Weekly Roundup November 13-17, 2023
A decade after its creation, DHA thinks it has building blocks in place for an integrated military health system. Lt. Gen. Telita Crosland, who became DHA’s director in January, sees her tenure as marking the end of what’s ended up being a very long transition period. From here on out, she said, the focus needs to be on execution. She provided an in-depth interview to Federal News Network.
VA EHR sees no outages in 6 months, but employees still give system low marks. The Department of Veterans Affairs says its new Electronic Health Record (EHR) hasn’t seen a total outage in more than six months. The Oracle-Cerner EHR has gone 185 consecutive days without a total outage and has seen 100% system availability in 10 of the last 12 months. But Kurt DelBene, VA’s assistant secretary for Information and Technology and its chief information officer, told members of the House VA Committee that the EHR still doesn’t meet a standard for incident-free time outlined in its contract with the vendor.
DoD CDAO Issues Responsible AI Toolkit. The Department of Defense’s (DoD) Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office (CDAO) is continuing to make progress on its responsible AI efforts, including by issuing its Responsible Artificial Intelligence (RAI) Toolkit that is now available to the public. Deputy CDAO Margie Palmieri said the toolkit is just one way the CDAO is continuing to build trust in AI.
DoD Cyber Experts: Zero Trust is More Than Just Meeting Standards. While implementing a zero trust architecture in the federal government can often feel like a compliance activity, cybersecurity experts on Tuesday stressed that it’s more than just meeting standards and requirements – it’s about protecting your intellectual property and people. “If today you’re worried about CMMC, start doing the NIST standards and start pursuing those because it’s more than just running a scan on your system,” said Lt. Gen. David Bassett, director of the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA).
How DoD and SBA encourage investment in critical technologies. The Small Business Administration and the Defense Department recently launched an effort to boost private capital investment in critical technologies. The program will provide federal guarantees to investment in companies the Defense Department considers critical. To discuss, Federal Drive Host Tom Temin talked with the SBA’s Associate Administrator for the Office of Investment and Innovation, Bailey DeVries.
Lead pandemic watchdog urges lawmakers to extend COVID anti-fraud tool to all federal spending. Michael Horowitz, chairman of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee and inspector general at the Justice Department, said the PRAC has used the analytics system, among other things, to uncover $5.4 billion in pandemic loans that were obtained using “questionable” social security numbers. He argues a big-data system set up to investigate pandemic fraud could help prevent improper payments across all federal spending. He says Congress should expand a data analytics platform, currently used to investigate COVID relief fraud, to help prevent improper payments across all federal spending.
GAO Lays Claims to $70B of Federal Government Savings in FY2023. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) claims it saved the Federal government $70.4 billion during Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 by recommending ways to improve efficiency and effectiveness in Federal programs, according to a new report. In its annual Performance and Accountability Report, GAO explained that during the past year, it provided lawmakers with timely information on a range of challenges and priorities.
GSA sees 'huge opportunity' to cut federal office space by up to 30%. But with agencies — including GSA — embracing the benefits of a long-term hybrid and remote workforce, Carnahan said her agency sees an opportunity to reduce the government’s real-estate footprint by up to 30%.
One of the EPA’s most sacred databases could be at risk. The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS), is one of the main tools the agency relies on for environmental regulations, containing information on human health effects that may result from exposure to various chemicals in the environment. However, a new report from the EPA’s inspector general, said the agency needs to do a better job of who has access to it, or it could be tampered with.
IRS taps new CIO. The current acting CIO of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Rajiv Uppal, has been selected to take the top tech post at the IRS — the latest in a series of leadership changes in the CIO shop at the tax agency in recent months.
Customer satisfaction with the federal government jumps, again. Customer satisfaction with U.S. federal government services jumped 2.9% to a score of 68.2 out of 100 this year, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index Federal Government Report 2023. Released Nov. 14, the report suggests the COVID-19 pandemic severely challenged federal service delivery and subsequently led to 2021 marking the lowest satisfaction score — just 63.4 — in more than 20 years. Last year, as federal services normalized in the wake of the pandemic, customer satisfaction jumped nearly 5%.
2023 Invest in What Works State Standard of Excellence: A national benchmark – a “north star” – for how state governments invest in what works. The 2023 Invest in What Works State Standard of Excellence shows growing momentum among states for building and using data and evidence to improve residents’ lives and make more efficient and effective use of taxpayer dollars. It sets a national standard for the capacity and infrastructure state governments need to use evidence and data consistently and effectively in budget, policy, and management decisions to deliver better results.
THIS WEEK @ THE CENTER
NEW REPORT: Improving Performance of Federal Grant Programs - Lessons From a HUD Program Case Study. Federal spending on mandatory and discretionary grant programs reached a new high in Fiscal Year 2022. Interest in the effectiveness of these intergovernmental partnerships is of increasing importance to policymakers, government agency managers, and citizens. How best to improve grant program performance based on a comprehensive case study with HUD’s assistance programs is the subject of this new report from the IBM Center by Juliet Musso, J. Woody Stanley, and Jordy Coutin with the University of Southern California.
NEW BLOG: Preparing for an AI Future: Cybersecurity Considerations for Public Service. Bobbie Stempfley, Vice President, Cyber Security Dell Technologies (formerly Deputy Assistant Secretary Cyber Security and Communications, Department of Homeland Security) and guest blogger explores the recent rapid advancements in Generative AI and the tremendous opportunities it presents to change the cybersecurity ecosystem, perhaps for the better. The blog ponders the perennial question of ‘how much security is enough’ and that this discussion must evolve into more robust risk management conversation that guide security and government leaders. These guidelines and best practices must then be considered as a part of the responsible use of AI.
ICYMI – Advancing Health IT Interoperability: A Conversation with Dr. Micky Tripathi, National Coordinator for Health IT. This week Michael Keegan welcomed Dr. Micky Tripathi for a timely and interesting discussion on advancing Health IT interoperability. They explored such topics as the key priorities for the Office of National Coordinator for Health IT, how it is transforming the adoption and use of health IT, and to what extent the U.S. healthcare system is progressing toward value-based care to improve quality and patient outcomes.