On Tuesday, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) online filing and payment portals went down for several hours. Tax Day, the biggest day of the year for IRS, and systems gave only cryptic messages with erroneous dates for “planned maintenance.” No doubt this wasn’t in the plan.

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Eyes tend to glaze over at an Appropriations hearing. Seems Congress just pushed through the 2018 Omnibus spending bill, and the House is already back talking budgets for FY19.

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funding

Opening day for the Nationals might be a week away, but four Beltway insiders have already knocked one out of the park. The latest omnibus spending bill, which passed through the Senate early Friday morning, includes $100 million for the MGT Act’s centralized revolving capital fund. President Trump signed the MGT Act into law late last year as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act.

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The House subcommittees on Information Technology and Government Operations held a “State of Play” Federal IT Hearing Wednesday for the latest updates on ongoing modernization efforts, and the tone was resolute and unflinching.

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Federal CIOs and industry execs gathered on the Hill Thursday evening to celebrate the passage of the Modernizing Government Technology–MGT–Act and map the path ahead. Judging by the standing-room-only crowd, seems government, industry, and the Hill are betting big on the legacy IT euthanasia program to break Federal IT’s failing status quo.

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Celebrate MGT

House Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection Subcommittee chairman Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, put the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) program under the microscope in a hearing with industry experts last week.

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Who says things in Washington don’t move quickly? A decade after Congress initially authorized the position; the Pentagon will get its first Chief Managing Officer (CMO). John Gibson, the current Deputy Chief Managing Officer (DCMO), will step in as the first DoD CMO in February. A major target for new efficiencies, DoD has more than $2 trillion in assets and liabilities.

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Federal agencies are accepting some harsh criticism being doled out in a new report that says many are failing to fully comply with guidelines designed to protect against wasted IT spending.

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We see lots of moves to IT modernization in motion–but how does it all come together? The White House wants to tie those into a broader program, creating a new ecosystem to fuel government-wide modernization efforts.

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The Report to the President on Federal IT Modernization recommends modernizing the Trusted Internet Connections (TIC) program, which is critical to the Federal government’s broader digital transformation strategy. By the end of this month, the report calls for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to conduct data calls to agencies to discuss their cloud migration projects, and identify any delays caused by current TIC policy. And, by March 2, OMB will share a “preliminary update to the TIC policy,” and launch select pilot projects to test the new TIC requirements.

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Once again, Washington is racing toward a shutdown. In what is becoming practically a monthly political exercise, Republicans and Democrats are unable to come to an agreement on how to fund the government. If a compromise isn’t reached, the shutdown will start Friday, Jan. 19 at 11:59 p.m.

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A bipartisan bill introduced in the Senate just before the Christmas break aimed at protecting American elections from foreign cyberattacks has been getting generally positive reviews from security professionals.

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The MGT Act became the law of the land on Dec. 21, when President Trump signed it into law as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This is the much-vaunted revolving capital fund–cut out of the original FITARA bill in committee–that establishes a central bucket of money at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), managed by the General Services Administration (GSA), for Feds to modernize legacy IT systems.

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It was no surprise to industry experts that agency performance on the initial scorecard for MEGABYTE Act compliance was poor. Twenty-one of 24 agencies graded received Fs. Managing software licenses can be complex and agencies had little time to begin the task before they were evaluated, they said.

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Congress wants the Defense Department (DoD) to elaborate on its growing interest is blockchain technology, the secure digital ledger system that can be applied not only to protect financial transactions, but also many other operations such as defending against cyberattacks, protecting logistics supply chains, and securing communications with aircraft and satellites.

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On Thursday, the Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act, championed by Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, was approved in both the House and Senate. Meaning, significant overhaul and modernization of government technology is just one presidential signature away from being reality.

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Yesterday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed the Cyber Diplomacy Act, clearing the path for a new cyber ambassador. If signed into law, the act would establish an Office of Cyber Issues within the State Department and give the office’s head the status and rank of an ambassador.

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The Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act, spearheaded by Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, made it through conference proceedings as an amendment to the $700 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), according to reports from the Hill.

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President Donald Trump signed the Providing Resources, Officers, and Technology to Eradicate Cyber Threats to (PROTECT) Our Children Act of 2017, which reauthorizes the National Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program through 2022.

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Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, is working on the text of his bill to create the Cyber National Guard, a scholarship program that will help train students for cybersecurity jobs in the Federal government. Students who apply for the Cyber National Guard would receive scholarship money for cybersecurity training programs. Once the students graduate, they would spend the same number of years working for a Federal agency as they did receiving scholarship money to attend school.

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The Federal government is finding new ways to make Federal spending data more transparent to citizens by launching the Treasury Department’s Data Lab, and considering a bill that would add open data requirements to Federal grants.

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The Startup Act reintroduced in the Senate would grant more visas to immigrants in the STEM field. Among other things, it would create a new limited STEM visa so that 50,000 U.S.-educated foreign students who graduate with a master’s or Ph.D. in science, technology, engineering or mathematics can receive a green card and stay in the United States.

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A bipartisan group of senators proposed legislation to extend certain provisions in the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act. The extension would add two years to agencies’ data center consolidation efforts. The bill is the same as the FITARA Extension amendment that was adopted by the House of Representatives in July.

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Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, said that he plans to track the IT modernization working capital fund, which will come from his Modernization Government Technology Act, on the FITARA scorecard.

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Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., and Gary Peters, D-Mich., plan to announce legislation that would pave the way for increased innovation in self-driving vehicle technologies. “Ultimately, we expect adoption of self-driving vehicle technologies will save lives, improve mobility for people with disabilities, and create new jobs,” they said in a statement.

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Government doesn’t take the dangers of metadata security seriously enough, members of industry said at an Institute for Critical Infrastructure event on Sept. 26. They cited the passage of SJ 34, which reduced regulations on Internet service providers’ use of metadata generated by their customers.

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Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., reintroduced legislation this week that would require companies that experience a breach to notify affected individuals within 30 days of the breach’s discovery and that they coordinate with the Federal Trade Commission to do so.

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The Modernizing Government Technology Act passed the Senate as a part of the Manager’s Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act on Sept. 18. “By incentivizing the transition to modern technology, we will allow the government to harness cutting-edge technologies, use each dollar more efficiently, strengthen our digital infrastructure and improve government services for everyone,” said Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, the bill’s author.

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