DevOps Shines as Federal IT Modernization Efforts Grow

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The Modernizing Government Technology Act (MGT) and other related initiatives are pushing agencies to move away from aging, legacy applications as well as costly, complex software projects. The goal is to have more secure, agile, and cost-effective IT infrastructures replace them.

DevOps, a moniker that is a combination of development and operations, is emerging as an approach that could help Federal agencies modernize and speed new development efforts, especially as they migrate to cloud services. DevOps is a software engineering culture as well as a practice that advocates automation and monitoring throughout the software development lifecycle. It generally pairs development teams with IT operations throughout the development cycle, eliminating the somewhat adversarial role that sometimes has naturally formed in many organizations. Continue reading

Picking Up the Open-Gov Torch

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Originally posted on FCW

In September, the White House announced a series of new initiatives as part of its second Open Government National Action Plan. Among them was a commitment to developing and implementing a governmentwide open-source software policy by the end of 2015.

But two of the leaders of that initiative -- Todd Park and Steven VanRoekel -- left the White House toward the end of the summer, raising questions about whether the program will stay on track.

Former U.S. Chief Technology Officer Park and former U.S. CIO VanRoekel were in their respective positions for more than two years and played a role in the launch of the Digital Government Strategy, the Presidential Innovation Fellows program and the U.S. Digital Service. They also had a hand in writing the second open-government plan, which set a Dec. 31, 2015, target for developing an open-source software policy that, with the Digital Services Playbook, "will support improved access to custom software code developed for the federal government." Continue reading

Navy Turns to Strategic Sourcing to Cut Conference Spending

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The Office of Management and Budget has a long list of governmentwide priorities -- among them are more federal spending with small businesses, more use of strategic sourcing in the procurement process and less spending on government conferences.

With regard to those three priorities, the Department of the Navy thinks its brand new contract vehicle for conference planning services is a trifecta.

The Navy made blanket purchase agreement awards to 17 firms -- all of them small businesses -- on May 31 in an attempt to take a strategic sourcing approach to the way the Navy and Marine Corps plan and pay for their conferences.

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Auditors OK DoD Conference Policy

Originally posted on FederalTimes.com by Nichole Blake Johnson

The Pentagon's conference spending policy generally aligns with government wide standards, and in some instances, exceeds them, a review has determined.

The Office of Management and Budget's 2012 policy is the benchmark.

DoD requires senior-level review and and pre-approval of all conference-related costs, while OMB requires senior-level review of conferences only when the estimated costs exceed $100,000, according to the Government Accountability Office report. DoD also aligns with OMB policy by publicly reporting annual conference costs. In addition, the department requires quarterly internal reporting of conference costs.

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Post conference scandals, agencies struggle to find balance

Originally posted on Federal News Radio by Jason Miller

Agencies are spending tens of millions of dollars less on travel and conferences today after repeated scandals came to light in 2012.

Some in Congress want to know what more can be done to ensure agencies will not go back to abusing the system in the future. At the same time, lawmakers also want to make sure agencies are not missing out on important opportunities that conferences provide.

Members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee are asking agency officials and inspector generals for help achieve the right balance.

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the committee, said agencies must be good shepherds of their funding, but not overlook the benefits that come from conferences.

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