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Will It Take a Real Zombie Attack to Improve Federal Cybersecurity?

It's been said that 80% of cyber-attacks could be prevented by implementing and maintaining the most basic cyber-measures like keeping software patched and using non-default passwords. Well, a recently released Senate study documents the dismal track record many federal agencies have at doing just that. The ramifications range from the now-infamous zombie attack warning that went out over a hacked emergency notification system to incidents of personally identifiable information (PII) theft.

As the White House releases updated critical infrastructure protection (CIP) guidance and Congress is debating its latest cybersecurity and CIP bill, the Republican Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Tom Coburn, released a report detailing how federal agencies are poorly prepared to defend against some of the even most routine attacks.

The Federal Government’s Track Record on Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure was picked up by the Washington Post, which highlighted the February 2013 hack of the FCC’s Emergency Broadcast System that led to several TV stations broadcasting the zombie attack warning. The report cites previous work by the GAO and by agency IGs to emphasize the breath and severity of the problem of not doing the basics when it comes to IT security.

Physician, Heal Thyself

The gist of the report is that while the White House has been very focused on improving the security of the computers and networks which run the nation’s commercially-owned critical infrastructure, through efforts like last year’s executive order, etc., for these efforts to be credible and taken seriously the federal government should address the dangerous insecurity of its own critical networks. This is especially true when the vulnerabilities are due to the failure to perform routine and basic measures.

The report cites the most recent FISMA report in noting that civilian agencies fail to detect about 4 in 10 intrusions and notes that many hacks often exploit mundane weaknesses that could be prevented with routine efforts, particularly out-of-date software patches. The report also cites a June 6, 2013 Congressional Research Service memo to the HSGAC Minority Staff on “FISMA Spending, Historical Trends,” in which CRS estimates that the federal government has spent at least $65 billion on IT security since 2006. (Assuming that covers from FY 2006 to FY 2012, that would average more than $9 billion per year.)

Select examples mentioned in the report include:

  • Homeland Security – In 2013 OMB found DHS rated below the government-wide average for using anti-virus software or other automated detection programs encrypting email, and security awareness training for network users. DHS also came in at 72% of their internet traffic going through Trusted Internet Connections (TIC), missing its OMB-set goal of 95% and even the general government agency goal of 88%. Other widespread issues deal with unpatched software and poor password practices (using weak/default passwords, written/posted passwords, etc.)

  • Internal Revenue Service – Every year since 2008, GAO has identified about 100 cybersecurity weaknesses which compromise computers and data, often repeating weaknesses GAO cited the previous year. Issues include routine lack of encryption to protect sensitive data, lax password standards/administration, failure to fix known vulnerabilities that have been identified by their security monitoring, and lagging software patch installation.

  • Energy – In January 2013 hackers compromised 14 servers and 20 workstations, stealing personal information on hundreds of government and contract employees, and possibly other information. In another incident six months later, hackers took personal information for 104K past and present employees. Vulnerabilities include from unprotected servers, unapplied software patches, weak access controls and passwords, and poorly-secured web applications.

Implications

Shining the spotlight on the ongoing deficiencies of federal agencies to effectively deploy rudimentary security measures may add fuel to the fire in the debate over the fed’s role in private CIP and cybersecurity. The lines have been drawn largely between those who favor a regulatory approach with rules and requirements versus those who advocate an incentives-based approach with liability protections. Whatever the merits of either side, the fact still remains that more must be done to secure federal networks, systems and devices.

The Post article notes that Coburn and others see as the underlying problem the fed’s failure to hire and maintain highly-skilled IT workers that have the proper authorities to enforce simple security protocols, combined with a lack of accountability at the agency senior level for security failures. The examples emphasize that the problem in this area is not technical, really. It’s more about policy, governance and administration. That comes back to strategy, training, and execution, to which agencies should turn to their cyber- industry partners for support and expertise.

Maybe a report like this will give federal IT managers and cybersecurity staff a little more clout to shake the current system out of “zombie mode” and into effective action. We’ll see what the next FISMA report reveals.

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Originally published for Federal Industry Analysis: Analysts Perspectives Blog. Stay ahead of the competition by discovering more about 
GovWin FIA. Follow me on Twitter @GovWinSlye.

California is talking and vendors should be listening

The California Technology Agency recently stripped down its procurement process and took a hard look at what is working and what is not. The California IT Procurement Task Force recently completed an analysis, and the findings were presented this week in a webinar led by the Rosio Alvarez, head of the task force; Carlos Ramos, California Department of Technology Director and CIO; and Richard Pennington, general counsel and task force member.  

