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FCW : May 15, 2015
CRITICAL READ WHAT: A report from Human Rights Watch and Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic on the legal, moral and practical concerns regard- ing fully autonomous weapons. WHY: Such weapons are all but incapable of distinguishing between lawful and unlawful targets as required by interna- tional humanitarian law. How- ever, it is unlikely that military commanders or the weapons’ programmers and manufactur- ers could be held liable if an autonomous system illegally killed noncombatants. But there are also concerns about an arms race that could put such weapons in the hands of those with little regard for the law. VERBATIM: “Existing mecha- nisms for legal account- ability are ill suited and inadequate to address the unlawful harms fully autono- mous weapons might cause. These weapons have the potential to commit criminal acts — unlawful acts that would constitute a crime if done with intent — for which no one could be held responsible.” FULL REPORT: is.gd/FCW_HRW Trending of Americans think the federal government is not effectively sharing the data it collects 54% 8 May 15, 2015 FCW.COM MIND THE GAP The Lack of Accountability for Killer Robots HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH Dan Gordon, former administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy and now an associate dean at George Washington University Law School, said he has been gradually pulling back from his many advisory roles in the past few months with an eye to retiring by July 1. He said his enthusiasm for the government’s procurement system is undimmed, despite the increasing complexity and technological changes that have many call- ing for reform. A complete overhaul could be shortsighted because the system isn’t broken so much as in need of updating, he said, adding, “We get high-quality equip- ment to warfighters, and we do a good job of getting IT systems that work. Our system has more transparency. It is good and effective.” However, the system does need to continue evolving. Agile develop- ment, more competition and innova- tion are all important ingredients, he said, while congressional microman- agement of the process is not. Instead, the government should be looking for ways to inject more uniformity into the procurement process and get agency IT and contract employees to work together more closely. The system’s biggest flaw is a lack of investment in employees, Gordon said. “There is an unwillingness to spend adequate money on 1102 [con- tract specialists] and training. There’s not enough staff.” During his tenure as OFPP admin- istrator, from 2009 to 2011, he worked on a variety of acquisition issues, including improving and standard- izing the workforce, overseeing the implementation of strategic sourc- ing, and pushing for more industry and agency communication through his “myth-busters” campaign. He has frequently testified on acquisition issues before Congress. Former General Services Admin- istration CIO Casey Coleman left AT&T Government Solutions to become Unisys Federal’s civilian agency business leader in April. Coleman joined AT&T in January 2014 after spend- ing 11 years in various IT lead- ership roles at GSA. Previously, she worked at Lockheed Martin and Kana Software. A three-time Federal 100 winner, Coleman told Washington Technology her time at GSA would serve her well at Unisys. “I have a lot of empathy for our government customers,” she said. “You have to understand the pressures they are under.” The Senate confirmed Russell Deyo as undersecretary for manage- ment at the Department of Homeland Security on April 16. “Given the challenges associated with fusing 22 separate agencies into one cohesive department, the undersecretary for management at the Department of Homeland Secu- rity is an enormously important posi- tion,” Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) said in a statement. Energy Department Deputy CIO Don Adcock left the agency in April. Adcock had been interim CIO until March 5, when Michael Johnson was named DOE’s CIO. Johnson had been serving as assistant director for intel- ligence programs and national security systems at the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy. — FCW staff FCW Insider: People on the move Dan Gordon Casey Coleman 0515fcw_003-010.indd 8 4/22/15 12:12 PM
April 30, 2015
May 30, 2015