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FCW : January 2016
The national labs won a unique exemp- tion from the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act’s CIO authority rules in the omnibus appropriations bill that Congress passed in December. The proposed exemption for the labs was a contentious issue throughout the FITARA implementation process. Last June, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) told FCW he was concerned that FITARA’s rules might negatively affect efforts to buy and maintain the kinds of high-performance computers used by nuclear researchers and others at the labs, including the Oak Ridge facility in Alexander’s home state. “One-size-fits-all models don’t work well, and I am concerned that this well- intentioned law could make it more difficult to develop the technology we need to support the Department of Energy’s research and national security missions,” Alexander said at the time. The Obama administration dis- agreed. “It’s our viewpoint that FITARA is a tremendous management tool for the agencies, and we are not carving out the Department of Energy labs,” Anne Rung, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, told a House panel that same month. Congress grants the national labs a FITARA exemption in omnibus in erroneous tax refunds resulted from an IRS coding glitch $27M Trending In the end, however, Alexander and the labs prevailed. Tucked away in the section of the omnibus bill that cov- ers energy and water appropriations is legislative language declaring that “the provisions of 40 U.S.C. 11319 [FITARA] shall not apply to funds appropriated in this title to Federally Funded Research and Development Centers sponsored by the Department of Energy.” As a counterweight, a separate mea- sure in the General Government sec- tion of the omnibus extends FITARA’s CIO authorities and other provisions to independent agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission. The law also takes aim at the issue of Hillary Clinton’s private email server, which proved to be a thorny issue in the investigation of the 2012 attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. The State Department is now prohibited from paying for the support of external email servers and accounts operated outside the .gov domain. Under the omnibus law, the Office of Personnel Management is required to dedicate $21 million of its $272 million appropriation to IT security improvements, as a nod to continu- ing vulnerabilities in the wake of a breach of more than 22 million per- sonnel records. OPM is also instructed to consult with the U.S. Digital Service and the Department of Homeland Secu- rity on improving data protection. Relatedly, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence is tasked with leading a probe into the OPM hack with input from DHS, the FBI, the Defense Department and other organizations. Congress is seeking an unclassified report that covers incident response, damage from the incident and metrics for quantifying harm to IT systems. — Adam Mazmanian and Zach Noble FCW CALENDAR Cybersecurity DHS’ Suzanne Spaulding, DOE’s Robert Cantu and the Center for Internet Security’s Tony Sager are scheduled to speak at AFCEA Bethesda’s Cybersecurity Technology Symposium. Washington, D.C . is.gd/FCW_afcea_cybersummit Cloud The FCC’s Christine Calvosa, GSA’s Stan Kaczmarczyk and the Transportation Department’s Maria Roat will discuss agencies’ cloud migration efforts at this AFFIRM event. Washington, D.C. is.gd/FCW_affirm_cloud 1/26 1/21 Enterprise IT The IRS’ Nitin Naik, HHS’ Robert Owens, NSA’s Jean Schaffer and DHS’ Wolf Tombe are among the participants in this FCW discussion on the rapidly changing landscape for enterprise infrastructure. Washington, D.C . fcw.com/futureready 1/26 January 2016 FCW.COM 3 “One-size-fits-all models don’t work well, and I am concerned that [FITARA] could make it more difficult to develop the technology we need to support [DOE’s] missions.” — SEN. LAMAR ALEXANDER (R-TENN.) 0116fcw_003-011.indd 3 1/6/16 2:39 PM
November and December 2015