Now that there are real dollars beginning to finally accompany the many voices calling for government IT modernization, it’s perfect timing for Marianne Bellotti’s new book, “Kill It with Fire,” which cautions against the headlong approach the title connotes. She conveys this quite succinctly in the book’s pithy epigraph – with a quote from Ellen Ullman, a fellow author and computer programmer: “We build our computer systems the way we build our cities: over time, without a plan, on top of ruins.”

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The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and U.S. Digital Service (USDS) are teaming up to determine a new way to hire IT talent for Federal positions.

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In one of many budget hearings taking place on the Hill this week, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government heard from Russell T. Vought, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regarding the agency’s FY2020 budget request. While the bulk of the hearing didn’t address IT issues, Vought did touch on IT spending, IT modernization, and the President’s Management Agenda (PMA).

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The U.S. Digital Service (USDS) said earlier this month that it established a new standard for Federal acquisition pros looking to procure digital services. Acting as a “core-plus certification” to the existing Federal Acquisition Certification in Contracting (FAC-C), FAC-C-DS certifies those who complete a Digital IT Acquisition Professional (DITAP) program.

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Product managers at the U.S. Digital Service said that policy and operations teams should work together at Federal agencies to ensure that new technologies affect users in the way that policies intend. Natalie Kates, product manager at USDS, is working with Health and Human Service’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on building the Quality Payment Program website.

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The United States Digital Service turned 3 years old earlier this month and highlighted this year’s major projects, including modernizing the Veterans Affairs website, launching Code.mil, and starting the #Procuremenati.

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The United States Digital Service is creating an application called Caseflow, which will create a more efficient process for managing veterans’ appeals. However, before the team was able to make daily updates, an elusive bug prevented them from performing rolling deployments into the Amazon Web Services AutoScaling group.

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The White House invited technology leaders to a summit last week to discuss eliminating policies that provide obstacles to modernizing the Federal government. On the table: tax reform, the implications of a new tax plan on the technology sector, and the H-1B visa program.

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Much of the government has a fear of taking technological risks, and it is the role of digital services teams to snap agency leadership out of that way of thinking, according to Digital Services panelists at the AWS Public Sector Summit on June 13.

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Matt Cutts, acting administrator of the U.S. Digital Service, said that the Trump administration’s new American Technology Council will be more involved in the agency’s projects across government agencies.

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As the prospect of a cybersecurity executive order looms, industry groups clamor to get an audience with President Donald Trump and his advisers to influence the administration’s technology policy. (ISC)², a nonprofit that specializes in information security education and certifications, presented its ideas to White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and others on Trump’s team.

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The incoming Trump administration plans to get rid of 18F, the digital services team located within the General Services Administration that has been criticized recently for its spending practices, according to a senior administration official. Republican Donald Trump won the presidential election on Nov. 8, raising questions about what lies ahead for Federal IT.

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Mikey Dickerson, administrator at the U.S. Digital Service (USDS), said that the hiring process at the Federal agency has improved since its start in 2014.

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The United States Digital Service’s second birthday is Thursday and even though it lauds two of its best accomplishments as expanding an administrator’s tie collection and having the most unique décor in the White House, it has improved the usability of several of the Federal government’s online projects.

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The White House United States Digital Service team launched a website on the General Services Administration’s Acquisition Gateway called TechFAR Hub, which walks agencies through the process of digital service acquisition.

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Federal agencies 18F and the U.S. Digital Service (USDS) are desirable in theory but confusing and misdirected in practice, according to members and witnesses at the House Oversight Committee hearing on Friday.

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A cyber vulnerability known to have existed as far back as October 2015 has led to a data breach at the General Services Administration’s 18F digital services organization, the GSA’s inspector general announced today.

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