While there were many issues worth investigating, the task force focused on project approval, timeliness, and reducing complexity in the procurement process. Alvarez explained that project approval is a daunting, time-consuming step in the procurement process. The state used to require a feasibility study before every major IT endeavor, which proved to be time consuming, expensive, and not always necessary. The task force eventually ran a business process analysis and recommended removing the feasibility study requirement. Now, the state will be required to do market research to gain knowledge of the technology being procured, provide a thorough procurement plan, and develop a comprehensive budget. If the established procurement timeline is adhered to, then it is less likely that the project will fall behind. Expediting the approval process and replacing the feasibility study with simpler steps offers time saving and reduced costs while providing the same valuable information.

Currently, California has many measures in place to ensure a fair procurement that is open to all vendors, but it is not working as it should. In fact, it is decreasing the pool of vendors that can bid because the procurement process is too lengthy. This leads to the state acquiring technology that is outdated once the procurement process is all said and done. This current process is not beneficial to the vendor or the state.

In an effort to eliminate these outdated measures, the state has set a 10-month procurement goal from RFP release to contract execution. Ramos even went on to set a loftier 6-month procurement goal. He acknowledged that the timeline is not always feasible, but he’s had success with it in a recent cloud-computing procurement.

A major focus of the task force during the webinar was reducing complexity. Outdated measures, inefficient processes, and miscommunication with vendors have been an obstacle; therefore, the state went to the bidders and asked how they could better the procurement process. One answer rang clear: improve communication.

States will benefit from developing clear project goals and requirements ahead of time by determining the business problems to solve and why a new solution is needed. If the state is confident and detailed in what it wants to procure, it makes the proposal writing much easier for vendors. It also provides an opportunity to pre-screen vendors so that only the most qualified are spending time developing a bid.

California is also toying with the idea of working with potential bidders before a solicitation hits the streets. In a recent test run, the state reached out to vendors it thought were a good fit for procuring a new technology and asked them to come “live” in the California Department of Technology for a few days. The vendors observed the antiquated system, saw the problems that needed addressing, then sat down with state officials and wrote the requirements of the request for proposals (RFP) together. Vendors were then asked to submit bids for the project, and the state selected the most suitable provider. While slightly unconventional, it allowed maximum transparency for the vendors who were a good fit and gave them a say in what the state needed. It also offered valuable insight into their key competitors. This may not be the way of the future for all procurements, but it may be a successful method for more specialized projects.

In another effort to maximize communication, California has been using contract code 6611, which allows negotiations and communication all the way up to the day a contract is signed. It provides a vehicle for best and final offers as well as pre-mortem and post-mortem debriefs so that unsuccessful bidders can see who won and why.

Overall, California is making great strides to improve the procurement process. State officials want to hear what vendors have to say before, during, and after the process. They want to speed things up so that vendors can bid and win faster, and agencies can implement suitable, up-to-date technologies. Ramos acknowledged that technology is the future and California won’t be left behind.

Vendors should be vocal about wanting to be involved in California’s procurement makeover. The state is open and willing to hear bidders’ feedback, and being visible in the eyes of government will surely be beneficial. If these new measures prove successful in California, other states are sure to follow in the near future.

California procurement is going to be moving at a faster pace, and vendors need to keep up. There may be less time between requirements gathering, solicitation release, and award. By eliminating the mandatory feasibility study component, procurements will accelerate, which is bad news for consulting companies looking to win business. They will still find an opportunity to bid on larger, less defined projects where the state needs guidance, but they will be fewer and farther between. This may increase competition, so vendors need to bring their A-game.

Consultants will need to partner with larger companies to ensure they see business. Procurement roadmaps may include a feasibility study aspect in the planning of the project, so consulting companies should pair up with other bidders to win. Again, being vocal will only behoove vendors and push them to the top of California’s list.

You can learn more about current procurement opportunities in California in the GovWin IQ State and Local Opportunities database. Not a Deltek subscriber? Click here to learn more about Deltek's GovWin IQ service and gain access to a free trial.

State of the Union Highlights: Contractor Implications

On January 29, President Obama delivered his sixth State of the Union address, and the themes are familiar. The President urged Congress to work with him to pass much needed legislation to address key administration priorities, such as job creation, healthcare, immigration, national defense, tax reform, pay equality and income security, and education and training.

