Security in the Post-Snowden World – Plus Your 7 Gov Stories

On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:

  • The federal IT landscape is shifting. Now more than ever, contractors and the federal government alike are looking to buy and sell government services, not hardware. Think cloud computing over data centers. But the shift is causing some problems, because the federal procurement system simply isn’t set up to handle those types of agile service contracts. Also making the shift difficult are tight budgets, especially in the wake of the shutdown, so taking a risk on a service contract doesn’t always seem wise. We get a market check-up with Stan Soloway.

You can find all of our programs online: and GovLoop Insights at

But up front: Security in the Post-Snowden World

We talk about how much the world is changing — and quickly. Perhaps nowhere is that more evident than in the area of cyber-security… and we can capture that in one name: Edward Snowden, the NSA leader.

On Wednesday, I get to moderate two panels at an event billed as, Keeping Secrets: How Technology Can Help Defeat the 21st Century Spy.

The details:

Their write-up about the event:

No matter your political leaning, Edward Snowden is the face of the 21st century spy. Armed with a USB drive loaded with dozens of classified NSA documents, Snowden moved onto the world stage and initiated what is now thought to be the largest data leak in U.S. history. The lessons are many, but the challenge of locking down sensitive information while sharing it with those with a need to know continues across government.

This afternoon session will explore how agencies can leverage technology to help create dynamic trusted communities of interest where sensitive information can be shared across organizations. Thought leaders from both government and industry will discuss the latest tools available to fight cyber spying and enable agencies to deliver on their missions in a trusted environment.

We start with a presentation by Eric O’Neill, a former FBI operative who had to deal with a Snowden situation in a different era: FBI spy Robert Hanssen. O’Neill’s case was featured in the movie Breach… and O’Neill was played by the dashing Ryan Phillippe.

I then will then lead two panels

Mobility and Information Sprawl

As employees become more mobile, and more devices enter the workplace, the notion of the network perimeter has all but vanished. Trends toward BYOD exacerbate the problem when agencies no longer even own or control the devices employees use. In this session panelists will discuss the challenges raised by new ways of working anywhere on any device.

  • Moderator: Chris Dorobek, Founder, Editor and Publisher, GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER

  • Gary Galloway, Deputy Director, Office of Information Assurance (IRM/IA), Department of State

  • Kevin Graber, Deputy Chief Information Security Officer, Department of Homeland Security

  • Jon Johnson, Managed Mobility Program Manager, Integrated Technology Service (ITS) / Federal Acquisition Service (FAS), General Services Administration

  • Greg Youst, Chief Technology Officer of Mobility, Defense Information Systems Agency

During this session, we are going to discuss the challenges of the mobile world — and security in a mobile world. One of the topics we will certainly discuss is the notion that data wants to be free and what that means in a security mindset.

And we certainly will discuss the challenges of cyber-security these days where technology seems to find a way — if there isn’t a tool like DropBox, people will just use DropBox… and just saying NO doesn’t work these days.

Secure Information Sharing

Organizations implement many technologies to keep information secure inside the network. However, the vast majority of these solutions provide little or no security to data when it needs to be shared, especially with other agencies, law enforcement and the private sectors. Panelists will discuss approaches for addressing the need to share information, while maintaining security and control.

  • Moderator: Chris Dorobek, Founder, Editor and Publisher, GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER

  • Dan Barahona, Senior Vice President, Strategy & Business Development, WatchDox

  • Maj. David J. Mulholland, Commander, Technical Services, U.S. Park Police, National Park Service, Department of the Interior

  • Kshemendra Paul, Program Manager, Information Sharing Environment, Office of the Director of National Intelligence

  • Donna Roy, Executive Director, Information Sharing Environment Office, Department of Homeland Security (invited)

During this session, I know that Paul is going to discuss the Information Sharing Environment’s Project Interoperability, which he describes as a Rosetta Stone of threat sharing.

Other items we will discuss:

  • How do you share information safely within your organization? With other friendly organization?

    • Along these lines, Paul recently wrote a oped for The San Jose Mercury News: Cybersecurity: Sharing information between public, private sector key to battling threats: “Today, people, organizations, devices and networks share information broadly, an incredible capability. However, threats to information — shared or stored — are also increasing at a tremendous rate. These threats, the underlying vulnerabilities and the inherent and all-too-often reported consequences, are a constant backdrop to our daily lives. This is the “new normal” for cybersecurity, and for security more broadly. Government and industry collectively have much of the information about threats and the connections between them.”

  • What does this mean to people on the front lines who have an increasing need for information? How do you get the information they need when they need it?

    • Along these lines, Maj. Mulholland noted that civilian law enforcement officials are literally on the front lines and have a driving need for information that literally helps them do their job better.

