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New VA CIO Gets to Work

July 6, 2015 The Department of Veterans Affairs’ new IT chief is now on the job. LaVerne Council, a former IT executive at Dell and pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, took the oath of office Monday to serve as VA’s assistant secretary for information and technology and the agency’s chief information officer, according...

Is the White House Skirting Governmentwide Cybersecurity Rules?

July 1, 2015 The White House’s Executive Office of the President hasn’t submitted reports detailing compliance with federal cybersecurity rules for the past three years, according to a letter to President Barack Obama written by the chairmen of two Senate committees with oversight of federal technology efforts. The apparent lack of annual reporting...

Data-Driven Government? Not Yet. Feds Still Manage by Hunch

July 1, 2015 If you peruse the federal budget, you’ll find more than dozen references to “data-driven” reviews and programs. No fewer than six agencies have named chief data officers since last summer, and the White House appointed the first governmentwide chief data scientist earlier this year. Experts say parsing through ever-larger quantities...

OPM Database Storing 4 Billion Employee Health Records Needs Security Upgrades

June 22, 2015 About an hour and a half into a combative House hearing last week on the massive breach of federal personnel and security-clearance files, lawmakers got around to asking officials at the Office of Personnel Management whether the agency also collects federal workers' health data. No, OPM Director Katherine Archuleta said....

House Committee Nixes New Funding for White House Digital Service Team

June 18, 2015 The House Appropriations Committee approved Wednesday a 2016 spending bill that would limit new funding for the White House’s elite digital fix-it squad. Under the House plan, spending for Office of Management and Budget’s “information technology oversight and reform” fund would stay flat next year -- about $20 million. In...

Timeline: What We Know About the OPM Breach (UPDATED)

June 17, 2015 Updated June 26 After no fewer than five congressional hearings and countless hours of testimony from government officials, we’re learning more about the massive breach of sensitive government files at the Office of Personnel Management. We’ve learned hackers first breached the Office of Personnel Management’s networks in late 2013, months...

White House Wants to Build Digital-Savvy Contracting Corps

June 12, 2015 The Obama administration is building a special squad of digital-savvy contracting officers to help agencies procure technology more effectively. The new team will be modeled on the U.S. Digital Service, a similar effort to get more technologists into the ranks of government but will be staffed by existing agency contracting...

Agencies Get IT Reform Marching Orders, but Don't Expect Congress To Sit Idle

June 11, 2015 The White House on Wednesday released new rules for pumping up the authority of agency chief information officers in a bid to better manage the $80 billion spent each year on federal IT. The Office of Management and Budget is holding agencies’ feet to the fire to fully implement the...

Oversight ‘Urgently Needed’ as Agencies Implement IT Reform Law, Watchdog Says

June 10, 2015 A government watchdog is set today to testify before a key House committee that continued congressional oversight is “urgently needed” to reduce waste in federal IT spending. A new law boosting the authority of agency chief information officers to control IT spending is a major step in the right direction,...

House Spending Bills Leave Digital Service Funding High and Dry, So Far

June 2, 2015 An Obama administration plan to create in-house digital teams of coders, engineers and other federal IT fixers at agencies across government is being snubbed by the Republican-controlled House. President Barack Obama proposed spending about $105 million to create the teams. But in all the 2016 funding bills taken up the...