I know what I don't want to do."

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on May 14, 2015 at 9:03 AM0 comments


White House taps Princeton prof as deputy CTO

Edward William Felten.

Ed Felten is professor of computer science and public affairs at Princeton University and a former CTO at the FTC.

Ed Felten, a former chief technologist for the Federal Trade Commission and now a computer science and public affairs professor at Princeton University, will be the Office of Science and Technology Policy's Deputy CTO.

Felten’s background in government and academia breaks the recent mold of senior tech appointees with private-sector resumes. Former Google executive Megan Smith was named federal chief technology officer last fall. In February, the White House named former VMWare CIO Tony Scott as federal CIO. The same month DJ Patil, formerly vice president of product at RelateIQ, was named the first-ever U.S. chief data scientist.

"Ed joins a growing number of techies at the White House working to further President Obama’s vision to ensure policy decisions are informed by our best understanding of state-of-the-art technology and innovation, to quickly and efficiently deliver great services for the American people, and to broaden and deepen the American people’s engagement with their government," said a May 11 White House statement.

Felten has been a vocal critic of some federal electronic surveillance policies and recording industry copyright practices. In 2006, he recorded and posted a video alleging security gaps in Diebold voting machines.

Felten is the Robert E. Kahn Professor of Computer Science and Public Affairs at Princeton, where he is also the founding director of the Center for Information Technology Policy. In 2010, Felten took a one year leave of absence from the faculty to become the FTC's first chief technologist. He has also worked with the Department of Justice Antitrust Division.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on May 12, 2015 at 8:31 AM0 comments


Rep. Connolly wants you to tell him a story

Gerry Connolly_2015 Eagle

Rep. Gerry Connolly wants people to email federal employee success stories to ThankAFed@mail.house.gov.

Amid the failures and tales of a public dissatisfied with federal workers, success stories often go unnoticed. Rep. Gerry Connolly wants to hear those stories.

As Public Service Recognition Week wound down, the Virginia Democrat announced the creation of a dedicated email address -- ThankAFed@mail.house.gov -- for the people to submit stories of public servants who went above and beyond the call of duty.

"The inspiration for this project was hearing firsthand from constituents about stories of good governance that are compelling, yet lack the characteristics of scandal or conflict that so often make good headlines," Connolly said.

Connolly’s office, which will monitor the new account, said constituents have already sent in many stories that defy the “frequent stereotype of lazy and inept government bureaucrats.”

Will trolls use the account to lob spam or hate mail the government’s way?

“[T]o date, the positive has far outweighed a few negative submissions, and I am pleased that we have already received detailed responses from individuals that highlight and describe precisely the types of best practices that we are interested in learning more about," Connolly told FCW.

Connolly added that he hopes the lessons gleaned from the stories will lead not just to back-patting praise for certain public servants, but to the identification of new best practices to improve civil service.

Posted by Zach Noble on May 08, 2015 at 9:03 AM1 comments


White House digital strategist steps down

Nathaniel Lubin

Nate Lubin developed the "enhanced" State of the Union webcast.

Nate Lubin, head of the White House Office of Digital Strategy, stepped down May 1. Lubin led a transformation in the way the Obama administration taps social media to reach citizens, particularly young people.

Lubin developed the "enhanced" State of the Union webcast that paired live video of the speech with supplemental materials designed to give viewers a deeper dive into the president's policy proposals. The 2015 effort generated 1.2 million live stream views. Additionally, there were 400,000 views of the transcript of the speech as posted on the social site Medium.

Lubin was also behind the posting of the fiscal 2016 budget proposal data on GitHub, the open source code sharing service.

Lubin, 28, worked on email marketing for the 2008 Obama campaign while still a student at Harvard. In the 2012 campaign, he was director of digital marketing for Obama for America and was digital director for the 2013 inauguration.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on May 04, 2015 at 10:33 AM0 comments


Coast Guard No. 2 tapped to lead TSA

Wikimedia image: Vice Adm. Peter Neffenger.

Vice Adm. Peter Neffenger, a 34-year Coast Guard veteran, has served as vice commandant since May 2014.

President Barack Obama announced that he intends to nominate Coast Guard Vice Adm. Peter Neffenger to be the next head of the Transportation Security Administration.

"He has been a recognized leader in the face of our nation’s important challenges, and I am grateful for his service," Obama said in a statement.

Neffenger has served as vice commandant of the Coast Guard since May 2014, the culmination of a Coast Guard career that began in 1981. Among the positions he has held are deputy commandant for operations and director of strategic management and doctrine. He was also deputy national incident commander for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and served as security coordinator for the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif., from 2003 to 2006. 

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson noted that Neffenger's confirmation would include him in a growing list of top managers coming into the department. DHS has had nagging problems with vacancies in some of its top management ranks over the past few years.

"With the recent confirmation of Russ Deyo to be our new undersecretary for management, there are now 12 new Senate-confirmed presidential appointments for the Department of Homeland Security since I took office, including me," Johnson said in an April 28 statement.

Neffenger would be 13 if he is confirmed by the Senate.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Apr 29, 2015 at 10:43 AM0 comments


Casey Coleman moving to Unisys Federal Systems

Casey Coleman

Casey Coleman

Former General Services Administration CIO Casey Coleman is leaving AT&T Government Solutions to become Unisys Federal's civilian agency business leader. Her first day at Unisys will be April 22.

Washington Technology's Nick Wakeman interviewed Coleman on April 14 about the pending move. She said she had long been impressed by Unisys' "depth of capabilities and skills, whether it is the cloud, mobility, security or the core infrastructure."

Coleman joined AT&T in January 2014 after spending 11 in various IT leadership roles at GSA. Prior to GSA, she held positions at Lockheed Martin and Kana Software.

A three-time Federal 100 winner, Coleman told Washington Technology her time at GSA would serve her well at Unisys. "I have a lot of empathy for our government customers," she said. "You have to understand the pressures they are under."

For the full Washington Technology article, please click here.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Apr 15, 2015 at 5:02 AM0 comments


Hashmi bids a fond farewell

GSA CIO Sonny Hashmi (Photo by Zaid Hamid)

Sonny Hashmi's last day at GSA was April 3.

On his last day as General Services Administration CIO, Sonny Hashmi told his colleagues in a final post on the GSA website that the agency has embraced cutting edge technologies during his four year tenure that substantially reduced costs.

"We modernized GSA's core systems and operations, reduced annual IT costs by 20 percent, embraced modern technology paradigms including cloud computing, mobility, big data and agile techniques, and helped define the future vision of information technology across the federal government," Hashmi wrote in a final April 3 post on GSA's "Around the Corner" CIO blog site.

In his blog post, Hashmi said he had worked to establish a foundation for the future at GSA, installed innovative IT operations and provided direction at the agency.

"We establish a policy outlining nine key principles guiding all IT efforts at GSA, including making a commitment to leverage open source technologies wherever possible, and to share any code that GSA owns so others may benefit from it," he said. "We also worked hard to bring together various teams from across GSA to streamline IT operations, reduce costs, and improve our products and services. These initiatives led to not only GSA IT reducing our annual budget by over $120 million, but allowed us to recruit some of the most talented and innovative individuals, as well as provided new opportunities to our workforce, who have helped revolutionize IT delivery within GSA and across the federal government."

Hashmi moved to the private sector at cloud service provider Box on April 6, leading the company's efforts in the federal government space.

David Shive is now GSA's acting CIO. Shive was director of the Office of Enterprise Infrastructure, responsible for the enterprise information technology infrastructure platforms and capability that support GSA's business enterprise. He was also the acting director of HR and FM Systems for the GSA CFO and CPO offices.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Apr 07, 2015 at 9:18 AM0 comments


How to spot a Rising Star

Rising Star Logo

Nominations for the 2015 Rising Star awards are now being accepted -- and we need your input to be sure we find the best possible candidates for our judges to consider.

The Rising Star awards spotlight women and men who -- even in the early stages of their federal IT careers -- are having an impact far above their pay grade, and who show clear signs of being leaders in the community in the years to come. Nominees can come from government, the private sector, academia or the non-profit world -- the only restrictions are that they be actively involved in the community, and in the first 10 years of their federal IT careers. So while many nominees are in their 20s and 30s, age is not the issue -- a 50-year-old veteran who's embarked on a second career is every bit as eligible.

So be thinking about the individuals you know who are both doing great things today and showing potential for tomorrow. Start identifying your supporting nominators, and gathering the information you'll need to show us these people are really Rising Stars.

The heart of each nomination comes down to these three questions:

  1. What does this person do? Describe the work for which he or she is being nominated.
  2. What impact did this work have? How did the nominee go above and beyond to make a difference?
  3. Is there any additional information the judges need to assess this individual's contributions to the community?


There are 1,200 characters allowed for each question, so choose your words wisely -- clarity and brevity count!

Each nomination also requires basic biographical details for the nominee (name, title, organization, years in the field, etc.), and contact information for you and any supporting nominators (each nominee can have up to five). The essay questions, however, are what make or break a nomination. Here's what to keep in mind as you answer them:

  • Focus on an individual’s accomplishments over the past year. This is an All-Star Team, not the Hall of Fame award, so don’t dwell on long and faithful service. Be specific about what the project encompassed and what the person did that was extraordinary.
  • It is the accomplishment and not the job title that counts, so describe the person’s contribution and show why the project is important to the community at large.
  • We know teams are important, but this is an individual award. Save your team nominations for the GCN Awards -- those nominations are also open!
  • This is not a popularity contest. Nominate people who have had a significant impact, even if they are not universally liked.
  • Supporting nominators matter -- a nomination with a single nominator can certainly produce a winner, but the judges pay attention to who is nominating and how they know the nominee/project.
  • That said, ask before you add someone’s name as a supporting nominator. Every year we have at least one judge who is stunned to find his or her name on a nomination he or she knew nothing about. It almost never has a positive effect on the discussion.
  • If you are nominating an industry person for work done at a government agency, it helps to have government corroboration. If ethical considerations make it difficult to enlist an agency employee as a supporting nominator, try to get third-party substantiation.
  • Finally, show the judges why this individual is an emerging leader to watch!

So gather all the necessary information, and begin nominating your favorite Rising Stars today.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Apr 07, 2015 at 1:22 PM0 comments


Jones moves to DOT tech office

Shutterstock image: revolving door.

James Eric (Jimmy) Jones, chief program officer for the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, will move over to the Department of Transportation to work for the chief technology officer.

In a note on his Facebook page, Jones said he is leaving the Recovery Board effective April 17 to begin working April 19 at the DOT, "supporting the Chief Technology Officer” on multiple IT projects. He did not specify a job title, and did not respond to requests for comment.

Maria Roat, former director of the General Services Administration's Federal Risk Management and Authorization Program (FedRAMP), became DOT CTO in August 2014.

The Recovery Board is an independent agency created under the economic stimulus act of 2009. As chief program officer, Jones has been responsible for daily operation of some of the board's major projects, including FederalReporting.gov, Recovery.gov and FederalAccountability.gov.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Apr 02, 2015 at 1:49 PM2 comments


Air Force shifts IT exec

Bill Marion.

Bill Marion, CTO at Air Force Space Command, was named CIO for the service's personnel directorate. (Image: Bill Marion / LinkedIn)

Bill Marion, a 2015 Fed 100 winner, is leaving his job as chief technology officer of the Air Force Space Command to become CIO and deputy director of plans and integration at the Air Force’s personnel directorate. The change will be effective April 9, an Air Force spokeswoman said.

As Air Force Space Command CTO, Marion helped deploy a mobility tool that allows users to encrypt and decrypt sensitive email messages and access 100,000 native applications. 

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Apr 01, 2015 at 1:33 PM0 comments


HHS CTO steps down

Bryan Sivak

Bryan Sivak was formerly the chief innovation officer in Maryland under Gov. Martin O'Malley, a likely 2016 presidential contender.

Bryan Sivak, CTO at the Department of Health and Human Services and a 2015 Fed 100 honoree, is stepping down from his post at the end of April.

Sivak was a key player in two recent HHS innovations -- the development of a "Buyer's Club" to share institutional wisdom on procurement, and the ongoing administration of the Entrepreneurs in Residence program, which taps private sector developers to work inside HHS for a year on high-profile technology goals. Sivak also was a leader in the HHS IDEA Lab, which has empowered tech employees at the department to experiment with new ideas and collaborate with the private sector on data applications.

"Since joining us in 2012, Bryan has been a force for promoting innovation across the department, designing and deploying initiatives that improve the performance of the department for those we serve, and for our employees," HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell wrote in a March 27 email to staff. "Bryan has championed some of the department’s most innovative projects."

Sivak came to the federal government after serving as chief innovation officer in Maryland under Gov. Martin O'Malley, who is considering a 2016 presidential bid. Sivak also worked as CTO for the District of Columbia under Mayor Adrian Fenty. Before going into government, Sivak co-founded the software firm InQuira.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Mar 30, 2015 at 11:24 AM0 comments


Olga Grkavac wins 2015 President's Award

At FCW's 26th annual Federal 100 awards gala on March 26, Olga Grkavac was honored with the 2015 President's Award.

Grkavac, who retired in 2012, was a senior executive for TechAmerica and its predecessor organizations for 31 years, and before that was a key aide on Capitol Hill. Though now splitting her time between Virginia and the Eastern Shore, she remains a frequent counsel to a wide range of senior officials in both government and industry.

Trey Hodgkins, who succeeded Grkavac at TechAmerica and now leads the Information Technology Alliance for Public Sector, explained her influence in the federal IT community this way: "All the groundwork and foundation work for almost every issue, almost every policy, almost every technology the government is adopting today, Olga has a major role it."

The President's Award is intended to recognize individuals whose quiet leadership and long-term contributions might otherwise slip under the radar. The video below explains in greater detail why Grkavac's influence and legacy certainly warrant the honor.

Posted on Mar 27, 2015 at 4:46 AM1 comments


The Fed 100: Believe it or not!

By John Klossner for FCW
Want to find out for yourself? Join us at this year's Federal 100 gala.

Posted by John Klossner on Mar 24, 2015 at 7:06 AM0 comments


VanRoekel steps down at USAID

Steve VanRoekel 102012

Steve VanRoekel resigned as U.S. CIO in September 2014 to help USAID address the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

Steven VanRoekel, the chief innovation officer at the U.S. Agency for International Development, has left his role with the agency, a USAID spokesperson told FCW on March 19.

The agency declined to provide further details concerning his departure or a possible replacement. VanRoekel told FedScoop, which first reported his resignation, that he was leaving the position to spend more time with his family.

VanRoekel stepped down as U.S. CIO in September 2014 to help USAID address the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. As chief innovation officer at USAID, VanRoekel said he hoped to use his experience with IT and technology against the contagion.

VanRoekel worked with government agencies in Africa, via the White House's "Fighting Ebola Challenge" to decide how to bring in promising diagnostic technology, as well as get more cell network coverage in the affected countries.

VanRoekel's first post at USAID was in 2011 when he helped coordinate the agency’s digital communications efforts in response to the drought in the Horn of Africa. A former Microsoft executive, he joined the Obama administration in 2009 at the Federal Communications Commission as managing director, and moved to OMB in August 2011. 

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Mar 19, 2015 at 7:59 AM0 comments


PNNL gets new director

Dr. Steven Ashby

Dr. Steven Ashby

Steven Ashby will take over as director of the Energy Department's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory beginning April 1.

Ashby has been the lab's deputy director for science and technology since 2008. He will replace Mike Kluse, who is retiring after eight years as director, according to a March 11 statement from Battelle, which operates the lab for DOE's Office of Science.

Before joining PNNL, Ashby had been deputy principal associate director for science and technology at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and held several leadership roles at that lab's Computation directorate.

"Dr. Ashby's experience at the national laboratories will help drive innovation," said Undersecretary for Science and Energy Franklin Orr in a statement. He added that Ashby's familiarity with the breadth of PNNL's research programs and his experience with computational sciences and advanced computing made him well suited to his new role.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Mar 16, 2015 at 9:58 AM0 comments


OFPP launches podcast series to talk TechFAR, playbook

Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

OFPP Administrator Anne Rung

Anne Rung, administrator of the Office of Management and Budget's Office of Federal Procurement Policy, has made good on her promise to host a series of podcasts highlighting successes with some of the agency's prominent procurement tools.

Rung announced on March 3 that she would use the series to show how federal agencies are successfully taking advantage of the Digital Services Playbook and the TechFAR Handbook. The announcement was among a number of tweaks to an OMB memo released in January that expanded category management practices and digital acquisition strategies, and championed more effective vendor engagement on large-scale IT projects.

"The workforce wanted an interactive way to send and receive solutions that enhance the value of IT procurements for customers and taxpayers," Rung wrote in a March 11 blog post. "Those suggestions led to the creation of the Behind the Buy audio series, or podcast, a human-centered design approach that allows procurement and program offices to listen and learn about innovative IT contracting strategies while carrying on their daily work responsibilities."

The inaugural podcast features Mark Naggar, project manager of the Department of Health and Human Services' Buyers Club. He details his use of the TechFAR Handbook and the Digital Services Playbook, noting that he tapped play No. 4, "build the service using agile and iterative practices," to help his team quickly contract with multiple vendors for development of IT system prototypes.

He said the approach helped increase customer satisfaction and vendor engagement and ultimately reduced delivery time from six months to two months.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Mar 13, 2015 at 1:42 PM1 comments


More personnel changes at GSA

18F's Greg Godbout

Executive Director Greg Godbout is leaving GSA's 18F.

In an agency-wide message on March 11, General Services Administration Acting Administrator Denise Turner Roth announced two key changes in GSA's IT leadership.

Greg Godbout, the former presidential innovation fellow who serves as executive director of 18F, will be leaving GSA for another federal agency. As is often the case with startup tech ventures, Roth said, "there comes a time when the leadership who played key roles in the beginning will leave to create new ventures."

Aaron Snow, the group's principal deputy executive director and one of the first 18F team members, will take over as acting executive director, Roth said.

And in the office of the CIO, Roth announced, David Shive will become acting CIO when Sonny Hashmi departs for the private sector. "David has been a leading figure in almost every key GSA IT initiative and transformation for more than two years," Roth said, "and I look forward to working with him to continue to build on our legacy of IT excellence."

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Mar 11, 2015 at 1:58 PM0 comments


Cook out as USDA CIO

Cheryl L. Cook

Cheryl L. Cook (above) has left her position as CIO of the USDA, leaving Joyce Hunter as acting CIO.

Agriculture Department CIO Cheryl Cook stepped down on March 6. Joyce Hunter, USDA's deputy CIO for policy and planning, has been named acting CIO.

USDA officials confirmed the departure, but offered no reason for it. Cook could not be reached for comment, and her email autoreply states simply that "I no longer work at USDA." The message refers senders to Hunter, Deputy CIO for Enterprise Management Sue Bussells and Acting Deputy CIO for Operations Nancy Reeves-Flores.

Cook, who won a 2015 Federal 100 award for her leadership on USDA's mobility management efforts, has served in a variety of roles at USDA, in Pennsylvania state government and in the non-profit sector. She had continued to reside in Pennsylvania, commuting to D.C. for her CIO duties.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Mar 10, 2015 at 7:45 AM0 comments


GSA's Roth not looking to rock the boat

Acting GSA Administrator Denise Turner Roth said the innovations begun by Dan Tangherlini have been woven into the agency's mission.

When Dan Tangherlini departed from the General Services Administration last month, he left Deputy Administrator Denise Turner Roth in charge of what they both consider to be a well-oiled machine. "We have very strong fundamental efforts in place that we need to continue to run on," Roth said. "I don't see doing any of those differently. We need to keep running in the direction we've been running."

Although her predecessor's tenure was marked by efforts to transform GSA into something resembling a modern technology-centric business, Roth sees her mission as perpetuating the successes that strategy yielded.

But that doesn't mean nothing will change.

She said GSA has opportunities to capitalize on the work that has been done on projects such as the Common Acquisition Platform, Total Workplace and 18F and apply it to the partner agencies GSA supports.

"We do need to make sure that any of the changes to policy or processes or programs that we've brought online are a continuous and sustainable factor of GSA in our fabric," Roth said.

Before she came to GSA a year ago to be deputy administrator, she was city manager in Greensboro, N.C. Before that, she had worked on Capitol Hill and in local D.C. government.

She said her experience at various levels of government has prepared her to handle the challenges faced by GSA. In the past year, her focus has been on the organizational changes that have occurred, including staff realignment and managing administrative costs.

"I have a very core and fundamental perspective of how GSA operates and manages," Roth said. "I've been able to work closely with the leadership here at GSA and understanding what their long-term goals are, [what their] visions are and how we can organize...to support those efforts."

As for the innovations of the Tangherlini era, Roth said they are now woven into GSA's mission.

"We need to make sure that's an integral part of how we do business," she said.

Posted by Colby Hochmuth on Mar 06, 2015 at 10:43 AM1 comments


DOE to get new CIO

revolving door

The Department of Energy will replace interim CIO Don Adcock with Michael Johnson, assistant director for intelligence programs at the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House.

Adcock took over the acting CIO position last September after Bob Brese left government for the private sector. When Adcock stepped in on an interim basis, he retained his position as deputy CIO. He will reportedly move back into the deputy position when Johnson begins his new job on March 9.

Johnson's appointment was first reported by Nextgov.

Johnson will step into a position that oversees policy and oversight of DOE's $2 billion IT budget spread across more than 25 national laboratories and facilities that enable federal missions from advanced research to nuclear security. As interim CIO, Adcock led initiatives in open data, cloud computing and energy-efficient IT strategies.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Mar 05, 2015 at 7:47 AM0 comments


Kinder, gentler... sort of

John Klossner for FCW

Posted by John Klossner on Mar 04, 2015 at 7:18 AM0 comments


Levine tapped for DCMO

Image of the Pentagon

President Barack Obama on March 3 nominated former Senate Armed Services Committee staff director Peter Levine to be the Defense Department's next deputy chief management officer.

Levine worked on the Armed Services Committee from 1996 until January 2015, according to a White House-provided biography. Prior to that, he was general counsel to former Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), and counsel to the Senate Committee on Government Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management.

Congress created the position of DCMO in 2007 to better coordinate business practices across the vast Pentagon bureaucracy. Elizabeth McGrath served as the first DCMO from July 2010 to November 2013. Since May 2014, David Tillotson has filled the role on an acting basis.

Tillotson has emerged as the right-hand man for acting DOD CIO Terry Halvorsen's efforts to better leverage IT for cost savings. For DOD business operations, IT is "normally an embedded part of the problem, the solution or both," Tillotson told FCW in a recent interview. He added that getting DOD to an "auditable financial position" will require grappling with a "multiplicity of IT systems."

A spokesperson said Tillotson, who was originally tapped as assistant DCMO, could conceivably stay on in the office once Levine is confirmed.

Levine's nomination had been expected in the DOD community since at least early February, when William Greenwalt returned to the Senate Armed Services Committee. Multiple sources told FCW that the administration wanted to get Defense Secretary Ashton Carter confirmed and on the job before turning to the DCMO nomination.

Paul Brubaker, who served as DOD's director of planning and performance management from January 2013 to May 2014, welcomed Levine's appointment. Levine will "bring a well-informed and needed perspective to the DCMO office," Brubaker told FCW. "I don't know why it took so long to fill that position except to say that the White House was probably looking for a candidate with a unique background, like Peter's, and candidates like him aren't that common."

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Mar 03, 2015 at 5:35 AM3 comments


Hettinger hangs out a shingle

Michael Hettinger

Hill veteran Mike Hettinger previously worked for TechAmerica and the Software and Information Industry Association.

Mike Hettinger, a technology policy expert who held senior positions with TechAmerica and the Software and Information Industry Association, has launched his own consultancy focused on legislative and regulatory strategy for the government market.

Hettinger Strategy Group offers clients lobbying and advisory services. The new firm has also partnered with Rich Beutel's Cyrrus Analytics on single-client engagement, and the two boutique firms may team up on other efforts in the future.

"Starting my own firm is something I have always wanted to do, and now seems like the perfect time. The technology marketplace is changing and new policies from Congress and the executive branch are altering the way government buys and uses technology, creating compliance issues for businesses. The demand for my expertise – the ability to influence policy and regulation to create business opportunities – is extremely high and I am excited to continue to work in this arena," Hettinger said in a news release announcing the business.

Hettinger has deep roots in the policy world. In addition to his work for technology trade associations, Hettinger served as chief of staff to former Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) and as staff director of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which Davis led.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Feb 27, 2015 at 12:30 PM0 comments


Tangherlini lands in real estate investment

Dan Tangherlini

Dan Tangherlini will be staying in the D.C. area as he enters the private sector.

Former GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini has moved on to the private sector, settling at a Washington-area real estate investment firm, while his former employer has appointed staff to new leadership positions in his wake.

Chevy Chase, Md.-based Artemis Real Estate Partners said in a Feb. 25 statement it had appointed Tangherlini as its chief operating officer in charge of running corporate strategy and overseeing operations.

Tangherlini told his staff in a January internal email that he planned to leave the agency on Feb.  13, but didn't disclose where he would be going.

