IT Acquisition, Staffing Cuts, and More

Here are today’s federal IT and cybersecurity stories and links:
  • Tami Johnson, program manager for Army’s Rapid Equipping Force, explains that a fast acquisition of information technology will not always work. More here.
  • The State and Defense Department are engaging in joint cyber war games with their Chinese counterparts. More here.
  • The Obama administration expressed concerns over the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) potentially violating privacy and civil liberties. More here.
  • Marilyn Freeman, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for research and technology, expressed concerns that budget cuts coulld target defense science and technology officials disproportionately. More here.
  • To cut $2 billion from their budgets, the Navy and Marine Corps will have to cut some of their IT staff. More here.

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Jaime Gracia

In regards to the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force article, the love affair with “big and sexy” is part of the problem at DoD, as bundled requirements lead to huge contracts for immature technologies and software development cycles that take years. Agile development needs to take hold, and introducing more technologies (e.g. COTS) into the acquisition life cycle for faster turnaround of capability into the warfighter’s hands.

The 80% solution should be target, along with a close partnership between user, developer, and contractor. The programs that succeed have several common denominators, including early communications with the vendor community to shape better requirements and make affordability a priority.

It can get done. However, status quo is the endemic culture that needs to be changed through leadership, partnerships, and accountability.

Julie Chase

To cut $2 billion from their budgets, the Navy and Marine Corps will have to cut some of their IT staff.

Really? What staff? We have NMCI, outsourced…whatever. They aren’t gov workers. Now if you talking about the contractors in the emails I get for procuring IT hardware and software, yeah, they gotta go. I want to able to order IT hardware and software right from my own installation’s contracting department, vs. 30 other people I don’t know, never will, who don’t my orgs mission or care.

And the part in the article that gave me a chuckle…

Halvorsen expects the number and diversity of cybersecurity workers to grow as the services allow a wider variety of mobile devices to operate on their networks.

When is this supposed to happen, midnight under a full moon? It’s not allowed now. I can tell you “our service/s” do not allow ANY variety of mobile devices to operate on the NMCI/NGEN network. Are you kidding me? If I plugged my Mp3 player in my work computer, bells and whistles would go off in the secret bldg. somewhere that someone has plugged in an illegal device. Did I mention nothing my organization does is classified? Doesn’t matter. You all go ahead and stream Pandora and Spotify through your gov computer system. I’ll be over here in the corner, pea green with envy. <G>

We have about 50 billets or more we cannot fill now due to underfunded budget. And attracting cyber pros to our little fish pond will be a monumental task. All the “young” around here have given up working for Uncle Sam. Between the hiring freeze, the long hiring process, and the unsteadiness of a career, they have moved on a long time ago. The baby-boomer retiring tsunami has begun and is in full swing, and there is no one to replace them, not that we could, we can’t hire. yeah, I keep forgetting.

Oh, yeah, how was that conference in Vegas, and the prostitutes in Columbia and the $16 breakfast? We all are now going to pay the price for this.