Two governmentwide cybersecurity initiatives aren't doing much to help agencies become more secure, according to a survey published Sept. 20. Eighty-two percent of those surveyed say CyberScope, an Office of Management and Budget-backed tool for reporting compliance with the Federal Information Security Management Act, is not easing agencies' FISMA burden.
Agencies covered by the e-government Act of 2002 indeed make annual reports as required, but those reports aren't always seen as useful, finds the Government Accountability Office. In a generally positive report (.pdf) dated Sept. 12, the GAO says federal agencies have taken many actions to implement the act and to promote electronic delivery of government services.
The White House released Sept. 14 a report (.pdf) to Congress outlining the impact of sequestration on the federal government. It calculates that sequestration would result in a 9.4 percent cut to non-exempt defense discretionary funding and an 8.2 percent cut to non-exempt, non-defense discretionary funding. It would also impose cuts of 2 percent to Medicare, 7.6 percent to other non-exempt non-defense mandatory programs, and 10 percent to non-exempt defense mandatory programs, says OMB.
The General Services Administration's competition platform Challenge.gov is currently hosting 10 challenges around accessibility, said Tammi Marcoullier, program manager of Challenge.gov. "We'd like to see more of this. We know that there are parts of the community on the technology side that just really need to get more involved and inclusive," said Marcoullier during a Sept. 6 event called "Developing with Accessibility," hosted by the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, D.C.
The Obama administration issued a comprehensive records management directive Aug. 24, which sets a variety of records management goals for agencies while previewing further guidance and rules from the National Archives and Records Administration. The first deadline for agencies comes Nov. 15, according to a memorandum (.pdf) from Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget Jeffrey Zients and Archivist of the United States David Ferriero.
In what could be a foretelling of significant budget cuts to come or be simply a way for the Office of Management and Budget to enforce its priorities, annually updated guidance for information technology budget preparation requires agencies to prepare an exhibit showing an 10 percent cut from their IT budget, based on average IT spending from fiscals 2010 through 2012.
Cass Sunstein, the administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, will step down from his post this month to rejoin Harvard Law School as the Felix Frankfurter professor of law and to direct the school's new program on behavioral economics and public policy.
"We have lots of metrics on improper payments, and outstanding debts as an example. We have audit findings, whether in the singular or the financial statement audit," added Werfel. However, there is no global framework for performance metrics across government, he said. The Government Accountability Office will also soon invesitgate "what we actually get out of grants and internal controls," said Stanley Czerwinski, GAO director for strategic issues.
Federal oversight practices can conflict with agile software development, finds a Government Accountability Office report that also points to other difficulties within federal agencies in using the development method. Agile, the report notes, is "more a philosophy than a methodology," but generally it's meant to be the iterative antithesis of the linear waterfall development method of requirements-design-development-test-and-delivery.
Most agencies lack complete inventories and plans as required by the Office of Management and Budget's federal data center consolidation initiative and OMB has not held agencies accountable, according to a July 19 Government Accountability Office report (.pdf).