In that internal communication, Tangherlini said GSA Deputy Administrator Denise Turner Roth would serve as acting administrator.

Turner Roth started in that position on Feb. 23. In an introductory video blog posted on GSA's web site, she also announced two other management moves.

GSA Chief of Staff Adam Neufeld was named acting deputy administrator. Neufeld started at GSA in May of 2013 and has been a central figure in transforming the agency's office space, as well as a leader in championing innovative development initiatives, such as the Presidential Innovation Fellows and 18F.

Current Associate Administrator of the Office of Government-wide Policy, Christine Haradawas named acting chief of staff.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Feb 27, 2015 at 8:05 AM0 comments


More business, less policy

LinkedIn profile image: Richard Young, CIO for USDA's Foreign Agricultural Services.

In the few weeks Richard Young has been CIO of the Foreign Agricultural Service, he said he's become more focused on the business impact of IT and less on IT policy debates, or deploying the latest cutting edge technology, major preoccupations in his former post as director of IT policy and compliance at the Department of Homeland Security.

In remarks at a Feb. 19 Association for Federal Information Resources Management (AFFIRM) panel on "New Voices in Federal IT," Young said at FAS "it's all about sharing resources." Providing IT services to FAS, which operates 94 offices in 73 countries around the world, is more like providing IT to a small business than a giant corporation, said Young. FAS has about 15,000 employees; DHS has about 240,000.

"You have to understand the business side of IT. You have to talk in business terms, not in IT terms," he said. While the same may be true at DHS, Young said the day-to-day impact of IT on a smaller agency can be more immediate.

Shared services is a prime example of how smaller agency IT shops can focus on the task at hand. "Who needs another travel system?" he asked.

Young said that since moving from DHS into his CIO role at FAS, he has made a point to meet personally with FAS IT staff and get to know their issues, and vice versa. That kind of personal interaction wasn't possible at the relatively vast DHS IT operations. He said in the first few days of working at FAS, he shook hands with most of FAS IT employees. "At DHS, you didn't shake hands with the CIO at the door."

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Feb 20, 2015 at 8:09 AM0 comments


Rich Beutel helps CSPs navigate government regs

Shutterstock image: executive handshake.

Acquisitions expert Rich Beutel, who helped write and managed passage of the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) while serving as a senior staffer on the House Government Oversight and Reform committee, has turned his attention to industry.

Rich Beutel

Richard (Rich) Beutel

His new consultancy, Cyrrus Analytics, is aimed at providing medium-sized cloud service providers a path through the maze of compliance directives required to do business with the federal government.

Beutel launched Cyrrus in the last week of January, and so far he's landed Adobe and MeriTalk as clients.

"I would be problem-solving issues that are hindering clients’ ability to do business with the federal government," Beutel told FCW in an email.

Some areas of practice include FedRAMP certification, changing National Institute for Standards and Technology security guidance, navigating agency procurement models, and general government contracting issues, he said.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Feb 19, 2015 at 10:15 AM0 comments


Secret Service needs a CIO

help wanted ad

A high-profile government agency responsible for the lives of some of the most important people on the planet, working in one of the most volatile, pressure-filled environments on earth needs a new CIO. It's not a job for the faint-of-heart, as failure could mean monumental problems for everyone.

The Secret Service is looking to pay $121,956 to $183,300 to a candidate who can "transform" the way the agency uses technology to achieve its mission of protecting the president of the United States, his family, the vice president and his family, visiting foreign leaders, and U.S. currency from counterfeiters.

The ideal job applicant, said the Secret Service job notice, will be able to use technology to support those missions in ways that can spur strategic change, from the modernization of mobile phones into communication and planning devices to working with partners on advanced surveillance and threat mitigation.

You’ll also need top secret/sensitive compartmented information clearances to qualify for the Senior Executive Service-level post.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Feb 04, 2015 at 7:49 AM1 comments


SASC gets an old acquisition hand

LinkedIn profile image: Bill Greenwalt

William Greenwalt is rejoining the Senate Armed Services Committee after 18 months at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. (Image: LinkedIn)

William Greenwalt, a former deputy undersecretary of Defense, has returned to his previous position as a staff member focusing on acquisition at the Senate Armed Services Committee. His move comes after an 18-month stint as a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute focusing on a range of defense issues.

Greenwalt brings deep federal acquisition policy experience to the committee at a time when Congress is considering ways of simplifying a defense acquisition system that both practitioners and observers say is overly complex.

From 2006 to 2009, Greenwalt was deputy undersecretary of Defense for industrial policy, serving as the top adviser to successive undersecretaries for acquisition, technology and logistics Kenneth Krieg and John J. Young Jr.

Greenwalt’s 20-year career influencing defense policy has included top acquisition posts at Lockheed Martin Corp. and the Aerospace Industries Association. Beginning in the mid-1990s, Greenwalt spent more than a decade on Capitol Hill as an adviser to the Senate Governmental Affairs and Armed Services committees. During this time he helped write the Clinger-Cohen Act, an influential IT procurement law.

In an email to colleagues in the federal IT and acquisition communities, Greenwalt noted some of his side projects while at AEI included a review of NASA's security with the National Academy of Public Administration, work on drone development, and a study of "non-traditional contractors" with the University of Maryland.

From his post at AEI, Greenwalt has compared the defense acquisition to "an 18th century wooden warship that has been out to sea for too long," and called for a multiyear effort to overhaul it.

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Feb 03, 2015 at 9:10 AM0 comments


Stempfley leaving DHS

Exit Sign

One of the Department of Homeland Security's top cyber defenders, Roberta "Bobbie" Stempfley, is set to leave for the private sector, an agency spokesman confirmed to FCW.

Stempfley is deputy assistant secretary for cybersecurity and communications at DHS's National Protection and Programs Directorate. She has been with the department for five years, beginning in 2010 as director of the National Cyber Security Division, and served in multiple capacities, including acting assistant secretary of CS&C from January 2013 to April 2014.  Stempfley won a 2013 Federal 100 award for her work on cybersecurity and critical infrastructure. 

Stempfley was also previously CIO for the Defense Information Systems Agency.

Federal News Radio first reported Stempfley's departure for Mitre Corp. Mitre officials confirmed to FCW that Stempfley is coming aboad in February as as director of cyber strategy implementation.

Most recently at DHS, Stempfley has been helping to lead efforts to stem the massive Heartbleed flaw and other potentially serious malware that could spread within federal agencies. In October, DHS announced a newly enhanced authority to scan agency networks for serious computer viruses, a change that could significantly reduce the time it takes the government to nip the next Heartbleed in the bud.

Stempfley said the new authority looked to more widely scan federal agency vulnerabilities so potential flaws could be fixed more quickly. Before the OMB guidance, DHS needed permission from a federal agency before it could scan that agency's networks.

A DHS spokesman told FCW in an email that Rick Harris will serve as acting deputy director of the CS&C's Stakeholder Engagement and Cyber Infrastructure Resilience Division, stepping in to take on Stempfley's duties.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Jan 30, 2015 at 8:00 AM0 comments


FTC's chief privacy officer heads for the private sector

LinkedIn profile image: Peter Miller, FTC's Chief Privacy Officer.

Peter Miller has been the Federal Trade Commission's chief privacy officer since November 2012.

Peter Miller has resigned his post as the Federal Trade Commission’s chief privacy officer and joined Crowell & Moring as a senior counsel for the law firm's advertising and product risk management and privacy and cybersecurity groups.

Miller spent a decade with the FTC, including stints as an attorney within the Division of Advertising Practices and assistant director for regional operations for the Bureau of Consumer Protection. He had been  CPO since 2012, and publicly urged other federal agencies to be more proactive about building privacy protection into IT systems from the beginning.

Posted by Jonathan Lutton on Jan 28, 2015 at 7:58 AM0 comments


DHS IT compliance head moves to USDA

LinkedIn profile image: Richard Young, CIO for USDA's Foreign Agricultural Services.

Richard Young, CIO for USDA's Foreign Agricultural Services. (LinkedIn)

The now-former director of IT policy and compliance at the Department of Homeland Security, Richard Young, has begun a new job as CIO of an international program agency within the Department of Agriculture.

An Agriculture Department spokesperson said Young is now CIO of the department's Foreign Agricultural Service. The FAS manages USDA's overseas programs, such as market development, international trade agreements and negotiations, and the collection of statistics and market information. It also administers USDA's export credit guarantee and food aid programs.

Young reports to FAS Associate Administrator and Chief Operating Officer Bryce Quick. The FAS CIO slot was a vacant position before Young started, the USDA spokesperson said.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Jan 26, 2015 at 11:42 AM0 comments


Lab's data center efforts lauded

Lawrence Livermore National Laborator. (Image courtesy of www.llnl.gov)

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (llnl.gov)

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory got a pat on the back for from its parent agency for its energy-saving data center consolidation efforts, earning an Energy Department Sustainability Award for closing more than two centers on its Livermore, Calif., campus.

The lab said its consolidation program, begun in 2011, has shuttered 26 data centers, representing 26,000 square feet of space, resulting in annual savings of $305,000 in energy bills and $43,000 in maintenance costs. LLNL defines a “data center” as a space with at least 500 square feet that contains one or more servers. When the consolidation effort began three years ago, the lab said it had more than 60 data centers scattered around the main LLNL site.

The lab's operational and business services managers in charge of the consolidation said shutting down the centers has other cost benefits, including eliminating the need to install and maintain electrical meters required by DOE’s sustainability program to monitor power usage across the institution. That alone, they said, resulted in savings of $348,000 and avoided more than $10 million in expenditures to support the centers. DOE requires that all LLNL data centers be metered by the end of this fiscal year.

LLNL said in a Jan. 20 statement that the collective space at the lab dedicated to data centers is called the Enterprise Data Center, or EDC, which consists of 15,620 square feet housing 2,500 mission critical science, engineering, computational research and business computing systems.

In addition to consolidating some 126 physical servers into the EDC, the lab said its operations team created 140 “virtual” servers that act as a kind of private cloud, in which virtual servers put unused CPU space on physical servers to work for multiple clients, reducing the number of physical servers needed in the EDC. One physical platform can be subdivided to create as many as 50 virtual servers.

The most recent data center effort, said the lab, represents the "low hanging fruit." Going forward, LLNL said it will embark on a broader institutional phase under DOE’s Better Building Challenge program to be led by Doug East, the lab's chief information officer. The Better Building Challenge is an LLNL partnership with DOE in which the lab commits to reducing the energy intensity of data centers by at least 20 percent within 10 years. DOE, it said, provides technical expertise, training, workshops and a repository of "best practices."

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Jan 23, 2015 at 11:02 AM0 comments


Chrousos adds new role at GSA

LinkedIn profile image for Phaedra Chrousos.

GSA Chief Customer Officer Phaedra Chrousos is taking on the additional role of associate administrator for the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies.

The General Services Administration has a new associate administrator for the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies. GSA Chief Customer Officer Phaedra Chrousos will be stepping into the role while continuing in her current position.

Chrousos came to GSA in June 2014 to serve as the agency's first chief customer officer. Prior to joining GSA she co-founded and served as chief operating officer for Daily Secret -- a digital media company that focuses on city-specific email newsletters -- and oversaw the launch of 37 editions in 21 countries, according to her LinkedIn profile. She also co-founded HealthLeap, an online service to help physicians with appointment-booking, and previously worked for the Boston Consulting Group.

"Phaedra is ideally suited for this role, given her experience founding and managing two successful companies in the digital media and health care industries, respectively," Tangherlini said in a Jan. 13 blog post on the GSA website. "I am confident that she will do an outstanding job in this new position."

Kathy Conrad, deputy associate administrator at OCSIT, has been serving as acting administrator since David McClure retired from the job in April 2014.

In a November blog post, Chrousos talked about creating a more coordinated customer service experience at GSA and the need for more data-driven decisions.

"These initial realizations meant that my role as CCO was much less about beating the drum for customer experience and much more about harnessing the enthusiasm at GSA and expanding on, scaling, and coordinating isolated efforts," Chrousos wrote.

Posted by Colby Hochmuth on Jan 13, 2015 at 9:42 AM0 comments


Ready... get set...

John Klossner for FCW

Posted by John Klossner on Dec 23, 2014 at 8:54 AM0 comments


No more bids by telegram

Telegram from Harpo Marx to JFK (Image from the National Archives)

Telegrams were once used for everything from messages to the president (in this case from Harpo Marx) to, apparently, bids for government contracts. (Image: National Archives)

So much for those singing bid proposals.

New rules prohibiting bid submissions via telegram and fax are part of a Dec. 4 memo from Federal Procurement Policy Administrator Anne Rung on procurement simplification.

Rung's memo is primarily aimed at spreading the use of data-driven procurement practices, particularly category management, to cover the entire federal government, as well as developing talent management within agencies and building better vendor relationships. However, one clause in the lengthy document states, "the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council (FAR Council) shall take steps to identify and remove or revise any outdated regulations, as was recently done for rules related to Y2K compliance, and will be done for submission of bids via telegram or fax..."

All government rules need periodic reviews and updates, of course, but OMB did not respond to an inquiry about why now was deemed the time to take aim at procurement by Western Union. After a chuckle, a GSA spokesperson told FCW the agency couldn't remember the last time a bid was last submitted via telegram, or even by fax.

Western Union, incidentally, delivered its last telegram in 2006.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Dec 09, 2014 at 12:14 PM0 comments


DOD announces 2014 CIO award winners

Image of the Pentagon

The Department of Defense announced the winners of its 2014 CIO awards on Dec. 4, celebrating the honor’s 14th anniversary in a ceremony at the Pentagon. Four teams and four individuals were honored for achievements in information resource management, IT and cybersecurity over the past year.

The NSA’s Heartbleed Team received the top group honor for preventing the exploitation of that widespread security vulnerability in the department’s “global network of more than eight million computing devices.”

Martin P. Doebel -- Strategic System Technical Manager/Chief National and Nuclear C4 Division, United States Strategic Command, Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska -- won first place for individuals based on his work to address gaps in National and Nuclear Command, Control, Communications and Computer systems. 

Terry Halvorsen, DOD's acting CIO, spoke briefly at the event, saying that the relationship of acquisition, technology and logistics in government “is vital to driving innovation across the department, as exemplified by the achievements recognized here today.” The eight award winners were selected from more than 100 nominations spanning both civilian and military employees.

The complete list of teams and individuals honored at the event can be found in the DOD’s official release.

Posted by Jonathan Lutton on Dec 05, 2014 at 8:30 AM0 comments


How would you like to run the Navy's IT?

help wanted ad

Are you a great leader who understands enterprise IT systems, identity and records management, cybersecurity, privacy, capital planning and more? Does having a hand in world's largest computer network outside the public Internet sound appealing? And oh, do you happen to have a Top Secret/SCI security clearance?

If so, the Department of the Navy might like to talk to you about being its next CIO.

A USAJobs.gov listing, posted Dec. 2, outlines the core requirements for the job. Pay could range as high as $181,500.

The Navy, of course, already has a CIO -- but Terry Halvorsen has been plenty busy since May as the acting CIO for the Defense Department as a whole. And Halvorsen has not been acting much like an "acting" at DOD -- the 2010 Federal 100 winner has changed procurement policy to accelerate cloud adoption, pushed to get Joint Information Environment pilot projects out the door, and otherwise eschewed the idea of simply serving as a temporary caretaker.

The Navy listing reinforces the sense that Halvorsen is not returning to his old job anytime soon. Interested applicants have until Dec. 16 to apply.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Dec 04, 2014 at 7:42 AM1 comments


10 IT skills that matter in 2015

Shutterstock image.

Curious to know which IT skills private-sector executives see as critical? Wondering what the need is out there for your abilities? 

According to ComputerWorld's 2015 Forecast survey, the demand for big data expertise trails its buzzword status, while project management and core coding/developer skills will be the most-sought as companies hire in the coming year.

The 10 "hottest IT skills," according to the survey, are:

1. Programming/application development

2. Project management

3. Help desk/technical support

4. Security/compliance governance

5. Web development

6. Database administration

7. Business intelligence/analytics

8. Mobile applications and device management

9. Networking

10. Big data

For more on the list and the survey behind it, see ComputerWorld's coverage.

Posted by FCW Staff on Nov 21, 2014 at 9:56 AM0 comments


DIA's innovation lead not stepping down

Dan Doney

CORRECTION: DIA Chief Innovation Officer Dan Doney told FCW on Nov. 24 that he was not resigning, and plans to stay through the end of his contract. A full correction is available here.


Dan Doney is stepping down as chief innovation officer of the Defense Intelligence Agency, FCW has learned -- the latest in a series of high-level departures from the Pentagon’s spy agency in recent months.

Doney's last day at the agency will be Nov. 21, according to a former senior intelligence official.

A DIA spokesman, when contacted Nov. 20 by FCW, said he was unaware of Doney's plan to resign.

Doney has been DIA’s chief innovation officer since February 2013. His contract for the job was set to expire in February, but Doney has opted to step down now, according to the former official, who asked not to be identified.

DIA, which is responsible for feeding intelligence to deployed soldiers and assessing foreign militaries' capabilities, has been overshadowed by the bigger and better-funded Central Intelligence Agency. The agency created the position of chief innovation officer to help foster greater collaboration with private industry on intelligence issues.

And four months after taking the job, Doney said publicly he wanted DIA to get more innovative and less beholden to rigid planning. “When it comes to innovation, we haven't had a great reputation," he said at a DIA-hosted industry day in June 2013. "Put that in the past.”

The Pentagon had planned to ramp up DIA’s overseas presence by sending as many as 1,000 undercover officers abroad to work with the CIA and the Joint Special Operations Command. But Defense officials recently decided to cut in half the number of DIA agents posted abroad, in the face of congressional opposition, according to a Washington Post report.

Doney’s imminent departure means that four senior DIA officials in recent months have either left the agency or announced plans to do so. In August, David Shedd replaced Ret. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as DIA director on an interim basis. Two weeks later, then-CTO Gus Taveras resigned. The agency is also in search of a CIO to succeed Grant Schneider, a career employee who has held the job since 2007 and is on the way out the door.

The DIA spokesman, however, told FCW that should Doney indeed resign, the innovation office he oversees would remain otherwise intact.

Doney, who has a master’s in nuclear engineering from MIT, served as technical director of Strategic Enterprise Solutions, a Reston, Va.-based IT services contractor, prior to joining DIA last year, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Nov 20, 2014 at 7:46 AM2 comments


Altman, Murphy, Sanghani recognized by contractor community

Anne Altman

IBM's Anne Altman was named Executive of the Year.

The Professional Services Council and the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce on Nov. 13 announced the winners of their 2014 Greater Washington Government Contractor Awards.

Anne Altman, IBM's general manager for federal government and industries, was named Executive of the Year in the large-firm category. Millennium Engineering and Integration Co. President and CEO Patrick Murphy won in the $75 to $300 million category, and Octo Consulting Group President Mehul Sanghani won for executives at sub-$75 million firms.

While the awards recognize individual achievements, Altman and other winners stressed the community component of their success. Washington Technology Editor Nick Wakeman, who attended the event, quoted Altman as saying it is "through our work together as a community [that] we deliver value to value to our country and the world." Sanghani, Washington Technology reported, stressed the other industry leaders that he "idolized" -- and hopes to one day consider rivals.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Wendy Masiello, who runs the Defense Contract Management Agency, was recognized as the 2014 Public Sector Partner of the Year. And contractors Agilex, American Systems, Arc Aspicio, Eagle Ray and IndraSoft all received recognition for company-wide performance.

Washington Technology has more on the GovCon awards, including the other finalists in each category.

Posted by FCW Staff on Nov 14, 2014 at 10:58 AM0 comments


Cybersecurity specialist wins House seat

Will Hurd

Will Hurd, a former CIA covert agent and a senior advisory for cybersecurity vendor FusionX, won a narrow, upset victory in the race to represent the sprawling 23rd district of Texas. He defeated one-term Democratic incumbent Pete Gallego, and will represent a district that borders Mexico and includes parts of San Antonio and El Paso.

Hurd becomes the first African-American Republican to represent Texas in the House of Representatives in more than 100 years. In his campaign, Hurd cited his experience working overseas for the CIA and as a cybersecurity contractor. "We need to make border security, countering drug traffickers and fighting cyber criminals all national priorities," he said in an October speech.

Hurd, 37, has a computer science degree from Texas A&M University.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Nov 05, 2014 at 12:07 PM0 comments


AT&T's Kapoor wins Mendenhall award

Kay Kapoor

Kay Kapoor was honored for her "exceptional customer service, and taking care of her team."

AT&T Government Solutions President Kay Kapoor is the 2014 winner of the Janice K. Mendenhall Spirit of Leadership Award -- ACT-IAC's highest honor for contributions to the federal IT community.

Robert Suda, who presented the award Oct. 27 at ACT-IAC's Executive Leadership Conference in Williamsburg, Va., noted that Mendenhall "was the epitome of the public servant," and praised Kapoor for her similar commitment to "helping government agencies and private sector companies to use technology creatively and efficiently."

"At the heart of her operational style are two key principles," Suda said: "Exceptional customer service, and taking care of her team."

Kapoor called the award "very, very humbling," and said that her commitment to the government technology space was tied in part to her own life experience. "Many of you who know me know that I came to this country as an immigrant," she said. "This may sound a little corny, but it's a little tiny way of giving back to the country that's given so much to me."

The Janice K. Mendenhall Spirit of Leadership Award, established in 2001, commemorates the life of long-time civil servant Janice Mendenhall, and her history of mentoring others and encouraging government-industry collaboration. Other recent Mendenhall winners include former Office of E-Government and IT Administrator Mark Forman (2013) and former Agriculture Department CIO Anne Reed (2012).

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Oct 28, 2014 at 7:24 AM0 comments


Commercial customs app developed by CBP employee

Customs Mobile logo.

An international trade specialist at Customs and Border Protection has created a mobile-friendly website that provides key U.S. customs-related data in real time to importers and exporters.

The CustomsMobile.com site aims to help U.S. importers, foreign exporters and federal employees more easily access U.S. customs data, and help small companies work their way through a tangle of import regulations.

The site, which launched Oct. 27, is free to use, said Craig Briess, who founded the CustomsMobile company and developed the website.

He is a customs law attorney who has spent the past two years working for CBP as an international trade specialist. Although Briess is employed at CBP, CustomsMobile is a private endeavor and is not funded, approved or endorsed by the federal government, according to a statement released by the company.

When users search the CustomsMobile site, source data is fetched from the relevant federal server in real time, parsed and then presented in a mobile-friendly format. Briess said the site provides easy access to CBP's customs rulings, customs announcements, duty rates, regulations and port contact information.

CustomsMobile.com offers users a one-stop shop by making several tools available in a single mobile-oriented website, thereby solving the issue of having to navigate multiple government websites to access relevant information, the company said.

According to the company's statement, Briess came up with the idea for the website after having trouble finding the information he needed during trade legislation meetings.

"I needed to quickly research CBP's legal position on certain matters and then discovered that this vital information was extremely difficult to navigate on my cell phone," he said. "Considering I've used that system extensively throughout my career, it came as quite a shock."

He added that small businesses in particular often rely on customs attorneys or trade brokers and incur additional costs to wend their way through difficult, hard-to-find government regulations.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Oct 27, 2014 at 11:17 AM0 comments


Former DIA director to join SBD Advisors

Michael Flynn

Retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn is the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, who until August ran the Pentagon’s spy agency, will join Washington, D.C-based SBD Advisors as a consultant focusing on cybersecurity and risk management, among other issues.

There is no firm start date for Flynn at SBD Advisors, and his portfolio could include some teaching and non-profit work, said CEO Sally Donnelly, in an email to FCW.

The consulting firm has been popular with top Pentagon officials retiring to the private sector. The firm’s roster includes former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen and former Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair. Donnelly founded the firm (SBD stands for Sally B. Donnelly) in 2012 after working with Mullen when he was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Flynn took the helm of the Defense Intelligence Agency in July 2012. Prior to that, he was an assistant director of national intelligence in charge of domestic and international cooperation.

As DIA director, Flynn spoke of the convergence of cyberspace and intelligence operations, and how that affects critical infrastructure, at a Brookings Institution event last year

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Oct 23, 2014 at 9:26 AM0 comments


Bhagowalia assumes CIO post at Treasury

Image copyright to <governor.hawaii.gov>: Sanjeev “Sonny” Bhagowalia.

Sonny Bhagowalia's first day on the job as CIO of the Treasury Department was Oct. 20.

Sanjeev “Sonny” Bhagowalia has come back to the federal government to take on the role of Treasury Department CIO.

Bhagowalia confirmed the move on his LinkedIn page, saying his first official day is Oct. 20.

Bhagowalia replaces former Treasury CIO Robyn East, who held the job for three years before she announced her departure in June. Deputy CIO Mike Parker has been serving as acting CIO.

Bhagowalia previously served as CIO at the Interior Department and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

He also was CIO for the state of Hawaii for nearly three years before becoming a chief advisor on technology and cybersecurity to the state’s governor.

