Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke frankly about the need IT modernization in the State Department last week, both referencing his personal experiences with the department’s servers and tying it into a larger need for reorganization in the department, but failing to lay out any concrete plan for the changes. […]

The FDIC is not accurately disclosing agency expenditures and spending information in compliance with the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act), according to a recent audit issued by the FDIC Office of Inspector General (OIG).






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The Department of Health and Human Services is looking for ways to combat stovepiped systems by using shared services across the agency for data management. “For us, data is front and center,” said Ed Simcox, deputy chief technology officer at HHS.






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Government agencies are trying to move beyond simply managing data to analyzing and using data to inform decisions. “We have a lot of information and that information needs to be tied together,” said Michael Peckham, Data Act Project Management Office executive director for Health and Human Services, at Software AG’s Innovation Tour on Nov. 2. […] […]

The Sunlight Foundation released a report that found that cities use Federal data to make strategic decisions including identifying local issues and informing policy decisions. The majority of cities began using Federal data more than a decade ago and 43 percent plan to increase their use of Federal data in the future.






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With the new focus on innovation in Federal IT, agency CIOs said they will modernize whether they like it or not. The increased conversations about modernization have changed the way agency CIOs talk to their leadership about IT, according to Pamela Dyson, CIO of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).






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The Environmental Protection Agency launched the Smart Sectors Program to help companies use new technologies to protect the environment. The program uses a sector-based approach that provides benefits, such as increased long-term certainty and predictability, creative solutions based on sound data, and more policies to improve environmental protection.






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Esri has deployed the CrowdRescue Puerto Rico Infrastructure Map, which displays crowdsourced reports about damage from Hurricane Maria affecting the U.S. territory. The map enables a visualization of closed roads, collapsed bridges, flooding, mudslides, areas where communication is unavailable, areas that don’t have power, areas without drinking water, and areas with downed power lines.






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The working capital fund created by the Modernizing Government Technology Act is the acquisition tool that agencies need to meet Data Center Optimization Initiative goals.






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A memorandum issued by Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan establishes an initiative to move many DoD IT systems to the cloud, a move that members of industry are applauding for its potential to open the department to faster innovation.






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The Internet of Things has spawned many changes within the Federal government, including new methods of data collection at the Department of Agriculture (USDA), new policy considerations at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and a realignment of the Office of the CIO (OCIO) at the Department of Commerce.






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Though officials working on the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation program have been aware of the importance of cloud from the beginning, Phase 3 of the program will shift to include cloud concerns, according to Kevin Cox, CDM program manager at the Department of Homeland Security.






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The problem with IT modernization is often a people problem. “There’s a cultural challenge within the IT community,” said Department of Homeland Security Acting CIO Stephen Rice, at the AFCEA Homeland Security Conference on Sept. 13. “Changes aren’t just within the technology but also within the culture of those managing the technology.”






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Creating one cloud architecture for the civilian agencies will make it easier for hackers, according to Beth Dunphy, program director of cybersecurity technologies at IBM. The White House’s recent IT Modernization Report calls for the Federal government to invest in two to three cloud models to support the different agencies. “At the end of the day it’s just going to make it easier to repeat the attacks from the attackers,” Dunphy said at the AFCEA Homeland Security Conference on Sept. 12.






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The Federal Cloud Center of Excellence’s draft C.A.S.T.L.E guide on cloud acquisition aligns well with the White House’s IT Modernization Report. “The IT Modernization Report is focused on accelerating the move toward the cloud from an overall strategy and policy perspective and we’re here to support its cloud adoption goals,” said Syed Azeem, senior IT project manager for the Department of Labor, and outreach and advocacy lead within the CCOE. “Where we come in is providing the hands-on implementation level guidance as part of the C.A.S.T.L.E guide and other deliverables the CCOE is working on.”






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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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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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The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials tapped IBM to bring Watson into their software. APCO recently announced that APCO International’s new guide card software called APCO IntelliCommä will use IBM Watson Speech-to-Text and Watson Analytics to improve the scripts used by 911 operators.






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