The United States Postal Service (USPS) recently opened up a third round of free COVID-19 rapid tests to send to households across the nation. But before the program was announced, the Office of the CIO had just three weeks to stand up a site that had to handle up to 20 million orders a day.

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As Federal agencies are looking to modernize and undergo enterprise-wide digital transformations, leaders at the Army’s Enterprise Cloud Management Office and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are pointing to changing organizational culture and “having the right conversation” first.

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Recently MeriTalk sat down with Monzy Merza, vice president of cybersecurity go-to-market at Databricks, a data and artificial intelligence (AI) company that offers the first and only lakehouse platform in the cloud. Merza chatted about the implications and opportunities with M-21-31 and offered insights for successfully meeting its mandates.

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The National Security Agency (NSA) confirmed that it re-awarded a cloud computing contract believed to be worth up to $10 billion to Amazon Web Services (AWS) after the agency’s initial award of the deal to AWS last summer was derailed by a protest by Microsoft.

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CISA

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities are still coming to bear as Federal agencies continue to understand how these technologies can help drive cloud adoption and evolution. However, to be successful in this environment Federal agencies must understand their security obligations and those of a cloud computing provider to ensure accountability, along with the role that AI/ML plays in security automation, a senior Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) official said.

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GSA

The General Services Administration (GSA) is launching a new initiative that will set up the agency as the prime destination for cloud solutions, a GSA official said on April 6 at FCW’s Cloud Summit event.

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Moving to the cloud comes with a number of benefits, but Federal experts on April 6 stressed that agencies still need to implement good cloud governance and management processes in order to control costs.

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Having an on-premises data center and a cloud computing environment – otherwise referred to as hybrid cloud – is the norm for many Federal agencies and industry partners, and an official from the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) predicts a “more deliberate usage of hybrid cloud” in the next few years.

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The growing investment in technology and IT solutions naturally comes with caveats with regards to price. CIOs from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Department of Energy (DOE), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) remain conscientious of making sure the planet does not pay that price.

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Air Force

The U.S. Air Force (USAF) is investing in its Cloud One platform to modernize and make applications more portable. However, according to an agency official, executing a migration program of this size is not without its challenges.

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The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) has appointed Ryan McArthur to lead its program office for the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability (JWCC), according to McArthur’s LinkedIn.

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Enterprise cloud adoption is proving to be an ideal fit with the rapidly changing mission rhythms of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) – the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) component agency that is tasked with coordinating the Federal government’s disaster preparation and response capabilities.

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cloud

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is well along with its cloud adoption plans, and eyeing several key security-related milestones over the next couple of years, explained Chezian Sivagnanam, NSF’s chief enterprise architect, at Jan. 26 virtual event organized by FCW.

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As a very busy 2021 comes to a close, it’s time to reflect on the past year and look forward with optimism to the possibilities of the new one that’s about to begin. Rounding the corner to 2022, MeriTalk asked several experts on the industry side of Federal IT for their predictions of what the next year will bring.

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IT

The year 2021 has played out as a non-stop whirlwind of activity for the Federal IT community – one unprecedented in recent memory for new policy direction, funding pushes, and urgency to improve network security.

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Cloud

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) confirmed today that it plans to sunset its milCloud 2.0 cloud services contract by May 2022, but offered little in the way of firm detail on how it plans to migrate to comparable services the existing customer roster of milCloud 2.0, which is managed for DISA by General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT).

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The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is sustaining a protest by Microsoft after the company complained that the National Security Agency (NSA) improperly evaluated proposals for cloud services in support of NSA’s classified and unclassified computing requirements when it awarded a contract to Amazon Web Services (AWS).

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Cloud

The Department of Defense’s (DoD) cloud strategy is ever-changing but with the termination of the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud services contract earlier this year, the DoD has developed a more “agile” failure mindset – recognizing that it’s okay to fail, but also important to do so quickly, a Pentagon official said.

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cloud

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has announced a second cloud computing region specifically intended to host top-secret classified information from U.S. defense, intelligence, and national security agencies.

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5G Broadband rural broadband FCC-min

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Security Agency (NSA) released the third installment of the Security Guidance for 5G Cloud Infrastructures four-part series, which is intended to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data within a 5G core cloud infrastructure.

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cloud

Federal mandates, including Cloud Smart and the Biden administration’s cybersecurity executive order, are pushing agencies to modernize and migrate to the cloud. But with modernization comes complexity. Agencies are increasingly living in a hybrid world, with some workloads remaining on-premises while others move to the cloud. Add multi-cloud vendors to the mix, and it becomes harder for agencies to have a holistic view across their environments.

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cloud

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Customs and Border Protection (CBP) organization is working up a solicitation for a cloud management contract to be released in 2022, according to a posting on SAM.gov.

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Cloud
5G
Google Cloud

As the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) moves toward the bidding process for its Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability (JWCC) contract, Google said it wants an opportunity to get in on the deal.

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The Pentagon is a very large building that houses a lot of the authorities for the U.S. Military. It's big. This photo doesn't do it justice, but they're kinda rightly concerned about people flying drones around there.
Cloud

With an international focus on climate change after the United Nation’s Climate Change Conference, Department of Energy (DoE) CIO Ann Dunkin said today that data center consolidation is helping to reduce the agency’s carbon footprint, and pointed to the further use of scalable cloud-native apps as the next step in that campaign.

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The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is lending some backing to protest by Microsoft of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) $10 billion cloud award to Amazon Web Services (AWS) earlier this year.

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cloud
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