Although there was not much detail, my team of analysts and I walked away from the speech with a few takeaways with contracting implications:

  • No more budget crises. While Obama lauded the efforts of Congress in passing a two-year budget deal, he encouraged Congress to continue with investments that will both support our future and reduce the deficit. He also reiterated another key way to address the fiscal bleeding, which is to close tax loopholes, like those that give $4 billion to the fossil fuel industry each year, that impact our revenue.

  • Give Americans a raise. Although he does not have the power to enforce a national minimum wage increase, President Obama intends to sign an Executive Order requiring federal contractors to pay their federally-funded employees at least $10.10 an hour.This will be an interesting story to watch unfold, considering the burden this will place on the profitability of govt. contracts, especially for small businesses.  We may see contractors restructuring their rate schedules to build in increased wage requirements, which would indirectly lay the burden of higher wages onto the government and therefore U.S. taxpayers. It may also inadvertently impact the number of vendors in the federal market – and therefore price competitiveness – if businesses decide it just isn’t profitable enough to work with the federal government.

  • Accept Obamacare or propose a new solution. Now that healthcare.gov is functional, there seems to be renewed confidence in the possibilities of Obamacare.  The President challenged Republicans to come up with a better solution that makes financial sense rather than spend time on another 40 votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

  • Don’t skimp on R&D.  The President called for Congress to restore cuts to basic research that facilitates the development of leading edge technology and will help America regain global dominance in technology, medical research and manufacturing.  Obama noted two high-tech manufacturing hubs where businesses and research universities are working together, and the launch of six more hubs. More emphasis on federal R&D could give contractors more opportunities in this area. Funding basic research has been mentioned as a priority by officials from both the Pentagon and the Army.  Work done by DARPA, DOE labs, NASA, and other technology-focused parts of the government would also benefit. 

  • Refocus on CONUS defense.  There will be an interesting shift to using the Department of Defense here at home, which is a huge historical shift from restrictions on this that date back to the founding.  A major part of that strategy is to shore up cybersecurity defense capabilities and as the President stated, “…keep faith with our men and women in uniform and invest in the capabilities they need to succeed in future missions.” Not surprisingly, cybersecurity remains a critical area with gaps that agencies will need contractor support to fill.

  • Take care of our veterans. Judging by the moving reaction to wounded Army Ranger Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg, veteran care is a one of those rare, bipartisan issues that draws agreement from both sides of the aisle. President Obama indicated that the administration will “keep slashing that backlog so our veterans receive the benefits they’ve earned and our wounded warriors receive the health care – including the mental health care – that they need.” VA’s Medical IT Support and claims processing budget accounts will continue to have consistent (and growing) funding, at least in the near-term.

  • Create new jobs and train people for jobs of the future. President Obama continues his focus on the national infrastructure – rebuilding roads and upgrading ports.  This could mean opportunities for federal and state and local contractors with Architecture, Engineering and Construction expertise. With a declining federal workforce, training programs are likely to translate into contractor opportunities. Vice President Biden will lead the reform of America’s training programs, which will give employees the skills required to match with company needs. Implications:  Could help contractors looking for specific talents/skills. 
  • Invest in education and the technology to support excellence. The President targeted investment (either grants or contracts) to select providers in his pledge to connect 99 percent of students to high-speed broadband over the next four years. With support from the FCC and companies like Apple, Microsoft, Sprint, and Verizon, more than 15,000 schools and 20 million students will be connected without a negative impact to the deficit. 

  • Invest in energy efficiency and independence. The President restated his commitment to working with industry to support natural gas production and set higher fuel efficiency standards, and with business and communities to reduce energy consumption. This implies additional policy, subsidies and training in “green” professions to help facilitate America’s “shift to a cleaner energy economy.”  

  • Fix the immigration problem. President Obama encouraged the House to follow the Senate’s lead and act on immigration reform, which could result in economic growth (and therefore job creation) and a deficit reduction of almost $1 trillion in the next two decades.

Compared to last year’s State of the Union address, there was much of the same.  The President’s priorities have not significantly shifted.  However, he did raise new issues that will have both positive (defense focus on CONUS and cybersecurity) and negative (higher contractor employee wages) ramifications for companies serving the federal government.  As we typically see in federal contracting, the main issue will be in effectively translating policy into execution.

 

Health insurance exchange deadline just days away

It’s almost here. By October 1, states have no choice but to have some form of health insurance exchange (HIX) up and ready to enroll consumers in health insurance plans. Many states that have decided to take on the development of their own exchange have just about finished their systems and are focusing more on customer-facing websites and outreach efforts. However, some states have admitted that more time will be needed to tweak components of their system after October 1, which may even be true for the federally-facilitated exchange (FFE) model. According to the Wall Street Journal, the FFE is having challenges with calculating the amount of subsidies an individual applicant is eligible for. 

