What’s New This Week:
The Great Cloud Migration
As the trade war with China reignited last week, President Trump prepared to sign a national emergency declaration to limit the purchase of communications technology owned by foreign adversaries (read: China). While the U.S. has already restricted federal agencies’ ability to buy technology from companies with Chinese government ties, this new declaration extends those limitations to private corporations.
The order occurred at the same time the House Homeland Security Committee passed a bundle of bills to strengthen the cyber-response capabilities at DHS — making cyber-incident response teams permanent, improving intel sharing, and enhancing the department’s ability to combat digital spies.
Speaking of digital spies, after incidents were revealed in the Muller Report, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis confirmed that, indeed, two county election systems in Florida had been breached by Russian military intelligence during the 2016 presidential election. The governor said that, according to the FBI, no votes were tampered with.
As the government works to shore up all the cybersecurity issues that currently plague the nation, the GAO reported that only about 11 percent of federal IT systems are actually running in the cloud. And while that might not seem like much, it is an improvement from 8 percent in 2016. With all the talk about cloud migration in federal IT, you might expect that percentage to be higher. And it might be headed for a big increase soon.
Federal agencies plan to migrate 272 information technology programs to the cloud in fiscal 2020 and are considering a move to the cloud for 1,145 more, according to this week’s BGOV exclusive story.
The shifts present a significant opportunity for federal technology leaders seeking to identify cloud-related opportunities and risks over the next 18 months, writes BGOV’s Chris Cornillie.
Tariffs, spy craft, and rapid tech modernization — we’re just getting started. There’s more news this week, so keep reading!
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By the Numbers
“Of the 1,145 projects considered for a move to the cloud in fiscal 2020, 379 are from the Pentagon, 191 are from the Department of Health and Human Services, 80 are from the Department of Agriculture, and 76 are from DHS.”
—Chris Cornillie, federal market analyst with Bloomberg Government
Read more in this week’s exclusive from Bloomberg Government.
Budget Shortfall, Legacy IT Woes Drive Planned OPM/GSA Merger
When the Trump administration removed OPM’s business unit responsible for federal background checks, the agency suddenly faced a $70 million budget shortfall. To manage the crisis, OPM is preparing to potentially “lift and shift” its mission to GSA. Read more.
AI Ethics Becomes Top-of-Mind for Agencies
Potential bias can be built into AI algorithms by the humans who create them — and agencies are aware of the issue. Federal agencies from the Pentagon to the VA are responding in a variety of ways to the need for ethical guidance in the use of AI’s modernizing potential. Read more.
Strategy & Leadership
OPM Wants Agencies to Plan for Federal Workforce of the Future
It’s not news the government struggles to find qualified federal technology workers, but OPM wants agencies to start detailing the pains and gains they face in implementing the workforce goals laid out in President Trump’s management agenda. Read more.
White House Won’t Endorse International Call to Block Extremist Content Online
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced the “Christchurch Call,” which seeks to bring tech companies and government together to enforce laws to prevent dissemination of extremist content online. While France, Australia, Canada, and the U.K. have joined with major tech companies, the Trump White House says now isn’t a good time. Read more.
In the Cloud
OMB Wants Its Own Version of Pentagon’s Cloud Vehicle
Following in the footsteps of the Defense Department’s $8.2 billion cloud email and business services cloud program, the Office of Management and Budget wants its own civilian version of the cloud contract. Read more.
JEDI Controversy Heats Up in Lawsuit
Oracle still isn’t happy about how competition for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract was handled and is making its displeasure known through a $10 billion lawsuit and a 125-page amended complaint detailing a range of new allegations. Read more.
Eye on Security
Man Behind San Francisco’s Facial Recognition Ban Is Working on More. Way More.
As San Francisco becomes the first major metro area to ban law enforcement use of facial recognition technology, the man behind the legal maneuvering that made it possible said he’s just warming up and has plans to help other governments put an end to the controversial tech. Read more.
U.S. Military Trying to Figure Out How to Talk About Data
As AI and 5G take off, the U.S. military is well aware that it needs to figure out the best way to train personnel on how these new technologies will affect work and security missions. Data management is on its way to becoming an essential part of military training, said the head of U.S. Cyber Command. Read more.
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