Technocrat | March 11, 2019: Cyber Warriors Wanted

What’s New This Week:

Cyber Warriors Wanted

The government’s critical shortage of qualified cybersecurity professionals is a hot topic that has federal CIO Suzette Kent feeling insecure about the state of the current workforce.

That’s why the White House launched the Federal Cybersecurity Reskilling Academy in November, offering federal employees the chance to receive hands-on cyber training.

Fast-forward a few months: Some agencies are already expressing interest in hiring those who have completed the program. The graduates would have to demonstrate an aptitude in skills like “research, analytics, and curiosity,” according to Kent.

The U.S. Cyber Command and military services, in particular, have already taken steps toward building a force of trained cyber warriors. But more progress is needed, the Government Accountability Office wrote in a March report. The GAO found that some Cyber Mission Force teams lacked important skills and training. BGOV’s Chris Cornillie explains more about the Defense Department’s training efforts in this week’s exclusive story.

Creating a highly skilled cybersecurity workforce is part of a national cyber strategy released by the Trump administration last September. Recruiting and training people from different backgrounds was among the goals outlined in the document.

Despite the administration’s efforts, cybersecurity across the government remains a major concern, head of the GAO Gene Dodaro told two congressional panels last week. “I give the administration credit for its cybersecurity plan, but there is no implementation plan, definition of responsibilities, or metrics,” Dodaro said.

Protecting federal agencies from cyberattacks isn’t a simple task, although the government’s willingness to transition to the cloud is a move in the right direction. That was the big message at a recent RSA Public Sector conference.

In other news, the numbers are in for 2018 mergers and acquisitions. Of the 260 deals BGOV tracked in 2018, 44 percent were mergers or acquisitions that either expanded a contractor’s IT market share or added new IT expertise. These trends are expected to continue in 2019.

Keep reading for other important news in federal IT below.

Work at the Speed of Today’s Connected Customer

Digital transformation is most effective when the objectives are driven by the evolving needs of key stakeholders. Salesforce accelerates access to the services your customers rely on with a secure, scalable platform. See the solution in action.

Get Smart

“At the heart of [the Defense Department’s] strategy is investing in new training capabilities and establishing new facilities to support ‘live’ cyber warfare exercises.”

—Chris Cornillie, federal market analyst with Bloomberg Government

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

Beyond Legacy

Army Has Big Net Modernization Plans

Within 90 days, the Army will launch a new cloud program office so it can leverage all the capabilities from the Defense Department’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure platform. The Army will also adopt an enterprise IT-as-a-service model, according to its CIO. Read more.

VA Outlines 10-Year EHR Migration Program

The Department of Veterans Affairs will start testing its updated electronic health record system by March 2020, but Congress is pushing the agency for a shorter timeline. Some members of Congress are concerned about how the VA will handle interoperability issues. Read more.

Cyber (In)Security

Census Bureau Prioritizes Cybersecurity for 2020 Count

After facing criticism last year for not doing enough testing ahead of the 2020 decennial census, the Census Bureau is stepping up its game and conducting “red team” checks of its cybersecurity systems. An inside group will challenge the agency’s strategies and systems to find weaknesses and avoid mistakes. Read more.

Watchdog: DHS Needs to Protect Election Infrastructure

A report from Homeland Security’s inspector general found the department’s newly created unit, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, was “not adequately staffed” to protect the elections and the back-end voting machine systems. Read more.

Explore How the Government is Leveraging Innovation.

Join BGOV for a free webinar taking an in-depth look at emerging digital strategies in the federal government’s modernization journey. Hear the challenges and opportunities agencies are facing, discover the latest data and spending trends, and learn how you can benchmark your success in the government technology space.

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

This free 60-minute webinar will cover:

  • Agencies’ progress in achieving their digital services goals
  • Analysis on the opportunities available in this space
  • How the administration is pivoting its approach to digital services
  • Government reforms that could possibly affect opportunities

Congress’s role in promoting digital transformation

Strategy & Leadership

GSA Is the Government’s Go-To for Innovation
The General Services Administration has the ideal size and mission to test new technologies for the rest of the government, according to its CIO, David Shive. The agency’s IT model, called DevSecOpps, relies on rapid development and the presence of security at every level. Read more.
Project Aims to Improve Agencies’ Data Sharing
The U.S. Data Federation project was designed to improve data interoperability across the government. The team behind the project not only provides advice but is also developing shared tools that can lower the startup cost of running a federated data effort. Read more.

Next Tech

White House Creates Quantum Computing Office
The U.S. now has a National Quantum Coordination Office, which will work with agencies to develop quantum computing programs, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy said. Jake Taylor has been appointed interim director of the new office. Read more.

Government Seeks Feedback on ‘Ethical AI’

With all the controversy surrounding the Defense Department’s use of artificial intelligence, the Defense Innovation Board wants advice on how the agency can adopt the technology with a do-no-harm philosophy. Little work has been done in this subject area so far. Read more.

Read more editions of Technocrat