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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The $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill signed by President Trump on Friday gives a sizable boost to the Department of Defense, including a respectable 2.4 percent pay raise for DoD personnel, and for now at least gets Pentagon leaders off the frustrating, and at times wasteful, treadmill of continuing resolutions. And, while the bill doesn’t get into specifics about critical efforts such as cyber operations and artificial intelligence, it does continue programs DoD has underway.






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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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In times of emergency, state governors have regularly called in the National Guard, for reasons such as assisting the recovery after natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina in 2005 or to suppress protests in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014. If voting systems are under siege, should they do the same?






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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

Artificial intelligence is sexy–no doubt about it. From self-driving cars to personal assistant technology that can anticipate your every need, the future of AI looks promising. However, the actual technology can be confusing. And rarely does the reality of AI match up to expectations created by Hollywood portrayals.






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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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