FITARA guidance, broadband pitches, a GSA hackathon and more

News and notes from around the federal IT community.

OMB's FITARA guidance coming soon

The Office of Management and Budget’s guidance on implementing the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act is coming in the next few days, according to an April 27 announcement in the Federal Register.

Federal CIO Tony Scott said the policy update will include requirements for FITARA, which became law in December 2014, and other IT practices. Topics covered by the new law include enhanced CIO authorities, transparency and risk management changes, portfolio review, the use and training of IT acquisition specialists, data center consolidation, strategic sourcing, and expanding the use of governmentwide software licensing.

The deliberation on the guidance included input from a cross-cutting group of government executives that includes chief financial officers, chief operating officers, chief acquisition officers, chief human capital officers and assistant secretaries for management.

Administration seeks pitches on improving access to broadband

The Obama administration is taking a new tack in its long-standing goal of improving the penetration of speedy broadband connections to rural and other under-served communities.

The last of the $3.9 billion in grants offered through the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program, part of the economic stimulus package dating back to 2009, will expire in 2015. In March, President Barack Obama announced the creation of the Broadband Opportunity Council, which is led by the Agriculture and Commerce departments and charged with identifying regulatory hurdles to broadband infrastructure construction and deployment and determining how government can incentivize private investment.

Now the group is turning to the public and companies for ideas. In a request for comment, the council asks what the government can do to modernize regulations and laws, promote existing broadband assets, identify federal programs that could expand to include broadband funding, and coordinate federally funded infrastructure projects to support broadband construction.

Additionally, the council is seeking input on how to supply government services to those without broadband connections as the government moves more of its activities online.

GSA issues hackathon invite

The General Services Administration is looking for 100 innovative members of the public to help it develop new ways to handle contract, travel and other data, and is hosting a Digital Innovation and Strategy Hack-a-Thon on May 8 at its 18th and F headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The agency said the goal is to design and create a digital interactive app and/or data mashup that puts GSA-collected data to more innovative uses. Rather than an analysis tool, GSA is looking for a forward-thinking solution that enhances data transparency and functionality.

U.S., Japan strike cyber accord

Combatting state-sponsored intellectual property theft is among the slew of cyber issues on which the United States and Japan have agreed to cooperate after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Washington this week. Intellectual property theft is a key concern in U.S. relations with China.

Among other measures, Tokyo and Washington have also pledged to share information on cyber threats and best practices for training cyber defense forces and to promote principles of cyber resilience like those found in the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Cybersecurity Framework, according to a White House summary of the agreement.