Technocrat | May 6, 2019: Buying Smarter

What’s New This Week:

Buying Smarter

Lawmakers and government officials don’t always see eye to eye when it comes to regulating certain technologies, especially emerging ones. Take the Internet of Things as an example.

During a recent Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Security Subcommittee hearing, lawmakers spoke in favor of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s hard work to develop federal IoT security standards. But they couldn’t agree on some key issues, such as the best way of educating the public about the quality of IoT device security.

Meanwhile, the U.K. government is ahead of the U.S. in introducing new legislation on IoT security. Digital minister Margot James last week unveiled a draft law that centers on protecting millions of internet-connected devices from cyberattacks.

Moving on to federal IT spending … new analysis from Bloomberg Government shows “Best in Class” contracts accounted for about 30 percent of federal IT spending in fiscal 2018. Earlier this year, the Office of Management and Budget directed agencies to shift their IT investments from stand-alone to Best in Class contracts, as part of a category management savings strategy.

The White House wants agencies to shop more like large companies instead of hundreds of individual entities. While this approach may lead to cost savings, it may signal tougher times ahead for some contractors, according to BGOV’s Chris Cornillie. He explains why in this week’s exclusive story.

The Department of Homeland Security is in the process of building a contract for agile development. The agency has a new strategy that relies on governmentwide Best in Class contracts, with a focus on special areas like agile development. According to sources, however, the contract probably won’t happen for a couple of years.

Lately we’ve talked a lot about the Federal Cyber Reskilling Academy and other efforts to strengthen the cyber workforce across the government. The Senate just passed a bipartisan bill that would establish a rotational system, allowing cybersecurity experts to work in different federal agencies. The bill aims to make federal cyber jobs more attractive to current and future workers.

Hungry for more? There’s other news you can use below.


Red Hat Ansible Automation

Deploy apps. Manage Systems. Crush complexity.
Automation is the use of technology to perform tasks without human assistance. This can be found in manufacturing, robotics, vehicle control, and other industries. It can also be found in the world of technology-in IT systems and business decision software.

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Get Smart

“Federal agencies are facing pressure from the White House Office of Management and Budget to shift IT investments from stand-alone contracts to contracts designated as ‘Best in Class’ as part of its category management strategy.”

—Chris Cornillie, federal market analyst with Bloomberg Government

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

Big Contracts

Pentagon Seeks Another Cloud Computing Contractor

The Pentagon is making a major move to the cloud under its $8 billion Defense Enterprise Office Solutions contract. But first, the agency’s IT division is looking to renew a contract for technical and engineering support with a contractor that has cloud computing expertise. Read more.

Air Force Awards $76 Million for Digital Workplace Services

Unisys Corporation is the winner of a $76 million Air Force contract that will consolidate multiple toolsets and service desks into a single shared workspace. Under the contract, Unisys will manage the Air Force’s end-user desktops, laptops, and mobile devices in eight locations. Read more.

Beyond Legacy

Updated Shared Services Strategy Targets Past Mistakes

A new memo from the Office of Management and Budget offers an updated approach to agencies adopting back-office shared services. Federal CIO Suzette Kent said the OMB followed best practices in the private sector for creating efficiencies and reducing duplication. Read more.

How Agencies Can Accelerate FITARA Adoption

The Government Accountability Office has come up with a dozen measures to help agencies improve their IT management practices, mandated under the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act. The GAO reviewed nine agencies covered by the act. Read more.


Red Hat Ansible Automation

Deploy apps. Manage Systems. Crush complexity.
Automation is the use of technology to perform tasks without human assistance. This can be found in manufacturing, robotics, vehicle control, and other industries. It can also be found in the world of technology-in IT systems and business decision software.

Click here to learn more about Red Hat Ansible Automation.


Eye on Security

Agencies Have 15 Days to Fix Security Flaws, Per DHS

The Department of Homeland Security has issued a binding operational directive under which agencies must meet a deadline for patching security flaws in their systems. Agencies have 15 days to fix “critical” flaws and 30 days for vulnerabilities with a “high” severity rating. Read more.

More Funding Needed for Critical Infrastructure Efforts

Christopher Krebs, head of DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, wants Congress to provide more funding for critical infrastructure sectors other than election security. Krebs said he would use the funds to expand engagement with stakeholders. Read more.

Next Tech

NIST Seeks Help Developing AI Standards

The National Institute of Standards and Technology is asking academia and private companies for help developing technical standards for AI. NIST issued a request for information, which follows an executive order known as the American AI initiative, signed earlier this year. Read more.

NASA Envisions Bots and AI Everywhere

NASA has big plans for artificial intelligence. The agency envisions AI tools deployed throughout its operations — whether it’s here on earth or on the International Space Station. Now it’s calling on other agencies to focus on making the U.S. a leader in AI technology. Read more.

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