An annual industry forecast projects agencies will spend billions of dollars less on information technology over the next five years than it projected a year ago. While the new estimates show slight increases in annual IT spending, they are roughly $10 billion less each year compared with last year’s forecast, in part because of anticipated deficit reduction measures.
The Defense Department’s move toward cloud computing is methodical and deliberate — pretty much as expected of most things the military does. But unlike many agencies, the main impetus is not to save money. The Pentagon’s take on cloud differs than most of the respondents to an exclusive Federal News Radio survey of federal CIOs. The survey found 58 percent of the respondents said their agency is seeing cost savings as a benefit of cloud computing, while 42 percent said their agency is getting better service.
A new type of executive leader – the chief data officer, part technologist, part executive – is becoming more common among the government ranks, but experts question whether oversight of data management really has a home among C-level decision making. In the federal government, the Federal Communications Commission was the first agency to name a CDO in 2010, appointing Greg Elin, a former Sunlight Foundation staffer. In addition to Elin, the agency has 10 CDOs for its offices and bureaus, each responsible for the policies and practices that make FCC data available internally and externally.
The Army spent more than $10 million each on annual Association for the U.S. Army conferences in 2010 and 2011, according to a report this week from Bloomberg News. Bloomberg reported that the Army spent $10.7 million on the 2010 conference and $10.6 million in 2011. The three-day conferences are educational forums for service members and civilian employees on topics such as cyberwarfare, Bloomberg said.
Google’s efforts to track users across services such as YouTube and Gmail do not meet European standards of privacy, officials announced Tuesday, in the latest of a growing number of regulatory challenges for the American technology giant. A letter signed by regulators from 27 countries calls on Google to give users more notice about how their data are collected and seek consent in some cases. The company merged the privacy policies of 60 of its services this year, making it easier to track the behavior of its users but sparking concerns that it was amassing too much personal information.
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta warned Thursday that the United States was facing the possibility of a “cyber-Pearl Harbor” and was increasingly vulnerable to foreign computer hackers who could dismantle the nation’s power grid, transportation system, financial networks and government. In a speech at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York, Mr. Panetta painted a dire picture of how such an attack on the United States might unfold. He said he was reacting to increasing aggressiveness and technological advances by the nation’s adversaries, which officials identified as China, Russia, Iran and militant groups.