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VA's $16B EHR coming in October?

First, it was staff training challenges. Then the pandemic hit. But finally, the Department of Veterans Affairs says it is back on track to launch its modernized electronic health records system (EHR) in October at the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Washington state. “We are pleased to have our Electronic Health Record Modernization team resume activities with our facilities to move forward with a program that will transform VA and enhance Veteran care,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said Friday. Jackson Barnett has more on the new schedule.

A Message From AWS Educate

With over 1,500 institutions and hundreds of thousands of students who use AWS Educate, we wanted to take you on a trip around the world and highlight how students are learning and innovating with the cloud. Learn more.

A rare occurrence at the NSA

Teleworking at the National Security Agency didn't really happen much before COVID-19, according to CIO Greg Smithberger. But given the pandemic, the agency has been pushing to move some of its less-sensitive information from classified networks into an unclassified cloud environment appropriate for telework. "We hadn’t always thought about whether there were pieces of [NSA's work] really could be done at a less-classified level because there didn’t seem to be much of a barrier to entry when we were all going to be going to our offices and working on a high-side network and our corporate partners were all going to be working on a top-secret network with us," the CIO said. Billy Mitchell has more from the NSA.

DOD innovation can't escape "valley of death"

The Pentagon has taken steps to introduce innovation prototype projects across the military, but it's still struggling to get them across the so-called "valley of death" into scaled production. At the Aspen Security Forum last week, several top Pentagon leaders delivered critical remarks on the Department of Defense's struggle to scale innovation, which is resulting in the U.S. losing its technical edge to great-power competitors like China. “The overarching story is a pretty bad one, and is heading in a worse direction,” said Chris Brose, former staff director of the Senate Armed Services Committee. More from Jackson.

The CFO Act 30 years later

The CFO Act is thirty years old, but agencies are still struggling to implement modern financial management systems in line with the law, according to the Government Accountability Office. “Inadequate” project planning, requirements and oversight continue to hinder financial management system accountability, largely because the government lacks a long-term modernization plan, GAO found in a report released last Thursday. “Without a comprehensive, long-term plan, agencies may miss the opportunity to strategize a long-term vision and take appropriate actions to effectively increase the use of shared services government-wide,” reads the report. Dave Nyczepir has more from the report.

A new podcast with VA CIO Jim Gfrerer

Department of Veterans Affairs CIO Jim Gfrerer joins FedScoop for a new episode of the Let's Talk About IT podcast. On this episode, Gfrerer details the VA's IT response to COVID-19, including continuity of operations, keeping the workforce secure, and the long-term effects on the department's telework stance. He called the pandemic a "black swan" event: "It’s a one-in-a-century event. The notion of a black swan is…nothing in the sum total of your knowledge or your experience in your life has really prepared you to address this. You have to think very critically, very differently, and so we’ve all had to bring that mindset to the effort.” Listen now.

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