DHS, DoD want to hear cyber solutions from small business innovators

The Federal Headlines is a daily compilation of the stories you hear discussed on  Federal Drive with Tom Temin. 


In today’s Top Federal Headlines, some government transparency advocacy groups want to limit DoD exemptions from FOIA requirements.

  • Small businesses who are Phase 2 and 3 Small Business Innovation Research Awardees will get a chance to share their new research and technology to cybersecurity leaders in the government and private sector. The Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, along with the National Science Foundation will be hosting an SBIR Workshop from Aug. 30 to Sept. 1 at the J.W. Marriott in Washington D.C. The agencies said the event will promote knowledge-sharing and  help small business-developed cybersecurity research make its way to operational use. (Department of Homeland Security)
  • A large group of government transparency advocacy groups have sent letters to Congress urging members to disallow new changes to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) included in the Senate’s 2017 National Defense Authorization Act. Organizations like the Project on Government Oversight and the Government Accountability Project said the proposal would give the Defense Department too many FOIA exemptions. (Project on Government Oversight)
  • Changes to the way the government checks the identity of its employees are gaining steam. The Department of Homeland Security has started a derived credential pilot that will use mobile devices as a means for employees to authenticate their identity. It will store data in a container on the phone. Advocates have suggested the process is more secure and easier to use
  • The big cybersecurity deadline is looming for agencies. The Homeland Security Department has four months to meet a Congressionally-mandated deadline to implement the Einstein 3 program across all of government. In the Cybersecurity Act of 2015, lawmakers required DHS to apply and agencies to utilize all phases of Einstein by December 18, 2016. DHS said it’s about two-thirds of the way through implementation of the cabinet level agencies. It said getting the final one-third will be daunting, but doable. DHS has encouraged agencies to begin the process of implementing Einstein as soon as possible.
  • The FBI has appointed a new Executive Assistant Director of its Science and Technology Branch. Christopher Piehota most recently served as the director of the Terrorist Screening Center. He has also held several leadership positions in the Counterintelligence Division as well as the special agent in charge of the Buffalo, New York Division. (FBI)
  • Adding to bureaus technology arsenal, the FBI has launched its new online Bank Robbers app, designed to make it easier for the public, financial institutions, and law enforcement to find pictures and information about bank robberies in different areas of the country. It said the app also provides an easy way for users to notify the FBI if they have any information on them. (FBI)
  • Because of a decade of advances in battlefield medicine, thousands of service members have survived wounds that might have been fatal in past conflicts. But the Army said it is worried that pattern won’t continue the next time the U.S. puts significant numbers of boots of the ground. Among many other factors, the accomplishments had something to do with the fact that the U.S. had total control of the air space in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Army Surgeon General said the U.S. is unlikely to see that kind of permissive environment if it goes to war against another advanced military, so the Army is developing tele-health systems to let its stateside doctors help battlefield medics with complex medical operations from afar. It’s also examining plans to outfit soldiers with sensors that relay vital signs to doctors at distant locations. (Army)
  • Isaac Lanier Avant, chief of staff for Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), has been charged with not filing tax returns for five years. The Justice Department said Isaac Lanier Avant could face a maximum jail sentence of one year for each count. Avant is also the Democratic staff director for the Homeland Security Committee. (Department of Justice)



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