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Looking for ‘balance,’ U.S. Digital Service team adapts to changes at VA

The U.S. Digital Service team at the Department of Veterans Affairs has been transitioned from a "dotted line" reporting structure to the deputy secretary to now working under the department's CTO. The change marks an evolution for one of USDS’s oldest agency teams, the organization’s leadership says. But the shift also took place under the shadow of conflict between VA leadership and the consultative technology unit, which is formally housed within the Executive Office of the President, around a report on the rollout of the 2018 MISSION Act. FedScoop takes an exclusive look at the transition of the digital service team, what led to the change and what it means for the team's future at the VA. Tajha Chappellet-Lanier has the exclusive story.

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The new CAC killer?

The Army is about to wrap up a pilot that allows users to login without the military's Common Access Card (CAC). The service is using USB tokens known as YubiKeys, as well as a smartphone app that generates secure codes. Army CIO Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford and others in his office are eager to expand it, according to Michael Payne, deputy project director of Enterprise Services. Most of the participants are soldiers who access training material remotely, and IT officials say it makes sense to give the tokens or the app to people who might not have a CAC but need official access, such as certain National Guard personnel. Jackson Barnett has the scoop.

CBP tries blockchain

Customs and Border Protection says it has successfully completed an interoperable blockchain proof of concept to prevent the theft of intellectual property rights. The agency is using the tamper-evident, digital ledgers to protect sensitive information on U.S. imports. “We strongly believe blockchain will help the United States maintain a competitive edge in the worldwide competition to grow stronger, better, and more reliable ways of protecting our country from illegal imports and exports,” a CBP spokesperson told FedScoop. Dave Nyczepir has more on CBP's blockchain.

Coast Guard exploring cloud, data services

The U.S. Coast Guard issued a request for information under a bigger move to acquire new cloud technology and infrastructure-as-a-service to support its intelligence requirements. The guard is primarily looking to improve data management and international network communications, and wants to know who can develop new capabilities and sustain the service’s current legacy analytics systems. In specific, the guard is hoping to find a vendor to deliver data services “as-a-service” for its intelligence enterprise, meaning that the development and sustainment of systems would be handled wholly by a private sector company. Jackson has more from the RFI.

The Pentagon's banner year for finding bugs

The Pentagon had quite the year in 2019 with outside security researchers finding more software vulnerabilities in its networks than ever before. The Defense Department’s Cyber Crime Center (DC3) on Friday released its annual numbers from the Vulnerability Disclosure Program (VDP), in which the Pentagon asks ethical hackers, known as “white hats,” to probe its networks for weaknesses, then tell the government what they found. In all, the VDP processed 4,013 vulnerability reports, 2,836 of which led to mitigation activities, the DC3’s executive director, Jeffrey Specht, said in the report. Eight percent of the submitted reports were critical or high severity, according to a statement. “It was our busiest year to date with a staggering 21.7% increase of submitted reports from 2017,” the DOD Cyber Crime Center (DC3) report says. Shannon Vavra has more at CyberScoop.

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