Inside the Reporter’s Notebook: Four takeaways from OPM cyber hearings

Inside the Reporter’s Notebook is a bi-weekly 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.

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Four takeaways from OPM cyber hearings

Three hearings. Nearly seven hours of testimony. Enough frustration to fill the Potomac River.

That was Katherine Archuleta’s week. The director of the Office of Personnel Management had a bullseye on her back as House and Senate lawmakers pressed her time and again for answers about the massive data breach impacting anywhere from 4 million to who knows how many current and retired federal employees, congressional members and staff, contractors and average citizens.

While details about the breach dribbled out at each consecutive hearing, many left the hearings unsatisfied and unhappy with OPM’s communications about what happened and when.

Here are my four takeaways from the seven hours of testimony across three hearings that I covered last week.

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DoD, NIST grease the mobility skids

The Defense Department and the National Institute of Standards and Technology provided a lift to the future of mobile computing in the government.

DoD announced it moved its classified mobile capability from a pilot stage into full production mode.
Defense Mobile Classified Capability – Secret (DMCC-S) lets users access voice and data at the secret level from anywhere in the world.

The Defense Information Systems Agency piloted about 2,000 devices, mostly a hardened version of the Samsung Galaxy S4, over the last few years.

The new capability will replace the Secure Mobile Environment Portable Electronic Device (SME PED) system, which was became old and bulky technology such as 2G networks. DISA says it will turn off the SME PED on July 30.

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The CIO shuffle continues across several agencies

Breaking news on Monday: NASA is getting a new deputy chief information officer. Sources say Renee Wynn is moving to the space agency after spending the last four years as the Environmental Protection Agency’s deputy CIO and sometime acting CIO. She replaces Gary Cox, who retired in March.

Wynn, who also has been acting assistant administrator in EPA’s Office of Environmental Information since July 2013 because the Senate refuses to confirm Ann Dunkin, has been with the EPA for 24 years working in both mission and administrative functions.

Along with NASA, the Agriculture Department and the Homeland Security Department are brought on new senior IT executives.

At USDA, Jonathon Alboum returns to the agency to take over as CIO for Cheryl Cook, who retired in March.

Joyce Hunter had been serving as acting CIO since Cook left and will return to her previous role as deputy CIO for policy and planning.

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