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'Loss of confidence' leads to Byrne's firing

Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie fired his deputy, James Byrne, on Monday due to a "loss of confidence." Byrne, who was Senate-confirmed to the role in September, has been serving as the top official for the rollout of the department's Electronic Health Record Modernization, which is set to go live in March. Wilkie didn't give any more detail on what caused his loss in confidence. But the firing now leaves VA's EHR deployment without one of the key leaders during crunch time as the department looks to make some critical decisions on launching it later this spring. Jackson Barnett has more.

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AI as a soldier's 'teammate'

The Army wants to give soldiers a "teammate" on the battlefield using artificial intelligence. A new system called the Aided Threat Recognition from Mobile Cooperative and Autonomous Sensors (ATR-MCAS) will scan and classify imagery from sensors that can be mounted on vehicles, aerial coverage and autonomous vehicles that will help soldiers recognize incoming threats. For example, a soldier driving a tank could set a laptop to only display images of enemy tanks when the computer-vision system detects them. The downside: It won't be available for awhile. The Army couldn't comment on when the system will be battlefield ready. Jackson's got the scoop.

Mass Modification of a major GSA contract

The General Services Administration continues to make progress consolidating its Multiple Award Schedules from 24 to one. The agency kicked off the second phase in that larger effort last week issuing a so-called Mass Modification to existing schedule holders. Essentially, GSA is giving notice to those contractors to update their terms and conditions to the new single schedule, or risk losing business as part of the multiple-award contract. The deadline to comply is July 31. Dave Nyczepir takes you inside the consolidation.

CMMC is here at last

After months of anticipation, the Pentagon last week issued the final standards under the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification. The release marks the first step towards implementing the new cybersecurity standards into all Defense Department contracts. Now comes the hard work. All defense contractors of all shapes, sizes and missions will need to become certified to meet one of CMMC's five levels of security. Requirements will be phased into requests for information starting this summer, and then into solicitations later in the year. If contractors don't meet the requisite CMMC level of security in a contract, they will not be allowed to bid on work. More on the new standards.

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