Cybersecurity collaboration in midterms now being re-focused on 2020

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    • An unprecedented federal and state collaboration to defend election systems against Russian interference ended Tuesday with no obvious voting system compromises. But Chris Krebs, head of cybersecurity at the Homeland Security Department, said this year’s midterm election was just a warm-up for 2020. Interference by Russia during the 2016 presidential race caught federal and state officials flat-footed. Since then, DHS, the agency tasked with helping states secure election systems, has been working with the states to create better communication to confront and deter election tampering.  Federal experts and officials in 45 states came together to report on any potential cyber threats in real time. That effort was reported to be largely successful. (Federal News Network)
    • Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee are planning some big changes now that they’re in charge. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) said committee Democrats have 64 outstanding subpoenas for agency documents. Connolly said those subpoenas, as well as investigations of current and former government officials, will be a priority. The federal workforce is also expected to the subject of more hearings, as is the Trump administration’s government reorganization proposals. (Federal News Network)
    • A new report has found the civilian workforce at the Defense Department is much more male-dominated than other federal agencies. The report by the RAND Corporation found women make up only 34 percent of the DoD civilian workforce, compared to 49 percent in the rest of the federal government. The report’s authors said the biggest contributing factor is DoD hiring policies that give explicit preference to military veterans, but it’s not the only one. DoD also struggles to retain women in civilian jobs after they’re hired, according to the study. (RAND Corporation)
    • Pete Geren, the former secretary of the Army, and Raymond Johns, who led the Air Mobility Command, have been nominated to become the first two members of the National Commission on Military Aviation Safety. The two were chosen by the House Armed Services Committee in response to a congressional mandate for an investigation into the underlying causes of recent high profile military aviation accidents. The president will appoint the other members of the commission. (Armed Services Committee)
    • Military family advocates said they fear the TRICARE open season starting next week may lockout some options for service members and their relatives. Previously, military families could change their TRICARE healthcare plan at any time. Now, the National Military Family Association said the limited open season period may make it harder for families to change to a new plan when they need a second opinion or face a life change.  The Defense Health Agency said it’s aware of the issue and is opening up communication with patients. (Federal News Network)
    • An intra-agency effort is being aimed at bringing better health IT to Native Americans. The Indian Health Service’s Office of IT and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Chief Technology Officer have launched a Health IT Modernization Research Project. The initiative aims to give IHS insight into ways it can streamline its health IT infrastructure, applications and capabilities. Over the next year, IHS and the HHS CTO will work with vendors to conduct research, and talk to tribal members and leaders to develop its IT modernization strategy and roadmap. IHS currently uses the Veterans Affairs Department’s VistA system and must transition to a new platform. (Indian Health Services)
    • DHS said it is seeking opportunity in its contracts for Data Centers 1 and 2, which will expire in June 2020. The data centers are located at NASA’s Stennis Space Center and in south-central Virginia. DHS has until October 2020 to close an additional 19 non-tiered data centers. That’s the goal set by the Office of Management and Budget’s Data Center Optimization Initiative. (Federal News Network)
    • The Federal Communications Commission said it has launched a comprehensive review of the Wireless Resiliency Cooperative Framework. The framework consists of industry partners working to promote wireless communications during disasters. The review began with network carriers being asked to supply the FCC with information on how they’ve implemented the framework in disaster situations over the past two years. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said the agency is reviewing the Obama-era framework after recent severe storms like Hurricane Michael. (FCC)

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