The hunt is on for a federal deputy CIO

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  • The federal deputy CIO position is far from being filled. The Office of Management and Budget released the job posting to fill the federal deputy chief information officer’s position. The announcement comes despite news reports that the position has already been filled. OMB is trying to replace Margie Graves, who left in December after three-plus years in the job. Among the responsibilities of the deputy federal CIO are overseeing the operational and administrative functions of IT policy development, agency engagement and governance, IT modernization and digital service delivery. Applications for the position are due Feb. 17.
  • Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie described the firing of his deputy secretary as a “simple business decision.” Wilkie fired Deputy Secretary Jim Byrne earlier this week. He says Byrne didn’t gel with the team and reiterated his intention to hold all VA employees and executives to the highest performance standards. Wilkie says Byrne’s departure won’t jeopardize VA’s upcoming migration to a new electronic health record. The department is supposed to achieve initial operating capability on the EHR at its first site next month. (Federal News Network)
  • The trademark side of the Patent and Trademark Office has a new commissioner. David Gooder got the nod from Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Gooder will join the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office from distilled spirits purveyor Brown Forman Corporation, where he was chief trademark counsel, working on trademark, brand protection, and anti-counterfeiting. The company owns brands such as Jack Daniels whiskey and Finlandia vodka. Gooder has also been an officer for the International Trademark Association and chairman of its foundation. Earlier he practiced trademark law at a West Coast law firm. (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office)
  • A bipartisan bill designed to improve presidential transition services is headed to the president’s desk for his signature. The House passed the Presidential Transition Enhancement Act. The bill allows the General Services Administration to provide transition services for up to 60 days after an inauguration. It also allows congressional staff to be detailed to presidential teams. And it requires agencies to develop specific succession plans for all senior non-career positions by the September leading up to a presidential election. The bill easily cleared the Senate back in August.
  • Little over a month out the 2020 Census, the top Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has asked the Census Bureau for an update on its efforts to reach hard-to-count populations. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich) has asked Director Steven Dillingham, how many temporary recruiting assistants the bureau plans to convert into outreach positions, to help boost participation in areas with a low response rate. The fiscal 2020 spending deal passed by Congress set aside $90 million to encourage people to respond to the census at public events like markets and festivals. (Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee)
  • The Pentagon has added another base to the list of installations available to quarantine people who might have contracted coronavirus. DoD says it’s offered accommodations for up to 75 people at Camp Ashland, Nebraska. The Health and Human Services department will be in charge of medical care and transportation. (Department of Defense)
  • Three organizational directorates will make up the Space Force, at least in the early years, as the new military branch sets up. Those directorates will be human capital and logistics; operations, cyber and intelligence; and plans, programs, requirements and analysis. Patricia Mulcahy has been tapped to lead the human capital and logistics directorate. She previously served as Defense Department director of officer and enlisted personnel management. (Federal News Network)
  • Leaders in defense innovation say the Defense Department needs to take a more common sense approach to building up a nontraditional defense industrial base. Experts like former Army Secretary Eric Fanning told members of the House Armed Services Committee that DoD needs to increase its research and development funding. They also contend that DoD needs to invest more in the technologies of the future if it wants private sector companies to work with the military. The industry leaders added that one-off contracts and sporadic investments do not attract new companies to the military industrial base. (Federal News Network)
  • The Office of the Director of National Intelligence will release a new counterintelligence strategy next week that takes a long-term approach to nation-state threats. Bill Evanina, director of ODNI’s National Counterintelligence and Security Center, said the strategy will focus on a “whole of society” response to these threats, that extends beyond the federal government. The upcoming strategy responds to a growing number of indictments, arrests, and convictions of security clearance holders, as well as a rise in the theft of intellectual property and trade secrets. (Federal News Network)
  • The CIA released the final draft of its next generation intelligence community cloud solicitation, known as C2E. In the draft request for proposals, the CIA is looking for commercial cloud service providers to create a multi-cloud ecosystem at unclassified, secret and top secret levels. The potential 15-year, $10 billion contract is the follow-on to the C2S program awarded in 2013 to Amazon. The CIA will hold an industry day on Feb. 14 and expects to make an award by September. (Federal News Network)
  • After a long series of delays, the Navy picked a winner for one of the biggest IT contracts in government history. Leidos is the winner of the biggest portion of the Navy’s NGEN-R contract. The award the service announced yesterday is worth up to $7.7 billion over the next eight years. The company is tasked with building and maintaining the backbone of the Navy and Marine Corps’ enterprise networks, including cybersecurity services. The Navy awarded the smaller portion of NGEN-R – for end-user hardware – to HP last October. (Federal News Network)
  • Mailing industry organizations are pushing back on a proposed rule that would let the Postal Service set prices higher than the rate of inflation in some cases. The Postal Regulatory Commission’s proposed rule, would keep a cap on postal prices, but would base that cap on factors like declining mail density and mandatory pre-funding of retiree health benefits. The groups argue a 2006 postal reform law forbids USPS from setting rates higher than inflation, and claim the proposal would cost mailers $8 billion annually.