FCW Insider: Aug. 10

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

Speeding up the military's 'kill chain'

The military's need for quick technological development is hamstrung by politics, acquisition, and culture. FCW talks with former Senate staff director Christian Brose about his new book on the future of warfare.

Comment: 4 ways to prepare for Cybersecurity Maturity Model certification

While this compliance may seem challenging, your company can be ready.

Army extends software contracts under ITES

The Army's enterprise software office extends a multiple award contract.

Senate Dems cast doubt on DOD watchdog pick

Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) said Jason Abend's nomination circumvented a vetting process set up by the 2008 Inspector General Reform Act.

Court nixes challenge to proxy voting in Congress

The ruling could be appealed, but it could also lay the groundwork for more substantive reforms, including remote voting.

Quick Hits

*** The Department of Veterans Affairs announced revisions to its deployment schedule for its $16 billion electronic health record modernization project, with a go-live date set for the Mann-Grandstaff Medical Center in Spokane, Wash. in October. VA leaders announced the pause to the project in April because of the need to focus resources on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the project, the VA is implementing the Cerner Millennium commercial electronic health record system to replace its homegrown Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture system. According to VA, the COVID delay won't alter the overall 10-year implementation plan or program costs.

*** Racism and incidents of racial bias are a big problem at the Department of Veterans Affairs, according to a survey released by the American Federation of Government Employees. The survey reports that 76% of VA employees "said they had experienced racially charged actions while working at the VA" and that 55% of respondents reported witnessing "racial discrimination against veterans while on the job."

Alma L. Lee, the president of the National Veterans Affairs Council, an organization representing VA unions, called on VA Secretary Robert Wilkie to acknowledge the problem of bias and racism and take steps in the contract negotiation process to combat racism.

In response to the survey and the letter, VA spokesperson Christina Noel told the Washington Post that "VA does not tolerate harassment or discrimination in any form."

*** A watchdog report from the Inspector General at the Office of Personnel Management warns that by ceding the real estate and facilities management function to the General Services Administration, the agency could face $4.2 million in annual rent increases and more than $10 million in contract termination fees.

"[T]he original decision to revoke the delegation for [the Theodore Roosevelt Building] was not supported by a thorough analysis of OPM’s current or future space needs. Moreover, the agency failed to complete a thorough cost analysis to determine the timing and extent of any potential savings," the report states.