President Donald Trump last week issued an Executive Order on veterans’ health care that included an announcement that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) would adopt the same electronic records systems as the Department of Defense (DoD), signing off on what was already a done deal. Emphasis on “deal,” because although the departments are on board with a project that could cost $10 billion over 10 years, history raises doubts as to whether a unified health records system can actually be achieved. […]

Last year brought a great deal of change to Washington, D.C., from a new administration moving into the White House to D.C. United building a new stadium. As 2018 starts up with seemingly limitless IT opportunities ahead, MeriTalk takes a look back on the top Federal IT stories from 2017.






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The Department of Defense’s (DoD) push toward greater adoption of commercial cloud computing could raise some questions for the military services and component agencies, including what type of cloud environment would work best while meeting unique DoD needs such as security and high-volume transactions. The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) took a stab at answering those questions last week while offering a plan for enterprise cloud adoption.






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After years on the backburner, electronic warfare (EW) is moving up the ranks as an integral part of the Pentagon’s military focus. The Army last month received approval to move ground-based EW efforts into the Terrestrial Layer Intelligence System, joining cyber, signals, and other intelligence as part of the Multi-Function Electronic Warfare (MFEW) structure. The service wants to include airborne EW later this year.






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Communication is key–especially for the Federal government. One of the most important ways the government communicates with citizens is through agency websites. In fact, the Federal government has roughly 4,500 websites on more than 400 domains. However, the vast majority of those websites aren’t meeting industry standards.






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North Korea’s persistent efforts on nuclear weapons development and some loose talk about red buttons have raised new fears internationally about the possibilities of nuclear conflict. At home, government agencies also are addressing the questions about what to do in the case of a nuclear detonation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for example, will hold one of its Public Health Grand Round teaching sessions Jan. 16 on how medical professionals should respond–and although the event has been planned for months, it’s timing suddenly seems to be on the mark.






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Usually agencies want to speak highly of their IT operating systems, so to hear Deputy Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Steve Censky call the USDA operating model “splintered and out of date” on Dec. 14 was a bit of a shock.  






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As the new year begins, Alfred Rivera, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency’s (DISA) Development and Business Center, will retire from the Federal government. Rivera, who stepped down today, has been in the Federal service for 35 years, and spent all but 10 of those years at DISA. Rivera will begin consulting following his retirement from the public sector. 






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