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USDS lends a hand

The U.S. Digital Service is working in the background of some of the federal government's most important efforts to combat the coronavirus. Administrator Matt Cutts said USDS has some team members embedded in the White House Coronavirus Task Force. “So whenever you see Ambassador [Deborah] Birx presenting slides and showing data sometimes going down to a county level, oftentimes that data is derived from or even prepared by the U.S. Digital Service,” Cutts said. “So in terms of deciding allocations of things like [personal protective equipment] or ventilators, those sorts of things.” The team is also embedded in other key response efforts, like assisting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with overhauling some of its website architecture as it publishes important information and data on the spread of the coronavirus. Billy Mitchell has the story.

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DHS balances CDO, enterprise architect roles

Federal chief data officers are supposed to improve the coordination of data efforts within large agencies. But advent of the position also has come with some slight growing pains. The Department of Homeland Security, for one, is trying to balance the work of its enterprise architects with a slew of new CDO roles. In many cases, those roles have been dual-hatted at large DHS agencies. “I know that there’s going to be more and more CDOs cropping up across our agencies, and it’s going to be potentially impacting the enterprise architecture shops,” said Chris Campbell, DHS's acting chief enterprise architect and deputy CDO. Dave Nyczepir has more.

VA's modernization chief departs

Surafeal Asgedom, the head of modernization in the Department of Veterans Affairs, is departing the post after three years. Asgedom had the task of optimizing services the VA offers to millions of military veterans with a long list of challenging objectives, including “streamlining” and “integrating” disparate initiatives, promoting cross-agency work and “rapidly executing” leadership priorities. “It is an opportunity that I will hold with genuine gratitude for the rest of my life,” he wrote in a farewell letter to staff. “VA’s noble mission of serving our heroes is unmatched.” Jackson Barnett reports.

CIOs credit modernization for smooth move to telework

Teleworking across the federal government has been going rather smoothly. Sure, there have been some rough patches, but largely agencies have been able to continue operations without major disruptions. FedScoop spoke with a variety of CIOs who attributed the success to IT modernization efforts that happened well before 2020’s global health crisis. “We’ve been making a lot of investments across all the agencies,” Federal CIO Suzette Kent said about those upgrades — things like the adoption of cloud services, collaboration tools, digitized forms and more. “What the performance we’re seeing shows is that many of those investments are paying off.” Billy takes you inside.

Palantir looks up

The Silicon Valley big data company Palantir inked a $10 million deal with the newly minted U.S. Space Force to deliver data integration tools to help track objects in space. Through the prototype contract, the company will create a “data backbone” for building a common operating picture of space using its Foundry Suite to better understand what is orbiting the earth, be it satellites, space debris or incoming hostile projectiles. Jackson has this.

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