The Weekend Reader–July 8
NTIS Joint Venture Partnership Allows for Big Data Analysis
At an information session, NTIS director Avi Bender announced an industry-government venture program, in which private companies can provide data service to Federal agencies. “This is going to give private companies an opportunity to have a conversation with Federal customers,” Bender said. “Many things can happen when you are able to sit in front of someone and interact.” Bender said one goal of the program is to improve the value of big data for Federal agencies.
VA Initiative Raises Outsourcing Fears
It’s one of the centerpieces of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ transformation effort. But the so-called strategic sourcing initiative has some front-line IT employees worried that it’s really just a code word for outsourcing their jobs to the private sector. It also refocuses VA on buying best-in-class commercial technologies rather than building custom systems. “This is where the rubber meets the road and it’s the least appreciated and most understaffed area in the VA. It is starting to populate this level with contractors,” a source said.
NOAA to Launch New Satellites Despite Concerns
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will launch two satellites to monitor weather and temperature patterns around the globe, but the agency is concerned about potential issues including data gaps following the expiration of previous satellites. In the past, NOAA and the Department of Defense have worked with international organizations to make up for the gaps in weather data. “We have global coordination activities already in place for meteorological activities across all the major [meteorological] organizations in the world,” said Stephen Volz, an administrator for NOAA.
Small Businesses are Prime Cyber Targets, Experts Say
Small businesses are prime targets for today’s hackers, according to witnesses testifying at the House Small Business Committee on Wednesday. Because small businesses often don’t have the resources or training to thwart cyberattacks, hackers will choose to go after a large number of them for a small sum, rather than a single, large company that poses a greater challenge. “They often lack the capabilities or the resources to pursue strong, entitywide cyber protections,” agreed Nova Daly, senior public policy adviser at Wiley Rein.
The Situation Report: What I Know About Hillary’s Email
While some make excuses for Hillary Clinton’s email troubles, it is clear that Americans are not stupid and can see through absurd explanations that attempt to justify the reckless behavior of senior Clinton staff. And the same holds true for every other Cabinet-level official—Democrat or Republican—who put sensitive national security information at risk because of private email use. Your humble correspondent does, in fact, know more than a thing or two about handling classified information.