Can data save health IT security?

Lloyd McCoy Jr.By Lloyd McCoy, DOD manager

The military’s next battlefield could be moving to a hospital bed.

With the growth of new technologies like the internet of things in health care, the security of health IT systems is becoming more at risk. Another challenge is that medical devices are already several years old by the time they’re in active use in the Military Health System.

So could better use of data and analytics help make these systems more secure?

The military health system has a wealth of data and health IT professionals need to harness it to create business and medical intelligence. We don’t need systems to tell us what already happened, but to predict how to best use and position our medical resources to cater to service members and their families.

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One of the fastest growing IT trends at Air Force

By Stephanie Meloni, consultant

The Air Force has begun piloting agile methodology in some of its key programs, and we can expect to see this as a growing trend throughout the service and the rest of the Department of Defense, as agile methodology adoption picks up based on acquisition guidance.

The main theme of the AFCEA Montgomery IT Summit (MITS) was using agile development to help the Air Force make data-driven decisions. The service views its data as a strategic asset and leaders point to using data to facilitate decisions that will outsmart adversaries as part of the Third Offset Strategy.

The Program Executive Officer of the Business and Enterprise Systems (PEO BES) office, Rich Aldridge, kicked off the conference by speaking about the challenges that his organization faces when it comes to systems development, which has led the Air Force down the path of using agile development to counter cost, schedule and risk as a way forward.

Here are just a few key priorities the Air Force will be examining as it works to make its software systems more agile:

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Can data analytics help stop the opioid crisis?

data analytics, opioid crisis, big dataRachel EckertBy Rachel Eckert, SLED consultant

As the country grapples with a growing opioid crisis, many state and local governments have been struggling to fight this battle through a myriad of health and law enforcement resources. Some are doing better than others in their attempts to fight this health care disaster.

But there’s more that these jurisdictions, with the help of the IT industry, can do to battle the crisis through the use of technology, specifically, analytics.

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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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How and where to do business in the Navy: Part II

Lloyd McCoy Jr.By Lloyd McCoy, DOD manager

The Marine Corps will utilize a major portion of Navy’s IT budget for everything from cyber and incident response tools to data visualization and analytics.Here is part II of our breakdown of the Navy’s IT focus areas through FY18 and the best ways the private sector can generate new leads. (If you missed part I, click here.)

The Marine Corps Systems Command (MARCORSYSCOM) is the acquisition command for the U.S. Marine Corps. In my conversations with the service, a consistent refrain is that it wants to take capabilities that exist on a camp or garrison to the battlefield. So the Marine Corps is looking for technologies that are lightweight, flexible and that can be used at the lowest levels.

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Can data overload in the IC be tamed?

By Mark Wisinger, senior analyst

In an era with more sensors and data than ever before, how can intelligence agencies separate the significant data from the background noise?

Data management is an enormous challenge right now in the Department of Defense and Intelligence Community, especially as the internet of things emerges onto the scene. The big data challenges are linked hand-in-hand with cloud implementation, insider threats and cybersecurity, business intelligence and traditional IT infrastructure.

This data management challenge is an opportunity for big data vendors, with defense and intelligence agencies looking to the private sector for solutions in data access and search, data labeling and filtering and other management needs.

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SBA tech transformation underway, but more work needs to be done

By Kevin Shaker, senior analyst

When Maria Roat took the tech reins at the Small Business Administration last year, she promised to transition a large portion of the agency’s systems to the cloud. Things seem to be well underway, based on the chief information officer’s recent speech at the Citizen Engagement Summit hosted by FCW.

While SBA has made great strides since Roat, the former chief technology officer at the Department of Transportation, took over, tech companies still have opportunities to shape the future of IT at the SBA.

So far the agency has rebuilt SBA.gov’s interface, making it easier for small business owners to apply for loans and giving them easier access to loan processes and information. The website is also now mobile, giving internal and external customers more flexibility in how they use SBA’s services, which is a nice victory for Roat’s new leadership.

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Can data save state and local governments?

Rachel Eckertblog-sledanalyticsBy Rachel Eckert, SLED consultant

While the tumultuous situation in Washington is throwing a wrinkle into state and local politics, governments will continue to face a lack of funding and siloed operations. These two problems aren’t necessarily independent of each other, though. Siloed operations can create financial nightmares in the form of duplicative efforts and inefficient uses of data.

This was among the topics of discussion during last week’s Outlook 2017 event, organized by Governing Magazine.

Duplicative efforts and inefficiencies spell disaster for constrained budgets, which are already struggling to adequately fund education and public safety as Medicaid takes over an ever larger share of their budgets.

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Why you need to pay attention to DLA

mark-wisinger_65x85data-analytics_110316By Mark Wisinger, analyst

The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) is a large organization that handles logistics combat support for the Department of Defense. It also happens to have a $720 million FY17 IT budget. And as we recently heard from DLA Program Executive Officer, Bill Tinston, the agency has several IT initiatives that should be on the radar of data solution providers, as well as infrastructure and cloud vendors.

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Opportunity Alert: Homeland Security’s New Management Cube Initiative

Tomas OKeefe_65x85by Tomas O’Keefe, Senior Analyst

On Monday, October 28, at ACT-IAC’s Executive Leadership Conference, acting Deputy Secretary of DHS Rafael Borras (who has been the Undersecretary for Management for the past four years) unveiled DHS’s new initiative called the Management Cube. Effectively, the Cube represents the Department’s efforts to merge all of its back-office data into a single platform, so the agency can more effectively understand its day-to-day operations and identify areas of inefficiency that need to be addressed. DHS has been working on the Management Cube initiative for almost two years and is planning to unveil the initiative in January 2014.

Obviously, those of us in the world of federal information technology know that big data is one of the most talked about challenges for federal agencies. We’ve seen numerous big data initiatives, but it’s reassuring to see an agency with such a diverse mission portfolio as DHS finally take some concrete steps in putting big data to use. And where there are challenges for federal agencies, there are opportunities for federal contractors, particularly COTS vendors who offer business intelligence & analytics, data quality & management, and middleware and service oriented architecture (SOA) products. While the Department has been working on the initiative for two years, it is sure to uncover additional COTS product needs as it is rolled out across the Department.DHS

Think of the aim of the Management Cube this way – if there are extra dollars languishing somewhere in the DHS-enterprise, shouldn’t the Department find a way to put those dollars to use? Keith Trippie, who directs the Enterprise System Development Office up at DHS HQ, said that asking that first question led to a series of other questions that resulted in his group challenging the Department to start cleaning up its data and start running some serious analytics and developing dashboards to enhance DHS operations.

Trippie pointed out that there are challenges (remember, hear ‘challenges’ and think ‘opportunities’) remaining, among them change management and developing trust between different groups with the Department. But key IT challenges also remain – with many siloed, mission-oriented platforms built off of differing architecture, DHS is still struggling with getting the information in one place and ensuring the different types of structures of data can be analyzed as a whole. Another IT challenge is ensuring that the BI & analytics application developed to run these reports can do so quickly and effectively – a significant problem that will impede the goal of Management Cube to save DHS time and money.

It is most certainly worth it to reach out to Rafael Borras and Keith Trippie and see if you can assist them in enhancing the rollout of the Management Cube. Keep this fact in mind: DHS is an innovator among federal agencies and one of the first to truly take on an enterprise-wide big data initiative of this scale, so if you can help DHS succeed here, imagine the potential your solution could have across the federal government as a whole.

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