"Over the past three years, Sonny has helped Hawaii leapfrog from the back of the pack in technology and cybersecurity to the front of the line and we are now one of best in the country," Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie said in a statement. "Under Sonny's leadership, our government transformation program has garnered an unprecedented 25 national awards."

As CIO at Treasury, he will be managing a $3 billion IT budget and manage technology for the 100,000 employees at the department.

Last week, Bhagowalia won the 2014 Enterprise Architecture Hall of Fame Award for Individual Leadership in EA Practice, Promotion and Professionalization. He is also a three-time Fed 100 award winner.

Posted by Colby Hochmuth on Oct 20, 2014 at 11:12 AM0 comments


CIA's Wolfe, Army's Krieger, FireEye's Cole honored at GCN gala

CIA CIO Doug Wolfe at the 2014 GCN Gala (Photo: Zaid Hamid)

CIA CIO Doug Wolfe at the 2014 GCN Gala. (Photo: Zaid Hamid)

Central Intelligence Agency CIO Doug Wolfe was named GCN's Agency Exec of the Year at the Oct. 14 GCN Gala in Tysons Corner, Va. The award recognized Wolfe's leadership in moving the intelligence community to the cloud -- a project, first reported by FCW in 2013, that became operational this summer.

Lockheed Martin's Sondra Barbour, who present Wolfe's award, said such change agency was no surprise. "Over the course of a 30-year career," she said, "Doug has led efforts to knock down barriers between silos of data and analysis...and encouraged the adoption of IT and software to traditionally slow-moving organizations."

FireEye Vice President and Global Government CTO Tony Cole won GCN's Industry Executive of the Year award, while Army Deputy CIO/GG Mike Krieger was honored with the Hall of Fame award. FCW's 2014 Rising Stars were also recognized, and 10 teams -- representing the Air Force, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Internal Revenue Service, National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Navy, along with several state and local efforts -- won the GCN awards that are the cornerstone of the event.

Details on all the award winners can be found on GCN.com.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Oct 15, 2014 at 1:39 PM0 comments


Former Treasury official Gregg joins accountancy practice

revolving door

Dick Gregg, former fiscal assistant secretary of the Treasury, has joined H.J. Steininger PLLC as managing partner.

At Treasury, Gregg headed up government-wide accounting operations, and helped steer the effort to merge the Financial Management Service and the Bureau of the Public Debt into the recently established Bureau of Fiscal Service.

Gregg was also the top official leading implementation of the Data Accountability and Transparency Act, which requires agencies to make more spending data open and extensible.

H.J. Steininger, based in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., specializes in public sector accounting and management consulting services. Areas of focus include advising agencies on shared services, cloud computing, data center consolidation, performance management, Data Act implementation and more. The firm works with clients across civilian and defense agencies.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Oct 03, 2014 at 8:15 AM0 comments


NOAA taps NASA satellite manager for NESDIS

NOAA logo

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration named Stephen Volz, a top NASA earth sciences satellite manager, to oversee its environmental satellites and information services.

NOAA said on Sept. 29 that it had tapped Volz to lead its National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service, replacing Mary Kicza, who retired earlier this year as the NESDIS assistant administrator. Volz, said NOAA, will assume this new role Nov. 2.

As NESDIS assistant administrator, Volz will shepherd the agency's programs to build and launch the next generation of environmental satellites, including the Joint Polar Satellite System, the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite R-Series, and the Deep Space Climate Observatory, known as DSCOVR, set to launch in early 2015.

The agency also said he would manage NOAA's current spacecraft fleet and NESDIS' vast climate, oceanographic and geophysical data operations.

Volz currently manages all of NASA's earth science flight missions and associated activities, including 17 satellites operating in orbit, 12 in formulation and development, and others in the early study and design stages.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Oct 02, 2014 at 8:37 AM0 comments


Neely charged with fraud

Jeffrey Neely, testifying before the House Oversight Committee in 2012 

Former GSA Regional Commissioner Jeff Neely could face five years in prison and more than $1 million in fines.

The former government official whose spending sparked a government-wide crackdown on conferences and travel has been indicted for fraud.                 

A federal grand jury in San Francisco slapped Jeff Neely, the General Services Administration’s former Region 9 commissioner who helped plan the agency's 2010 Western Regions Conference, with five counts of fraud in an indictment handed down Sept. 25.

The Western Regions Conference boiled to the surface in 2012, as details of outlandish and lavish spending by GSA officials at the Las Vegas training event were disclosed in press reports and congressional testimony.

The GSA cut Neely loose in 2012 as the scandal deepened and news of his spending $822,000 on the conference shocked agency leaders, members of Congress and the public.

The scandal also forced then-GSA Administrator Martha Johnson to resign and left the agency reeling. President Barack Obama tapped Dan Tangherlini, the current GSA administrator, in April 2012 to help rebuild trust in the agency. Tangherlini stepped in as acting administrator after Johnson stepped down, and took over the job outright in May 2013.

The grand jury indictment charges 59-year-old Neely, of Gardnerville, Nev., with fraudulently seeking reimbursement for personal travel and expenses -- incurred in Las Vegas, Nev.; Long Beach, Calif.; Guam; and Saipan. At the time of the alleged fraud, the indictment said, Neely was the Regional Commissioner and Acting Regional Administrator for GSA’s Public Buildings Service, Pacific Rim Region, which encompasses California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and outlying territories.

The indictment also alleges that when GSA employees questioned him about the dubious expenses, Neely lied, saying the charges were incurred during government business.

According to a Sept. 25 Justice Department statement, which was also distributed by GSA, the indictment is for three counts of making false claims and two of making false statements. Neely is slated for an initial court appearance on the charges Oct. 20. If convicted, he could face five years in prison and fines totaling more than $1 million.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Sep 26, 2014 at 7:43 AM1 comments


Data shines at the Sammies

Service to America logo.

The Partnership for Public Service's Samuel J. Heyman Service to America awards recognize individuals doing outstanding work in all corners of government, but people working with federal data stole the show at the 2014 "Sammies" presentation held Sept. 22 in Washington, D.C.

The Citizen Services Medal went to Michael Byrne, former geographic information officer at the Federal Communications Commission, who took home the honor for his work with FCC data, especially his signature accomplishment of creating the National Broadband Map.

"Michael Byrne literally put the FCC on the map," David Bray, the FCC's chief information officer, told the Partnership. "He demonstrated that you could produce maps or geospatial visualizations on critical policy issues and provide information that was not publicly available or easily accessible to the public or even to people inside the FCC itself."

Byrne, who recently left the FCC to join Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in a similar role, also mapped the location of federal aid that has been awarded to bring broadband availability to schools and health care providers in rural and urban areas.

"My job has been to take this data and information that is really complicated and make a picture out if it so that it is easy to digest," Byrne said in material released by the PPS. "These maps are a way to communicate what we are doing as an agency and help better inform policymakers and the public."

Another data whiz took home one of the top honors of the evening -- the Call to Service medal.

Sara Meyers, director of the Sandy Program Management Office at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, was recognized for her work creating a "sophisticated" data analysis system to evaluate performance of federal housing programs, called HUDStat.

HUDStat data has been used to help find housing for homeless veterans by tracking the progress of state and local agencies. According to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, there are 43 percent fewer veterans living on the street since HUDStat launched in 2010.

"HUD officials said the department has always collected a lot of data but has not always been able to use it in an effective manner," the Partnership said. "Meyers was able to turn numbers on a page into information that is understandable and used to achieve greater results."

She also played a large role in creating processes to track $50 billion in Hurricane Sandy disaster relief money in 2012 and $13.6 billion in HUD economic stimulus funding in 2009.

"By providing a relentless focus on data, people really do start paying attention," Meyers said upon accepting her award.

Other award recipients were:

Federal Employee of the Year
Rana Hajjeh and the Hib Initiative Team at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention received the award for their work in persuading 60 countries to use and distribute a vaccine to fight pneumonia and bacterial meningitis, expected to save the lives of 7 million children by 2020.

Career Achievement Medal
Edwin Kneedler received this honor for his work at the Justice Department as deputy solicitor general -- he has argued 125 cases and helped shape the government's legal position on hundreds more before the Supreme Court.

Homeland Security and Law Medal
The Miami HEAT (Healthcare Fraud Enforcement Action Teams) took home this award for work on health care fraud in Florida resulting in nearly 700 convictions and hundreds of millions of dollars recovered.

Management Excellence Medal
Alan Lindenmoyer, program manager for the Commercial Crew and Cargo Program at NASA, was recognized for finding new ways for NASA to partner with the private sector to reduce space travel costs.

National Security and International Affairs Medal
Benjamin Tran and Sean Young, electronics engineers at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, received the award for their work in creating a new aerial sensor system to detect and destroy improvised explosive devices.

Science and Environment Medal
William Bauman and Ann Spungen were recognized for work improving the quality of life and health care for paralyzed and veterans. This duo comes from the National Center of Excellence for the Medical Consequences of Spinal Cord Injury in the Bronx.

Posted by Colby Hochmuth on Sep 23, 2014 at 9:24 AM0 comments


The Top 10 stories on FCW.com

room of computers

Most FCW readers strive to make government work better, but in the past 12 months, they often chose to read about what went wrong:

  1. A $300 million IT flop
    The Social Security Administration hit the reset button on its claims-processing system.
  2. State’s passport and visa system crashes
    When worldwide visa and passport operations pause, people take notice.
  3. Why maps matter
    With an explosion of geodata, more and more agencies are mapping to make sense of their missions.
  4. NASA has ‘significant problems’ with $2.5 billion IT contract
    The agency’s tech is often on the cutting edge, but end-user IT deployment posed real problems.
  5. DOD’s cautious path to the cloud
    From milCloud to the need for standards beyond FedRAMP, the Pentagon is pushing for cloud services.
  6. Mail carriers get new mobile device
    BYOD wouldn’t cut it for the U.S. Postal Service’s mobile needs.
  7. How VA is driving telemedicine
    The agency has had its challenges, but it is an innovator, too.
  8. Q&A: NFFE’s Bill Dougan on IT hiring and the next government shutdown
    Hopefully, there will not be a need to revisit these lessons this fall.
  9. 10 steps toward FedRAMP compliance
    An industry expert helped readers wrap their heads around cloud security standards.
  10. Is cybersecurity the right job for you?
    The jobs are there, but they’re not for everyone.

This list is part of FCW's special Federal List issue. You can see the digital edition of the print magazine here -- and look for additional lists on FCW.com in the coming days.

Posted by FCW Staff on Sep 19, 2014 at 8:01 AM0 comments


Get to know your new CTO

Newly named federal Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith is well-known in Silicon Valley circles, but the Google executive and MIT alumna is still something of a mystery to many in federal IT. So until she begins making the agency rounds, here is a taste of what makes her tick.

In this short video from February 2014, Smith discusses the importance of STEM education, and of getting more women into those fields:

 

 

And lest anyone doubt Smith's longstanding techie cred, there's this video dating back to 1992. Posted by documentary filmmaker David Hoffman, the clip shows Smith in her days as an engineer with General Magic, an early pioneer of personal digital assistant and smartphone technologies:

 

 

The tech itself may have evolved -- shoebox-sized smartphone, anyone? -- but Hoffman says that Smith conveys "that same youthful energy and enthusiasm" today. And the talk of moving fast and buying IT off the shelf sounds straight out of 2014.

Posted by FCW Staff on Sep 04, 2014 at 11:01 AM0 comments


Report: Smith as CTO is 'basically a done deal'

Megan Smith. Photo by David Sifry - http://www.flickr.com/photos/dsifry/2486059264/sizes/l/in/set-72157604991312132/. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Megan_Smith.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Megan_Smith.jpg

Fortune reports that Google executive Megan Smith will replace U.S. CTO Todd Park.

Megan Smith's new job as U.S. chief technology officer is all but a done deal, according to Fortune.

Citing sources familiar with the situation, the magazine's website reported that the White House will make the announcement once Smith, vice president of Google X, finishes her security vetting. Fortune reported last week that Alex Macgillivray, a former executive at Twitter and Google, was also being considered for the position.

Smith would be the third person and first woman to hold the CTO role. Todd Park, who has been the chief technologist since March 2012, announced last week that he will be stepping down and moving back to California to work as part of the White House team recruiting tech talent to the federal government.

Bloomberg reported last week that Smith was a top candidate for the role.

Posted by Colby Hochmuth on Sep 02, 2014 at 1:18 PM0 comments


Google's Megan Smith reportedly a top candidate for U.S. CTO

Megan Smith. Photo by David Sifry - http://www.flickr.com/photos/dsifry/2486059264/sizes/l/in/set-72157604991312132/. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Megan_Smith.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Megan_Smith.jpg

Less than a week after Todd Park announced he would be leaving his role as U.S. Chief Technology Officer, potential candidates to fill his role are surfacing.

Bloomberg reported on Aug. 28 that Google's Megan Smith is a top candidate for the CTO role. The White House, which officially announced on Aug 28 that Park would be leaving his role after Fortune broke the news nearly a week prior, has made no indication who will be filling the role.

Smith is a vice president at Google, and currently works on Google X, the Mountain View, Calif.-based company's innovation lab. She joined Google in 2003, and has held various roles through her roughly 11-year tenure, including vice president for business development and head of the company’s philanthropic division, Google.org.

Smith has also been involved with Google innovation projects like “Solve for X,” a collaborative online forum where people suggest proposals and work with others to build out ideas. Before coming to Google, she was CEO of Planet Out, a website for gay and lesbian Internet users.

And could Smith bring Park-like enthusiasm and vision to OSTP? In a 2013 Forbes article, she declared: “I think open source is an evolutionary idea for humanity, this idea of transparency. It played out for us in the technology world, but it also played out with the idea of a truth and reconciliation commission and Wikipedia. What’s exciting is hardware is becoming part of that movement.”

Posted by Colby Hochmuth on Aug 28, 2014 at 4:00 PM0 comments


FCC taps Scott Jordan for CTO role

FCC Logo

Scott Jordan, a professor of computer science at the University of California, Irvine, is joining the Federal Communications Commission as chief technology officer, replacing Henning Schulzrinne.

Jordan's previous government experience includes serving on the FCC's Open Internet Technical Advisory Committee and a stint on Capitol Hill as an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers congressional fellow. He's a specialist in Internet services, communications pricing and platforms, according to an FCC release.

"Scott's engineering and technical expertise, particularly with respect to the Internet, will provide great assistance to the Commission as we consider decisions that will affect America's communications platforms," FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said in a statement.

The appointment comes as the FCC is in the midst of a controversial and divisive Open Internet proceeding that has attracted more than one million public comments -- a record outpouring for a policy issue. Jordan will work out of the FCC's Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Aug 26, 2014 at 10:09 AM0 comments


What you missed at Lollachilipalooza

National Nuclear Security Administration (Flickr): Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman leads his band, “Yellow Cake,” at “Lollachilipalooza”

Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman leads his band, “Yellow Cake,” at “Lollachilipalooza.”(Photo: Flickr/NNSAnews)

Who knew the Energy Department rocked so hard? As part of the agency's "Lollachilipalooza" fundraiser for its 2014 Feds Feed Families charity effort, Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman fronted his suitably named band, “Yellow Cake,” on Aug. 19 at DOE headquarters in Washington, D.C.

 A post on the National Nuclear Security Administration's web site had photos of the event. Poneman was joined by Deputy Chief of Staff Jonathan Levy on drums, Deputy Assistant Secretary Julio Friedman on keyboards, and, according to the post, a special guest vocals by Anna Ruch from the Office of the Secretary. 

Alas, no sign of musical contributions from DOE CIO Robert Brese. 

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Aug 25, 2014 at 12:03 PM1 comments


Another CIO heads for the door

Wikimedia image: Securities and Exchange Commission logo.

Thomas Bayer, CIO at the Securities and Exchange Commission, has announced that he will be leaving the agency in October.

In his more than three years as CIO, Bayer worked on efforts to move many of the SEC's core functions to the cloud, consolidate its data centers into two locations, lower the cost of IT systems and modernize SEC.gov.

Among some of his key initiatives, Bayer established the SEC’s Technology Center of Excellence to evaluate technology trends and how they can be leveraged for the agency. He also launched the “Working Smarter” program, which uses automated workflow and data visualization tools, and analytical systems for accountants, attorneys, analysts and other SEC staff, according to a release by the agency.

"Tom’s leadership and vision have had a tremendous impact that will continue to shape the SEC for years to come," SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White said in a statement. "Tom's legacy will be an SEC that increasingly leverages technology to protect investors and strengthen our markets."

One of his other major initiatives was establishing a business information officer role at the SEC to link the IT and business side of the house and improve customer relations.

His resume is filled with some of the major national financial institutions like Capital One, and Citibank, but Bayer came to SEC in October 2010 from Maris Technology Advisors, where he was CEO for nearly three years. Before that he was COO and CTO at Brand Informatics.

Posted by Colby Hochmuth on Aug 21, 2014 at 7:26 AM3 comments


Another DIA departure: Gus Taveras resigns as CTO

Exit Sign

Gus Taveras is stepping down as the Defense Intelligence Agency's chief technology officer, the third high-level departure from the Pentagon's spy agency revealed in recent weeks. Taveras, who has been CTO since December 2012, confirmed the news in an Aug. 19 email to FCW.

His last day will be Aug. 22. 

Taveras said in a note posted to his LinkedIn page that he was leaving government to work for industry, without specifying where. He reflected on the intelligence community's move toward a single, standards-based IT architecture, known as ICITE. Investments in ICITE "are the building blocks for accelerating information sharing, adoption and efficiencies – all original pillars of the [director of national intelligence's] unified vision," Taveras wrote.

Prior to serving as DIA CTO, Taveras was a technical adviser to the DOD CIO and Army G2, among other positions in a career that began in 1987 as an infantryman in the Marine Corps. 

Taveras' resignation further empties DIA's leadership roster. Less than two weeks ago, David Shedd replaced Ret. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as DIA director on an interim basis. The Washington Post reported in April that Flynn had been asked by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper Jr. to step down before his tenure was up in the wake of numerous classified leaks.

The agency is also in search of a CIO to succeed Grant Schneider, a career employee who had held the job since 2007 and is on the way out the door.

A DIA spokesman said recently that there is no timeline for naming a permanent DIA director.

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Aug 19, 2014 at 9:26 AM3 comments


Nicole Wong leaving OSTP

Nicole Wong, former U.S. deputy CTO

U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer Nicole Wong, who worked for Twitter and Google before entering government service, is returning to California.

After more than a year at the Office of Science and Technology Policy, U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer Nicole Wong is leaving government.

Wong's last day is Friday Aug. 15, and she will be moving back to California, an OSTP spokesperson confirmed to FCW.

Wong played a large role in the recent White House big data initiatives, including lead authorship of the May 2014 Big Data report. She was also in charge of leading privacy and Internet policy initiatives at OSTP over the past year.

"Nicole is an incredibly talented and insightful leader, who has made major contributions to big data, privacy, and Internet policy during her time at the White House," U.S. CTO Todd Park said in a statement. "We're deeply grateful to Nicole and her family for her service, and will miss her."

Prior to joining the Administration, Wong was the legal director at Twitter and vice president and deputy general counsel at Google. Wong's background is diverse, including a law degree and masters in journalism; prior to Google she worked at the Perkins Coie law firm in California.

Posted by Colby Hochmuth on Aug 15, 2014 at 5:18 PM0 comments


Sylvia Burns promoted to Interior CIO

Department of the Interior Logo

Sylvia Burns, an IT executive with the Department of the Interior since 2006, has been named CIO.

Burns had served as acting CIO since March 2014. Before that, she was associate deputy CIO for policy, planning and compliance.

“As acting CIO I have had the privilege of leading a dedicated team and working collaboratively with our bureaus and offices as we modernize our systems and move our IT transformation program forward,” Burns said in a statement.

Though a large, federated department, Interior has been something of a leader in the federal IT space when it comes to consolidating enterprise IT. The department announced a move to the cloud in 2013, and in 2012 the agency chose Google Gmail as its agency-wide email client.

Department of the Interior: Sylvia Burns.

Department of the Interior
CIO Sylvia Burns.

Under previous CIO Bernie Mazer, Interior embarked on an ambitious plan to trim its annual $1 billion IT budget, streamline CIO authorities and improve acquisition. As part of the plan, Interior is implementing an order that gives the CIO the delegated authority of the secretary of the Interior over enterprise-wide IT budgets, and limits the use of the CIO title to the agency-wide CIO and a deputy CIO. That order is due to be fully implemented on Burns' watch in December.

"As the department continues to move forward on critical initiatives like data center consolidation, Sylvia's leadership and collaborative style will help ensure our success in improving our IT services, while reducing our IT costs." Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget Rhea Suh said in a statement.

Before joining Interior's CIO office, Burns worked in the Bureau of Indian Affairs, an Interior Department component. She also worked in the Department of Commerce in the International Trade Administration.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Aug 13, 2014 at 7:34 AM0 comments


Trudeau leaves GSA, heads to AWS

Lena Trudeau_GSA 

Lena Trudeau, associate commissioner for the Office of Strategic Innovations at the General Services Administration, has decamped for the private sector, FCW has learned.

Trudeau confirmed her departure to FCW, and said she starts at Amazon Web Services on Aug. 11.

In her nearly three years in government, Trudeau quickly became the face of the Presidential Innovation Fellows program and is known in the community as a zealous advocate for government innovation.

Trudeau has also been acting as executive director of the 18F team at GSA, following the departure of David McClure, former associate administrator of the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies at GSA, who was overseeing the office. (In a recent essay for FCW, Trudeau addressed industry questions and concerns about the role of 18F.)

Greg Godbout will be taking over for Trudeau as executive director of 18F, and fellow 18F’er Garren Givens will be in charge of the PIF program.

Before coming to GSA in 2011, Trudeau was with the National Academy of Public Administration for several years, acting as program director for strategic initiatives, vice president and eventually GSA project director.

Posted by Colby Hochmuth on Aug 11, 2014 at 5:28 AM0 comments


Army names new commander for cyber training center

Stephen Fogarty and LaWarren Patterson

Maj. Gen. Stephen Fogarty (left) is taking over the Army's Cyber Center of Excellence while Maj. Gen. LaWarren Patterson moves to the Installation Management Command.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno announced a change in command at the Army's main cybersecurity training center on Aug. 1.

Maj. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, who most recently led the Army's Intelligence and Security Command, will replace Maj. Gen. LaWarren Patterson as commanding general of the Cyber Center of Excellence at Fort Gordon, Ga. Patterson is set to be deputy commanding general for operations and chief of staff at the Army's Installation Management Command, Joint Base San Antonio.

In announcing last December that its Cyber Command would be housed at Fort Gordon, the Army described the Cyber Center of Excellence as "a focal point for cyber doctrine and capabilities development, training and innovation."

In an interview with FCW in late 2012, Fogarty detailed the benefits of the Army's Distributed Common Ground System, a database for collecting and disseminating intelligence that has drawn scrutiny on Capitol Hill for delays in its implementation.

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Aug 01, 2014 at 9:38 AM0 comments


May gets nod for permanent NIST job

Image from Commerce.gov: Willie May.

Willie May is a 42-year veteran of the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Willie May, who has been running the National Institute of Standards and Technology in an acting capacity for some time now, was nominated by President Barack Obama on July 28 to be NIST director and Commerce Department undersecretary for standards and technology.

A 42-year veteran of NIST, May became acting director on June 13, when Patrick Gallagher stepped down to become chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh. Gallagher, however, had been serving as Commerce's acting deputy secretary for more than a year, with May effectively heading NIST in the interim.

If confirmed by the Senate, May would officially take over an agency responsible for establishing security standards for federal information systems, voluntary cybersecurity guidelines for the private sector, and measurement and technical standards for a range of scientific, manufacturing, industrial and technological areas.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Jul 29, 2014 at 8:11 AM0 comments


Senate confirms Creedon at NNSA

Madelyn Creedon

Madelyn Creedon previously served as deputy administrator for defense programs at the NNSA.

The Senate confirmed a new second-in-command for the agency in charge of the safety, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear device and materials stockpile.

Madelyn Creedon was confirmed July 23 as the Department of Energy’s principal deputy administrator for the National Nuclear Security Administration.

Nominated for the position last November, Creedon will support NNSA Administrator Frank Klotz in managing the agency and contribute on policy matters across the DOE and NNSA enterprise. NNSA was created in 1999 as a semi-autonomous agency operating under DOE.

“Madelyn Creedon’s confirmation comes at a critical point for the National Nuclear Security Administration,” Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a statement following her confirmation. “She is well-prepared for her new role at the department.”

Creedon had served as assistant secretary of Defense for global strategic affairs since 2011, where she oversaw policy development and execution in the areas of countering weapons of mass destruction, U.S. nuclear forces and missile defense, as well as DoD cybersecurity and space issues.

