Technocrat | January 28, 2019: Big Spenders

What’s New This Week:

Big Spenders

After dragging on for more than a month, the partial government shutdown ended (temporarily) on Friday. But federal workers were already struggling and everyone from banks to cellphone companies offered some type of assistance to those affected. Even GoFundMe launched a campaign in partnership with restaurants to serve free meals to furloughed workers in Washington, D.C. See for yourselves under the hashtag #ChefsForFeds.

At the center of the deadlock was the battle over allocating $5.7 billion to President Donald Trump’s border wall. Trump finally conceded and signed a three-week stopgap measure to reopen government. He warned, however, that the government could close again on February 15 if an agreement isn’t reached on border wall funding.

There is some good news on the federal information technology front. In fiscal 2018, the government spent an all-time high of $64.7 billion on IT contracts. That’s a 9.5 percent increase from the previous year, according to analysis by Bloomberg Government. The Defense Department grew its IT contract expenditures by more than 12 percent last year, while civilian agencies saw a 6.6 percent increase. BGOV’s Chris Cornillie explains the significance of these numbers in this week’s exclusive story.

Do you know who else is spending big? Google and Facebook—both of which have dedicated millions to lobbying the U.S. government. Google disclosed in a quarterly filing that it spent a record $21.2 million on lobbying efforts in Washington last year, and Facebook spent $12.62 million. That’s more than ever before, as regulatory scrutiny of these companies continues to grow.

Let’s go back to the shutdown for a minute. Cornillie notes that although government spending in key tech markets like cybersecurity, cloud computing, and AI is expected to rise in 2019, federal agency leaders face many challenges when funding is on the line. “Millions in IT contracts are at risk every day” during a shutdown, Cornillie said. For now, there’s a resolution. Let’s see what happens in three weeks.

Meanwhile, here’s what else is happening in the world of government tech.

Free Live Webinar

Explore Blockchain’s Potential For Public-Private Initiatives

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

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• The most promising areas for public sector blockchain use
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Get Smart

“The federal government is making substantial investments to modernize its IT infrastructure, to improve the quality of the digital services it offers citizens, to upgrade its information security capabilities, and to enable data-driven decision making.”

—Chris Cornillie, federal market analyst at Bloomberg Government
Read more in this week’s exclusive from Bloomberg Government.

Beyond Legacy

House IT Subcommittee Is No More
In a major shakeup for federal tech oversight, Rep. Gerry Connolly revealed that the House IT Subcommittee will be absorbed into a larger Government Operations panel. Connolly said the goal remains the same: “continue to drive modernization in government.” Read more.

VA Selects Mobile Cloud Provider
The Department of Veterans Affairs has tapped Booz Allen Hamilton to migrate its mobile applications to a cloud platform. The $9.8 million contract includes development, staging, and production environments for 20 to 30 of the agency’s mobile apps. Read more.

Eye on Security

DHS Issues Emergency Cyber Directive
Federal agencies were given 10 days to complete a four-step action plan to stop hijacking attacks on computer systems. The emergency directive was issued by Homeland Security to address domain name system infrastructure tampering and “imminent risks” to government data. Read more.

What to Expect from CDM This Year
This could be a big year for Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation, as Homeland Security rolls out new tools to safeguard federal IT and more agencies adopt those tools. The CDM program is designed to help administrators understand their networks in real time. Read more.

Free Live Webcast

Hear BGOV’s 2020 Federal IT Budget Request Breakdown and Explore How the DoD Used Modern Innovation to Improve Systems Management.

Register today and join Bloomberg Government on February 12 for its 2020 Federal IT Budget Request Breakdown. BGOV’s federal market analyst, Chris Cornillie, will provide an overview of the 2020 information technology budget request; discuss agency-by-agency spending in key markets, including cloud and cybersecurity; and highlight some of the top upcoming opportunities for federal contractors.

Following BGOV’s update, Red Hat and Amazon Web Services will look at innovative applications and cloud services that can better manage complex projects. Recently, a department at the DoD used DevOps methodologies to manage a research and development effort with ease and efficiency.

Sign up today to learn:
• How using the OpenShift Container Platform can produce instant benefits
• How the DoD is using Cloud Regions to deliver application transformations
• How OpenShift and automated software can help to implement an effective DevOps culture

Sign up today to stream the live webcast.

Strategy & Leadership

Air Force Restructures IT Functions

The Air Force is merging several offices in charge of IT, cybersecurity, and intelligence to create a new organization called A2/A6. The organizational changes come as the Air Force rethinks its IT functions and looks to outsource network administration jobs. Read more.

Tech Experts Join AI Advisory Group

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt is joining 14 other tech experts on the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence. The commission is required by law to review the state of AI and produce reports on advancing the technology in government. Read more.

Next Tech

2019 Priorities: Chatbots and Virtual Assistants

Chatbots, virtual assistants, and robotic process automation can help agencies become more efficient, as outlined by the National Association of State Chief Information Officers in its list of members’ 10 top priorities. Here’s a look at how agencies are using these technologies. Read more.

Intelligence Community Wants to Protect AI

The federal Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity is on a mission to find tools that can predict when AI systems have been compromised. Its TrojAI program is tasked with creating software that can inspect AI systems, thus making them more secure and resilient. Read more.

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