Inside the Reporter’s Notebook: Cyber sprint’s before and after picture gives reasons for hope, fear

A new document obtained by Federal News Radio shows just how bad in shape agencies were in terms of cybersecurity as of June, and just how far they came over th...

Jason Miller
Jason Miller

Inside the Reporter’s Notebook is a biweekly dispatch of news and information you may have missed or that slipped through the cracks at conferences, hearings and other events. This is not a column or commentary – it’s news tidbits, strongly-sourced buzz, and other items of interest that have happened or are happening in the federal IT and acquisition communities.

As always, we encourage you to submit ideas, suggestions and, of course, news to Jason via email.

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Exclusive: Cyber sprint’s before and after picture gives reasons for hope, fear

There has been plenty of discussion in the federal community about the Office of Management and Budget’s 30-day cyber sprint and whether it made any difference or not.

Some experts say the cyber sprint was just window dressing on long-standing problems. Others pointed to finally forcing agencies to use their smart identity cards to log-on to their networks and computers, and that was, at least, the type of difference maker that had been missing over the last decade.

A new document obtained by Federal News Radio shows just how bad a shape agencies were in as of June, and just how far they’ve come over the summer.

When OMB released results of the cyber sprint, federal Chief Information Officer Tony Scott highlighted governmentwide progress in using secure identity cards to log on to networks. But it’s what Scott didn’t talk about publicly that creates both hope and fear.

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The CDM quandary many agencies are facing

The Office of Personnel Management faced a quandary. As one of the first agencies out of the gate under the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) program, the question officials had to ponder was both simple in the idea, but complicated in the final decision: Does an agency wait until the Homeland Security Department and Booz Allen Hamilton, the contractor which won the task order for Group B, implement the tools and technologies, or does it pay for similar tools for another year on its own?

In the end, Jeff Wagner, OPM’s director of IT security operations, said the agency decided it couldn’t do without these tools even though DHS, through its CDM fund, is paying for similar applications and expects them to be installed by next spring.

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NASA CIO to retire in December

NASA could be soon looking for another chief information officer.

Sources say Larry Sweet has told his staff he plans on retiring at the end of the calendar year.
Sweet moved to NASA headquarters from Johnson Space Center in June 2013 and worked for the agency for what will be 28 years in December.

Over the last two years, he has been advocating a concept called “enterprise first,” where the 18 space centers and organizations could take advantage of shared IT services.

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