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Lean on technology, White House tells agencies

The White House is imploring agencies to expand their use of technology to get through these trying times. Margaret Weichert, deputy director for management in the Office of Management and Budget, wrote in a new guidance over the weekend that agencies should "utilize technology to the greatest extent practicable to support mission continuity." That includes directing agencies to update their .gov websites and virtual private networks, revisit identity and access management policies, and lean on collaboration and electronic signature platforms to keep the workforce connected and productive. "By aggressively embracing technology to support business processes, the Federal Government is better positioned to maintain the safety and well-being of the Federal workforce and the American public while supporting the continued delivery of vital mission services,” states the memo. Jackson Barnett has more from the memo.

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White House offers supercomputing to fight COVID

To help fight the spread of the coronavirus, the White House initiated a supercomputing consortium to provide resources to researchers across the globe. The COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium includes government, industry and academic partners that have volunteered supercomputing time and other resources to researchers who are studying ways to limit the virus’ spread. Five Energy Department national laboratories, the National Science Foundation and NASA belong to the consortium, which was convened by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. In total, the consortium’s 16 systems have 330 petaflops of supercomputing capacity that can more rapidly complete calculations on bioinformatics, epidemiology, molecular modeling and health-care system response. The group is also working on adding cloud computing capabilities to power the sharing of information. Dave Nyczepir has more from the White House.

Pentagon further limits physical access

After a contractor who worked at a Department of Defense facility died over the weekend of COVID-19, the Pentagon has raised its health restriction level to HPCON-C — the building’s second-highest level. The restriction, announced Monday by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, means more civilians, military officers and contractors will be barred from accessing the Pentagon and forced to telework to the degree they can. It is unclear exactly how many more people will be forced to telework, but the DOD’s networks already faced “unprecedented” demand under previous restrictions, an IT official said. "Each Department employee will have the type of network access he or she needs to accomplish their mission," a DOD spokesman said. Jackson has more on the announcement.

VA's emergency telehealth, telework request

The Department of Veterans Affairs is in need of money to purchase more than 180,000 devices to scale telework and telehealth operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to sources familiar with the matter, the VA's recent supplemental appropriations request calls for 100,000 laptops to support “maximum telework” directives, 30,000 laptops for telehealth operations and 50,000 iPads for veterans to be able to access telehealth. It falls under a $1.2 billion request for the department’s “Information Technology Systems account” to support the “quick shift” to telehealth and social distance working. Overall the VA is requesting $16.6 billion in extra fiscal 2020 funds to ensure it can continue its operations during the novel coronavirus pandemic. Read more on the situation at the VA.

WATCH: The real deal behind IT modernization

FedScoop recently hosted its fourth annual IT Modernization Summit. At the conference, we spoke with top federal IT officials and leaders from industry about the latest in federal IT modernization and what exactly modernization means to them. Today, we're releasing videos from:

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