The SEVEN stories that impact your life for Thursday the 31st of May, 2012
- Security and Information Sharing are getting an upgrade in three new House’s bills. Federal News Radio says the Secure Borders Act gives the Homeland Security Department five years to gain what it calls operational control of the border with Mexico. The Weapons of Mass Destruction Intelligence and Information Sharing Act gives DHS a bigger role in sniffing out chemical, biological and nuclear threats. It requires coordination with state and local governments. A third bill creates interagency teams to battle cross-border crime.
- The number 2 at the Pentagon is criticizing the House’s changes to the Defense Department’s budget. Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter says the budget is carefully balanced and if Congress adds something in the Pentagon doesn’t want, something else gets cut. Federal news radio says both the House and Senate have passed DoD authorization bills. Budget bills are still pending. One point of disagreement is the DoD’s plan to raise some TRICARE fees. Both houses of Congress reject that idea.
- Congress is prepared to take a closer look at the cybersecurity attack on the Thrift Savings Plan that compromised the personal information of more than 120,000 participants. Government Executive says Senator Susan Collins is pressing the FBI to explain the lapse of time between when the bureau became aware of the attack and when the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board was notified. The attack was lodged against TSP contractor Serco in July 2011. The board wasn’t notified until April 2012.
- Meanwhile an Office of Personnel Management contractor accidentally exposed thousands of federal retirees’ personal information. The OPM’s inspector general said contractor Vangent mailed 3,000 postcards with retirees’ Social Security numbers printed on the covers in October during the health benefits program open enrollment season. Federal News Radio says OPM employees did not follow protocol for reporting the breach. The IG said OPM needed to improve its procedures and employee training and consider providing free credit monitoring services to all victims.
- Budget and staff pressures are coupling together to reshape agencies cybersecurity. NextGov reports, Budget uncertainties along with cybersecurity staff shortages are forcing agencies to make difficult trade-offs between securing data and maintaining full and open competition in their cybersecurity contracts with vendors. Insiders says agencies cyber forces are understaffed by between 10,000 and 30,000 cybersecurity experts. Due to the shortage some agencies are extending existing contracts or delaying new awards to avoid disrupting critical services.
- The TechAmerica Foundation has announced the leaders of a new commission to help the government deal with big data. IBM’s Steve Mills and SAP’s Steve Lucas will chair the commission. Executives from Amazon, and Wyle will also be part of the leadership. The Obama administration recently announced a $200 million Big Data Research and Development Initiative.
- Speaking of big data, you should check out GovLoop’s webinar on Big Datathis afternoon. The hour long presentation will be led by CTO Vision’s Bob Gourley. Bob will walk us through the business case of Big Data, its future in government, practical applications and solutions, as well as its definition, which as it turns out, isn’t so easy to define: The webinar kicks off at 2pm.