FCW Insider: Sept. 17

Today's top stories, upcoming events and other observations from FCW's reporters and editors.

Good morning and welcome to the new-look FCW Insider, where we'll give you the best of our reporting and a look at the issues driving the federal IT community every day. To get this update in your inbox each morning, sign up here

The DOD and the VA together plan to spend well north of $20 billion over 10 years to implement versions of the Cerner electronic health record system. So who is in charge of making sure the two systems will work together with 100 percent interoperability as advertised? Apparently, no one

The Interagency Program Office set to manage data standards between the two organizations doesn't have the money, personnel or clout to take on the job. And it's not clear if DOD and VA want the IPO to assume a leadership role. Adam Mazmanian has more.

The newly launched Army Futures Command is planning a DIUx-style innovation hub at its Austin headquarters, to bring together service members, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. Lauren C. Williams reports on the plan.

As Hurricane Florence pounded the Carolinas late last week, the Federal Emergency Management Agency launched a web resource to debunk rumors -- and, dare we say it, fake news -- about the storm and recovery efforts. Derek B. Johnson has the story.

A conference committee of House and Senate appropriators approved a spending package covering Defense, Labor, HHS and Education that includes a continuing resolution to keep the government open through Dec. 7. Meanwhile, it's still unclear whether civilian feds will get a proposed pay raise or if funding will be approved for the Technology Modernization Fund.

Quick hits

In a little-noticed Sept. 4 posting on FedBizOpps, U.S. Cyber Command put out a final RFP for an analytics support program dubbed Rainfire. The coming acquisition is more evidence that the newly independent Cyber Command is raising its procurement game, as Lauren reported for FCW last week.

The Congressional Budget Office reported that a bill to require uniform fitness and suitability standards across DHS  would cost $1 million to implement in 2019, and $500,000 per year after that. The House passed the Fitness Information Transparency Act of 2018 on Sept. 4.

The Department of Energy is taking note of the proliferation of connected "smart home" devices. According to a Sept. 17 Federal Register notice, DOE wants more detail on the cybersecurity risks such products pose.

What's the best way to combat congressional dysfunction? How about a new subcommittee? That's the suggestion of Maryland Democrat Paul Sarbanes, who wants the Rules Committee to establish a new subcommittee to study the dynamics that make Congress so unpopular and ineffective, and develop ways to improve.

The Weekahead

All eyes will be on Amazon founder Jeff Bezos as he speaks at the Air Force Association's Air, Space & Cyber conference on Wednesday. A leading government cloud provider, Amazon is also widely seen as having pole position in the much-contested race to deliver $10 billion in DOD cloud computing infrastructure via the JEDI acquisition.

The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee will vote Tuesday on the nomination of James Gfrerer to be VA's assistant secretary for information and technology and CIO. 

Also Tuesday, the Senate Banking committee holds a hearing on the consequences of digitization and financial technology, while the Atlantic Council holds a discussion on coordinated vulnerability disclosure featuring officials from the Commerce and Justice Departments.