There is also the looming threat of a government shutdown and the defunding of Obamacare. Still, in the case of a government shutdown, the funds to states should not be significantly impacted. The funding set aside for the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) implementation of insurance exchanges was considered a “permanent appropriation,” so states will feel little, if any consequence of a government shutdown. For that, states will still be able to apply for funding to help continue the build out of various components for their exchange. 

As for upcoming opportunities, vendors can expect to see a push for fraud prevention and protection services for insurance exchanges. The California Health Benefit Exchange (CHBE) released an RFP earlier this month for an enterprise-wide consumer protection assessment. The state is interested in strategic expertise in fraud prevention and consumer protection to help formulate enterprise-wide solutions to protect consumers of their insurance exchange from fraud.

California has been a golden child of the HIX initiative since the mandate came out in March 2010, and its HIX, Covered California, is expected to be ready for launch next month. The state spent a whopping $80 million (all federal funds) on marketing and outreach campaigns for the exchange to help encourage people to sign up.

Deltek's Health Care and Social Services Team will be releasing a report later this year to provide an update on statewide efforts in the implementation of these exchanges. For now, be sure to check out Deltek’s Health Insurance Exchange Vertical Profile Application to learn more about the ACA's initiative. Not a Deltek subscriber? Click here to learn more about Deltek's GovWin IQ service and gain access to a free trial.  

 

 

 

Is More Power in the Hands of the CIO the Real Answer?

Most of the buzz around the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) to date has been positive, from both government and industry.  However, in late July there were indications that the White House might not support the legislation.  In addition, former commissioner of GSA’s Federal Technology Service wrote an FCW article expressing the possible downside of shifting all IT control to the CIO.

FITARA would make CIOs presidential appointees reporting to the agency head, and grant them personnel and budget authority for IT.  The legislation would codify many of the administration’s current IT initiatives, such as data center consolidation and promotion of strategic sourcing.  However, FITARA provisions lack coverage for the Defense Department.     

Bob Woods, president of Topside Consulting Group and former commissioner of GSA’s Federal Technology Service, doubts that giving all IT authority to the CIO will solve problems.  “How agencies will improve results by replacing a career CIO with one destined to last 27 months is baffling,” Woods wrote in a recent FCW article.  He believes in a team approach and allowing operations people closer to the missions to make decisions.  Woods thinks FITARA is “doomed to fail, because it is attacking symptoms, not root causes.”    

Federal CIO Steve VanRoekel said in a Federal News Radio interview,”I think it’s (FITARA) good, but I don’t know if it goes far enough.”  For the most part, VanRoekel and the administration have been mum regarding FITARA.  The legislation was attached as an amendment to the House version of the 2014 Defense Authorization Act, but was not mentioned in the Statement of Administration Policy issued on the bill.

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) offered a rather blunt call for administration support of the bill during a hearing of the House subcommittee on Government Operations last week.  “It is the friendlies, the most sympathetic bill you will get out of Congress.  It is, in large measure, a codification in fact, of initiatives and reforms undertaken by the administration.  But, if the administration decides to spurn this legislation that has passed the House already, you are going to have problems on both sides of the aisle.”

In order for FITARA to become law, it would first need to pass the Senate.  The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee just passed its version of the Defense Authorization Bill in early June, but to date there has been no public discussion of adding FITARA as an amendment.  If the legislation passed the Senate, it would then go to the president for signature. 

 

Deltek Pulse: Health care and social services July review

In July, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released yet another round of funding under the health insurance exchange (HIX) establishment grants. Colorado was awarded a Level 2 grant, while Nevada, New Mexico, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia all received Level 1 grants.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the recent awards:

·         Colorado - $116,245,677

o    Funds will be used to support outreach/education activities. They will also be used to assist in the development of Colorado’s consumer service center.

·         Nevada - $9,020,798

o    Funds will be used to support information technology security requirements, in addition to development of a virtual assistant to allow the state’s HIX to provide one-on-one consumer support and training.

·         New Mexico - $18,600,000

o    Funds will be used to support comprehensive outreach and marketing activities, training efforts, and standards for establishing the state’s Navigator program.

·         Vermont - $42,687,000

o    Funds will be used to support the design, development and implementation of the marketplace portion of fully integrating Medicaid and CHIP into the state’s newly integrated eligibility environment.

·         Virginia - $1,247,402

o    Funds will be used to perform analyses and reviews necessary to support certification, decertification and recertification of qualified health plans and stand-alone dental plans.