She has also served as counsel for the Democratic staff on the Senate Armed Services Committee. In 2000, she left the Armed Services panel to become deputy administrator for defense programs at the NNSA, and returned to the committee in January 2001. Prior to joining the Armed Services Committee staff in March 1997, she was associate deputy secretary of Energy for national security programs, beginning in October 1995.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Jul 24, 2014 at 8:43 AM0 comments


Head of DHS cyber hub stepping down

Larry Zelvin

Larry Zelvin will step down in mid-August as head of the Department of Homeland Security’s hub for monitoring and responding to cyber threats, a DHS spokesman told FCW.

Zelvin, a former Navy captain, has been director of DHS’s National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center since June 2012. Before that he was director of incident management on the president’s National Security Staff, now known as the National Security Council Staff.

Zelvin has been the NCCIC’s public face, appearing at cybersecurity conferences to meet with industry experts and on Capitol Hill to testify on behalf of the Obama administration.

Last month he joined a chorus of administration officials calling on Congress to pass cybersecurity legislation, telling FCW that DHS’s statutory authority on cybersecurity needs clarifying.

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Jul 22, 2014 at 2:23 PM0 comments


It's all about priorities, people

John Klossner for FCW

Posted by John Klossner on Jul 21, 2014 at 12:56 PM0 comments


Vion hires former DISA official to lead cyber solutions

Image from Shutterstock.

Richard Breakiron, a 2012 Federal 100 winner and former senior official at the Defense Information Systems Agency, is headed to Vion as senior director of cyber solutions, the Herndon, Va.-based IT infrastructure firm said.

Breakiron was previously DISA's executive program director for the Joint Regional Security Stacks (JRSS) and prior to that oversaw modernization of the Army's servicewide network in its CIO office.

In his new role, Breakiron will market Vion's cloud products and services and other IT infrastructure to U.S. military branches, DISA and security agencies, the firm said.

He "is widely known in the defense community for his network modernization efforts, especially for his focus on [Multiprotocol Label Switching] and his work to consolidate and harden the JRSS program," Vion CEO Tom Frana said in a statement.

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Jul 18, 2014 at 9:28 AM0 comments


Call for all applicants: DIA needs a CIO

help wanted sign

Can you or someone you know affect strategic change -- or foster “creative tension” -- within an agency? Quickly ascertain "the internal and external politics that impact the work of the organization?" Oh, and carry Top Secret/SCI clearance? If so, the Defense Intelligence Agency might be interested in speaking with you as it searches for a new CIO.

The successful applicant could earn up to $181,500 a year.

DIA has cast itself as a catalyst for innovation in the intelligence community, with Director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn urging an overhaul of how the agency cultivates ideas and technology. The CIO will undoubtedly be part of those efforts.

Of course, there is the small matter that DIA has a CIO -- Grant Schneider, a career employee, has held that job since 2007. Schneider is out of the office this week, and an agency spokesman could not provide details on the reason for or timing of Schneider's presumed departure.

In any case, those hoping to be the next CIO had better move quickly -- applications are being accepted only through July 25.

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Jul 16, 2014 at 12:37 PM3 comments


Booz Allen CEO to retire at year's end

Horacio Rozanski, BAH

Horacio Rozanski, who currently serves as president and chief operating officer, will succeed CEO Ralph Shrader on Jan. 1, 2015

The management and technology consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton on July 14 announced that CEO Ralph Shrader will retire at the end of 2014. Horacio Rozanski, who currently serves as president and chief operating officer, will succeed Shrader on Jan. 1, 2015, and has been named to the firm's board of directors effective immediately.

Shrader has been with Booz Allen Hamilton for four decades, and led the firm's initial public offering in November 2010. Rozanski joined the firm in 1992. He was elected vice president in 1999, appointed chief personnel officer in 2003, named chief strategy and talent officer in 2010, chief operating officer in 2011, and president in 2014.

Booz Allen Hamilton ranked #7 on Washington Technology's 2014 Top 100 list of federal contractors, with $3.4 billion in 2013 federal contracts for IT, systems integration, telecom, professional services and other high-tech business.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Jul 14, 2014 at 7:35 AM1 comments


ITI adds Hill veteran to government affairs team

US Capitol

The Information Technology Industry Council named long-time House Energy and Commerce Committee counsel Shannon Taylor as its director of government affairs/legislative counsel.

ITI said said in a July 11 statement that Taylor's first day on the job will be July 21, and she will be a lead government affairs liaison with members of the House.

"Shannon is a welcome addition to our government affairs team," said ITI Senior Vice President for Government Affairs Andy Halataei. "With her background providing trusted counsel and policy guidance to the House Energy and Commerce Committee on issues of importance for the tech sector, Shannon will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to ITI's member companies."

Taylor has more than 11 years of legislative affairs experience, serving most recently for eight years as a counsel for commerce, manufacturing, and trade on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where her work included privacy, data breach and patent policy. Before that she was a counsel on what is now the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Taylor began her Capitol Hill career working as a legislative counsel for Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.).

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Jul 11, 2014 at 12:52 PM0 comments


Air Force major general tapped for No. 2 spot at Cyber Command

Major General James K.

Maj. Gen. James “Kevin” McLaughlin is a 31-year Air Force veteran.

Air Force Maj. Gen. James “Kevin” McLaughlin was nominated to be the number two commander at U.S. Cyber Command in Fort Meade, Md., the Pentagon announced July 8.

McLaughlin is currently commander of the 24th Air Force, the service’s major cyberspace component whose Air Force Space Command center is housed at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado. He is also commander of Air Forces Cyber at U.S. Cyber Command on Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.

McLaughlin entered the Air Force in 1983, according to a Pentagon bio.

He was named director of the Air Force’s space and cyber operations in January 2012.

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Jul 08, 2014 at 8:45 AM0 comments


VA deputy CIO resigns

Exit Sign

Lorraine Landfried, deputy CIO for product development at the Department of Veterans Affairs, has submitted her resignation, FCW has learned.

Landfried plans to leave the agency July 19 and is launching her own business with the working title of Landfried Government Solutions. While Landfried can't officially hang out a shingle while she still works for the government, she told FCW she plans to do strategic consulting, executive coaching and advisory services that will draw on her decades-long career in government.

"I'm very excited. I've been a civil servant since I was 21, so I'm definitely ready to try something new," Landfried said.

Landried joined the VA in 2009. Previously, she had worked at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office for Information and Technology as executive director of enterprise data management and engineering. She started her government career as a computer programmer at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Landfried won a Federal 100 award in 2013, when she was cited for improving the VA's "on time" program delivery rate to 89 percent, a dramatic improvement over previous performance by the VA's Office of Information Technology. She also helped put development at VA on an agile footing, and is involved in government-wide efforts to spread the agile development method across agencies.

Her departure comes amid major changes at the top level of VA. Former Procter & Gamble CEO Bob McDonald was tapped by President Barack Obama to lead the agency after Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned over persistent problems and workarounds in scheduling medical appointments. The VA's OIT, meanwhile, is in the midst of a procurement of a new commercial scheduling system to interface with the agency's home-grown electronic health record, VistA.

Landfried said she is confident that the VA will be able to tap its agile expertise to fix the scheduling problems, and give managers more oversight and visibility into the system. There are interim fixes in the works that will improve how end users see available appointments, Landfried said, and those short improvements will help pave the way for eventually integrating a commercial system into VistA.

"There's no reason to think it won't be successful, because every time we've used that [agile] approach, it has been successful," she told FCW.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Jul 07, 2014 at 2:31 PM3 comments


Veteran DOD procurement official Ginman to retire

Richard Ginman is a retired rear admiral who held multiple acquisition leadership positions in the Navy.

Director of Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy Richard Ginman will retire after three years at that post and four decades in government and commercial contracting, a Pentagon spokesperson confirmed June 25.  

No retirement date was announced for Ginman, perhaps the Defense Department’s most experienced procurement official.

News of Ginman’s retirement, first reported by Federal News Radio, came via a memo, signed by DOD Director of Defense Pricing Shay Assad, announcing a contracting officer award in Ginman’s name.

As director of DPAP, Ginman has been responsible for implementation and oversight of DOD’s main acquisition regulations. A retired rear admiral, he previously held multiple acquisition leadership positions in the Navy.

Ginman also chairs the Government Accountability and Transparency Board, which President Barack Obama established by executive order in June 2011 to guide the use of integrating systems for displaying federal spending data.

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Jun 25, 2014 at 7:46 AM1 comments


Report: U.S. Marshals’ email folly ruins bitcoin auction

email

The U.S. Marshals Service botched what was supposed to be an anonymous $18-million bitcoin auction by replying all to an email with bidders’ names and addresses, according to a TechCrunch report. The technical folly apparently happened when one of the bidders asked a question and the Marshals’ office copied 40 other bidders on the reply.

The auction is for some 30,000 bitcoins, valued at about $18 million, seized by the government from Silk Road, a black market for drugs shut down last year by the FBI.

Registration for the auction runs June 16-23, according to an agency announcement. The U.S. Marshals Service could not be reached for comment.

Jennifer Shasky Calvery, director of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, said in February that more institutions need to register with her office if it is to successfully block cyber funding for criminals and terrorists.

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Jun 19, 2014 at 9:43 AM1 comments


Do More 24: Like a code sprint for charity

Do More 24 Logo

Supporting area charities is nothing new for the federal IT community, but this week offers the chance for a focused sprint in support of the needy.

June 19 is the date of Do More 24 -- a 24-hour crowdfunding campaign organized by the United Way of the National Capital Area. Last year's Do More 24 raised $1.3 million from some 11,000 donors to support local nonprofits. Unisys Federal Systems President (and 2011 Federal 100 winner) Ted Davies, who chairs the United Way NCA board of directors, is hoping for an even stronger showing this year.

A full calendar of fund-raising events for the 19th can be found on the Do More 24 website, along with details on other ways to support the campaign.

Posted by FCW Staff on Jun 18, 2014 at 12:34 PM0 comments


Where the innovation really happens

John Klossner for FCW

Posted by John Klossner on Jun 13, 2014 at 10:41 AM0 comments


New CIO at Commerce an old government hand

revolving door

Steve Cooper, the Homeland Security Department’s first CIO, is returning to government as CIO of the Commerce Department, the Washington Business Journal reported.

Cooper, who held the same post at the Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Department, left government in early 2013 and, according to his LinkedIn profile, is currently a partner at the Strativest Group.

At Commerce, Cooper will succeed Simon Szykman, who announced his impending departure in February.

Posted by John Bicknell on Jun 12, 2014 at 8:15 AM0 comments


Jennifer Kerber joins GSA

Jennifer Kerber

Jennifer Kerber, a former executive for TechAmerica Foundation and the Government Transformation Group will focus on the Federal Cloud Credential Exchange.

The General Services Administration's Office of Citizens Services and Technologies has a new addition to its team: former TechAmerica Foundation president Jennifer Kerber.

In the last few months OCSIT lost two major cloud leaders, David McClure and Katie Lewin, and now Kerber will be stepping into her first federal government position as director of Federal Cloud Credential Exchange program. GSA announced early on June 9 that Kerber "will be working in partnership with our FCCX team and our agency partners," the U.S. Postal Service and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Since April of last year, Kerber has served as executive director of the Government Transformation Group, a non-profit coalition that works to improve the effectiveness of federal government.

Prior to that, she was at TechAmerica for several years in various roles, until January 2012 when she was named president of the TechAmerica Foundation. Kerber filled that role for more than a year.

Olga Grkavac, a former head of public sector at TechAmerica, met Kerber when she came in to interview at the association.

"One of the many reasons we hired her was because of her rare expertise in identity management issues," Grkavac said. "She has such a passion for the issues, and loved working with industry and government."

OCSIT certainly has plenty on its plate in the coming months. In March it launched 18F, a government IT consulting office at GSA, which is rumored to be hiring up to 50 new employees before the end of the summer. And now that the FedRAMP deadline has passed, management of cloud government-wide will be of even greater import.

Kerber is no stranger to cloud -- at TechAmerica she worked on the Commission on the Leadership Opportunity in U.S. Deployment of the Cloud, CLOUD2, in 2011 -- work that earned her a 2012 Federal 100 award. It was one of the first notable studies on cloud of its time, and is still looked to by many cloud leaders in government. Grkavac said no matter what challenge is thrown at her, Kerber will be successful.

"It's her passion that really raises her even above other outstanding people," Grkavac said. "Her desire to do the best job possible and her dedication."

Posted by Colby Hochmuth on Jun 09, 2014 at 6:24 AM1 comments


Welcome to @CIA

Social Media Tree

The CIA’s latest intrigue is to join Twitter and Facebook. The spy agency sent out its first tweet the afternoon of June 6, which said in jest: “We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet.” The message has been re-tweeted about 98,000 times and the CIA has more than 125,000 followers as of this writing.

The social-media operation will help the agency “directly engage with the public and provide information on CIA’s mission, history and other developments,” Director John Brennan said in a statement. “We have important insights to share, and we want to make sure that unclassified information about the agency is more accessible to the American public that we serve, consistent with our national security mission.”

The Twitter and Facebook feeds will include news and career information, along with “artifacts” from the CIA’s museum, the agency said.

The CIA’s further embrace of social media (it is already on Flickr and YouTube) comes as the Obama administration seeks to restore public trust in America’s spy agencies. Documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed the agency was collecting bulk phone records of U.S. citizens, among other surveillance programs.

The administration faces a somewhat skeptical public. A January poll from the Associated Press and GfK found that more than 60 percent of Americans surveyed said it was more important for the government to safeguard their civil rights than protect them against terrorism.

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Jun 06, 2014 at 1:44 PM1 comments


McClure: 'Definitely, I'm not done yet'

"Don’t call it a trailer." David McClure's "luxury motor coach" got star billing at a June 3 retirement reception organized by ACT-IAC. The hood ornament in the photo is McClure's 2012 Eagle award.

Today, David McClure and his wife Trish are in their motor home, embarking on a five-week road trip through New England and eastern Canada. On the evening of June 3, however, they were in the basement of Hill Country BBQ, where dozens of longtime colleagues and other leaders of the federal IT community gathered to praise and roast the just-retired head of the General Services Administration's Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies.

"FedRAMP would not have happened" without McClure's leadership, former Department of Homeland Security CIO Richard Spires declared. Mark Forman, the first federal administrator for e-Government and IT, said, "Dave has been the principle thought leader" for every major piece of IT legislation in the past 20 years. Karen Evans, who succeeded Forman in that post, praised McClure for guidance that she said was critical to her success -- a role that virtually everyone who took the stage said McClure had played for them as well.  

Kathy Conrad and Martha Dorris, two of McClure's principle deputies at OCSIT, presented the requisite gag gifts -- including "tech-guy fancy socks" that unfortunately came after federal CIO Steven VanRoekel had slipped out the door -- and gave their former boss plenty of ribbing about his "luxury motor coach." But after various speakers had labeled McClure as "dangerous," "dapper," "demon" and "da Vinci Dave," Conrad's alliteration was simple: "The reality is, he's just a delightful guy."

McClure, whose final day in government was May 30, made clear that he would be returning to federal IT soon enough -- though he said part of his road-trip agenda would be to think about "who I'm going to work with."

Too many interesting challenges in federal IT remain for him to stay on the road for too long, McClure said. "Definitely, I'm not done yet."

Note: This article was updated on June 4 to correct the spelling of Conrad's first name. 

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Jun 04, 2014 at 10:15 AM0 comments


Changes at the top for NGA

Letitia Long_NGA

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Director Letitia Long will be replaced by Deputy Director of National Intelligence Robert Cardillo when she retires later this year.

Deputy Director of National Intelligence Robert Cardillo will head the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency starting in October, the Defense Department announced June 2. Outgoing NGA Director Letitia Long will retire later this year.

Cardillo has been deputy DNI for intelligence integration since September 2010, when the position was established. He has also held top posts in the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Since Long took over at NGA in August 2010, the agency moved from “providing static products, such as maps,” to offering geospatial intelligence in varied formats to “users on all security domains,” the Pentagon said in a statement.

The Map of the World, a visual mix of intelligence from top-secret, classified and unclassified networks, is perhaps the agency’s prime geospatial tool. Capabilities like that make NGA the intelligence agency best suited to turn big data into actionable intelligence, Long told FCW in April.

“Tish Long and Robert Cardillo both have led the transformation of intelligence to address the complex global strategic challenges we face as a nation,” Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers said in a statement. Long once held Vickers’s job, and has also served as deputy director of DIA and of Naval Intelligence, and as executive director of what is now the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).

In a message to NGA staff, Long called Cardillo “a truly distinguished intelligence professional who knows the intelligence community, NGA and many of our employees well," according to a DOD statement.

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Jun 02, 2014 at 9:56 AM0 comments


VanRoekel, McCaul tapped for TechAmerica awards

Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel, shown here at a 2012 NIST event

Federal CIO Steve VanRoekel is being honored by TechAmerica for his work in transforming how government buys and uses technology.

The technology trade association TechAmerica named federal CIO Steve VanRoekel as its government technology executive of the year and Texas Republican Rep. Michael McCaul as its legislator of the year.

TechAmerica cited VanRoekel for his work in transforming how government buys and uses technology, including cloud computing and data center consolidation policies that have driven savings, an emphasis on cybersecurity, improving citizen services, and releasing government data for use by the private sector.

McCaul is being honored for his work as chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee in advocating improved technologies in border protection and cybersecurity, as well as his oversight of management at the Department of Homeland Security.

The awards will be presented at TechAmerica's annual Technology & Government dinner on June 12.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on May 30, 2014 at 9:18 AM0 comments


Vice chair promoted to top spot at FirstNet

Sue Swenson's tenure as chairwoman of FirstNet will last three years.

Sue Swenson, a longtime telecommunications executive, was named by Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker to take over leadership of the FirstNet board of directors. She replaces the agency's first chairman, Sam Ginn, who will remain on the board until his term expires in August.

FirstNet is leading an effort to build a nationwide, interoperable public safety mobile broadband communications network that can connect state, local, and federal first responders. The agency, a component of the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Agency, is still in the process of staffing up to oversee construction of the network. Ginn, 78, came out of retirement to launch the FirstNet board in 2012. Swenson joined as vice-chairwoman last December. Her term as chairwoman will last three years.

Swenson takes over at a critical time, as FirstNet is planning to develop a series of requests for proposals covering the construction of the network as well as for equipment and services. The plan is being funded by $7 billion in anticipated proceeds from an upcoming spectrum auction. FirstNet's plan is to incorporate existing network assets wherever possible, rather than building capacity from scratch. In a FirstNet blog post, Swenson promised more updates on implementation plans at a board meeting next week.

The agency also announced that Acting Deputy CTO Jeff Bratcher is joining FirstNet on a permanent basis. He had been detailed to FirstNet's technical headquarters in Boulder, Colo., from NTIA. Bratcher will continue to lead the teams that are creating the technical specifications for the network.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on May 29, 2014 at 11:58 AM0 comments


Davie wins ACT-IAC's 2014 Franke Award

Mary Davie 2014

Mary Davie was honored by ACT-IAC for her years of championing collaboration at GSA. (Photo: Zaid Hamid) 

The General Services Administration's Mary Davie is the recipient of this year's John J. Franke Award from ACT-IAC. Davie, the assistant commissioner for the Office of Integrated Technology Services in GSA's Federal Acquisition Service, accepted the award May 19 at the Management of Change Conference in Cambridge, Md.

David McClure, associate administrator of GSA's Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies and the winner of last year's Franke Award, praised Davie for her collaborative approach, commitment to staff, and willingness to take risks. "She has always championed the improvement of government for the entire American public," he said, and "her priorities have always been about helping other agencies."

Davie, who declared herself "completely flattered and honored," has spent her entire 25-year career at GSA.  Given that agency's role in supporting the rest of government, she said, "it became clear to me pretty quickly that collaboration, communication, openness is the way that it has to be to make government run more effectively." 

Davie is a three-time Federal 100 winner, earning the award most recently in 2013 for her work as acting FAS commissioner. 

John J. Franke was a Marine, businessman and local politician before shifting to a highly effective career in federal government service.  He was a regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, assistant secretary for administration at the Education Department and then director of the Federal Quality Institute. Franke died in 1991. 

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on May 20, 2014 at 6:20 AM0 comments


Alexander: Big data 'is what it's all about'

Keith Alexander, DOD photo

Former NSA Director Keith Alexander fears anti-agency sentiment will drive away the young workers needed to keep the country safe..

Perhaps not surprisingly, former National Security Director Keith Alexander focuses on data that's big and secure, not open.

Speaking at ACT-IAC's Management of Change Conference on May 19, Alexander declared that, when it comes to federal IT, open data and big data are "what it's all about." But while leveraging open data is a key focus of the conference, Alexander pivoted immediately to his former agency's mandate to gather and secure information -- and to arguing NSA's case in the wake of the Edward Snowden leaks.

Alexander noted that the intelligence community only "collects what we are asked to collect," and said that "the one thing we failed on was protecting data from those ... we trusted." He suggested again that Snowden had motives others than whistleblowing ("he might have gotten lost along the way, but ... it benefits the country he is currently sitting in"), and said agencies must put more emphasis on guarding against insider threats. 

Continuous monitoring will be key, Alexander said, quipping: "You're looking at the guy who's like, 'I'm all for that!'" He noted more seriously, however, that 50 percent of employees take data with them when they leave a job -- and that "not everybody needs all the data."

And at the NSA, departing employees worry Alexander for a very different reason, he said. He praised the young workers in the intelligence community, and stressed the 400 hours of training they get on the proper use of the data they see -- "people don't understand how much training we get," he said.  

But the blowback against the NSA's data collection, Alexander said -- and the restrictions being put on future efforts as a result -- risks driving some of that young talent out of the intelligence community. And he argued that media reports and congressional critics have distorted the story. 

"People keep asking me, 'why are you still defending the NSA?'" Alexander said.  "The reason I keep fighting is that if [those talented young workers] leave, it hurts the country." 

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on May 19, 2014 at 8:47 AM0 comments


AFFIRM announces Leadership Award winners

David McClure speaking

David McClure, the soon-to-retire associate administrator of the General Services Administration's Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, is among the many 2014 AFFIRM Leadership Award winners.

The Association for Federal Information Resources Management announced the recipients of its 2014 Leadership Awards, a list that includes CIOs, senators and business leaders.

Darren Ash, CIO at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, was the recipient of the Executive Leadership Award in Information Resources Management in a civilian agency. Michael Krieger, deputy CIO for the Army, was the recipient for a defense agency.

David McClure, associate administrator of the General Services Administration's Office of Citizen Services and Communications, was the Career Leadership awardee. McClure announced last month he is leaving GSA at the end of May.

The awards will be presented June 12 at Washington’s Capital Hilton.

Other recipients were:

  • Kshemendra Paul, Manager for the Information Sharing Environment, Michael Howell, Deputy Program Manager for the Information Sharing Environment, and Michael Kennedy, Architecture & Interoperability Executive for the Program Manager for the Information Sharing Environment, for Information Resources Management (Intelligence)
  • Paul Wester, Chief Records Officer for U.S. Government, National Archives, for Government-wide Electronic Records Management
  • Teresa Bozzelli, President, Sapient Government Services, Executive Leadership Award for Industry
  • Sens. Jerry Moran (R–Kansas) and Tom Udall (D–N.M.), Congressional Leadership Award
  • Dan Milano Acting Director of Office of IT, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, for Acquisition and Procurement
  • Mark Orndorff, Chief Information Assurance Executive, DISA, for Cybersecurity
  • Carlene C. Ileto, Executive Director, Enterprise Business Management Office, Department of Homeland Security, for Enterprise IT Business Management
  • Brian Abrahamson, CIO, Pacific Northwest National Lab, for Innovative Applications
  • Sylvia Burns, Acting Chief Information Officer, Department of the Interior, for IT Transformation
  • Alissa Johnson, Deputy Chief Information Officer, Executive Office of the President, for IT Management
  • Dawn Leaf, Deputy CIO, Department of Labor, for Service Excellence
  • Steven Schliesman, Director, Benefits Product Division, Department of Veterans Affairs, for Service to the Citizen
  • Jenny Stack and Monica Grusche, COR/COTR WebOPSS IT Program Manager and Web OPSS Program Manager, Federal Aviation Administration, for Service to the Country
  • Kirit Amin, Deputy CIO and Chief Technology Officer, Department of Commerce, for Service to the Government IT Community
  • Jackie Robinson-Burnette, Associate Director, Office of Small Business Programs, Army Corps of Engineers, for Small Business (Individual)
  • Mariana Pardo, Director, and the SBA HUBZone Program Team, Small Business Administration, for Small Business (Team)
  • Vaughn Noga, Acting Director, Office of Administration, Office of Administrator and Resource Management, Environmental Protection Agency, for Technology Innovation
  • Francis Rose, Host, In Depth with Francis Rose, Federal News Radio, and Christopher J. Dorobek, Founder, Editor and Publisher, GovLoop’s DorobekINSIDER, for Media
  • Relmond Van Daniker, Executive Director, Association of Government Accountants, Special Recognition

Posted by Reid Davenport on May 16, 2014 at 12:41 PM0 comments


East retiring as Treasury CIO

revolving door

Treasury Department CIO Robyn East is retiring next month after three years on the job, the latest move in what has become a CIO shuffle in the past several months.

