The entire Federal government is feeling the pains of cyber workforce shortages. But the Department of Homeland Security, which is tasked with protecting national security without the cool factor of the FBI and National Security Agency, hurts more than most, according to testimony at a House Homeland Security Committee hearing on Sept. 7. […]

MeriTalk compiles a weekly roundup of contracts and other industry activity. Here’s what happened this week in the Federal Information Technology community.






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The Government Accountability Office found that the Federal Aviation Administration’s NextGen program was successful in enhancing surface traffic operations at 39 of the 40 busiest airports in the United States.






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Telecommunications companies, including Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon, are expanding Internet and cellphone coverage, and deploying emergency equipment in preparation for Hurricane Irma.






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Government IT executives are finding that the IT modernization process is increasing security challenges, according to a recent Unisys survey. However, Unisys Federal President Venkatapathi “PV” Puvvada said that the journey to more modern, and therefore secure, IT can often make cybersecurity harder before it gets better.






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Though new initiatives like the Cybersecurity Executive Order cover many of the same issues tackled by past administrations, the focus on IT modernization will make a big difference in actually improving cybersecurity, according to Barry West, senior adviser and senior accountable official for risk management at the Department of Homeland Security.






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A hacker group named Dragonfly 2.0 has gained access to several companies that supply electricity to the U.S. power grid, according to Symantec. The new wave of cyberattacks could give attackers the means to severely disrupt affected operations centers in Europe and North America. Dragonfly 2.0 has been in operation since at least 2011 and is linked to the Russian government.






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The State Department led a STEAM camp in Malawi in August to enhance high school girls’ skills in science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. The State Department began the WiSci or Women in Science STEAM Camp in Rwanda in 2015 following the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. This year’s program was the third iteration of the WiSci camps.






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Research published by SecurityScorecard found that though Federal and state governments have improved their cybersecurity since the rating system’s last report, they still fall behind the rankings of most industries in the U.S.






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The General Services Administration (GSA) is experimenting with applying blockchain technology to its Schedule 70 Acquisitions, a move that keeps the agency on the cutting edge of technological advances that will ultimately best serve government agencies, according to Jose Arrieta, director of IT 70 Schedule Operations within GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service.






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TechNet, a network of innovation economy CEOs, recently sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission advocating for increased investment in broadband connectivity. The letter emphasizes the importance of broadband for the success of commercial industries such as businesses, hospitals, libraries, and educational institutions.






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The National Archives and Records Administration’s strategic plan for 2018-2022 includes digitizing 500 million pages of records by 2020. NARA would make the records available to the public online through the National Archives Catalog. NARA also will stop accepting analog records from agencies by Dec. 31, 2022, and will accept records only in electronic format and with the appropriate metadata.






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MeriTalk compiles a weekly roundup of contracts and other industry activity. Here’s what happened this week in the Federal Information Technology community.






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The White House American Technology Council IT modernization report, released Aug. 30, emphasizes the need for updated IT infrastructure and shared services. The ATC said that the Federal government should invest in two to three cloud platforms to support all of the agencies.






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For the Navy to gain the most insights from its operational pause day, fleets could use data analytics to make faster, more informed decisions. Adm. John Richardson, chief of naval operations, ordered an operational pause across the U.S. Navy, following the collision of the USS John S. McCain with an oil tanker near Singapore. Each fleet is tasked with taking one day off, as they see fit, to look into “operational tempo, performance, maintenance, equipment, and personnel.”






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Attending events like the Global City Teams Challenge Expo has proven to be an important learning and collaboration opportunity for cities around the world looking to start smart city initiatives, according to Zse-Hong Tsai, chief human resources officer for the Asia Silicon Valley Development Agency in Taiwan. “We have the chance not only to learn experiences from others, we can also enjoy the opportunity to start collaboration with other cities or with other industries and companies,” said Tsai.






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The American Civil Liberties Union described full adoption of artificial intelligence at any cost as a “recipe for tyranny.” Ben Wizner, director of the ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, wrote in a blog post that the government needs to consider the rights of citizens as artificial intelligence becomes more ingrained in society. “Liberty is […] […]

Acting Office of Personnel Management Director Kathy McGettigan announced that Rob Leahy will serve as OPM’s acting CIO. OPM CIO David DeVries departs Sept. 2 for a new role.






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