Technocrat | April 8, 2019: Budget Secrecy Takes Hold

What’s New This Week:

Budget Secrecy Takes Hold

Welcome to a new week in the world of government IT! This week we try to figure out how the Trump administration plans to spend money in the year ahead.

For starters, the White House Office of Management and Budget wants to scale back its public reporting on federal agencies’ IT investments. OMB made a “data masking decision” that it would not disclose fiscal 2020 details about investments in infrastructure, security, and management on, according to BGOV’s Chris Cornillie.

The move is a blow to government transparency, since such data is key to understanding federal investments in IT and the performance of those investments, Cornillie said. The government’s motive for withholding the data remains unclear.

The fiscal 2020 budget is another area where data isn’t as detailed as it was in fiscal 2019. The Pentagon, for example, has excluded all or some bureau data, citing sensitivity of the information.

What we do know is that government spending on cybersecurity is expected to grow this year and next year. BGOV anticipates an additional $5.5 billion in funding for cybersecurity in fiscal 2019 and at least $7.7 billion in fiscal 2020. Federal market analyst Laura Criste takes a closer look at the cyber budget in this week’s exclusive story.

Cybersecurity efforts are expanding at various agencies — including the Department of Homeland Security — yet experts are concerned that funding has not kept up. Funding levels for cyber operations at DHS are expected to remain flat at $1.9 billion, with deep cuts proposed for some programs, such as the Science and Technology Directorate.

Meanwhile, the General Services Administration has been busy expanding its cyber offerings to help federal agencies, as well as state and local governments, protect valuable data. The GSA revamped a part of its IT Schedule 70 contract to give agencies easier access to services designed to protect complex network and data systems.

Hungry for more? There’s other news happening beyond cybersecurity, so keep reading!

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Get Smart

“Agencies will have more than initially expected to spend on cyber-related programs this year. Some of those priorities include securing IT systems, networks, and information; securing critical infrastructure; and improving incident reporting.”

—Laura Criste, federal market analyst with Bloomberg Government

Read more in this week’s exclusive from Bloomberg Government.

Beyond Legacy

Census Bureau Touts 2020 Field Test Success

Starting next March, American households will be able to respond to the 2020 census online. A 2018 field test showed the Census Bureau’s systems were successfully deployed and integrated, with people using the technology without issues in real-world conditions. Read more.

VA Faces Challenges for New and Old IT initiatives

The Department of Veterans Affairs spends more than 80 percent of its IT funds on operating and maintaining legacy systems, and that number keeps going up. Among other things, the VA faces major challenges modernizing electronic health records. Read more.

Strategy & Leadership

Agency CIOs Get More Hiring Authority

The Office of Personnel Management has decided to give agencies the authority to hire IT professionals more quickly. The rule, effective May 3, gives the authority  in situations where agency leaders have determined that there’s a shortage of management roles. Read more.

FTC Wants Employees to Oversee Privacy, Security

There are only 40 full-time employees managing internet privacy and data security at the Federal Trade Commission. The agency told Congress that it not only wants more specialized employees, but also additional resources to adequately police tech companies. Read More.

Get an Insider’s View of Government Cloud.

Join BGOV for a free webinar exploring how federal agencies are finding new ways to support their journeys to the cloud, generate cost savings, and improve security. Hear from Bill Zielinski, the General Services Administration’s top IT buyer, and learn how the agency is working to develop shared services and best practices to support cloud adoption.

Click here to view our speaker lineup, agenda- and to register.

This free 60-minute webinar will cover:

  • How cloud computing supports agencies’ IT modernization efforts
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Next Tech

New Policy to Focus on Automation Technology

The Office of Management and Budget plans to introduce a new policy overseeing how civilian agencies use automation technologies. Artificial intelligence is one technology that agencies can leverage while learning from the private sector, said Federal CIO Suzette Kent. Read more.

Energy Dept. Boosts Quantum Computing Research

The Department of Energy will allocate $40 million in grant funding to multidisciplinary teams that can develop advanced algorithms and software for quantum computers. The announcement comes as the federal government boosts its quantum computing efforts. Read more.

In the Cloud

CIA Takes on Multivendor Cloud Expansion

The Central Intelligence Agency is expanding cloud services on behalf of the entire intelligence community, six years after signing a contract with Amazon Web Services. The CIA is now turning to multiple vendors and embracing the public cloud for all types of data. Read more.

DOD Sees Benefits in Cloud Security

Although security concerns have prevented some agencies from moving to the cloud, the Defense Department and the Defense Information Systems Agency are finding that secure cloud environments are actually beneficial to warfighters and small businesses. Read more.

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