Monthly Archives: April, 2011

OMB sets IT purchasing guidelines for telework

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Federal executives have until the end of July to develop or revise information technology procurement policies that support their agencies’ telework needs, according to memo released Thursday. When crafting these policies, agencies must account for security risks and ensure that all devices and infrastructure meet federal security and privacy standards, said Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew in the memo. The memo directs chief information and acquisition officers to take advantage of governmentwide and agencywide contracts. Agency technology should provide remote access to internal resources and include the use of thin clients, where most of the computing is done on…

Some FBI cyber agents lack adequate skills, report finds

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A review of the FBI’s efforts to mitigate national security cyber incidents found that some field agents tasked with investigating these cases lack the technical skills and expertise to effectively do their jobs. The redacted version of the report, released Wednesday by the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General, examined the ability of the FBI-led National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force to defend against attacks on U.S. computer networks and efforts by the FBI field offices to investigate these attacks. Of the 36 agents interviewed in 10 of the FBI’s field offices, 13 said they do not have the…

Hatch Act photo restrictions in force as campaign season begins

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Attention, feds: Those cubicle photos, work computer screensavers and other shots of President Obama may have to go now that he’s formally seeking a second term. Under the Hatch Act, federal employees are generally barred from displaying workplace pictures of partisan political candidates, the Office of Special Counsel says in an advisory opinion issued after Obama announced his re-election bid earlier this month. There are just two exceptions. The first involves the standard portrait photo and other official pictures of the President meeting heads of states or conducting other official business (no adding halos or horns, however, the OSC warns).…

This means war

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Buildup over a draft executive order that would require contractors to disclose their political contributions has led one voice for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to mimic the President’s charge in Libya. “We will fight it through all available means,” the Chamber of Commerce’s top lobbyist R. Bruce Josten told the New York Times Tuesday. In a reference to the White House’s battle to depose Libya’s leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, he said, “To quote what they say every day on Libya, all options are on the table.” The proposal, leaked last week by a former Federal Election Commission official, would…

More on WikiLeaks response

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After voicing worries about the government’s reaction to the WikiLeaks breaches, a coalition of nine advocacy groups recently got a reply from White House budget director Jack Lew. At least one, though, found the answer a bit puzzling. The coalition, which includes the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Library Association and the Project on Government Oversight, had written Lew in January after his office posted a long checklist of instructions on how agencies should assess procedures for protecting classified information. By a literal reading, those instructions appeared to require any agency with classification authority to profile employees for “trustworthiness,”…

NASA's budget prohibits work with, visitors from China

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So a provision that had floated around earlier spending bills and continuing resolutions has made it into the appropriations bill that gives agencies funding for the rest of the year. Specifically, it prohibits NASA from working in any with China, on anything. At all. It also prohibits NASA from hosting official visitors from China. According to a NASA spokesman, the agency is following the law and conducting a larger assessment on what it would mean for the agency.It has already caused the cancellation of some projects too. From the same spokesman. The agency currently has only one active agreement with…

Carper calls on OMB to detail impact of e-government cuts

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Following up on concerns about decreased funding for the General Services Administration’s e-government fund, Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., has asked the federal chief information officer to detail how this will impact transparency efforts. In an April 21 letter to Vivek Kundra, Carper expressed his concern for the future of public websites like the ITDashboard, USASpending.gov and data.gov that rely on e-government funds to operate. Lawmakers slashed e-government funding from $34 million to $8 million in the 2011 spending bill. The dashboard, which updates the public on the performance of major information technology projects, coupled with in-depth reviews of at-risk projects, has saved…

Army drops plan for $600,000 sculptures, giant toad

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Apparently $600,000 is too steep a price to pay for a 10-foot tall statute of a faerie riding a toad. The Army has decided that it will drop its plans for a  sculpture and two murals near its new Mark Center location in Alexandria. Sen. Chuck Grassley had opposed the project and said it was too much to pay to put art near a bus station located next to the facility. According to the “Washington Whispers” blog from US News, A pleased Grassley said, “The Army was ready to spend $600,000 on three pieces of questionable art, just when the…

Takai lays out DoD IT reform challenges

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Teri Takai says she isn’t naïve about the challenges in executing departmentwide information technology reforms at the Defense Department.   As DoD’s chief information officer, she’s up against more than 7 million computers and devices connected to 15,000 networks, 772 data centers and IT infrastructure that is scattered across DoD services. There’s also the challenge of garnering support from services’ CIOs, who have their own pots of money for IT projects and programs. “It isn’t like I can sort of sit in my office and put a directive out and everybody goes “oh that’s a really great idea Teri, I…

GPO names IT leader

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The Government Printing Office has named Charles Riddle its new chief information officer. Riddle, former chief technology officer at the Agriculture Department’s Food Safety Inspection Service, said he looks forward to ensuring GPO provides Congress, agencies and the public with the latest technological tools. As CIO, he will oversee IT policies and standards and develop operating budgets for network systems. GPO’s former CIO, Mike Wash, now oversees IT operations at the National Archives and Records Administration and was credited with launching the Federal Digital System, according to article that ran in the Washington Post. The system allows GPO to receive…

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