What’s New This Week: NDAA Implication and a Tech Wish List

Editor’s Note: Welcome to Technocrat, Bloomberg Government’s weekly newsletter for federal technology leaders! Here’s what makes Technocrat different. If you’re a federal technology leader, or work with them, Technocrat is your resource for leading right now. Technocrat doesn’t dwell on the uncertainty of the political circus, but we do acknowledge it—and give you the resources to meet your mission in spite of it. We help you drive modernization, enable better service delivery through technology and always—always—remember the human element powering technology (and the subtle art of getting things done). We hope you’ll enjoy and share with your colleagues. – Kevin Brancato, Managing Editor

What’s New This Week: NDAA Implications and a Tech Wish List

What’s new this week that affects you? While Washington politicos have their eye on on the Mueller investigation and the president’s Supreme Court nomination, federal technology leaders should turn their attention to some important spending developments. Here’s what you should know as you get ready for the week ahead…

Last week, for the 58th year in a row, Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act. Who says Congress can’t get anything done? Here’s what’s in the $717 billion NDAA that affects you:
A government ban on federal purchasing of Chinese telecommunications equipment made by ZTE Corp. and Huawei continues, F-35s for Turkey are on hold and a “Cyberspace Solarium Commission” has been established to reevaluate U.S. cyber doctrine. And Amazon Web Services is likely rejoicing as the Pentagon reaffirms its commitment to a $10 billion single award for the Pentagon’s expansive cloud system known as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI.

Speaking of the force, as you start thinking about your 2020 budget, check out this memo issued by the Office of Science and Technology Policy (P.S., they recently got a new leader). OSTP highlighted the Trump administration’s top priorities for the technologies you should be spending your hard-earned budget dollars on. The wish list of goodies/buzzwords includes AI, 5G, quantum computing, advanced manufacturing, and clean energy investments.

Are you sad blockchain didn’t make the list of buzzy tech trends? Don’t worry, BGOV’s Chris Cornillie has a full rundown of public-sector use cases for blockchain that every cyberpunk / GS-15 should read.

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Here’s what else is new:

Next Tech: Off the Chain

“Blockchain technology has the potential to secure and protect the critical data we entrust to the government.” – Kevin Brancato of Bloomberg Government

Read more in this week’s Bloomberg Government exclusive.

Strategy & Leadership

Hey, You Might Be Getting a Pay Raise!

Emphasis on “might.” According to GovExec, the Senate approved a $154 billion spending bill that would give feds a 2019 pay bump of 1.9 percent. But the House and White House probably aren’t having it. Read more.

Veterans Affairs Officially Gets a New Leader After Shuffle at Top

Robert Wilkie was sworn in as secretary of Veterans Affairs at the White House last week. Said President Trump: “It’s a tough job but it’s a beautiful job.” Read more.

Cyber (In)security

The Pentagon Released a ‘Do Not Buy’ List Targeted at Russia and China

DoD’s head of acquisition is working to educate the military about technology vendors with foreign connections they view as high-risk, reports Defense One. Check the “made by” before you buy. Read more.

Hacking California’s Election System Would Be Difficult—But Doable

The Russian hacking threat remains real. California recently got an “all clear” from the government, but, according to Government Technology, a UC Davis computer science professor says the government should still be nervous. Read more.

Cloud Computing
FedRAMP Is Still Evolving Under New Authorizations

Eight years after the creation of the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, the program is still evolving and one lawmaker wants to push that along, says NextGov. Read more.

NIH Forges Cloud Partnership With Google

Biomedical innovation is getting a tech-powered jumpstart, thanks to a new partnership between the National Institutes of Health and Google. Read more.
Beyond Legacy
VA.gov Prepares for a Major Modernization Overhaul

According to FedScoop, Veteran Affairs is working to become “the first federal agency to deliver a digital experience on par with the private sector” as part of its VA Digital Modernization effort. Read more.
Trump’s Modernization Plan Takes Shape
The Trump administration has issued its vision for the future of a digital, modern government. It’s part of a wide-reaching plan to reorganize the federal agencies. Read more.