DC: New CIO Goes Under the Microscope

Washington DCPraise and Advice for the New Federal CIO: The appointment of Steven VanRoekel as the Federal CIO is receiving much praise, in part because VanRoekel has done a good job in transforming the FCC’s IT over the past two years. He moved the website’s infrastructure to the cloud, converted it to open-source and began crowdsourced discussions with IT developers and the public. “I bear witness that Steven’s the real deal,” Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist, wrote on August 4. VanRoekel will manage an annual  $80 billion budget — at a time when federal agencies generally face $900 billion in budget reductions over 10 years. It remains to be seen how he’ll perform as his budget is slashed. Federal Computer Week

DARPA Has a Cybersecurity “Problem From Hell”: Retired Gen. Michael Hayden, the former CIA and NSA chief, calls the hazard of hacked hardware “the problem from hell” and says it can be managed but not solved. DAPRA has awarded nine contracts for its Integrity and Reliability of Integrated Circuits (IRIS) program to check for compromised chips. Seven companies and two universities received the awards. Their work: to make sure hardware that DoD buys is free from tampering or hacking that might have taken place before it’s even installed. Why is this a problem? Because the Pentagon buys 1 percent of the world’s integrated circuits. Wired.com

CMS Readies Big Data Center Contracts: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is planning a multiple-award contract to tackle its increasing data center needs. A pre-solicitation notice went out last week to announce a Webinar on Oct. 14. (RSVPs are due by Aug. 26). The contract will have a one-year base period and nine 12-month options. Washington Technology

DC’s Small Tech Businesses Are Honored: The achievements of some of the city’s best small technology businesses were acknowledged in Washington Technology’s “Fast 50” list. The companies have shown exceptional growth and an ability to adapt and change with the market. The number one company is SAVA Workforce Solutions, which has achieved a five-year compound annual growth rate of 326.05 percent. The aggregate value of 2010 revenue for the companies on the list is $1.4 billion. Washington Technology

Green IT Needs Stricter Standards: Government IT has improved on its carbon footprint in recent years, but there is no single metric to keep track of just how well it’s doing. A report from the Government Accountability Office urges agencies to adopt best practices from the private sector to cut their energy consumption and do so quickly. The White House Council on Environmental Quality uses two executive orders from 2007 and 2009 as basic benchmarks, and the OMB rates agencies’ success in achieving green goals on standard score cards. However, it’s still hard to get a clear picture of how all agencies are doing for themselves and in comparison to each other. NextGov

GSA Puts 600 Small IT Businesses On Contract: The General Services Administration awarded 599 small and disadvantaged technology firms a chance to sell products and services to the federal government through the latest 8(a) STARS government-wide contract. Companies from 38 states will compete for up to $10 billion in contracts over the next five years. Federal News Radio

Ten Agency Projects Are Award Winners: Ten government IT projects were named winners of the 2011 GCN Awards for IT Achievement. More than 200 projects were nominated and judged on their ability to drive down costs and display leadership and engineering skills needed to put the power of government technology into the hands of citizens and government workers. Three healthcare projects are among the winners, most notably MyMedicare.gov, which makes Medicare information easier for millions of users to access online. Government Computer News