Federal IT Needs a Culture Shift

Tom O'Keefe

By Tom O’Keefe, Consultant

At many of the events I’ve been attending around the beltway lately, a common theme in federal IT keeps coming up – culture as an impediment to change. Many of the CXOs I hear speaking all mention that to modernize outdated federal systems, the culture within an agency and around its technology has got to change.

That’s not to say that agencies are dismissive of their workforce, or that they don’t value their employees – on the contrary, many leaders recognize that their teams are the most valuable resource they have. But to transform federal IT, to unlock the value of data and to fully embrace the move to the cloud, agency IT leaders know they need to drag their workforce kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

At AFCEA Bethesda’s Law Enforcement and Public Safety Technology Forum, Sonny Bhagowalia, Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Office of Information Technology at Customs and Border Protection, highlighted the five things that federal IT leaders need to take into consideration: Read more of this post

Data Centricity: The Heart of Federal IT

Tom O'Keefe

By Tom O’Keefe, Consultant

If there’s been a common theme I’ve been hearing lately, it’s data centricity.

It’s a fundamental shift in federal IT that’s been building for a few years that could have broad implications for the types of technology investments agencies will look to make in the future. Federal agencies are beginning to realize that not only is data their core asset, they know they need to make start making investments in the stewardship and utilization of that data. It’s not enough to just have data or protect data, that data needs to be operationalized and transformed from data to knowledge to action – and support the execution of the mission.

At an AFCEA Bethesda breakfast I attended in March, speakers from the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security affirmed the increasing understanding within their agency of the value of the data they capture throughout the course of their operations. It’s fair to note here that agencies have been talking about making better use of their data for years, but much like we’ve seen the slow and steady progression to cloud adoption, I believe we’re seeing a steady progression toward realizing the importance of data and turning it into actionable intelligence to enable the mission. Read more of this post

AI in the Cards for DOD of the Future

Stephanie Meloni

By Stephanie Meloni, consultant

Across the Department of Defense artificial intelligence and machine learning are gaining real traction. And plans are in the works to establish a center dedicated to delivering AI solutions across the DOD, as well as a proposal for an AI and machine learning council as part of the FY19 National Defense Authorization Act.  DOD agencies are very interested in using AI to combat and overmatch potential adversaries — and there’s no shortage of use cases across the DOD. Going forward, technology companies will want to be aware of differences between customer environments before engaging with a potential customer.

Recently, early adapters gathered at an AFCEA DC luncheon to discuss recent developments and challenges in AI and machine learning. Here are some highlights.

DISA, an example of a non-tactical customer, is looking at how to use machine learning for cyber situational awareness. DISA uses commercial machine learning technologies and contractors for Acropolis and their Big Data Platform to combat cyber threats and attacks. AI can help them shift their cyber strategy from reactive to proactive.

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3 technologies law enforcement will need this year

By Tom O’Keefe, consultantTom O'Keefe

Law enforcement agencies are facing a myriad of challenges today, and they’ll be looking toward new technologies like artificial intelligence to help meet mission needs.

That was the message from government panelists at this week’s AFCEA Bethesda’s Law Enforcement & Public Safety Technology Forum. While the challenges raised by government are nothing new, interest in new solutions to these problems was expressed by leaders from the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice.

Each of these solutions has one common theme: ways in which law enforcement agencies can better manage, integrate and understand the massive amounts of data they collect in their day-to-day operations.

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The Great Migration: DISA’s Reorg and What it Means for COTS Vendors – Part 2

Building on last week’s blog post, focusing on DISA’s major reorganization where I gave an overview of the new offices and divisions and their responsibilities.  Today I’ll provide an update on how they see their role in major technology areas such as cloud and mobility playing out over this calendar year.

DISA org without names_Update

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Automation and Cybersecurity Take Center Stage in Air Force FY15 IT Modernization Priorities

Stephanie Headshot 65x85by Stephanie Meloni, Senior Analyst

Last week, key Air Force Fighter Jetleaders engaged with industry at AFCEA NOVA’s Air Force IT Day to speak about opportunities and challenges their organizations are facing, and where they need industry support. The Air Force is the only one of the military services to request an increase in their IT budget for FY15; within their $5.9B request for FY15, about $2.3B is earmarked for capital expenditures for the Air Force to purchase new technologies and capabilities. This shows their commitment to focus on more innovative solutions that meet challenges they face every day. The Air Force wants to be able to incorporate more emerging technologies into their operations and leverage inputs from experts in industry, academia, and the rest of DOD.

Since Air Force’s main priority for FY15 is IT modernization, they’re going to want to spend theirs IT dollars on either technologies that will help them save money on operations —which allows them to divert funds to modernization efforts — or technologies that will help drive new and innovative capabilities.

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Highlights from the AFCEA DC Cybersecurity Summit 2014

Lloyd McCoy_65x85by Lloyd McCoy Jr., Consultant

In late May AFCEA DC hosted the Cybersecurity Summit 2014 in Washington DC. The event gathered together hundreds from industry and government who focus on the cybersecurity issues
of today. The panelists and keynote speakers represented both civilian and defense sectors of government and spoke on a wide gamut of security topics. Here are some common themes when the panelists and speakers were asked to provide advice for industry:

  • Have internal technical people market your product for you. Agencies need to do a better job of differentiating between products marketed very well and those who can demonstrate453786897 risk reduction in performance rather than on paper.
  • Help those agencies that are less mature when it comes to security and risk reduction; understand where their immaturity lies and come to them with what they need.
  • Demonstrate what gap you’re filling. How can your tool do the work better and cheaper than those already in the ‘shed’?
  • Particularly within DOD, highly customized solutions are not ideal. If you are making something just for Army, but it is not interoperable with the Army and Air Force, then it is less than ideal. DOD requires interoperability in a joint environment.

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