Congress Capitol Senate House

The Senate today approved H.R. 6157, a minibus funding bill which provides full-year FY 2019 funding to the departments of Defense, Education, Health and Human Services, and Labor, and provides a continuing resolution for short term funding for the entire Federal government until December.

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Congress Capitol Senate House

Multiple IT projects gained funding as the Senate passed H.R. 6157, the FY 2019 minibus appropriations bill for the departments of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education on Aug. 23. The bill passed the Senate on an 85-7 vote.  The House approved its version of the legislation on June 28, setting up a House-Senate conference committee to reconcile differences in the two bills.  

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By a vote of 87-10, the Senate today approved the FY2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and the corresponding conference report that ironed out differences between House and Senate versions of the bill. The legislation to fund the Defense Department (DoD) and U.S. armed forces now moves to President Trump’s desk for his signature.

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The White House called on the Senate to appropriate FY2019 funding for the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF), although it did not suggest a specific funding level in a statement of administration policy issued by the Office of Management and Budget on Tuesday.

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After the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY 2019 cleared a major hurdle late yesterday with the release of a conference report that reconciles differences between House and Senate versions of the bills, techies across the Federal government are finding that IT modernization and innovation amendments for the Pentagon fared well in the legislation.

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The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY 2019 took a big step toward passage with the release of the conference report late yesterday that unifies House and Senate NDAA legislation and places in sharp focus concerns about growing cyber and electronic warfare threats and ways that the United States should address them.

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voting, election security

The Senate this afternoon convened to discuss H.R. 5515, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (NDAA), which is headed for a vote later tonight and is expected to be approved.

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The $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill signed by President Trump on Friday gives a sizable boost to the Department of Defense, including a respectable 2.4 percent pay raise for DoD personnel, and for now at least gets Pentagon leaders off the frustrating, and at times wasteful, treadmill of continuing resolutions. And, while the bill doesn’t get into specifics about critical efforts such as cyber operations and artificial intelligence, it does continue programs DoD has underway.

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Once again, Washington is racing toward a shutdown. In what is becoming practically a monthly political exercise, Republicans and Democrats are unable to come to an agreement on how to fund the government. If a compromise isn’t reached, the shutdown will start Friday, Jan. 19 at 11:59 p.m.

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The MGT Act became the law of the land on Dec. 21, when President Trump signed it into law as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This is the much-vaunted revolving capital fund–cut out of the original FITARA bill in committee–that establishes a central bucket of money at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), managed by the General Services Administration (GSA), for Feds to modernize legacy IT systems.

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Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, said that he plans to track the IT modernization working capital fund, which will come from his Modernization Government Technology Act, on the FITARA scorecard.

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Federal agencies are expected to submit their budget requests to Congress in September, detailing the funding they’ll need to meet their missions for fiscal year 2018. One trend that Congress can expect to see is requests for AI applications to automate cybersecurity processes, according to Thomas Jones, Federal systems engineer at Bay Dynamics.

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If Federal agencies invest upfront in technologies to track fraud and improper payments, the government could end up saving enough money to pay back some of the national debt or stave off sequestration, according to Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va.

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President Donald Trump’s proposed 2018 budget, released on May 23, provides for $228 million of IT modernization funding through the General Services Administration, as laid out in the Modernizing Government Technology Act that passed the House last week.

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Federal agencies need to adopt a standardized taxonomy for their data, according to authors of the report “Accelerating the Mission: Recommendations for Optimizing Federal Technology Cost and Value in the Age of FITARA.” The report proposes a set of Technology Business Management guidelines that would help agencies communicate with each other, Congress, and the private sector more effectively.

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Government IT has a problem with planning better solutions, not coming up with ideas for those solutions, according to Federal CIO Tony Scott. “Ideas are not the problem in Washington; Washington is full of ideas. What Washington doesn’t have…is a good implementation plan for those ideas,” Scott said at a Citrix cybersecurity event.

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The General Services Administration has announced the establishment of a third service branch, known as the Technology Transformation Service, that will be centered around GSA’s 18F digital service organization and will actively provide technology services to other government agencies.

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Internal Revenue Service cybersecurity is woefully inadequate, and Congress is to blame, according to Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. “Congress has sat back and watched while criminals have come in and preyed on taxpayers,” Wyden said at a Senate Finance Committee hearing.

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Federal agencies remain woefully behind on cybersecurity, according to the annual cybersecurity compliance report released Friday by the Office of Management and Budget. During the 2015 fiscal year, Federal agencies reported 77,183 cybersecurity incidents, a 10% increase over the incidents reported in 2014. Though the administration believes this increase may be attributed to improved detection […]

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HealthCare.gov had a rocky rollout, but future Federal tech projects could learn a lot from its trials and successes, according to Erin Bliss at the HHS Office of Inspector General. She testified in front of the Senate Finance Committee alongside Seto Bagdoyan, the director of forensic audits at GAO.

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Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told a Senate committee that the agency plans to use the final months of the Obama administration and the fiscal 2017 budget request to kick-start and expand a new operational focus on data and cybersecurity.

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President Obama appointed two industry leaders to head his Cybersecurity National Action Plan. Tom Donilon, former National Security Adviser, will serve as the chairman of the committee and Sam Palmisano, former CEO of IBM, will serve as the vice chairman.

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Alongside the release of the proposed 2017 budget, the White House released its annual Analytical Perspectives of that proposal. MeriTalk spotted five important trends in the IT world and describes how the Federal government plans to address them.

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In a new report, the Government Accountability Office said some of the definitions provided to Federal agencies for reporting spending data under the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 are inadequate, and “could lead to inconsistent reporting.”

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Average IT spending growth has been down 1.5 percent since 2010, and Obama’s request is coming in high in hopes of ensuring he gets at least as much in 2016. Look for Congress to appropriate less than the president’s request, but more than the ceiling allowed by the four-year-old budget law.

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