The Government Accountability Office (GAO) flagged 13 open recommendations for improvement for the State Department as of May 2022 in an annual report on the agency, including recommendations for improving data quality and cybersecurity.

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Chris DeRusha, who wears the dual hats of Federal Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) and Deputy National Cyber Director for Federal Cybersecurity in the Office of the National Cyber Director, charted some near-term policy goals on the security front during a keynote address on May 19 at MeriTalk’s Cyber Central May 2022 – Mission: Cyber Resilience in-person conference.

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As President Biden’s cybersecurity executive order (EO) stretches past its first year, Federal agencies are at varied points in their progress on the EO’s orders. Federal leaders say it is important for agencies to approach the EO’s zero trust components strategically and understand their networks as they make the move to a zero trust architecture.

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The House Committee on Financial Services on May 17 voted to approve an amended version of H.R.7022 – the Strengthening Cybersecurity for the Financial Sector Act of 2022 – and send the bill to the full House of Representatives for consideration.

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Cybersecurity
NASA

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) awarded Booz Allen Hamilton a $622.5 million contract to provide Cybersecurity and Privacy Enterprise Solutions and Services (CyPrESS), NASA announced May 17.
The contract will have Booz Allen Hamilton supporting NASA’s Office of the Chief Information Officer, providing CyPrESS and related services for the office. According to the release, the CyPrESS contract is the agency’s first enterprise cybersecurity and privacy services contract.
The award is a hybrid indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract. The CyPrESS award will also consolidate the cybersecurity and privacy work done under previous enterprise IT contracts and various centers.
The contract has a base period that will run from May 31, 2022, until Sept. 30, 2023, with four option periods that can extend the contract through Sept. 30, 2030.

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The Federal Communications Commission on May 17 committed another $50 million to the Emergency Connectivity Funding (ECF) program to help schools expand broadband access and purchase of devices for students – moves that the agency hopes will help close the “homework gap” for students that don’t have access to reliable broadband service and devices.

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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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CISA

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) today issued an emergency directive to Federal government civilian branch agencies running several VMware products to apply updates to those, or remove them from agency networks until updates can be made.

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Cybersecurity

Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., introduced legislation on May 16 that aims to strengthen U.S. cybersecurity protections for Industrial Control Systems (ICS) amid increased Russian cyber threats to ICS targets.

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The House of Representatives passed the State and Local Government Cybersecurity Act on May 17, which would promote increased cybersecurity collaboration between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and state, local, tribal, and territorial governments (SLTT).

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White House science and technology officials are working to size up a host of challenges that will be posed in the coming years as quantum computing technologies become more mature, including migrating security technologies and attracting a stronger quantum science workforce to the United States.

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cybersecurity

As the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) works to update its influential Cybersecurity Framework – first issued in 2014 and later updated in 2018 – a NIST official said on May 17 that the agency is leaning on industry feedback as it embarks on the new update.

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Federal government cybersecurity leaders told House members today that the government has made very significant progress in executing the Biden administration’s cybersecurity executive order (EO) issued a year ago, but also reminded lawmakers that funding is key to continued success in implementing crucial tenets of the order.

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MerITocracy 2021

In the lead-up to the in-person forum in Washington, D.C., we are table-setting a host of big issues that will get serious attention at MerITocracy 2022.  And lining up some big guns in Congress – Reps. Bill Foster, D-Ill, and Tom Emmer, R-Minn. – along with Chamber of Digital Commerce CEO Perianne Boring to point the way forward.

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Emerging tech

Achieving effective cybersecurity relies on experts from all corners of an enterprise – network systems administrators, cloud experts, data stewards, cybersecurity officers, and more. Making all of those parts work right together makes cybersecurity the ultimate team sport, and it requires all levels of an organization to understand and avoid risks to a network, said Steven Hernandez the chief information security officer (CISO) for the Department of Education (DoE).

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The 107 conferees assigned to hash out the differences between the House and Senate-passed semiconductor manufacturing, innovation, and competition bills met for the first time May 12 to officially kick off the conferencing process and begin to stake out their priorities for the final bill.

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The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has released a notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) for its $42.45 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program that will provide broadband access grants to underserved or unserved communities.

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global international cyber

The United States on May 12 signed onto an expanded version of the Budapest Convention that governs international cooperation against cyber crime, and that in its expanded form will allow for easier collection of cross-border electronic evidence.

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AI

Federal authorities are cautioning employers about using tools like artificial intelligence (AI) in employment decisions because it could impede access to opportunities for people with disabilities in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

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Larry Grossman, Director of Information Security and Privacy Services at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), explained this week that his organization’s priorities for improving cybersecurity run the gamut from the latest in zero trust work, to the more traditional but necessary steps to improve cyber hygiene across the board.

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The House of Representatives approved a pair of bills May 10 to bolster Federal cybersecurity by creating a Federal cybersecurity rotational workforce program and developing a training program for Federal officials with supply chain risk management responsibilities.

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Veterans Affairs

A key House lawmaker is continuing to press the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for transparency amid reports of possible service changes and ongoing performance issues with the agency’s new electronic health records (EHR) system.

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