How the NSA could get so smart so fast? – Plus the DorobekINSIDER’s 7 Stories

On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:

  • 10 years ago the role of the Chief Information Officer was radically different than it is today. Consider this, in 2013 the federal government will spend more than $80 billion on IT. That's no easy task. So how do they do it effectively? And is the role going to continue to evolve? Insights from Brocade's Anthony Robbins.

But up front: NSA’s Tech

How the NSA could get so smart so fast. It’s unclear exactly what type of computing the National Security Agency is using in its data-center facilities around the U.S., or in a $1.2 billion facility in Utah that will open this fall. But broadly speaking, reports CIO Journal, the technology that the NSA uses to parse data for keywords that could warn of an impending terrorist attack can be broken down into three categories: NoSQL databases, machine learning and Hadoop. These technologies can store vastly different types of data in a single database, and can be processed rapidly using inexpensive hardware, without an analyst having to formulate a hypothesis. “They’ve substantially reduced the cost and greatly increased the [government's] ability to analyze this type of data,” says Tom Davenport, an expert on analytics and a visiting professor at Harvard Business School.

Amazon and IBM battle for CIA contract. The battle between IBM and Amazon over a $600 million contract to set up a cloud-computing system for the CIA shows the growing importance of intelligence-agency business for tech companies, the WSJ’s Spencer E. Ante reports. The Defense Department, which manages many of the nation’s intelligence assets, spent about $35 billion on information technology last year. The bulk of it went to large, older technology companies and contractors such as Raytheon, Hewlett-Packard, Boeing and Computer Sciences. Those companies primarily build and manage computer systems. But the rise of cloud computing has created an opening for less-traditional vendors. - Wall Street Journal.

The SEVEN stories that impact your life

  1. The director of the National Security Agency came out swinging in congressional hearings over electronic surveillance. Army General Keith Alexander told senators the surveillance has helped the government stop dozens of terrorist attacks. Two of the data-gathering programs were made public by a leaker working for contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. (Federal News Radio)
  2. New CIA Director John Brennan has hired a member of his inner circle to be his number-two at the agency. White House lawyer Avril Haines will replace CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell when he retires in August. Haines will be the first woman to hold the post. She is now the deputy counsel to the president and legal adviser to the National Security Council. (Federal News Radio)
  3. The Veterans Affairs Department is claiming progress in the war against its own backlog of disability claims. NextGov reports, VA has reduced the number of pending claims by 74,000 since March. That's according to Thomas Murphy, director of the VA Compensation and Pension Services. He told the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, he thinks the department can reach its goal of processing all claims by the end of 2015. Right now, VA's in-basket has more than 850,000 claims. Two-thirds of those are more than 125-days old. (NextGov)
  4. The Pentagon is planning for two scenarios in fiscal 2014 because the outcome of budget negotiations between the White House and Congress remains uncertain, a senior Defense Department official said on Wednesday. One plan will be based on the Obama administration’s fiscal 2014 budget request and the other assumes Washington continues to be mired in “fiscal gridlock,"  Carter said during an annual conference hosted by the Center for a New American Security. (GovExec)
  5. The key to curbing government waste and duplication lies in training more specialists in program management, analysts said Wednesday at a Capitol Hill panel hosted by the House Government Efficiency Caucus. Federal agencies are behind private industry in training program managers to reduce costs in today’s worldwide climate of “doing more with less,” according to a survey released at the event by the nonprofit Project Management Institute. (GovExec)
  6. The White House’s cybersecurity directive is about to take another big step. FCW reports, among the directives in the executive order was a measure for the National Institute of Standards and Technology to lead the development of cybersecurity framework within a roughly eight-month timeframe that would unify government expectations and requirements for public and private IT networks and systems. Since then, NIST has convened workshops involving both the public and private sectors, and key lessons are reportedly emerging.
  7. And on GovLoop: Here is a staggering stat: 130 millions Americans own a smartphone, including roughly 1 out of 2 adults. That's a technology that wasn't even around 5 years ago. So how can government leverage this technology to connect, engage and empower government employees and the general public? Tune in to find out with the DorobekINISDER LIVE panel on June 26th at noon ET. Register for the free online webinar now.

DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder

  • The New Yorker: Useful Phrases for the Surveillance State.
    • I think the N.S.A. is awesome.
    • I just reread “Nineteen Eighty-Four”—it actually has a lot of good ideas in it!
    • There’s no such thing as a “bad” drone.
    • Sure am glad that I never talk to any foreigners.
    • I wouldn’t know the first thing about making ricin.
    • The Fourth Amendment is overrated.
    • If you ask me, Guantánamo is full of nothing but complainers.
    • Just changed my Facebook status from “Single” to “In a Relationship with America.”

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