The Veterans Affairs and Defense Departments' interagency program office awarded a 12-month, $11 million contract Oct. 9 to Systems Made Simple--the same company that originally won the iEHR contract in 2012.
"I was not looking for this opportunity," Johnson said at the Oct. 18 press conference where President Obama announced his nomination. "I had left government at the end of last year and was settling back into private life and private law practice. But when I received the call, I could not refuse it." Obama called Johnson "an outstanding public servant whom I've known and trusted for years."
With the government up and running again, agencies begin to assess the effects the shutdown had on its workforce and finances. The shutdown cost the Defense Department $600 million in lost productivity due to furloughed civilian workers, DoD Comptroller Robert Hale said in an Oct. 17 press conference. Other costs can't be calculated yet, Hale said.
The U.S. federal government is a primary focus for Research in Motion, the Canadian company behind the BlackBerry mobile device. Recent comments from one RIM excutive show the market could be viewed as a lifeline for a company with an uncertain future. "I think this is an absolutely critical market for us," BlackBerry's Senior Vice President for Security Scott Totzke told Politico. "I think it's absolutely top of mind for everybody in the organization."
If sequestration cuts continue, they could devastate military readiness and dramatically slow down modernization spending, an Oct. 11 Bipartisan Policy Center report says. The report says the full brunt of sequestration cuts hasn't hit yet, but sequestration cuts will compromise force readiness.
A special envoy for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility is set to begin work Nov. 1. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced that Paul Lewis, currently the minority general counsel for the House Armed Services Committee, was chosen for the role. One hundred sixty-four prisoners remain at Guantanamo Bay, some of whom have been cleared for release since the mid-2000s.
Total known and unclassified federal information technology spending will hover around $70 billion annually through fiscal 2019 when measured in today's dollars, predicts the TechAmerica Foundation in its annual near-term forecast. The real-dollar stagnation in IT spending predicted by the foundation will disrupt agency attempts at IT transformation, said Trey Hodgkins, head of TechAmerica's global public sector government affairs policy team.
The federal strategic sourcing program advanced Oct. 9 with two solicitations from the General Services Administration for bulk purchases, one for janitorial supplies and the other for maintenance equipment. The two solicitations involve products that cost the government more than $1 billion annually, and GSA estimates that strategic sourcing will reduce their cost by 10-20 percent.
The Army hopes it can improve the capabilities of cyber operations, electronic warfare and electromagnetic spectrum network operations by encouraging collaboration among them, said Col. Carmine Cicalese, chief of Army cyberspace and information operations during a recent television appearance. Army currently has eight centers of excellence that it hopes can absorb the consolidation of 32 schools for cyber, electronic warfare and spectrum operations.
Children who had deployed parents experienced more problems in school and conflicts with families and peers than the national average and the longer the parent was deployed, the bigger the impact on the child, said Ron Haskins, Senior Fellow and Co-Director of Center on Children and Families at the Brookings Institution, at an Oct. 1 event.