DC Pulse: Military Tightens IT Budget Management

Navy and Marines Take a Hard Look at IT Funding: The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps are reining in information technology spending and have toughened up oversight measures set by the Navy’s CIO, Terry Halvorsen. Halvoresen appointed an Information Technology Expenditure Approval Authority to approve any IT software, hardware or service with a projected lifecycle cost of $1 million or more. The Authority must also cut IT budgets by 25 percent over five years. At the same time, any Navy IT purchase of at least $250,000 must be approved, said Vice Adm. Kendall Card, deputy chief of naval operations for information dominance. In the Marine Corps, purchases between $25,000 and $155,000 must be approved by Brig. Gen. Kevin Nally, director of command, control, communications and computers. Federal Times

Performance.gov Reports on your Agency: The White House has opened its new Performance.gov Web site to track how well managers in an agency get their jobs done. The dashboard “provides a window into the Obama administration’s approach to improving federal government performance and ensuring accountability of senior officials for achieving results,” said Jeffrey Zients, federal chief performance officer. The public can see how well an agency is meeting its goals, with information organized into eight key areas: acquisition; financial management, human resources, technology, performance improvement, open government, sustainability and customer service. Government Computer News

Design a Disaster Response Facebook App and Win $10,000: Developers can compete to design new Facebook apps that help people prepare for emergencies and get support from friends and family when disaster strikes. This is in the wake of Hurricane Irene. The challenge comes the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR).  The ASPR Lifeline Facebook Application Developer Challenge runs through the remainder of the 2011 hurricane season, which ends Nov. 4. The person or team with the best app receives $10,000 from HHS and free admission from Health 2.0 to the 2012 Health 2.0 conference. HHS.gov

DHS Has $2.1 Billion for Disaster Prep Grants: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Department is distributing $2.1 billion in counterterrorism and disaster preparedness grants to state and local agencies. Much of the funding is for equipment, training and planning services, including significant portions devoted to communications equipment, operations centers, mobile devices, monitoring systems and other IT. And while it’s a lot of money, it’s actually $780 million less than Congress appropriated last year. “In today’s tight fiscal environment, we are setting clear priorities and focusing on the areas that face the greatest risk to maximize our limited grant dollars,” Secretary Janet Napolitano said. Washington Technology

Protestors Will Use More “Hactivism”: Experts say the U.S. government must be more prepared for an increasing amount of “hacktivism” in years to come. Hacker groups like Anonymous have become famous for politically motivated acts of cybervandalism. For example, in response to the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system’s  decision to shut down cell service in train stations to head off planned protests, Anonymous hacked a BART Web site, stole user information and instigated street protests. Says one expert, “It’s interesting to note that more and more threats received from hacktivists are not financially motivated. It is a power play, plain and simple. Hacktivism is not something that will quietly fade away.” NextGov

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