The Situation Report: Great Scott Round II; Federal CIOs on the Move

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Great Scott Round II

For those of you who missed the opportunity to hear Federal Chief Information Officer Tony Scott lay out his vision for the $3.1 billion IT modernization fund at this week’s Cloud Computing Brainstorm, you’ll have another chance on July 14 at the Palo Alto Networks Federal Forum. Scott’s keynote will come at a critical point in his effort to champion the revolving capital fund. If legislation supporting the fund is introduced as planned before the July 4 holiday, Scott’s appearance at the Federal Forum will be an important opportunity to push it across the goal line.

But time is running out, and the odds that this money will actually materialize are not good. That’s why MeriTalk has launched the #GreatScott campaign—an online petition to keep Scott in office through the transition of administrations. Scott’s presence and leadership may be the key to making the $3.1 billion modernization fund a reality.

Money Bags

My Capitol Hill listening post has picked up strong signals that there are some big piles of unused money sitting in some Federal coffers that could make the perfect seed money for Scott’s IT modernization fund. According to one source, lawmakers have their eyes on the CIA‘s private investment activities, which have reportedly paid off to the tune of about $4 billion. It wasn’t that long ago when the CIA’s investment arm, known as In-Q-Tel, invested in a company called Keyhole—an investment that blossomed into what we now know as Google Earth.

Take Your Medicine

When is a Dell tablet computer a medical device? Well, that depends on whom you ask at the Department of Veterans Affairs and who’s paying for it. For example, a tablet is a medical device—like a blood pressure monitor—if it is used to run a mobile medical app, according to the Veterans Health Administration’s Office of Connected Care. But when those tablets are purchased to replace aging desktops—clearly an IT investment—then the use of an estimated $5 million in medical funding becomes a legal problem.

My Vermont Avenue observation post in Washington, D.C., has uncovered evidence that nearly 2,000 tablet computers purchased by VHA’s Office of Connected Care have been sitting in a warehouse for the past year. Adding salt to the wound is the fact that because VA does not currently support Windows 8 or Windows 10 operating systems, those new tablets are in limbo. The Office of Connected Care, according to reports, is searching for ways to either return the tablets to the manufacturer or transfer them to the Office of Information and Technology (OI&T).

Big Apple Bound

My remote monitoring station outside the New Executive Office Building has picked up signals that Tony Scott is making travel plans. No, he’s not leaving Washington, D.C., for good (at least not yet). But he is taking all of the Federal agency CIOs on an off-site educational trek to New York City to meet with industry counterparts. Reports indicate the Feds will be in the Big Apple most of next week.

palo alto forum

Dan Verton
About Dan Verton
MeriTalk Executive Editor Dan Verton is a veteran journalist and winner of the First Place Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Award for Best News Reporting -- the highest award in the nation for business/trade journalism. Dan earned a Master's Degree in Journalism and Public Affairs from American University in Washington, D.C., and has spent the last 20 years in the nation's capital reporting on government, enterprise technology, policy and national cybersecurity. He’s also a former intelligence officer in the United States Marine Corps, has authored three books on cybersecurity, and has testified on critical infrastructure protection before both House and Senate committees.
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