FCW Insider: April 9

The latest news, analysis and other updates from FCW's reporters and editors.

The CLOUD Act, a law designed to harmonize and clarify a mishmash of 25-year old legal standards governing law enforcement access to email and remotely stored data, is a year old. A Justice Department official said the law is working as intended, but it could collide with new European standards on data protection. Derek B. Johnson takes a look.

Right now responsibility for IT acquisition and cybersecurity policy sprawls over multiple federal departments, with no single accountable leader at the top. Min-Seok Pang, a professor at Temple University’s Fox School of Business who researches public-sector IT, thinks this is suboptimal and argues for a single, CIO-driven department of federal technology.

The Office of Personnel Management rolled out a new guide to help agency managers to build a program management workforce. Chase Gunter has more.

Quick Hits

*** Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House Homeland Security committee, urged President Donald Trump in a letter to stick to the order of succession spelled out in the U.S. code. In an April 8 letter, Thompson said that Claire Grady, acting undersecretary for management, should assume the duties of DHS secretary once the resignation of Kirstjen Nielsen takes effect. Trump announced that current Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan is his pick to lead DHS on an acting basis.

However, it appears that Grady and number of other senior DHS leaders are leaving the agency in what CBS News is calling a "system-wide purge" of senior managers. Departing officials include DHS General Counsel John Mitnick, U.S. Secret Service Director Randolph "Tex" Alles and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Lee Cissna.

*** The Government Accountability Office prodded federal agencies about longstanding recommendations that have not been addressed in a round of annual letters. This time, the watchdog made the letters public in hopes of spurring action.

GAO head and U.S. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro targeted the secretaries of Defense, Health and Human Services, and Veterans Affairs in the first letters. In an April 8 statement, Dodaro said Congress is concerned federal agencies aren't doing enough to address past recommendations.

DOD is lagging in areas that include acquisitions and contract management, building capacity to drive enterprise-wide business reform, cybersecurity and more. HHS is being dinged over 54 priority recommendations including payment errors in Medicaid and Medicare programs. The VA has 30 outstanding recommendations including insuring its new electronic health record system can share data with DOD.

*** Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) are reintroducing the State Cyber Resiliency Act, a bill to authorize DHS to run a program furnishing grants to states looking to develop and implement cyber resiliency policies. Reps. Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.) and Michael McCaul (R-Texas) offered the same bill in the House of Representatives.

"Nearly 70 percent of states have reported that they lack adequate funding to develop sufficient cybersecurity," Warner said in a statement. "This bill will aim to mitigate that need by providing grants to state and local jurisdictions so that they are better prepared to take on these emerging challenges."

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