Deputy CIO Mike Parker will take over as acting CIO, Federal News Radio reported.

East came to Treasury in April 2011 from the University of North Carolina, where she was deputy CIO for six years.

She joins a growing list of federal CIOs to leave their jobs recently, including Teri Takai at the Defense Department, Bernie Mazer at the Interior Department and Simon Szykman at the Commerce Department. Navy Department CIO Terry Halvorsen is replacing Takai on an acting basis at the Pentagon. CIOs at Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration left for other government posts in recent months.

Posted by FCW Staff on May 15, 2014 at 11:45 AM0 comments


Halvorsen named acting CIO at Pentagon

Terry Halvorsen

Navy CIO Terry Halvorsen will replace Teri Takai as Defense Department CIO on an acting basis.

Terry Halvorsen is leaving his post as Navy CIO to be acting CIO for the Defense Department, a Pentagon spokesperson confirmed May 13.

Halvorsen’s first day as DOD CIO will be May 21, said spokesperson Lt. Col. Valerie Henderson. The decision to appoint Halverson interim Pentagon CIO was handed down May 12 in an internal memo from Deputy Secretary Robert Work.

There is no indication that Halvorsen’s tenures as Navy and DOD CIO will overlap, the spokesperson said, adding that there is no timetable for naming a permanent CIO at the Pentagon.  

Halvorsen, a 2010 Federal 100 winner, takes over for Teri Takai, who left the department May 2. 

Posted on May 14, 2014 at 10:54 AM1 comments


Four join PSC's Technology Policy Council board

revolving door

The Professional Services Council has added four tech firm executives to its Technology Policy Council’s Executive Advisory Board.

Kay Kapoor, president of AT&T Government Services, Teresa Carlson, vice president of Amazon Web Services Global Public Sector, Greg Baroni, chairman and CEO of Attain LLC, and Steven Roth, chief operating officer of Preferred Systems Solutions, were named to the board, the group said in a news release.

The Technology Policy Council was launched in March in “recognition of the convergence taking place between the technology and professional services sectors and the many issues associated with that convergence," PSC President and CEO Stan Soloway said at the time.

Anne Altman, IBM's general manager for federal government and industries, oversees the board for the group.

Other members of the panel are Pat Finn, senior vice president of Cisco's U.S. Public Sector Organization; Wes Anderson, vice president of Worldwide Public Sector Services at Microsoft; George Newstrom, president of Dell Services Federal Government; Randy Fuerst, president and chief operating officer of Oceus Networks; and Robin Lineberger, head of Deloitte's Aerospace and Defense Practice.

Posted by Jonathan Lutton on May 13, 2014 at 1:59 PM0 comments


Projects that didn't make the Fed 100 cut

Klossner Cartoon - Fed 100

Learn more about the people who did make the 2014 Federal 100, and the work they accomplished, here.

Posted by John Klossner on May 12, 2014 at 8:35 AM0 comments


Balderson to lead Northrop Grumman contracting

revolving door

Defense technology giant Northrop Grumman named Diane Balderson vice president of contracts and pricing, a duty she will officially take over from incumbent Harry Q.H. Lee at year’s end.

The position oversees companywide contracts and pricing policy along with Northrop Grumman’s review of contract risk.

Balderson was most recently head of contracting for the Naval Air Systems Command, managing $30 billion in annual “contractual obligations and expenditures,” the Falls Church, Va.-based firm said, adding that she was the first civilian to lead NAVAIR’s contracting organization.

She was also contracting department head for NAVAIR Air Assault and Special Missions, and previously held top contracting posts in the Environmental Protection Agency, according to her Northrop-furnished bio.

She “brings 33 years of experience in U.S. government acquisition leadership, 21 of which she was a member of the federal Senior Executive Service,” James Palmer, corporate vice president at Northrop Grumman, said in a statement. “She has led a broad range of large contracting organizations and has executed complex business deals for both defense and civil agencies.”

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on May 06, 2014 at 6:12 AM0 comments


Former Unisys exec joins ICE as CIO

revolving door

Immigration and Customs Enforcement's new CIO comes to the agency from the private sector.

Kevin Kern, a former senior vice president and CIO at Unisys, will be the Homeland Security Department component’s new CIO.

Kern will replace Thomas Michelli, who became the Coast Guard's deputy CIO in February. The Coast Guard's current CIO, Rear Adm. Robert Day, who also serves as commander of Coast Guard Cyber Command, has said he plans to retire this summer.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on May 06, 2014 at 12:44 PM0 comments


Obama taps IRS vet for OMB controller post

revolving door

President Barack Obama will nominate former IRS CIO David Arthur Mader for the post of controller at the Office of Federal Financial Management.

Mader's government service dates back to the 1970s. He worked at the IRS between 1971 and 2003, and served variously as acting deputy commissioner for modernization and CIO, and as chief for management and finance. He comes to the OMB post from Booz Allen, where he is senior vice president for strategy and organization. He has also worked in the public sector practice at Sirota Survey Intelligence.

The OMB controller post has been something of a revolving door in recent months. Danny Werfel, who held the post during Obama's first term, decamped to the IRS to take over the agency during a political crisis. Norman Dong served as acting controller before taking a senior post at the General Services Administration.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on May 02, 2014 at 11:05 AM0 comments


Brubaker heads to AirWatch

Paul Brubaker and Elizabeth McGrath at the 2014 Federal 100 gala

Paul Brubaker, shown here with former Defense Department Deputy Chief Management Officer Elizabeth McGrath at the 2014 Federal 100 gala, will join AirWatch on May 5.

Outgoing Defense Department Director of Planning and Performance Management Paul Brubaker will be joining AirWatch, the VMware-owned mobile security and enterprise mobility management provider.

Brubaker's last day at DOD was May 2; he starts at AirWatch on May 5 as director for the federal market.

AirWatch Chairman Alan Dabbiere said his firm sees federal agencies "as an important strategic market that has incredible potential for dramatically improving its operations and outcomes through broader deployment of secure mobility. We're excited to have Paul join the AirWatch team to lead our federal government expansion."

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on May 02, 2014 at 1:57 PM0 comments


The downside of big data

Klossner cartoon for FCW

Posted by John Klossner on Apr 30, 2014 at 10:04 AM0 comments


Pentagon: IT departures won't disrupt relations with industry

Image of the Pentagon

The Pentagon does not see the resignation of CIO Teri Takai and other senior officials as disrupting its coordination with industry on IT issues, Defense Press Secretary John Kirby said April 29 in a briefing with reporters.

"I don't foresee there's going to be any drop off or degradation of our coordination and relationship with industry as a result of this," Kirby said. "Ms. Takai has done a great job in that regard and ... I think she has worked very hard to make sure that that kind of collaboration can continue and we look forward to that."

Takai revealed she was stepping down as DOD's top IT officer in an April 28 email to staff. Her deputy, Robert Carey, left DOD for the private sector in late March, while the Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer -- another important IT policy driver -- has seen three officials leave since last summer.

The CIO is "a critical part of this department and a critical capability that we've got to continue to improve," Kirby said April 29. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel "knows it's an important job, wants to fill it [and] wants to fill it with the right person. It's more important that we get the right talent in there than we do it quickly," he added.

The Pentagon has no timeline for replacing Takai as CIO, Kirby said, adding that the department would like to find a permanent replacement as soon as possible.

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Apr 29, 2014 at 11:59 AM2 comments


NOAA CIO headed to Justice

revolving door

Joseph F. Klimavicz will take over the CIO slot at the Justice Department next month, filling the seat left vacant when Luke McCormack moved to the Homeland Security Department last November.

Klimavicz has been CIO for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration since 2007.

As NOAA’s CIO, Kilmavicz strengthened cyber security, expanded high performance computing and modernized many of its business systems.

“Joe has the leadership and technical skills needed to oversee the Justice Department’s information management and technology programs,” Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole said in a press release. “Joe is well positioned to lead the department’s efforts to continue to enhance our cyber security protections and our law enforcement sharing programs.”

Kevin Deeley will return to his role as deputy CIO after serving as acting CIO since McCormack’s departure.

Posted by Reid Davenport on Apr 28, 2014 at 12:31 PM0 comments


Takai to leave DOD

Defense Department CIO Teri Takai speaking at a Feb. 20, 2014, press conference.

Defense Department CIO Teri Takai told her staff on April 28 that she will step down in May.

Defense Department CIO Teri Takai is leaving the Pentagon, a spokesperson confirmed April 28. Her last day will be May 2.

The department has no immediate plans to name a successor, the spokesperson said.

Takai became DOD's CIO in October 2010 after a drawn-out process that ended with President Barack Obama withdrawing her nomination and the Pentagon restructuring the position so that it no longer required Senate confirmation.

In her email message to staff, Takai stressed the progress made on aligning DOD's "vast IT networks and resources to move toward a Joint Information Environment," as well as her office's work on cloud and mobile-first initiatives. She also announced an all-hands meeting for April 30.

Takai's departure adds to a growing list of exits by DOD executives. Former Deputy CIO Robert Carey left the Pentagon for the private sector in late March, while the Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer -- another key driver of IT -- has seen DCMO Elizabeth McGrath, Director of Planning and Performance Management Paul Brubaker and Assistant DCMO David Wennergren leave since last summer.

Takai, who had previously served as CIO for California and Michigan, has been mentioned in recent months as a candidate for the New York City CIO position. She did not respond to inquiries regarding her plans.

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Apr 28, 2014 at 12:55 PM5 comments


Brubaker leaving DOD

Paul Brubaker and Elizabeth McGrath at the 2014 Federal 100 gala

Paul Brubaker, shown here with former Defense Department Deputy Chief Management Officer Elizabeth McGrath at the 2014 Federal 100 gala, announced to his staff on April 25 that he is leaving the DCMO office for the private sector

Paul Brubaker, the Defense Department's director of planning and performance management in the Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer, is returning to the private sector. Brubaker shared the news with his staff the morning of April 25.

"This was not a decision that was made easily," Brubaker told his team in an email obtained by FCW. "As some of you know, almost 30 years ago I decided to dedicate my career to making government work better. ... Please know that my decision to change positions at this time remains consistent with my continued desire to play a role in positively transforming government."

Brubaker's last day at DOD will be May 2.  

Brubaker has held a number of leadership positions in both government and the private sector. A former GAO evaluator, he has served as an investigator, deputy staff director and minority staff director of the Senate Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, where he worked with then-Sen. William S. Cohen (R-Maine) in the effort to enact the Clinger-Cohen Act.

Brubaker is a two-time presidential appointee, serving first as deputy CIO of the Defense Department under President Bill Clinton, then as the Transportation Department's Research and Innovative Technology Administrator under President George W. Bush. He has been in his current Pentagon post since January 2013.

Brubaker's email to staff did not specify his future plans, and he declined to answer FCW's questions on that topic while still in the government's employ. 

No stranger to industry, Brubaker has served as CEO, CMO and in other executive roles at several successful technology-services companies, including Commerce One and Cisco, where he led the North American Public Sector's Internet Business Solutions Group.

He has also served as chairman of Virginia's Center for Innovative Technology, and is a two-time winner of FCW's Federal 100 award.

Brubaker’s move is the latest in a series of high-level departures from the DCMO office, which is tasked with synchronizing, integrating and coordinating all DOD business operations. Deputy Chief Management Officer Elizabeth McGrath left at the end of 2013 for a position at Deloitte Consulting LLP, while Assistant Deputy Chief Management Officer David Wennergren retired in July 2013 and is now with CACI International. 

Brubaker, however, praised the leadership of acting DCMO Kevin Scheid, and told his colleagues that the decision to leave "is made somewhat easier knowing that there are incredibly talented, capable and dedicated teammates who serve within the DCMO that will continue to drive new levels of efficiency and effectiveness."

"It is certainly an exciting time to be working in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and DCMO," Brubaker wrote. "I would not be leaving if there wasn't an exceptionally suitable and exciting position to drive a level of transformation from the outside."

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Apr 25, 2014 at 7:16 AM4 comments


TASC taps ‘first federal CIO’

Mark Forman

Mark Forman, the man dubbed “the first federal CIO,” has returned to the defense systems firm TASC as vice president for IT services and cloud initiatives, the company announced April 23. Forman was administrator for e-government and IT in the Office of Management and Budget from 2001 to 2003.  

Forman "will help TASC expand the offerings we provide to civil-agency customers, especially in cloud computing and for complex IT systems," Bruce Phillips, a senior vice president at TASC, said in a statement.

Forman, co-founder and president of Government Transaction Services, was a partner at KPMG and a principal for IBM's Global eBusinesss Strategy, according to his TASC bio. He also has legislative-branch experience as a senior staffer on the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee (now called the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee), and on the Joint Economic Committee.

His first stint with TASC was from 1985 to 1989, where he did cost and operational effectiveness analysis in support of the Army and other DOD organizations, according to a LinkedIn bio.

Forman has been a frequent commentator on federal IT policy since leaving OMB. At a software industry event last November, he said the Obama administration’s plan for HealthCare.gov “made a mockery of modular procurement,” and that the vendor management process was broken.

He was a 2002 winner of the Eagle award, presented annually by FCW for outstanding contributions to federal information technology.

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Apr 24, 2014 at 9:30 AM0 comments


Borras lands at consulting firm

Rafael Borras

Rafael Borras, former undersecretary for management at the Department of Homeland Security, has joined global management consultancy A.T. Kearney as a senior adviser, according to a company statement released on April 23.

In his new role, Borras will identify commercial best practices in organizational transformation, IT, acquisition and financial management that can be applied in the public sector.

Before his departure from DHS in February, Borras had been at the agency since his 2010 appointment by President Barack Obama. From September to December 2013, Borras served as acting deputy secretary.

As DHS' designated chief management officer, he oversaw management of the department's nearly $60 billion budget, and as chief acquisition officer, he administered approximately $19 billion in annual procurements.

"I look forward to helping A.T. Kearney deliver the best commercial practices to the public sector and enabling governments everywhere to deliver services in the most efficient and sustainable way to the benefit of their citizens," Borras said in the statement.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Apr 23, 2014 at 12:35 PM0 comments


Why government social media is different

Social Media Tree

The federal government needs to do a better job of explaining its unique position in the constellation of social media users, according to Justin Herman, who leads government-wide social media programs at the General Services Administration.

Privacy law, spending restrictions, and different performance metrics separate the government's public services mission from the private sector's public relations goals, Herman wrote in an April 22 post on the GSA's DigitalGov blog.

"Social media for government is rightfully different from social media for the private sector and amid changing technologies we must better understand these differences in order for agencies, companies and citizens to share in the full opportunities and benefits," he wrote.

Federal social media accounts can't target influential users to make messages go viral because of Privacy Act restrictions. They can't buy followers. They typically don't throw money at promoting posts through advertising.

Herman cited Coast Guard social media chief Christopher Lagan, who said the federal government offers a "deeper connection" on social media than a typical brand. "Our audience isn't made up of customers but of fellow Americans. We're not trying to sell them anything, we're trying to give them ownership of and a stake in the process."

Herman announced three new social media initiatives that will launch over the next three months, designed to improve federal users' visibility, reach, and effectiveness on social platforms.

A Federal Social Media Policy Development toolkit will be published on software code sharing repository Github. The second edition of the Social Media Accessibility toolkit, which helps social media managers make content more accessible to people with disabilities, will go live. Finally, GSA will release new guidance on how to measure the performance of government social media accounts.

GSA is also looking for two current federal employees to devote 20 percent of their work time under the open opportunities program to help report on federal social media trends.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Apr 23, 2014 at 9:04 AM1 comments


Gen. Franz takes over INSCOM

Maj. Gen. George J. Franz III

The U.S. Army on April 17 named Maj. Gen. George J. Franz III commanding general of its Intelligence and Security Command in Ft. Belvoir, Va. INSCOM is a main Army command center for information security and has personnel in 180 locations worldwide.

Franz was previously commander of the Cyber National Mission Force at U.S. Cyber Command in Ft. Meade, where his work earned him a 2014 Federal 100 award. At U.S. Cyber Command, Franz was responsible for developing, training and structuring the nation’s cyber mission forces. He also produced the first cyber forces concept of operations.

Franz served in the Gulf War and the post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to a bio on the AFCEA website.

INSCOM did not respond to questions on the appointment by the time of publication.

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Apr 18, 2014 at 8:06 AM0 comments


McClure leaving GSA

David McClure at the 2014 Federal 100 gala

David McClure, shown here at the 2014 Federal 100 gala, confirmed to FCW on April 17 that he will retire from the General Services Administration at the end of May.

Dave McClure, associate administrator of the GSA's Office of Citizen Services and Communications confirmed he is retiring from the agency.

In an April 17 email to FCW, McClure declined to discuss his future plans in detail while still on the job, but said he is leaving GSA at the end of May.

News of the April 16 internal email in which McClure announced his retirement plans was first reported by NextGov. GSA did not respond to questions about who might fill the position, but GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini said McClure "has played an invaluable role in making this agency a leader in digital innovation.... He has left a strong foundation that everyone at GSA, and the entire federal government, can build on in the years to come."

Rumors of McClure's possible departure have circulated for months as he approached retirement eligibility, but multiple sources said McClure may had taken some time to help set up a transition plan.

His tenure at GSA is distinguished, including sweeping programs aimed at implementing and managing the federal government's migration away from traditional, dedicated IT operations to cloud environments, as well as innovation in IT contracting methods. He has been a leading advocate for the Obama administration’s cloud-first policy as a way to save money and enhance efficiency across government.

McClure also shepherded one of the government's key cloud initiatives, the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), through the interagency review and approval process to its fruition. FedRAMP has gone from an idea to becoming the "law of the land" for a standardized approach to assessing and authorizing cloud products and services, said one source.

McClure's efforts to improve federal IT and drive down inefficiencies across government have earned him FCW's Federal 100 award four times -- in 1998, 2001, 2004 and 2012. In 2012, he won FCW's government Eagle award for his leadership on GSA’s infrastructure-as-a-service contract, which allows agencies to buy IT services as needed rather than purchasing and maintaining more hardware. He also received AFFIRM's 2010 Governmentwide IT Leadership Award.

Before joining GSA, McClure had been managing vice president for Gartner Inc.’s government research team. He served on the Obama-Biden transformation, innovation and government reform transition team, which examined federal agency IT plans and status for the incoming administration. McClure has also served as vice president for e-government and technology at the Council for Excellence in Government.

Before joining Gartner, McClure had an 18-year career at the Government Accountability Office, where he reviewed major systems development and IT management capabilities in almost all major Cabinet departments and agencies. He also served as ex-officio member of the Federal Chief Information Officer Council from its start in 1996 through 2001.

Note: This story was updated on April 17 to add comments from GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Apr 17, 2014 at 10:10 AM1 comments


DISA's Bennett shifts to private sector

revolving door

Bruce Bennett, a former deputy chief technology officer for the Defense Information Systems Agency, is now an executive consultant at Suss Consulting, the firm announced April 15.

Bennett was also DISA's program executive officer for satellite communications and chief engineer for the Defense Information Systems Network, the agency's global telecom network.

Bennett's value as a federal IT consultant lies in his "breadth of expertise in terrestrial and satellite networks along with his depth of experience in designing, developing and implementing state-of-the-art engineering solutions," Suss Consulting President Warren Suss said in a statement.

At DISA, Bennett was in charge of the engineering and resourcing of terrestrial and commercial satellite communications, among other duties, the Suss Consulting bio said. He pushed programs toward "Everything over Internet Protocol," and called for culture change at DOD to drive technology adoption.

Barnett has also "held numerous leadership positions with the U.S. Army working in signals intelligence development," his new employer added.

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Apr 16, 2014 at 8:00 AM1 comments


In-flight Wi-Fi for Con Air

ConAir Wi-Fi

Most of the guests on flights run by the Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System might not care, but in-flight Wi-Fi is coming to the U.S. Marshal's airline. The Department of Justice is seeking sources to install Wi-Fi and hard-wired Internet service on two Boeing 737-400 aircraft used for prisoner transportation. The aircraft are based at JPAT's Oklahoma City headquarters.

The service, as the statement of work makes clear, is designed for the pilots and security personnel, not for the convenience of the passengers. The specs call for an air-to-ground network with broadband speeds of 2.5 to 3 megabits per second, the ability to send 10MB email attachments, secure VPN access, and remote desktop support for Apple iPad and Windows PCs. The requirements also include AC power outlets in the cockpit and the cabin for device charging, and a small format printer.

As viewers of the TV show "Justified" are aware, U.S. Marshals value economy and dispatch. They don't want the installation of the two systems to get in the way of their flight schedules. The announcement specifies that the "minimization of aircraft downtime during the normal business week will be a major factor in selecting a vendor," and the ability to work on weekends or federal holidays will be a plus.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Apr 16, 2014 at 1:33 PM0 comments


Johnson joins CAP as a senior fellow

Clay Johnson

Clay Johnson has no shortage of either fans or critics in the federal IT community -- and now both camps are likely to be hearing a lot more from him.

The Center for American Progress announced on April 15 that Johnson -- the outspoken technologist, author and former presidential innovation fellow -- will be coming aboard as a senior fellow. Johnson is also the founder and CEO of the Department of Better Technology, which focuses on developing government IT solutions. Johnson said the fellowship "has no implications" for DBT.

"A commercial social venture isn't the right home for a lot of the policy and reform work that I do with the federal government," Johnson said, according to CAP. "The Center for American Progress is."

Johnson has been critical of government IT and federal contracting in the wake of the HealthCare.gov launch, saying that the federal procurement system is broken. In his role as a 2012 presidential innovation fellow, he worked on the RFP-EZ procurement system, which continues to be used for certain acquisition efforts. In 2010, Johnson was a Federal 100 Winner for his work as director of Sunlight Labs.

Unsurprisingly, Johnson's work at CAP will focus on issues concerning government technology, including procurement reform and open government data. His fellowship will be based in Atlanta.

Posted by Reid Davenport on Apr 15, 2014 at 12:59 PM0 comments


Carey heading to CSC

Robert Carey

Robert Carey, who served as principal deputy CIO at the Defense Department for three-and-a-half years before stepping down last month, revealed at his April 11 retirement party that he will join CSC as vice president of public sector, cyber.

Before becoming DOD's principal deputy CIO in October 2010, Carey spent four years as CIO of the Department of the Navy.

A veteran of the Gulf and Iraq wars, Carey was also a 2013 Federal 100 winner and was named Defense Executive of the Year for 2009 by GCN, FCW's sister publication.

CSC officials declined to comment on Carey's role at the Falls Church, Va.-based firm.

CSC ranked 15th on the Federal Procurement Data System's list of the top 100 government contractors in 2013; the company earned $3.47 billion under federal contracts last year. One of the products in Carey's charge could be an offering CSC released earlier this month called AppSEC on Demand, which tests the security of software and helps clients build security into the development process.

Posted by Sean Lyngaas on Apr 14, 2014 at 12:11 PM2 comments


NOAA, NASA finalists in web design competition

Don't be a cog in the machine

NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are among the five nominees for the 2014 Webby Awards for government websites. NOAA was nominated for Climate.gov, while NASA was nominated for its main site.

NOAA’s site includes news about weather trends, interactive maps and learning resources like a “Teaching Climate Literacy Webinar.

“Our goals are to promote public understanding of climate science and climate-related events, to make our data products and services easy to access and use, to provide climate-related support to the private sector and the Nation’s economy, and to serve people making climate-related decisions with tools and resources that help them answer specific questions,” its site said.

The awards are presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.

NASA won the 2012 award for best government site and was a 2013 honoree.

Three non-federal sites are also nominated in the government category: New York City’s redesigned nyc.gov; a site promoting adoption in Wales; and Sweden’s official site.

Posted by Reid Davenport on Apr 10, 2014 at 6:40 AM0 comments


Better Government Competition seeks agency tech ideas

compass innovation

Got an idea for using technology to make government run better? It could win you $10,000 from the 2014 Better Government Competition.

The Better Government Competition is a project of the Pioneer Institute, a non-profit and non-partisan research organization focused on improving public policy in Massachusetts. Ideas and innovations from the federal level are welcome, however, particularly when focused on information-sharing, fraud detection, reducing energy costs or streamlining agencies' reporting, licensing and regulatory processes. The focus of this year's contest is "leveraging technology to transform the public sector."

The deadline is fast approaching; submissions in the form of short "idea papers" must be received by April 16. And determining what your ethics officer thinks of such a contest is up to you!

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Apr 09, 2014 at 9:44 AM0 comments


Contreras-Sweet sworn in at SBA

Maria Contreras-Sweet being sworn is as administrator of the Small Business Administration on April 7, 2014

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden both took part in the April 7 swearing-in ceremony for Maria Contreras-Sweet as administrator of the Small Business Administration. She was nominated for the post in January and confirmed by the Senate on March 27.

"I nominated Maria because she knows firsthand the challenges that small businesses go through," Obama said at the ceremony, "and she has a proven track record of helping them succeed."

