FCW Insider: Feb. 12

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

The Pentagon's $705 billion budget proposal for fiscal year 2021 is flat, but behind that figure is a big push toward research and development at the expense of legacy programs. Lauren C. Williams has the story.

The Army is hoping a little automation and more "back of the resume" data will better tell an officer's story when searching for next assignment, and also help crack down on nepotism. Lauren explains.

On the tech front, the Army is looking forward to a lot of activity in cloud adoption in 2020. Get more from Lauren.

Quick Hits

*** Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) led a group of 86 lawmakers in a Feb. 10 letter opposing a proposed Equal Employment Opportunity Commission rule that would limit the ability of federal employees to represent their colleagues at EEOC proceedings. Current law gives employees seeking redress for workplace grievances the opportunity to select a union representative to help draft and file their claim, and allows those representatives to claim official time -- pay for activities covered under a collective bargaining agreement -- during such proceedings.

*** The Intelligence Advanced Research Project Activity hopes to get industry involved in developing a machine-based learning system that would help IARPA keep track of construction projects, road-building, agriculture, mining and other observable human activity by analyzing satellite data. In a Feb. 7 broad agency announcement launching the Space-based Machine Automated Recognition Technique program, the agency said it wants to look at whether such activities can be monitored automatically using machine learning and if computers can correctly classify and independently track such activities over time.

*** The administration is seeking $25 million in the 2021 budget to modernize the federal spectrum management systems. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration, a Commerce Department component, has come in for bipartisan criticism on Capitol Hill of late for what is being described as a "broken down" federal spectrum management process.

*** The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education could get support for a funding boost in Congress to continue fostering the nation’s STEM and cybersecurity talent pipelines. At a Feb. 11 House Science, Space and Technology Committee hearing focused on developing the nation’s cybersecurity workforce, Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Mich.), chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Research and Technology, expressed support for the program, which is part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and has five full-time employees and a budget of about $4 million.