There are many challenges these days — and the fact that we are even discussing BYOD — bring your own device… I am still shocked that it is even part of a discussion in the government space.

Is there something we should discuss?

The SEVEN stories that impact your life

  1. GovExec: Lawmakers Want to Know More About Why Feds Morale Is So Low – Is low employee morale “compromising” the federal government? Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) is asking the Government Accountability Office to look into recent trends in feds’ job satisfaction.

  2. Washington Post: Secret Service scandal poses new test for director, who has tried to implement reforms – “It should have been a triumphant occasion for Secret Service Director Julia Pierson as she flew aboard Air Force One to the Netherlands for an international summit last week. President Obama had named her the first female boss in the agency’s 148-year-old history, and now, three days before her first anniversary on the job, Pierson was accompanying him on a week-long tour of Europe and Saudi Arabia. But her high-flying moment was short-lived, with the week soon consumed by an unfolding scandal involving three of her agents. As Obama opened a series of international meetings, Pierson, 54, moved into crisis mode, calling lawmakers back in Washington to deliver the news: Three members of the president’s protective detail had been dismissed from the trip after one passed out drunk in a hallway of Obama’s hotel, reports David Nakamura.”

  3. GovInfoSecurity: DoD Looks Within to Build Cyber Force – “With a need for more than 4,000 new specialists over the next two years, the U.S. Cyber Command will look within the military for help, providing training to enlistees to re-invent themselves as cyber pros, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says.”

  4. Federal News Radio: Interior CIO Mazer to Retire – “Interior Department chief information officer Bernie Mazer is retiring in July and transitioning out of his role today. In an email obtained by Federal News Radio, Andrew Jackson, Interior’s outgoing deputy assistant secretary for technology, information and business services, said Mazer would stay on for the next several months to help with the selection of a successor and advise on other ongoing priorities.”

  5. Wall Street Journal: White House tests Samsung, LG phones, dealing blow to BlackBerry – “The devices are being tested by the White House’s internal technology team and the White House Communications Agency, a military unit in charge of President Barack Obama’s communications, the person said. The tests are in the early stages, the person said, and any implementation of Samsung or LG phones is still ‘months away.’ There was no indication that Mr. Obama is switching from his modified BlackBerry.”

  6. NYT: Graft Case Stirs Race for Mayor of Washington, D.C. – “With the Democratic primary on Tuesday, the race has been dramatically reshaped ever since a Washington businessman pleaded guilty on March 10 to spending nearly $700,000 on an illegal get-out-the-vote drive during Mr. Gray’s last campaign for mayor, in 2010.”

  7. GovExec: Senators to OPM: Your Retirement Claims Processing is So 1977 – “A bipartisan group of senators on Friday condemned the Office of Personnel Management for wasting “millions of taxpayer dollars” every year by continuing to use an antiquated system to process retirement claims from former federal employees.”

DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder… yes, we’re trying to help you make your water-cooler time better too…

  • U.S. could save millions by changing font type, teen finds [The Los Angeles Times]

  • From CBS This Morning: Meet Suvir Mirchandani, 14, who discovered changing the typeface on printed documents can save ink, which costs more per page than the paper it is printed on. Suvir is recommending federal, state and local governments use the font Garamond to save $234 million.

  • Four Reasons the Government Isn’t Going to Sell Off the Post Office [Bloomburg BusinessWeek] If you believe Democratic politicians and their allies in the labor movement, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe has a barely concealed agenda to privatize the U.S. Postal Service. Donahoe “can say whatever he wants,” Montana Senator Jon Tester told the Washington Post, “but I think he wants to privatize.” Why else would Donahoe be so eager to cut costs at the USPS? He’s trying to push the post office to the brink of collapse so there will be no choice but to sell the 238-year-old government mail service. Or so goes the theory. But this line of thinking doesn’t make sense. There’s no chance the USPS will be privatized anytime soon.

  • Which phones do world leaders use? [The Guardian] With all the talk about Washington, D.C. reassessing its longlasting relationship with BlackBerry, the Guardian’s Charles Arthur provides a run-down of the phones world leaders use. Here we go: President Barack Obama is “clinging” to his BlackBerry; Germany’s Angela Merkel uses a BlackBerry Z10 and a Nokia 6230 Slide; Pakistan’s Nawaz Sharif uses both iPhones and Samsungs; France’s Francois Hollande and Italy’s Matteo are both big Apple guys, apparently; Russia’s Vladmir Putin says he does not have a phone.

  • Related: White House tests Samsung, LG phones, dealing blow to BlackBerry [The Wall Street Journal] and White House mobile pilot explores other devices [Federal Times]

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