Contreras-Sweet, a first-generation Mexican-American, founder of ProAmérica Bank and a former California state official, said her mission "is to make the SBA an agency that's as innovative as the small businesses that we serve."

Posted by FCW Staff on Apr 08, 2014 at 3:32 PM0 comments


Air Force names new head of contracting

Gen. Casey Blake

Brig. Gen. Casey Blake was named on April 4 to replace Maj. Gen. Wendy Masiello as the Air Force's deputy assistant secretary for contracting. Masiello has been nominated by President Barack Obama to be director of the Defense Contract Management Agency.

A 30-year Air Force veteran, Blake currently serves as commander of the Air Force Installation Contracting Agency, which is based at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. In that role, he has directed strategic sourcing efforts for the Air Force and overseen $3.9 billion in annual obligations.

Note: This article was updated on April 9 to correct the date on which Blake was named to his new post.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Apr 04, 2014 at 2:14 PM0 comments


Masiello named to head Defense Contract Management Agency

Wendy Masiello

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced April 1 that President Barack Obama has nominated Air Force Maj. Gen. Wendy Masiello to be director of the Defense Contract Management Agency. Charlie Williams was director of DCMA until late 2013; Deputy Director James Russell has been running the agency on an acting basis since then.

If confirmed by the Senate, Masiello would also be promoted to lieutenant general. 

Masiello currently serves as the Air Force's deputy assistant secretary for contracting -- a role in which she has pushed the Air Force to be an early adopter of the General Services Administration's OASIS contracting vehicle, and warned publicly of the risks posed by agencies' shortage of experienced contracting personnel. In 2011, she won a Federal 100 award for her work as the Air Force's program executive officer for combat and mission support.

No replacement has yet been named for Masiello's current job of Air Force deputy assistant secretary for contracting.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Apr 02, 2014 at 10:34 AM0 comments


Mazer steps down as Interior CIO

Interior Department CIO Bernard Mazer is retiring after more than 25 years in government. 

Federal News Radio, which first reported the news, quoted an internal agency email as saying Mazer would stay until July to assist with the transition, but would step out of his CIO role immediately. 

Mazer won a 2014 Federal 100 award for his leadership in consolidating Interior’s IT operations, and for driving the department's Foundation Cloud Hosting Services contract.

He will be replaced on an interim basis by Sylvia Burns, Interior's acting associate deputy CIO for service planning and management.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Mar 28, 2014 at 12:50 PM2 comments


Rochford to run telecom technology lab

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has named Kent Rochford as its director of a new wireless telecommunications lab it runs with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

The Communication Technology Laboratory (CTL) is based at NIST's Boulder, Colo., research facilities and seeks to advance understanding of spectrum use with the goal of promoting better spectrum-sharing approaches. NIST and NTIA announced formation of the lab last year, and NIST said on March 26 that its appointment of Rochford was effective March 24.

The center will be jointly managed by Rochford and the director of NTIA's Institute for Telecommunication Sciences.

According to NIST's announcement, Rochford had been senior director of Sharp Labs of America. He is also a NIST veteran, having previously served as chief of NIST's Optoelectronics Division, director of its Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory, and director of operations at the agency's Boulder Laboratories.

CTL could provide a way to beat the growing national wireless spectrum crunch, said Willie May, associate director of laboratory programs at NIST, during a cloud mobility conference at the agency's headquarters on March 25.

CTL is the seventh of NIST's major research units. It aims to enhance agencies' effectiveness in coordinating research, standards development and testing functions in advanced communications technologies. According to agency statements, CTL will also promote interdisciplinary research and be a focal point for industry's and government's testing, validation and conformity assessments for those technologies.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Mar 27, 2014 at 10:15 AM0 comments


Pentagon Deputy CIO Carey retires

Robert Carey

Robert J. Carey, principal deputy chief information officer at the Department of Defense, announced his retirement in an email to colleagues on March 26.

His last day on the job will be March 28.

Carey has been in his current position since October 2010. Before that, he was CIO of the Department of the Navy, where he succeeded Dave Wennergren in 2006.

Carey's federal career spans more than three decades. His service began with the Army at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in 1982. He switched to the Department of the Navy in 1985, where he worked in a variety of engineering and leadership positions. He joined the staff of the Navy CIO in February 2000 and was promoted to deputy CIO in December 2002.

Carey was a 2013 Federal 100 winner and was named Defense Executive of the Year for 2009 by GCN, FCW’s sister publication.

In winning the Federal 100 award, he was cited for his work as co-chairman of the CIO Council's Information Security and Identity Management Committee, where he helped guide development of a mobile computing security requirement for unclassified information in just four months.

Carey noted in his email that he also served in the Navy Civil Engineer Corps Officer for 25 years, and was mobilized for both the Gulf War and the Iraq War.

Posted by John Bicknell on Mar 26, 2014 at 10:19 AM0 comments


Reeder recognized for role in launching Fed 100

Franklin Reeder

FCW's 25th Federal 100 gala included one additional award that was long overdue. Frank Reeder, a 25-year Office of Management and Budget official who has also shaped federal IT from the legislative branch and various non-governmental organizations, was honored for his role in creating the Fed 100. 

Reeder, who in the late 1980s was head of the information policy branch at OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, approached FCW’s editors about finding a way to shine a light on the good things happening in government. The result -- with its community-driven nomination process, blue-ribbon judging panel, and stand-up comic instead of drawn-out speeches -- was the Federal 100 awards that continue to this day.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Mar 25, 2014 at 12:09 PM1 comments


Chief acquisition officer leaves GSA for White House

Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

GSA Chief Acquisition Officer Anne Rung will move to the White House to head up the Office of Management and Budget's Office of Federal Procurement Policy, sources with  knowledge of the move told FCW.

Rung will replace Joe Jordan as administrator at OFPP. Jordan stepped down in January to accept a position as president of public sector at FedBid, a privately held company that offers a reverse-auction marketplace in which companies compete for government business by bidding down their prices

At GSA, Rung has had a dual role as chief acquisition officer and associate administrator for the Office of Governmentwide Policy.

A replacement hasn't been named yet, according to sources.  

She was named associate administrator for the Office of Governmentwide Policy at GSA in June 2013 and had been the agency's chief acquisition officer since May 2012.

When Acting GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini announced the appointment of Rung to the associate administrator position, he said "Anne has been a vital part of our agency since April of last year, serving as our chief acquisition officer and a senior adviser to me on a number of issues. She brings extensive experience in public service at both the state and federal level."

Before joining GSA, Rung had served as senior director of administration at the Department of Commerce, leading and implementing several management initiatives, including acquisition reform. She won FCW's Federal 100 award in 2012 for some of her work at Commerce.

Before that, she served as deputy secretary for administration and procurement for the Pennsylvania Department of General Services, leading four state-wide operations with 77,000 employees and a $4 billion procurement program.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Mar 17, 2014 at 9:33 AM1 comments


GSA's cloud computing program manager retiring

revolving door

FCW has learned that Katie Lewin, program manager for cloud computing at the General Services Administration, is retiring.

Multiple sources told FCW that Lewin accepted a position at Falls Church, Va.-based CSC, an IT services and solutions company. The company refused to comment.

Lewin is known for her role as the driving force behind the launch of the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), the government's standardized approach to cloud computing. Her efforts helped federal agencies efficiently develop cloud computing capabilities, carrying out the federal cloud initiative in four key areas: the Apps.gov website, E-mail in the Cloud, Security as a Service and Data Center Consolidation. Much of this work came at a time when cloud computing was in its infancy in government.

Well-known in the federal IT community, Lewin worked to establish collaboration among government and industry stakeholders, addressing security issues, standards and operational issues.

"GSA will miss Katie Lewin's strong leadership and experience from a diverse career working on important government technology initiatives," said Dave McClure, associate administrator for GSA's Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies. "She has had a wonderful government career in the technology area across four agencies. Her capstone accomplishment without question was the creation and launch of FedRAMP, which is becoming a model of cross-government collaboration in the technology community."

For her efforts, including providing administrative support to former GSA CIO Casey Coleman, Lewin received a Federal 100 award in 2010. This work occurred during her second stint at GSA; she had previously worked on GSA's delegation of procurement authority program. She also held jobs at the Office of Management and Budget, the Library of Congress and the Internal Revenue Service.

Outside of government, Lewin has held various IT-related consulting positions at Lockheed Martin and SRA International, where she worked with the U.S. Mint, IRS and Treasury Department.

Posted by Frank Konkel on Mar 14, 2014 at 12:00 PM0 comments


DHS cyber framework team named

Phyllis Schneck

Phyllis Schneck will lead a new team at DHS dedicated to implementing the cybersecurity framework.

The Department of Homeland Security formally announced the leadership team in the National Protection and Programs Directorate's Office of Cybersecurity and Communications that will help implement the cybersecurity framework for critical infrastructure systems unveiled by the White House in February.

A blog post on the agency's website the evening of March 12 said the new team, drawn from top White House and DHS cybersecurity managers, will work under the direction of Deputy Undersecretary for Cybersecurity and Communications Phyllis Schneck.

According to the joint post by Schneck and NPPD Deputy Undersecretary Suzanne Spaulding, Andy Ozment will join the team as assistant secretary for cybersecurity and communications. Ozment had previously been director of compliance and technology under the chief information security officer at DHS, and he returns to the department after working as senior director for cybersecurity at the White House since 2012.

The post said retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Gregory Touhill will serve as deputy assistant secretary for cybersecurity operations and programs.

Bobbie Stempfley will step into a new role as deputy assistant secretary for cybersecurity strategy and emergency communications. She had served as acting assistant secretary and deputy assistant secretary of cybersecurity and communications.

While at the White House, Ozment worked for Cybersecurity Coordinator Michael Daniel and led the development and implementation of Executive Order 13636 on improving critical infrastructure cybersecurity. That order resulted in the development of the Cybersecurity Framework and the establishment of the voluntary Critical Infrastructure Cyber Community program.

Touhill will focus on the development and implementation of operational programs such as the continuous diagnostics and mitigation program and the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, which are aimed at protecting government networks and critical infrastructure systems.

Stempfley will oversee emergency communications, develop and implement NPPD's strategy and policy efforts, and focus on building partnerships with the public and private sectors and the general public.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Mar 13, 2014 at 12:16 PM0 comments


FEMA's new CISO comes aboard

Donna Bennett, the Federal Emergency Management Agency's new chief information security officer, started her job on March 10.

Bennett reports to FEMA CIO Adrian Gardner and will serve as the division chief for the Office of Information Assurance, according to a FEMA staff announcement.

In accordance with the Federal Information Security Management Act and subordinate regulations, Bennett is responsible for all aspects of the agency's information security program, FEMA said.

Bennett had been the National Defense University's senior information assurance officer, which gave her responsibility for NDU's information systems in Washington, D.C., and at campuses in Norfolk, Va., and Fort Bragg, N.C.

Gardner said Bennett has held several high-level positions at the Defense Department, including a stint as information assurance portfolio manager for European Command and Africa Command.

Bennett earned a bachelor's degree in computer information systems from Saint Leo University and a master of science degree in information assurance from Norwich University. She is also a graduate of the Senior Executive Service Development Seminar. While on active duty in the Navy, Bennett was named Sailor of the Year at Naval Amphibious Base, according to the FEMA announcement.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Mar 12, 2014 at 12:57 PM0 comments


Professional Services Council launches tech policy group

Anne Altman

Anne Altman, IBM's general manager for federal government and industries, will oversee the executive advisory board for the Professional Services Council's new technology policy council.

An IBM executive will chair the Professional Services Council's new technology policy council.

Anne Altman, IBM's general manager for federal government and industries, will oversee the executive advisory board for the group.

Other members of the panel are Pat Finn, senior vice president of Cisco's U.S. Public Sector Organization; Wes Anderson, vice president of Worldwide Public Sector Services at Microsoft; George Newstrom, president of Dell Services Federal Government; Randy Fuerst, president and chief operating officer of Oceus Networks; and Robin Lineberger, head of Deloitte's Aerospace and Defense Practice.

More members are expected to be named soon, and a senior executive will be named to the PSC staff to support the board's work.

The technology policy council "represents a recognition of the convergence taking place between the technology and professional services sectors and the many issues associated with that convergence," PSC President and CEO Stan Soloway said in a prepared statement. "Today, the lines that traditionally separated the two have been blurred almost to extinction."

PSC, which represents more than 370 member companies, has recently been involved in advocating for the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act, as well as the Federal Data Consolidation Act of 2013.

"The move to an 'as a service' business model, or what others refer to as 'consumption-based buying', is changing the face of the government marketplace," Soloway said. "We have been planning for more than six months to adjust and modify our operating model to reflect those changes. With the addition of PSC's technology policy council, we are beginning that restructuring."

Posted by Reid Davenport on Mar 11, 2014 at 9:38 AM0 comments


Verizon exec joins TechAmerica board

Verizon's Sonya Cork

Sonya Cork, vice president of public sector markets for Verizon Enterprise Solutions, has joined the TechAmerica Public Sector Board of Directors.

Cork, a 26-year communications and IT solutions veteran in civilian and defense agencies, will provide significant insight to the board as it guides the trade association’s technology advocacy on important issues to the federal and state contracting communities.

She currently oversees business development and sales activities for defense and national security accounts for Verizon.

“Sonya brings an extensive background in the world of government contracting that will help inform the policy positions we take on behalf of our membership,” said Shawn Osborne, president and CEO of TechAmerica.

In a press statement, Cork said cloud, mobility and cybersecurity are driving change in the business of government. Procurement reform too, she said, will play a large role in how quickly advanced technologies are put to use by government.

“As a leading advocate for the information and communications technology industry, TechAmerica has taken a leadership role in promoting the adoption of advanced technologies. By identifying potential supply chain and procurement reforms that will help pave the way for broader use, the power of technology can be unlocked to enable new and more efficient ways of delivering government services,” Cork said.

Posted by Frank Konkel on Mar 06, 2014 at 4:50 AM1 comments


ACT-IAC taps executive partners

mentor and student

The American Council for Technology-Industry Advisory Council announced its 32 government and private sector employees who will pair up in preparation for future roles in senior executive service and corporate executive officer positions.

The 2014 Partners Program includes 16 government employees and 16 industry counterparts who were nominated by their organizations and chosen by a panel made up of government and industry executives.

“ACT-IAC advocates for a closer alignment of the government and private sector in the federal IT community and the Partners Program embodies that mission,” Kay Ely, 2014 Partners Program government chairwoman, said in a prepared statement. “The differentiator of the program is that each government and industry participant is paired with their counterpart to engage in thoughtful dialogue and training throughout the year.”

A quarter of the public sector selections came from the General Services Administration. Among the companies represented are IBM, Booz Allen Hamilton and Cisco.

The government participants are:

Dawn Banks-Waller, EPA
Jennifer Browne, GSA
Danita Byrd, GSA
Maria Filios, GSA
Dave Heimann, Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board
Lee Kelly, EPA
Mark Kieffer, Department of Treasury
Benjamin Kim, Executive Office of the President/Office of Administration
Michael Palmer, DHS
Lori Parker, NASA
Hemanth Setty, Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board
Mary Ann Wangemann, University of Virginia
Allison Willcox, USDA
Barbara Whitelaw, DHS
Victor Winnard, USDA
Judith Zawatsky, GSA

The industry participants are:

Jeffrey Bohling, General Dynamics Information Technology
Janet Clement, ASI Government
Rena Fagel, CenturyLink
Will Fortier, E3 Federal Solutions
Simon Godwin, Acentia
Stephen Goehler, Information Innovators Inc.
Christopher Hegedus, Pragmatics Inc.
Adesh Jain, Avaya Government Solutions
James Karlson, Unisys Federal
Kathryn Kienast, Booz Allen Hamilton
David McOmber, IBM
Brian Ross, Harris Corporation
Brian Sichi, Capgemini Government Solutions
Shannon Vanlandingham, Cisco Systems
Jennifer Yang, Battle Resource Management Inc.
Brian Young, HP Enterprise Services

Posted by Reid Davenport on Mar 04, 2014 at 7:15 AM0 comments


CIO Council revives Workforce Committee

diagram of work team

The Executive Committee of the CIO Council has relaunched a panel intended to address challenges in creating and maintaining an effective federal IT workforce.

The CIO Council’s Workforce Committee will focus on areas such as recruiting, retaining and training IT staff. 

A lack of qualified personnel and setbacks that have burdened the federal workforce across the board, such as sequestration, are prominent issues for government IT. A recent online poll showed that half of the federal workforce is considering a job outside the government.

“The Executive Committee of the CIO Council has re-established the Workforce Committee to address the myriad challenges CIOs face in creating an effective and efficient workforce that enables agency mission success,” the group said in a news release. “This committee will focus CIO Council resources on creating the tools and resources necessary for CIOs to create an exemplary IT workforce.”

Department of Transportation CIO Richard McKinney and Nuclear Regulatory Commission CIO Darren Ash will lead the committee and work with the Chief Human Capital Officers Council and the Office of Personnel Management on workforce-related issues.

Posted by Reid Davenport on Feb 28, 2014 at 9:27 AM0 comments


FedRAMP gets an OnRAMP

FedRAMP logo -- GSA image

You can now track cloud services providers' progress toward complying with the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program as easily as you track your online pizza order.

On Feb. 27, MeriTalk unveiled an initial version of its FedRAMP OnRAMP portal, a collaborative effort with the General Services Administration that provides visibility into existing commercial and government secure cloud service offerings.

The portal's release comes four months ahead of the June deadline for CSPs to achieve compliance, a deadline that has many firms chasing the dozen that have already certified a total of 14 solutions.

"They're either in the pipeline or not in the pipeline, and we're working collaboratively with GSA to update this and add new vendors as they come on board," said Steve O'Keeffe, founder of MeriTalk's Cloud Computing Exchange.

O'Keeffe said the portal is akin to a user tracking a delivery order as it makes its way to your home. If the pizza isn't at your doorstep yet, at least you know how far along it is.

"There are a lot of companies saying they're in the FedRAMP process, but there weren't any ways to actually check," O'Keeffe said.

FedRAMP OnRAMP also promises to provide a unique glimpse into return-on-investment figures CSPs realize through achieving compliance. Using data from GSA and cost numbers from five FedRAMP-compliant CSPs, MeriTalk tallies the mean cost to perform a FedRAMP cloud security certificate at $250,000 – one large provider reported spending $5 million to achieve compliance. The portal uses similar data from six CSPs to calculate government-wide savings through FedRAMP of $52.5 million to date. A fully functional version is expected in mid-March.

"There has been a lot of talk about the value of cloud in the government," said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), ranking member of the Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations, which oversees federal IT and procurement policy. "FedRAMP OnRAMP provides tangible metrics and critical insight on a program that is critical to accelerating the modernization of government through the adoption of cloud computing. I commend GSA on the progress it has made so far in implementing FedRAMP and look forward to seeing the resulting savings grow over time."

Posted by Frank Konkel on Feb 27, 2014 at 5:49 PM0 comments


Navy honors Cieslak, others for IT excellence

Navy logo

Randall Cieslak, CIO for U.S. Pacific Command, was among the five award winners in the federal information community announced Feb. 20 by the Navy. Cieslak was named the Navy's Cyberspace/IT Person of the Year for his consolidation of USPACOM networks.

"The strategy he proposed to collapse multiple networks into a shared infrastructure and enhance security with the implementation of Internet Protocol v6 is a model of modernization and transformation activity to be emulated by others," according to a news release from the Navy CIO.

Chris Ferguson, lead applications developer for the Navy's Assistant for Administration, was one of the two Cyberspace/IT Rising Star winners for his role in establishing a DON/AA public portal. The other was Anthony Winns, the unit's customer support lead.

The other winners were: Mark Johnson, director for electromagnetic environmental effects/spectrum policy and programs in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, who claimed the John J. Lussier Electromagnetic Spectrum Leadership Award; and Rebecca Chhim, computer scientist and lead information assurance advisor for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport's Undersea Warfare Combat System Department. The Department of the Navy CIO website was recognized for outstanding achievement in web development by the Web Marketing Association.

Seven of FCW's 2014 Fed 100 winners came from the Navy, including Cieslak.

Posted by Reid Davenport on Feb 20, 2014 at 10:22 AM0 comments


Szykman to leave Commerce

revolving door

Commerce Department CIO Simon Szykman plans to leave government later this spring.  A senior Commerce official told FCW that Szykman notified his team and component-agency CIOs of his plans on Feb. 20.

Szykman gave his colleagues no firm departure date, and did not specify what his future plans involve beyond shifting to the private sector. 

Posted by FCW Staff on Feb 20, 2014 at 2:04 PM0 comments


New leader named at Navy Cyber Command

Jan E. Tighe, U.S. Navy Fleet Cyber Command

Rear Adm. Jan Tighe currently serves as the Navy Cyber Command's deputy commander.

With Vice Adm. Mike Rogers named to head up the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command, the U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/10th Fleet received word Feb. 14 of who, if confirmed, will take his place at the helm.

Navy Rear Adm. Jan Tighe, currently serving as the Navy Cyber Command's deputy commander, was nominated by President Barack Obama to step up into the commander role. She faces Senate confirmation before formally assuming leadership.

Tighe would be the first woman to command both Fleet Cyber Command and the 10th Fleet, the latter being the numbered fleet for the Navy's cyber component.

Fleet Cyber Command was established in January 2010 as the service's subcomponent to U.S. Cyber Command. The 10th Fleet originally was launched in May 1943 for anti-submarine warfare in the Battle of the Atlantic in World War II, targeting German U-boats. After being deactivated at the end of the war, it was reactivated in 2010 with the launch of Fleet Cyber Command.

Tighe has served as deputy commander since November 2013. Prior to that, she was the director of decision superiority on the Chief of Naval Operations staff in July 2011, after serving as the deputy director of Operations for U.S. Cyber Command. From November 2012 until October 2013, she additionally served as interim president of the Naval Postgraduate School, according to her Navy bio.

Posted by Amber Corrin on Feb 14, 2014 at 11:09 AM0 comments


A little help, please?

John Klossner for FCW

Posted by John Klossner on Feb 14, 2014 at 8:16 AM0 comments


Air Force headquarters transitions to enterprise email

email

The Air Force's headquarters offices, mostly based in the national capital region, has completed migration to the Defense Department's enterprise email system, according to a DOD release.

Roughly 7,800 unclassified email accounts, plus an additional 1,300 mobile devices, transitioned from Air Force-managed e-mail accounts to enterprise e-mail over the course of 60 days. DOD's enterprise-mail program is led by the Defense Information Systems Agency.

The Air Force's move follows the Army's migration to the program, which was completed in August 2013. It remains to be determined what or when other components of the Air Force will follow headquarters into enterprise e-mail, but the initial transition marks the first since DOD CIO Teri Takai issued a mandate that all of the military must move to enterprise email by the first quarter of fiscal 2015.

The memo detailing the mandate, which went out last September, directed all DOD agencies to have migration plans in place and inventories of classified and unclassified accounts ready by Jan. 3.

The department-wide move to enterprise email is part of broader DOD plans for its Joint Information Environment.

"DOD enterprise email is a core service of the Joint Information Environment," Air Force CIO Lt. Gen. Michael Basla said in a DISA release. "As the Air Force adopts a [DISA]-managed enterprise capability, we better align with joint warfighter needs and can apply greater focus on our core mission areas, rather than operating and maintaining an email infrastructure."

Posted by Amber Corrin on Feb 06, 2014 at 2:45 PM0 comments


Former Army CIO heads to Booz Allen Hamilton

Susan Lawrence

Lt. Gen. Susan Lawrence, who retired in October 2013 as Army CIO, started work on Feb. 3 as a senior vice president at defense contracting giant Booz Allen Hamilton, according to the company.

Lawrence will help lead Booz Allen's Defense Market Group, where her experience with Defense Department enterprise IT efforts will be put to work in the company's initiatives in IT; cybersecurity; command, control, communications and computers; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; and emerging defense technologies.

Prior to her role as Army CIO, Lawrence served as commanding general of the Army's Network Enterprise Technology Command at Fort Huachuca, Ariz.

At the Pentagon, Lawrence has been succeeded by the newly promoted Lt. Gen. Robert Ferrell, who Army officials note is the first African American to serve as CIO.

"The CIO/G-6 is even more important today as the Army stands up a cyber force and establishes the Cyber Center of Excellence at Fort Gordon," said Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno in a ceremony at Fort McNair in Washington, according to an Army release.

Ferrell previously commanded the Army Communications-Electronics Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.

Posted by Amber Corrin on Feb 05, 2014 at 12:19 PM5 comments


Childs retires after 45 years of government service

Robert D. Childs, who has served as the dean of faculty and chancellor of the National Defense University iCollege for more than 20 years, retired at the end of January. Under his tenure, the college grew from an institution focused on information resources management into a 21st century organization to educate the next generation of leaders in the realities of digital government.

In 2010, the Department of Education approved the college's program for a government information leader master of science degree. Childs expanded the courses to include cyber awareness and defense and the programs to include international students.

