What’s New This Week:
Spend IT Like It’s Hot
Schools are back in session nationwide. (Sorry, kids!) It’s also a busy time for the federal government, which is in the midst of its “use it or lose it” end-of-year spending frenzy. With only a few months left in the current fiscal year, eight of the 10 highest-spending federal agencies have not used as much as 40 percent of their budgets, according to one report. But that’s no excuse to waste government money, cautioned a bipartisan group of senators in letters sent to CFOs at 13 agencies.
Agencies are expected to shell out $13.3 billion for unclassified information technology before the end of September. This is the month that typically sees the highest spending, as agencies try to clear their budgets. And the numbers don’t lie! BGOV found that about a dozen agencies have 25 percent or more of their expected IT contract obligations left to spend before the end of the month.
BGOV’s Chris Cornillie breaks down that spending for each agency in this week’s exclusive story.
Meanwhile, funds are tight for federal employees—that is, according to President Trump. As you know from last week, he’s planning a pay freeze for government workers next year. But not without criticism. A delegation of Democrats from the Washington metropolitan area recently wrote a letter urging congressional leadership to at least consider the Senate’s proposed 1.9 percent raise. And they’re not the first to speak out against the pay freeze.
Before you go—federal agencies could see higher IT costs and slower cloud adoption due to the president’s proposed 25 percent tariff on certain electronics manufactured in China. Citizens may also be affected since higher costs often lead to higher taxes or lower-quality customer experience, warned analysts at a technology think tank in a new report.
“With agencies increasingly focused on category management, federal technology leaders and contractors should expect the lion’s share of year-end IT spending to flow through the so-called ‘Best-In-Class’ contracts.”
— Chris Cornillie, federal market analyst with Bloomberg Government
New Privacy Framework in Process
The National Institute of Standards and Technology will start gathering public feedback in October for a new privacy framework. There’s currently a lot of confusion around common language used for privacy controls and the agency wants to make it clearer for companies. Read more.
All Eyes on Encryption
The U.S. is among a pact of five countries on a “collect it all” surveillance mission. The so-called “Five Eyes” group is calling on governments to demand that tech companies build backdoor access to their users’ encrypted data—or face legislative measures. Read more.
DHS May Block Risky Contractors
The House just passed legislation that would give the Homeland Security Department more power to block contractors and subcontractors that are considered a security threat. The move comes after Congress acted in the past year to boot several companies from federal networks. Read more.
Top Five IAM Challenges
Identity and access management, or IAM, is necessary to protect against cyber threats and ensure the right people have access to the right information. Here’s a closer look at the biggest challenges surrounding IAM and what federal IT leaders can do about it. Read more.
Communication Is Key for Media Agency
The Defense Imagery Management Operations Center (DIMOC) has the third largest inventory of media in government and is great at communicating with the world. But the agency wants to improve internal communications and focus more on information sharing. Read more.
Inside DARPA’s New AI Project
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has launched the first research opportunity for a new program centered on artificial intelligence that can generate, test, and refine its own hypotheses. It could essentially create a scientist from computer code. Read more.
JEDI Saga Continues
The Defense Department has extended the proposals due date for its Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud contract, which is being protested by Oracle as we speak. Keeping track of all the deadlines and delays of this $10 billion contract is becoming quite a challenge. Read more.
Introducing $15.5B Federal Telecom Market
Since government telecom contracts are often baked into IT overall, it’s hard to pinpoint the size of the federal telecom market. The Defense Department has been the largest buyer, but several other agencies are also at the top of the list, according to BGOV’s findings.
Thanks for reading this week’s edition of Bloomberg Government’s Technocrat! Were you directed here by a friend?