Childs is a five-time winner of the Federal 100 award and was the GCN Hall of Fame winner for 2013. CACI Vice President David Wennegren, who worked closely with Childs in several executive capacities at the Department of Defense, told GCN that "Bob was has always been a step ahead, with a new course offering, a new approach, or a new program ready to be deployed."

Childs, who also served in the Air Force and retired as a colonel, has formed a company called iCLEAR to provide cyber leadership education to global organizations and governments.

Posted by Anne Armstrong on Feb 05, 2014 at 8:44 AM0 comments


Feb. 7 last day on the job for Borras

Rafael Borras

Homeland Security Undersecretary of Management Rafael Borras' last day at the department will be Feb. 7.

In an internal DHS email dated Feb. 4 obtained by FCW, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said Borras will depart Friday, capping four years of service in various leadership positions. Deputy Undersecretary Chris Cummiskey will serve as acting undersecretary for management beginning Feb.10, Johnson said.

Government and industry sources contacted by FCW the week of Jan. 27 said Borras would step down the week of Feb. 3 to pursue interests in the private sector.

"I want to personally thank Rafael for his incredible service to the Department. He has provided valuable leadership to DHS as both the Under Secretary for Management and as Acting Deputy Secretary," said Johnson's department-wide email.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Feb 04, 2014 at 10:03 AM0 comments


Turnover at top DOD, DHS S&T posts

revolving door

The two top Pentagon positions for policy and budget will soon have new faces as Undersecretary of Defense for Policy James Miller and longtime Defense Department Comptroller Bob Hale both step down. The news comes amid a number of other staffing changes at DOD.

Miller announced his resignation in December, and Hale's announcement comes as President Barack Obama on Jan. 30 nominated Mike McCord, principal deputy undersecretary of Defense, to succeed Hale.

McCord's nomination was announced alongside a number of other high-level positions.

Christine Wormuth has been nominated replace Miller, the latest in a recent series of women to ascend to the Pentagon's highest ranks. Christine Fox was appointed acting deputy secretary in December, the same month Deborah Lee James was confirmed as Air Force secretary. In the Jan. 30 announcement, Obama also nominated Miranda Ballentine, currently working in the private sector, to be assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and logistics.

Wormuth has been at DOD since 2009; since 2012 she has served as deputy undersecretary of Defense for strategy, plans and forces.

Obama also nominated a deputy for Wormuth. Brian McKeon, currently multi-hatted at the White House as deputy assistant to the president, executive secretary of the National Security Council and chief of staff for the National Security Staff, has been nominated as principle deputy undersecretary of Defense for policy.

In another Pentagon departure, Reginald Brothers, deputy assistant secretary for research, will head to the Homeland Security Department as undersecretary for science and technology, if confirmed by the Senate.

 

Posted by Amber Corrin on Jan 31, 2014 at 10:33 AM1 comments


Rockefeller blasts private-sector metadata storage plan

Jay Rockefeller

Sen. Jay Rockefeller says he'd rather see NSA bulk data remain in the government's hands than be entrusted to the private sector.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller took aim at an Obama administration proposal to move storage of bulk telephonic metadata from government systems inside the intelligence community to telecommunications companies, saying he did not “believe we can come up with a better alternative.”

"I am concerned any change of our current framework will harm both national security and privacy,” the West Virginia Democrat said at a Jan. 29 hearing of the Intelligence Committee.

Rather than ask questions of four intelligence chiefs gathered for the annual unclassified "threat assessment" hearing, Rockefeller used his time to issue a blistering broadside against the idea of reverting storage of data collected by government under the authority of Section 215 of the Patriot Act to private sector telecommunications companies. Rockefeller, who chairs the Commerce Committee, has long experience overseeing telecom regulators.

"Ultimately the decision rests with Congress. And this senator is absolutely opposed to contracting out this inherently core governmental function," Rockefeller said

Rockefeller noted that there are hundreds of niche telecommunications providers nationwide, not simply a handful of large companies. He warned that private companies are reluctant to take on the job of storing the data, especially if it could potentially be subject to discovery in a civil lawsuit. Private companies don't swear allegiance to the government the way intelligence officers do, he noted. Moreover, he suggested, the government and the private sector lack the technical capacity to make such a system operate effectively.

The telecoms, he said, "do not want to become agents of the government. They do not want to become the government's guardians of vast amounts of intelligence data."

Rockefeller cautioned that the rise of the data brokerage industry and recent data breaches at Target and other retailers heightened his concern that the bulk metadata might leak out from private sector sources. "This is not a foundation for a good partnership," he said.

Rockefeller also gave some idea of the scope of the operations side of querying the metadata collected under the 2001 anti-terrorism law. He indicated that just 22 supervisors and 33 intelligence analysts inside the Intelligence Directorate were authorized to query the database, and do so using anonymized phone numbers, not names or other data. "Their queries are subject to multiple overlapping checks, audits, and inspections," he said.

"The hard fact is that our national security interests do not change just because public opinion on an issue fluctuates," he said.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Jan 29, 2014 at 1:45 PM1 comments


Werfel officially out of government

Danny Werfel

Back in December, the Internal Revenue Service gave a heads up of now-former OMB Controller Danny Werfel's intentions to leave the White House and the federal government for the private sector.

Werfel's last day of government employment was Dec. 31, the Office of Management and Budget confirmed on Jan. 27 after news reports that Werfel had left.

Werfel was tapped by the White House last May to be acting commissioner at the IRS. According to OMB, Deputy Controller Norman Dong has performed the duties of OMB's controller since Werfel took on the IRS job.

The IRS said in a Dec. 20 statement to reporters after current IRS Commissioner John Koskinen's confirmation by the Senate that Werfel would remain at the IRS through Dec. 31 to ensure a smooth transition of leadership. "Following that, Mr. Werfel intends to take some time with his family, while exploring future opportunities outside of government," said the statement.

In his time at OMB, the White House said Werfel took on an expanded role within that agency, leading the coordination of its efforts in the areas of Federal procurement, information technology, and personnel policy and performance management.

Werfel told FCW on Jan. 27 that Koskinen's confirmation gave him "a good opportunity for me to take some brief time off to spend with my family and also to explore new opportunities for the next phase of my career.   In terms of my career, I have not yet decided on what my next steps will be, but hope to do so in the near term."

Werfel, who had been controller at OMB since 2009, was honored in November by FCW's sister publication, GCN, as its Government IT Executive of the Year.

Note: This story was updated on Jan. 27 to add Werfel's statement.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Jan 27, 2014 at 12:20 PM0 comments


Challenge.gov claims innovation honor

man with light bulb sign

The General Services Administration's Challenge.gov, which uses contests to engage with the public and spark new ideas, is the winner of the Innovations in American Government Award.

The award is presented by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. The award was established in 1985, and the center received more than 600 applications last year.

Since GSA launched Challenge.gov in 2010, 59 federal agencies have used the site to hold more than 300 contests that have resulted in new apps, software and designs.

"The success of Challenge.gov has really been a result of people seeing an opportunity to get outcomes that they might not have been able to realize before," said GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini. "It really revolutionizes the way we go to the marketplace and ask people to help us resolve the issues in government."

"I think one of the interesting innovations about this is that it's a platform, it's not just...a program, and it recognizes that there [are] a lot of good ideas that come from crowdsourcing," said Stephen Goldsmith, director of the Innovations in American Government Program at Harvard. "So I think that the extension of innovation in the citizen response, how can we engage citizens and [solve] problems together, really is the future of public/private partnership."

Posted by Reid Davenport on Jan 23, 2014 at 11:28 AM0 comments


TechAmerica hires state/local VP

Russ Guarna, TechAmerica

TechAmerica has bolstered its public-sector operations, adding Russ Guarna as vice president for public sector/state and local government.

Guarna joins Mike Hettinger, senior vice president for the public sector, as recent additions to TechAmerica's public sector group.

Guarna was formerly deputy director of the statewide technology procurement division in California's Department of Technology.

In that role, Guarna led a team of procurement specialists in the acquisition of large-scale IT integrated solutions and the next generation of telecommunication and public safety communications contracts.

He has also served as deputy director of the California Technology Agency's program and policy management areas, providing oversight of the state's multibillion dollar IT project portfolio.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Jan 22, 2014 at 12:54 PM0 comments


Gates: NSA ‘primary weapon in this conflict’

Robert Gates

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, on a press tour promoting his new book, "Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War," spoke at a Jan. 16 Politico Playbook event in Washington. The hour-long conversation with Politico’s Mike Allen covered a lot of ground, but a few gems on intelligence leaks and cybersecurity emerged during the discussion. 

On stopping leaks: “The president and I were about the only people at the table who weren’t taking notes. At one point, when the president was really angry about leaks, I turned to him and said, ‘Mr. President, would you look around the table? Everybody’s writing! And they’re all going to go back and brief their staffs, and their staff will brief everybody else. If you want to stop leaks, tell everybody to put their damn pencils down. Say there’s one note-taker for the meeting, and he or she is from the National Security Council staff, and no one else is allowed to take notes.’ Uh, that never happened.” 

On the possibility of a “cyber 9/11: “First of all I think a cyberattack of that magnitude from nation-state with whom we are not at war is not very likely. So I think the greatest danger comes from non-government entities – terrorist groups, global organized crime, probably more likely a terrorist group. And some are very sophisticated when it comes to the Internet. So I think that is a very real danger.”

On the state of U.S. cybersecurity: “The problem I see is, I think we have the capability to protect our critical infrastructure, but bureaucratic and political issues have us so wrapped around the axle that we can’t figure out who to give the authority to defend us.

“The reality is – and this was a debate I had in Obama administration – when I first became Defense secretary, I asked the deputy general counsel of the department to get me a memo of what kind of cyberattack would constitute an act of war. When I left four and a half years later, I was still waiting for that memo. 

“I think a lot of people who are really focused on privacy and civil liberties resist the notion of the NSA providing cybersecurity for the United States ...the truth is they are our primary weapon in this conflict.”

Posted by Amber Corrin on Jan 21, 2014 at 12:10 PM0 comments


AT&T bolsters public-sector team

Michael Leff, AT&T Government Solutions

AT&T Government Solutions announced Jan. 21 that Michael Leff, formerly a managing director at Accenture, was named a vice president and will lead AGS across federal civilian departments and agencies.

Leff is the third senior executive to join AGS's public sector group in recent months. Former General Services Administration CIO Casey Coleman's first day on the job as client executive vice president was Jan. 21. Former Agriculture Department CIO Chris Smith, another onetime Accenture exec, joined AGS in November as vice president for technology.

"Joining the AT&T Government Solutions team is a tremendous opportunity," Leff said in a press release. "I'm looking forward to combining the strength of AT&T's expansive network and resources with my own experience in assisting civilian agencies to achieve and advance their missions."

Before Leff's tenure at Accenture, he worked for Lockheed Martin for 14 years.

Posted by Reid Davenport on Jan 21, 2014 at 10:07 AM0 comments


McCormack named vice chair of CIO Council

Along with his new job as chief information officer at DHS, Luke McCormack will also serve as vice chair of the Federal CIO Council.

The DHS's newly installed CIO was appointed to the council position Jan. 8. The move comes only a few weeks after McCormack officially stepped into the DHS CIO job. That position was vacated by Richard Spires last March and held by acting CIO Margie Graves until McCormack came on board in December.

Spires had also been vice chair at the Federal CIO Council while serving as DHS CIO.

Before being tapped in October to fill the DHS CIO slot, McCormack had been CIO and deputy assistant attorney general for information resources management at the Justice Department, a post he had held since February 2012.

This is his second stint at DHS. He had previously served at Customs and Border Protection as acting director of the infrastructure services division from 2004 to 2005, director of architecture and engineering from 2002 to 2003, and director of systems engineering from 1999 to 2002.

"Mr. McCormack has a keen understanding of the Council’s mission," said a Jan. 16 post on CIO.gov's blog. “He has played a leading role in Council activities since March of 2012 when he became DOJ CIO. There, he helped steer the Council’s cybersecurity work by co-chairing the Information Security and Identity Management Committee, and served as Vice-Chair of the Digital Services Advisory Group, which advised the Federal CIO on all aspects of implementation of the Digital Government Strategy."

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Jan 17, 2014 at 5:11 AM0 comments


GSA's Koses moves up

Jeff Koses_GSA

GSA's Jeff Koses

Jeff Koses, director of acquisition operations for the General Supplies and Services portfolio at the General Services Administration's Federal Acquisition Service, has been named senior procurement executive in the agency's Office of Governmentwide Policy.

Koses will start in his new position Jan. 30 and be reporting to Anne Rung, who became associate administrator of the Office of Governmentwide Policy in August. Rung had been GSA's chief acquisition officer.

Jim Ghiloni, director of the One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services Program Management Office, will step in as acting director of acquisitions operations at FAS. Sources familiar with the moves said Ghiloni will keep his OASIS duties as well. GSA's OASIS team has said it expects to award contracts in early 2014.

Koses has served as an official spokesman on Capitol Hill for GSA on topics ranging from the Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative to governmentwide acquisition contracts.

"Jeff has the right combination of operational experience and policy background that makes him an excellent agent for further improving federal acquisition," said Roger Waldron, president of the Coalition for Government Procurement, in a statement.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Jan 17, 2014 at 1:34 PM0 comments


Issa, Connolly launch Cloud Caucus

US Capitol

Though they are occasionally fierce political rivals, Reps. Darrell Issa and Gerry Connolly see eye to eye on many problems in federal IT acquisitions. The California Republican and the Virginia Democrat are inviting members to join the new bipartisan Congressional Cloud Computing Caucus, "dedicated to fostering awareness and understanding of this critical IT issue."

The announcement came at the Jan 16 Cloud Computing Brainstorm sponsored by MeriTalk.

The two previously teamed up to sponsor the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), a bill to strengthen CIO authorities at agencies and encourage enterprise-wide IT buying practices. FITARA is strongly supportive of cloud transition and would require the CIO Council to establish "government-wide standards for security assessments pertaining to cloud offerings"

A letter inviting lawmakers  to join the caucus said "the versatility and scalability of cloud computing will save taxpayer money and offer policymakers a chance to address the federal government’s dismal record of procuring and using information technology."

The effort appears to be in the same vein as the High Tech Caucus, led by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), which convenes members around issues such as spectrum redeployment, cybersecurity and tech-workforce needs.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Jan 16, 2014 at 12:10 PM2 comments


Klossner's Predictions for 2014

Klossner on 2014

Posted by John Klossner on Jan 15, 2014 at 1:16 PM0 comments


Former DOD official to lead industrial base review

Image of the Pentagon

A recently retired Pentagon policy leader is set to head up a review of the defense industrial base that will aim to help inform budgetary decision making. 

Brett Lambert, who stepped down last August as deputy assistant secretary of Defense for manufacturing and industrial base policy, will spearhead the review for the National Defense Industrial Association, according to the Washington Post.  

NDIA Chairman Arnold Punaro said the hope is that companies will be more open with an industry-led group than they might be with the government. The analysis comes as DOD leaders seek ways to implement billions of dollars in cuts and continue with acquisition reform efforts. 

While at the Pentagon, Lambert led efforts to improve communication between DOD and the defense industrial base. He told the Post that the NDIA study will be “a fact-finding mission,” and will evaluate how well current contractors are fulfilling military needs.  

“Not everybody in the industry is going to be joyful about this effort,” Lambert said. “This is not going to be another white paper that says you have to protect the industrial base; it’s going to be a fact-based understanding of what the industrial base looks like.”

Posted by Amber Corrin on Jan 13, 2014 at 10:21 AM0 comments


Elizabeth McGrath joins Deloitte

Elizabeth McGrath

Longtime Defense Department official Elizabeth McGrath, who announced her retirement from DOD in November, has joined Deloitte Consulting LLP as a director in its federal practice.

McGrath, who served as the Pentagon’s first deputy chief management officer and as its performance improvement officer, finished her 25-year public sector career focusing on financial management, business operations and enterprise-wide systems efficiencies.

According to Deloitte, McGrath will now serve as an adviser to its federal government and commercial clients with an emphasis on innovation and improving business operations.

“We are delighted that Beth has joined Deloitte," said Janet Foutty, principal, Federal Practice Leader and Federal Consulting national managing director, Deloitte Consulting LLP. "Her knowledge, experience and relationships will be instrumental in helping our federal and military clients achieve their mission goals as well as strengthen Deloitte's deep capabilities in the Federal marketplace." 

Among her responsibilities at DOD, McGrath generated the DOD’s Strategic Management Plan, connecting its business operations to its mission, and led the Defense Business Council, the Pentagon’s governance body charged with oversight of business operations.

“Beth brings deep capabilities and experience in business operations from her many years of stellar service at the Department of Defense," said John Powers, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP and leader of the Department of Defense sector.  "In her new role with Deloitte she can help our clients improve their business practices, improve efficiencies and enhance business operations from an enterprise-wide perspective."

Posted by Frank Konkel on Jan 09, 2014 at 9:44 AM0 comments


Changing of the guard at Army IT commands

Gen. John Morrison

The Army Network Enterprise Technology Command at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., has a new man at the helm: Brig. Gen. John B. Morrison, Jr., who most recently served as commanding general of the 7th Signal Command at Fort Gordon, Ga.

Morrison, who also formerly headed up the Army's LandWarNet/Battle Command and is a 2012 FCW Federal 100 winner, replaces interim commander Brig. Gen. Peter Gallagher. Gallagher stepped in when former commander Maj. Gen. Alan Lynn was named vice director of the Defense Information Systems Agency in September.

Morrison is set to be succeeded at Fort Gordon by Brig. Gen. John Baker, currently director of the J-6 at U.S. Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

Posted by Amber Corrin on Jan 09, 2014 at 4:52 AM0 comments


What Mandiant-FireEye merger means for the federal market

world map

When network security company FireEye announced Jan. 2 that it acquired cybersecurity firm Mandiant, it signaled a union of two of the biggest names in next-generation IT and network security. But it also raised a lot of questions about what the merger means for the broader cybersecurity market and for the federal government, which routinely contracts both companies to protect and respond to threats on U.S. networks.

Less than a week after the announcement, it's not entirely clear what will happen in the rapidly growing cybersecurity market, but it is a safe bet that competitors will be watching closely and customers – including executives in both the public and private sectors – will be assessing how to move forward with their own security measures.

"In Mandiant's case, there is some risk in moving away from the investigative post-breach response services they're known for. Those services are still needed at government agencies; so the message will be less clear on who you call when you have a breach. For a number of years Mandiant has been at the top of the list," said cybersecurity expert Richard Stiennon, chief research analyst at IT-Harvest.

While Mandiant is not likely to completely leave its incident-response services behind, it does open the market to other companies to step in, insiders said, particularly as FireEye looks to take the business more global.

"FireEye is also betting that it can capitalize on Mandiant’s relationships with government agencies and federal integrators to grab its share of future cybersecurity spending inside the Beltway,” tech blogger Jon Oltsik noted in a Jan. 3 post. “On the flip side, FireEye hopes to give Mandiant something it never had – an enterprise-savvy sales and marketing team who can translate Mandiant federal security geek-speak into CISO value."

Currently, Mandiant's customer base is largely  composed of U.S. companies. But that's likely to change, despite growing suspicions in the wake of leaks revealing that many major American tech firms complied with National Security Agency surveillance activities.

"The conversation around Microsoft and the NSA, or others who had relationships with them, is only creating more opportunities for companies like us," said David DeWalt, FireEye chairman and CEO, according to the Washington Post.

The NSA scandal also is creating opportunities for network security firms focused on what Stiennon said is currently the biggest driver in the market, and not something typically handled by Mandiant or FireEye: network counter-surveillance.

"Mandiant has never released anything indicating that they know anything about the NSA, and I think that role will fall to the next Mandiant and next FireEye; we'll start seeing influential reports coming from the Kasperskys of the world," Stiennon said. "And U.S. tech companies are going to fall behind the curve unless they start moving today. A lot of vendors have been implicated as having vulnerabilities . . . and all of those vendors have to respond in a positive, strong way. Not with a press release or a statement, but by helping customers determine if they've been breached, which in this case is by the federal government."

Posted by Amber Corrin on Jan 07, 2014 at 1:15 PM0 comments


GSA CIO heads for private sector

revolving door

General Services Administration CIO Casey Coleman is leaving her position at the agency to become a vice president at AT&T Government Solutions.

AGS, a division of AT&T Inc. that serves federal agencies, said Jan. 7 it had named Coleman as client executive vice president. Her first day at her new job will be Jan. 21.

Sonny Hashmi, GSA's deputy CIO, has agreed to serve as acting CIO when Coleman leaves, GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini said in a statement.

GSA Deputy Administrator Susan Brita will also be leaving the agency, Tangherlini said, and Denise Turner Roth will assume the role of deputy administrator on March 14.

Coleman, who has served as CIO for GSA's Federal Acquisition Service and Federal Technology Service, oversees the GSA's Office of the Chief Information Officer, and manages the agency's $600 million information technology budget.

In her new role at AGS, the company said, Coleman will be responsible for the development of long-term customer relationships and delivery of customized solutions for a key set of agencies in the civilian market.

"Advances in cloud, mobility, big data and security present federal organizations with a new world of opportunities," Coleman said in a statement issued by AGS. "I am thrilled to join AT&T Government Solutions and look forward to helping federal customers achieve their mission in innovative, strategic ways by combining AT&T's impressive solutions portfolio with my many years of experience in the federal IT sector."

Tangherlini called Coleman "an important part of GSA for years," who had helped the agency achieve several "firsts" for the government in mobility, cloud computing, social media and collaboration initiatives that have reduced costs, improved productivity, and improved the agency's ability to deliver services to federal partners. "Her dedication, work ethic, and willingness to help her co-workers have made a difference in every corner of this agency and we wish her well," said Tangherlini.

Rumors of Coleman's departure began circulating shortly after another prominent federal information executive left for the private sector. On Dec. 20, Office of Federal Procurement Policy Administrator Joe Jordan accepted a position as president of public sector at FedBid, a privately held company that offers a reverse-auction marketplace in which companies compete for government business by bidding down their prices.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Jan 07, 2014 at 12:38 PM0 comments


New Army CIO takes over

Maj Gen Robert Ferrell

Maj. Gen. Robert Ferrell reported to duty as the Army's new CIO/G-6 on Jan. 6, after being confirmed by the Senate and promoted from the rank of major general on Dec. 20, a CIO/G-6 spokesperson confirmed.

Ferrell previously served as commanding general of the Army Communications- Electronics Command and Aberdeen Proving Ground in Aberdeen, Md. He now is working at the CIO/G-6 offices in the Pentagon.

Ferrell, a native of Anniston, Ala., has served in the Army for 36 years, including nearly two years at CECOM.

He succeeds Lt. Gen. Susan Lawrence, who retired in October. At CECOM, Chief of Staff Col. Charles Gibson will serve as acting commander until a new commanding general is named, Bob DiMichele, CECOM public affairs officers, told the Baltimore Sun.

Posted by Amber Corrin on Jan 06, 2014 at 12:35 PM0 comments


Longtime GSA IT official calls it a day

John Ray_GSA

John Ray began his federal civilian IT career during the Nixon administration. Now, after 42 years on the job -- more than 39 at the General Services Administration -- he has hung up his government hat. His last day on the job was Dec. 1.

"John's career in GSA policy has provided a model for others," said John Sullivan, data management official at the Office of Government-wide Policy, "demonstrating that one very knowledgeable person can have substantial positive impact in the government." 

Ray dealt with computer and telecommunications procurement at GSA starting in 1974, before being promoted to managing the procurement program for computer services across the government.

In 1989, Ray transferred to the Information Resources Management Service – now the Office of Government-wide Policy -- where he offered recommendations on proposed legislation, reviewed drafts of presidential memos and assessed circulars on information system, cybersecurity and acquisition topics.

"John has been a thought leader in the policies of the IT schedules," Sullivan said. "His watchful eye and deep understandings of various policies has been critical to the useful evolution of the schedules program."

Before joining the civilian workforce, Ray served 17 years with the Air Force, Air Guard and Reserve, including two years on active duty in the mid-1950s.

Posted by Reid Davenport on Dec 30, 2013 at 11:52 PM1 comments


The wrong way to engage

John Klossner for FCW - Employee Engagement

Posted by John Klossner on Dec 23, 2013 at 5:43 AM0 comments


DHS deputy secretary confirmed

Alejandro Mayorkas

Alejandro Mayorkas

The Senate has confirmed Alejandro Mayorkas as deputy secretary at the Department of Homeland Security, the No. 2 position at DHS.

The vote was 54-41 along party lines. Republicans who opposed confirmation cited an investigation of Mayorkas by the department's inspector general, part of a broader inquiry into the foreign investor program at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which Mayorkas previously led.

He is alleged to have helped obtain visas for Gulf Coast Funds Management, a firm led by Anthony Rodham, brother of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Mayorkas denies the allegations.

Senate Democrats said the investigation has revealed nothing improper about Mayorkas' actions. The probe is expected to continue until February.

He will step into the job just as the department gets a new secretary, former Pentagon Chief Counsel Jeh Johnson, who was confirmed earlier this week. DHS' Acting Undersecretary for Management Chris Cummiskey told attendees at a Washington, D.C., technology conference on Dec. 18 that Johnson is set to start work on Dec. 23.

In addition, DHS' IT operations officially got a new top manager on Dec. 17. In a blog post that day, Acting Deputy Secretary Rafael Borras welcomed Luke McCormack as the department's new CIO. McCormack had been CIO and deputy assistant attorney general for information resources management at the Justice Department. He was named to the DHS position in October.

Posted by John Bicknell on Dec 20, 2013 at 10:40 AM0 comments


TechAmerica taps new head for public sector

Michael Hettinger

TechAmerica named a new head of its public sector group on Dec. 19, about a month and a half after the departure of several key employees to a competing tech association.

Mike Hettinger, who TechAmerica called a leader in the public-sector technology industry, will become the association's senior vice president for the public sector. Hettinger brings extensive experience on Capitol Hill, in the private sector and with trade associations.

TechAmerica is currently embroiled in a legal battle with rival Information Technology Industry Council over ITI's hiring of a number of TechAmerica's public-sector executives, including Hettinger's predecessor Trey Hodgkins.

Hettinger had been vice president for the Public Sector Innovation Group at the Software and Information Industry Association. Previously, he served as executive director of Grant Thornton's Global Public Sector practice, where he oversaw strategic planning and market development.

Prior to joining Grant Thornton, Hettinger was staff director of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's Government Management, Finance and Accountability Subcommittee.

"We were fortunate to have many outstanding candidates, several referred by our board and members, but Mike stood out," said TechAmerica President and CEO Shawn Osborne. "His extensive experience will enable TechAmerica to increase our leadership in this sector to the benefit of our members."

As Hettinger departed, SIIA announced that State Department veteran Carl Schonander would become its director of international public policy, a new position the association said reflects the increasing impact of global policy debates on U.S. technology and digital content business.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Dec 19, 2013 at 9:59 AM0 comments


Former Microsoft exec to take over HealthCare.gov 'tech surge'

Kurt DelBene

Kurt DelBene will lead repair efforts for the troubled HealthCare.gov.

Former Microsoft executive Kurt DelBene will take over from Jeff Zients as the man in charge of fixing the troubled HealthCare.gov website. Zients will move on to the post of director of the National Economic Council in February.

"Kurt will provide management expertise, operations oversight, and critical advice on additional enrollment channels, field operations, marketing and communications," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said. "The president and I believe strongly in having one person, with strong experience and expertise in management and execution, who is thinking 24/7 about HealthCare.gov. Kurt's leadership and management of HealthCare.gov will be in consultation with [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] Administrator Marilyn Tavenner and in partnership with the project's general contractor, QSSI."

Sebelius thanked Zients for his work in leading the repair effort, saying that "the site is night and day from what it was when it launched on Oct. 1."

DelBene starts Dec. 18. The swift appointment came at the urging of Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), who wrote a letter signed by numerous Senate colleagues, including Virginia Democrats Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, asking President Barack Obama to maintain continuity in leadership of the so-called tech surge. That effort has been in effect since mid-October following the disastrous public launch of HealthCare.gov on Oct. 1.

DelBene will be responsible for keeping the site running efficiently through the March 31 open-enrollment period. The job "will include a focus on increasing system stability, redundancy and capacity, and building on improvements to the user interface, while continuing to prioritize security and privacy issues in line with industry best practices," Sebelius said.

DelBene will be on the job when the hosting of HealthCare.gov transfers from Verizon Terremark to Hewlett-Packard.

DelBene's career at Microsoft overlapped significantly with the tenure of current U.S. CIO Steven VanRoekel, who worked at the software company from 1994 to 2009. So far, VanRoekel has maintained a low profile on the HealthCare.gov issue, and any role he had in recommending DelBene was not disclosed in the HHS announcement. His office did not immediately return a request for comment.

DelBene, who retired as president of the Microsoft Office Division, had a 20-year career at the software giant. One of his recent initiatives was the launch of Office 365, the cloud version of Microsoft's popular business applications.

He is married to Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.), who was elected to Congress in 2012.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Dec 17, 2013 at 10:54 AM2 comments


James confirmed as Air Force secretary

Deborah Lee James

The Senate on Dec. 13 confirmed Deborah Lee James as Air Force secretary on a vote of 79-6, nearly three months after her confirmation hearing. President Barack Obama nominated her to the position Aug. 1.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) had blocked a vote on James' confirmation pending a request for further information about the Air Force's A-10 aircraft program. Ayotte lifted her hold in October.

New Senate rules make it much more difficult for lawmakers to indefinitely stall executive branch and judicial nominees, and James is the latest in a string of picks who have been ushered through since the change went into effect Nov. 21.

"On behalf of the more than 690,000 men and women of the U.S. Air Force, I want to welcome Secretary James to our Air Force family," Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said in a Dec. 13 statement. "I'm confident that she'll lead us with the same vision and passion she's shown throughout her public service and private sector leadership, building on the extraordinary accomplishments of our Acting Secretary Eric Fanning, who has magnificently led our Air Force these last few months."

James reportedly has been moving forward with getting ready for the job while she awaited confirmation. In late August she surfaced at the Pentagon and was said to be undergoing preparations for the confirmation hearing.

At that point, a Pentagon spokeswoman said James was still employed as president of the technology and engineering sector at Science Applications International Corporation.

Posted by Amber Corrin on Dec 13, 2013 at 9:17 AM1 comments


How many Commerce CIOs does it take to...?

If the question is "... round out the guest list for Deltek's 2013 holiday party," the answer is five:

Commerce CIOs: Reed Phillips, Roger Baker, Simon Syzkman, Alan Balutis and Barry West at the December 2013 Deltek holiday party.

Left to right: Reed Phillips, Roger Baker, Simon Syzkman, Alan Balutis and Barry West.

(Thanks to West for sharing the photo!)

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Dec 09, 2013 at 7:25 AM0 comments


Davie: GSA saved a billion on 2013 IT buys

Mary Davie, GSA

The General Services Administration helped save its government customers more than $1 billion on IT products, services and solutions in 2013, according to a key technology acquisition executive.

GSA's Office of Integrated Technology Services met its goal of $1.35 billion in savings for federal users through innovative procurement methods, wrote Mary Davie, assistant commissioner for ITS, in a Dec. 3 post on her "Great Government Through Technology" blog.

Davie followed up on a November post by Bill Lewis, ITS' Networx program manager, in which he said the government saved an average of 35 percent off commercial prices by using Networx telecommunications contracting vehicles. Networx capitalizes on the combined buying power of federal agencies.

Davie echoed Lewis' claim that Networx racked up savings, saying its subscribing agencies kept $678 million more in their pockets in fiscal 2013 for telecom services. She said one agency, which she did not name, is expected to save 20 percent by using Networx.

She tallied up savings from other programs as well. Most agencies using GSA's USAccess shared-services program for identity, credential and access management services saved four to nine times the amount it cost individual agencies to buy those services on their own, according to Davie.

She also said agencies saved $775 million in software costs compared with commercial prices by using SmartBUY blanket purchase agreements. And as of Sept. 30, GSA's six-month-old ReverseAuctions.GSA.gov site had saved 17 agencies an average of 7.27 percent, or $161,549.

Although Davie did not provide specific savings under the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, she said the program's "do once, use many" approach to authority-to-operate requirements could save agencies a year and $100,000 in implementation costs compared to the time and money involved in instituting their own review processes.

In the coming year, GSA will test prices-paid initiatives for some of its contracts, including its Future Commercial Satellite Communications Services Acquisition vehicle and its governmentwide acquisition contracts, with the goal of helping its customers make better buying decisions by supplying information on the prices that other agencies have paid for the same services.

Davie said ITS has also been conducting a full-scale review of GSA's Federal Supply Schedules contracts to make sure they are meeting customers' needs. In addition, she said she hopes agencies will be ready in 2014 to fully capitalize on the Managed Mobility Program that GSA set up in fiscal 2013, and ITS was moving to reduce pricing variability on wireless service plans to help agencies get a better handle on costs.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Dec 06, 2013 at 11:13 AM1 comments


CMS shares traffic reports for HealthCare.gov

Healthcare.gov start page

With the HealthCare.gov site rebooted after a month of repairs, officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are being increasingly forthcoming with reporters about traffic to the site.

Details of the site's poor performance at its Oct. 1 launch were revealed by officials in often-contentious congressional hearings and in documents requested from contractors under the threat of subpoena. With the site now on firmer footing, CMS is more than happy to volunteer the substantial uptick in traffic, with numbers being offered in near-real time on daily press calls.

More than 950,000 users visited HealthCare.gov on Dec 3, according to CMS spokesperson Julie Bataille. Between midnight and 1 p.m. on Dec. 4, the site had 310,000 visits. These new usage levels represent an 80 percent increase from a week earlier. A new comparison-shopping feature that allows users to compare plans and benefits in detail before logging in or creating an account has drawn 790,000 users since the evening of Dec. 1, making it the third-most popular page on the site.

CMS is still being stingy with one piece of information -- the error rates occurring in transmissions of enrollment data to health insurance carriers. These "834 forms" are still the cause of major headaches at insurance companies, and there remains the challenge of sorting through errors that persist in records for any of the approximately 126,000 users who enrolled in plans via the Federally Facilitated Exchanges in October and November.

Bataille said that developers at contractor Quality Software Services Inc., which is leading the repair effort, believe that "the majority of issues causing inaccuracies previously have been resolved."

However, she declined multiple requests from reporters on a conference call to quantify the number of people affected by 834 errors, and whether errors continue to affect enrollees who came to the site since Nov. 30. Press reports indicate that almost 30,000 users were able to sign up for insurance on Dec. 1 and Dec. 2 alone -- a massive increase over previous enrollment levels. However, the bigger numbers could lead to big problems on the insurance-carrier side if the 834 errors persist, as many in the insurance industry suggest.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Dec 05, 2013 at 10:49 AM0 comments


New ITIC lobbyist says FITARA needs more work

Elijah Cummings and Darrell Issa together

The Information Technology Industry Council generally supports the legislation being pushed by Reps. Darrel Issa (R-Ca.) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), but ITI's Erica McCann says FITARA should be part of a "broader dialogue on IT acquisition reform."

The Information Technology Industry Council's new Information Technology Alliance for Public Sector supports legislation to reform federal acquisition rules, but one of the group’s newest lobbyists cautioned that more work needs to be done before the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act is ready for prime time.

In a Dec. 3 post, ITAPS Manager of Federal Procurement Erica McCann said that while FITARA would provide needed changes in the federal procurement process, some of the acquisition provisions “need more discussion and should be part of a broader dialogue on IT acquisition reform that is now getting underway within the Defense Department and among policymakers on Capitol Hill."

Congress, McCann wrote, should move ahead on the FITARA provisions that have industry consensus, including those that would enhance the authority of civilian CIOs, allow a more flexible multi-year funding process, optimize data centers, strengthen the IT workforce and promote dialogue between contractors and federal contracting officers.

A joint letter in March sent by TechAmerica, ITI, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Coalition for Government Procurement, ACT, and the BSA/Software Alliance to Issa contained much the same sentiment as McCann’s post.

The Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act, backed by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), passed the House as part of the defense authorization bill in June. Now, FITARA is being proposed as an amendment to the Senate defense bill.

The post is the first by McCann on ITI's blog. She was one of four procurement policy lobbyists to leave rival industry association TechAmerica in November. TechAmerica subsequently sued ITI for $5 million in the D.C. Superior Court, claiming, among other things, that the lobbyists took proprietary association membership information with them. Trey Hodgkins, Pam Walker and Carol Henton were named in TechAmerica's suit; McCann was not included.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Dec 04, 2013 at 10:06 AM0 comments


Obama appoints acting deputy Defense secretary

Christine Fox

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Dec. 3 that President Barack Obama accepted his recommendation to appoint Christine Fox as acting deputy Defense secretary, effective Dec. 5.

Fox will serve on an interim basis in place of Ashton Carter, who steps down as the Pentagon's second in command Dec. 4, while the search for Carter's permanent replacement continues.

Fox spent nearly four years serving as DOD's director of cost assessment and program evaluation before stepping down in spring 2013. She reportedly returned in September as an unpaid consultant to Carter. Fox also helped lead Hagel's sweeping review of the Pentagon budget.

"As a key leader of the Strategic Choices and Management Review, she helped identify the challenges, choices and opportunities for reform facing the department during this period of unprecedented budget uncertainty," Hagel said in a news release. "She will be able to help me shape our priorities from day one because she knows the intricacies of the department's budget, programs and global operations better than anyone."

Fox, a former analyst at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar -- also known as the Top Gun school -- was the real-life inspiration for Kelly McGillis' character, Charlie, in the 1986 Tom Cruise movie.

Posted by Amber Corrin on Dec 03, 2013 at 9:06 AM0 comments


Federal 100 nominations close Dec. 23

Fed 100 logo

For a quarter-century, FCW’s Federal 100 awards have honored the women and men who go far beyond their assigned duties to make federal IT better. And if you know individuals who you believe should be among the 2014 Federal 100, it’s time to visit FCW.com/fed100 and get moving on their nominations!

I could make an argument about the importance of celebrating the good amid all the criticism of government; I even have the perfect news hook in the form of this past weekend's deadline for HealthCare.gov fixes. Or I could point out, as I have before, that budget pressures and poisoned politics make the great work being done in federal IT all the more impressive.

But no one who reads FCW needs to be reminded of those realities. You know how hard it is to drive real change, and you know people who rise to the challenge every day. So make sure the rest of our community knows about them, too.

Not sure what it takes to make the Federal 100? Here are five points to remember:

  1. Anyone in the federal IT community is eligible: career agency employees, political appointees, contractors, academics, association experts, even members of Congress (though legislators would likely fare better in the judging if they first fund the rest of fiscal 2014).

  2. The award is for individual accomplishments in 2013.

  3. Federal 100 winners go above and beyond, whatever their level or rank. A fancy job title is not required, and just doing one’s job well is not enough.

  4. You are allowed to make multiple nominations. Do so early and often.

  5. Impact matters. The judges need to know not only what a nominee did, but also what all that work accomplished.

The deadline for submissions is Dec. 23. Please go to FCW.com/fed100 for more information, and get started today on your nominations.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Dec 02, 2013 at 5:37 AM0 comments


Senate panel approves DHS secretary nominee

Jeh Johnson

Secretary of Homeland Security nominee Jeh Johnson

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee OK'd former Pentagon General Counsel Jeh Johnson's nomination to become the next secretary of Homeland Security by voice vote on Nov. 20.

Johnson now faces a vote in the full Senate, where Arizona Republican John McCain has said he will hold up confirmation until Johnson provides more details about his plans to beef up border security.

But initial objections by a handful of Senate Republicans over Johnson's role as a fundraiser for President Barack Obama have died down, and his eventual confirmation appears all but certain.

Committee Chairman Tom Carper said Johnson's nomination comes at a critical time for DHS, which is still working to fill a host of senior management slots.

"If confirmed by the full Senate, Mr. Johnson will be met with the dual challenge of combating threats to our nation while also working to further strengthen management at the department and encourage more cohesion among the department's components," Carper said. "This is no easy task, but I am confident that we have a nominee who is up to the challenge."

Ranking Republican Tom Coburn of Oklahoma echoed Carper.

"With so much at stake and with limited financial resources, DHS must work with Congress to ensure that spending on counterterrorism and intelligence programs makes us safer," he said.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Nov 21, 2013 at 7:31 AM0 comments


A new gig for former White House cyber adviser

Melissa Hathaway

Former White House adviser and high-profile cybersecurity expert Melissa Hathaway is joining the Centre for International Governance Innovation as a distinguished fellow.

Hathaway served as a cybersecurity adviser to Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and is the former acting senior director for cyberspace at the National Security Council and former adviser to the Director of National Intelligence. She is now president of Hathaway Global Strategies, a consulting firm, and a senior adviser to Project Minerva, a cybersecurity project jointly managed by the Department of Defense, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University.

"The Internet is at the very core of every aspect of life. There is nothing more important than ensuring that we engage in an international discussion about the priorities required to strengthen the services and infrastructures that are dependent upon the Internet," Hathaway said in a written statement. "There are many entangled economic, technical, regulatory, and policy issues that are part of every negotiation and discussion about the Internet and its future. I look forward to working with the CIGI team to bring more clarity to the international discussion and encourage governments to take actions and reduce risks."

CIGI is based in Ontario, Canada, but Hathaway is expected to remain in the Washington, D.C., metro area.

Posted by Amber Corrin on Nov 15, 2013 at 1:21 PM0 comments


Hagel announces DOD appointments

diagram of work team

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has appointed new officials to positions handling Pentagon intelligence, fiscal improvement and acquisition, technology and logistics.

Marcel Lettre was appointed to the Senior Executive Service as principal deputy undersecretary of Defense for intelligence, based at the Pentagon. He replaces Thomas Ferguson as the principal staff assistant and advisor to the undersecretary of Defense for intelligence and oversees related planning, policy and strategy. Lettre, who most recently served as special assistant to the Defense secretary, also will represent USDI to the intelligence community.

After being confirmed by the Senate in October, Alan Estevez has been assigned as principal deputy undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, serving under Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for AT&L, at the Pentagon. Estevez previously served as assistant secretary of Defense for logistics and materiel readiness. He has been working for DOD in various capacities since 1981.

Margo Sheridan is taking the helm as director for financial improvement and audit readiness, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller). Sheridan previously served as the Coast Guard's director of financial operations/comptroller in the Office of the Assistant Commandant for Resources/Chief Financial Officer. Sheridan takes over for Joe Quinn, who left in April for the private sector after three years leading DOD's massive undertaking in getting audit-ready.

Read the official announcement.

Posted by Amber Corrin on Nov 13, 2013 at 7:07 AM0 comments


Upgrading HealthCare.gov

placing blame for healthcare.gov

Posted by John Klossner on Nov 12, 2013 at 6:58 AM3 comments


A GovCon pat on the back

applause

A kind of restrained rambunctious enthusiasm rippled through the 1,000 or so federal contractors gathered the night of Nov. 7 at the annual GovCon contracting industry awards in Tyson's Corner, Va. The enthusiasm, however, was tempered by the memory of recent government cutbacks and shutdowns and foreboding for those that may be still to come.

As the 11th Annual Greater Washington Government Contractor Awards were handed out, presenters had to repeatedly shush the crowd to be heard above the laughter and loud conversations. The din came from contractors who have been working amid one of the toughest federal acquisition environments in years and the relief/trepidation in the throng was hard to hide -- relief from having made it through so far, but unease about another shutdown and continuing tight budgets.

The Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce and the Professional Services Council sponsored the awards.

The evening's final winner -- Kymm McCabe, CEO at ASI Government, who accepted the Executive of the Year award companies with less than $75 million in sales — asked the crowd to stand, turn to the person on their right, and pat them on the back in congratulations for making it through a very tough year.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Nov 08, 2013 at 8:04 AM1 comments


Former USDA CIO joins AT&T

Chris Smith Fed 100

Former Agriculture Department CIO Chris Smith has joined AT&T Government Solutions as vice president of technology. He will lead the company's 175-member technology specialist team in developing and deploying systems for the federal market.

Smith earned a Federal 100 award in 2011 for his leadership in testing the Einstein 3 technology to help detect and respond to cyberattacks. He also led the transfer of email for 120,000 USDA employees to the cloud in 2011, earning a second Fed 100 award the next year for that project.

Smith retired from USDA in 2012 and joined Accenture under Kay Kapoor, then Accenture's managing director and chief executive of the federal business. She now heads AT&T Government Solutions, making this the second time she has hired Smith.

"Chris brings impressive depths of technology experience, especially in the areas of mobility, cloud, and cyber," Kapoor said in a written statement. "He is going to be an important engine of innovation for AT&T in the federal sector."

Posted by Michael Hardy on Nov 06, 2013 at 1:33 PM0 comments


Elizabeth McGrath to retire from DOD

Elizabeth McGrath

Elizabeth McGrath is about to retire from a 25-year DOD career, insiders say.

Veteran Defense Department official Elizabeth McGrath will be stepping down from her position as deputy chief management officer, according to Pentagon sources.

A spokesman said he could not confirm or deny that McGrath is retiring, but sources speaking on background said that she informed colleagues of her impending departure in a Nov. 4 staff meeting.

When asked in a September interview with FCW about her future plans, McGrath left the door open to potential a career change.

"I have no definitive plans to leave the office ... but I've been at DOD for 25 years. At some point I'll have to leave," she said.

McGrath is the Pentagon's first DCMO. She was sworn in July 1, 2010, and since then has focused on reforming DOD financial management, business operations and enterprise-wide systems efficiencies. Prior to her current role, she served as deputy director for systems integration at the Defense Finance and Accounting Service.

Posted by Amber Corrin on Nov 04, 2013 at 9:07 AM4 comments


Why agency jobs may be right up millennials' alley

Bill McDermott (Photo: SAP AG)

SAP AG Co-CEO Bill McDermott (Photo: SAP AG)

Bill McDermott, the 51-year-old co-CEO of SAP AG, shared an interesting stat with attendees at the Northern Virginia Technology Council's Oct. 30 Tech Celebration banquet.

Characterizing millennials -- workers in their 20s and early 30s -- as narcissistic and not career-oriented is unfair, he argued. What they are is "mobile, social and purpose driven," he said. "Eighty-four percent would rather work for a company with a purpose, that does something that matters," than get personal recognition like "a raise or a promotion."

Greater purpose, rare raises and nearly non-existent public praise? Young people, has government got a job for you!

Kidding aside, McDermott's remarks echoed something federal CIO Steven VanRoekel said Oct. 29 at ACT-IAC's recent Executive Leadership Conference. "Impact at scale," VanRoekel said, is the number one reason to give young people asking why they should work in government.

When at Microsoft, VanRoekel said, he thought he "was at the pinnacle" of working on "big projects ... with worldwide impact. But coming to government, by orders of magnitude, outpaces that in terms of what you can do."

McDermott offered another statistic to illustrate that point -- and to show just how much impact younger workers can have. The average age of engineers working on NASA's Apollo program in the 1960s, he said, was 26. The team lead? Thirty-one.

So actively recruit millennials, McDermott urged. Give them real responsibility early, and give them freedom to experiment and fail.

"If [a project] fails, kill it," he said. "But you have to create a culture where failure is acceptable."

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Nov 01, 2013 at 9:33 AM0 comments


Air Force gets new acquisition chief

William LaPlante

William LaPlante Jr. is President Barack Obama's pick to be assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, according to an announcement from the White House on Oct. 30.

LaPlante currently serves as the principal deputy for the assistant secretary for acquisition, a job he began earlier this year. His duties include providing advice and guidance on Air Force acquisition and overseeing research, development, testing, production and modernization for a $40 billion annual portfolio, according to his bio.

LaPlante has spent his career in both the public and private sectors, and has served on a number of advisory boards, including the Defense Science Board, U.S. Strategic Command Senior Advisory Group and Naval Research Advisory Committee. Prior to joining the Defense Department this year, he was employed at defense contractor MITRE Corp.

Posted by Amber Corrin on Oct 31, 2013 at 2:01 PM1 comments


Wheeler confirmed as FCC chairman

Stylized radio tower

Thomas Wheeler, a former head of two telecommunications trade associations and an early supporter of Barack Obama's presidential campaign, was confirmed as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission by the Senate on Oct. 29.

Wheeler's nomination had been on hold because Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) expressed concerns that Wheeler was interested in imposing tougher disclosure requirements on political advertising. Currently, the FCC maintains an online collection of political advertising purchases as part of the public files of licensed broadcast stations. Cruz was concerned that the FCC might flex its muscles to get more information abut donors to nonprofits that buy ads on behalf of candidates and causes.

Cruz relented after Wheeler assured him that expanding the FCC's role in campaign finance was not a priority.

Joining Wheeler at the FCC will be Michael O'Rielly, a former staffer for Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who will take up one of two Republican seats on the commission. Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn will return to her role as a commissioner.

"Tom Wheeler will be a strong advocate for consumers and the public interest at a time when the FCC is facing decisions that will shape the future of our nation's telephone network and the wireless, broadband, and video industries," said Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.).

Rockefeller and many other Senate Democrats had pushed for the elevation of Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel to the top slot. Wheeler's past as head of trade associations in the mobile phone and cable industries was a concern to some Senate liberals, who worried that he might be too beholden to industry.

One of the big priorities for Wheeler is a reclamation and reverse auction of spectrum, a program that allows TV broadcasters to relinquish their spectrum licenses so providers of wireless broadband may bid on it. The technology required to support the closely watched auction is among the more novel and complex IT challenges facing government.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Oct 30, 2013 at 8:20 AM0 comments


House panel takes on DOD procurement reform

Mac Thornberry

Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) will spearhead an initiative to overhaul DOD's acquisition process.

Members of the House Armed Services Committee are set to launch a long-term reform effort aimed at the Defense Department, including an emphasis on overhauling the acquisition process.

At an Oct. 29 hearing, Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) ann