·         West Virginia - $10,165,243

o    Funds will be used to support the development of the state’s in-person assistance personnel and plan management activities.

States operating their own exchanges only have two months to get them up and running for consumers to enroll in plans that will begin in January 2014. HHS has awarded more than $4 billion so far in federal funding to support Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements. This funding, which is critical to states’ development of HIX systems, will continue through 2014.

On the procurement side of the spectrum, July brought a lot of activity across health and social services departments. Here are a few contracts awarded last month:

Missouri - The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services awarded its “Spirit System Software Enhancements” project to Custom Data Processing.

Arkansas - The Arkansas Health Connector Division awarded CAI to provide a guide management solution.

Wisconsin - The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families awarded Deloitte for “Child Support Enforcement Document Generation, System Integration Implementation and Training Services.”

And here’s a few projects coming down the pipeline:

Pennsylvania - The Philadelphia Department of Public Health (DPH) released a request for information (RFI) for health interface engine solution services. The state is seeking information on ways to facilitate the exchange of health-related data between several applications within the city.

Tennessee - The Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration confirmed plans to release a solicitation for pharmacy benefit management (PBM) services in June 2014. The current contract is held by CVS Caremark and expires in June 2015.

Nevada - The Nevada Department of Administration, on behalf of the Public Employees’ Benefits Program (PEBP), released an RFI for corporate medical exchange services. The state is seeking information on the scope of the market for the exchange to provide health insurance and related benefits to more than 31,000 people.

South Carolina - The South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services anticipates releasing a draft RFP and RFI for Medicaid management information system (MMIS) provider management services.

Wisconsin - The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families released an RFI for “Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Collections Mainframe Transition Services.” The department is seeking information regarding moving similar systems from a mainframe environment to the Web.

Florida - The Florida Department of Health released an RFI for patient portal services. The department is looking to integrate a commercial solution to provide functionality required of a patient portal as a component desired to meet the 2014 electronic health record (EHR) certification criteria.

Want more? Be sure to check out Deltek’s robust database of opportunities that extend beyond the health and social services arena. Not a Deltek subscriber? Click here to learn more about Deltek's GovWin IQ service and gain access to a free trial.  

Nevada seeking assistance for corporate medical exchange

A unique opportunity is coming down the pipeline for the Silver State. The Nevada Department of Administration, on behalf of the Public Employees’ Benefits Program (PEBP), released a request for information (RFI) on Monday for corporate medical exchange services. According to the PEBP, the future solution will provide health insurance and related benefits to about 31,000 state employees and non-state retirees who are not eligible for Medicare. 

Consumers using the future system should have a choice of coverage options, in which plans will range from consumer-driven health plans, to PPO and HMO coverage models. Access will be another important component to the corporate exchange as the state would like the solution to provide ample access to a high-quality network of providers.

Nevada swiftly implemented Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements by contracting a health insurance exchange (HIX) vendor, Xerox, in June 2012. Now, the state is the first to publically and competitively solicit information for corporate medical exchange services. Nevada also recently launched a consumer-facing website, NevadaHealthLink, which will allow customers to compare and shop for qualified health insurance plans.

Be sure to check out Deltek’s GovWinIQ database to learn more about upcoming HIX-related opportunities across the states. Not a Deltek subscriber? Learn more and sign up for a free trial.

Digital Strategy Scorecard Highlights Progress, Despite Open Items

May 23, 2013 marked the one year anniversary of the Digital Government Strategy.  As government organizations worked toward their remaining deliverables, others took stock of the progress they’ve made toward the goal of delivering better services to American citizens.
 
Steven VanRoekel, Federal Chief Information Officer, has described the achievements in four categories: increasing data-centric approach to information technology, promoting shared platforms and services, improving customer access to information and services, and maintaining cybersecurity. These categories covered ten different milestones, which were comprised of a combined twenty-nine actions. The milestones scorecard shows that close to 76% of the milestones were achieved. While 4% of the actions appear to have not been completed, the statuses of several efforts are difficult to assess due to variance across agency reporting.
 
 
Originally published for Federal Idustry Analysis: Analysts Perspectives Blog. Stay ahead of them competition by discovering more about GovWinIQ. Follow me on twitter @FIAGovWin.

Florida's FY 2014 Budget

What a difference a fiscal year makes! For the past two budget cycles (FY 2012 and FY 2013), Florida Governor Rick Scott has been requesting deep cuts to health care, education and public safety to curtail the state’s declining tax revenues and multibillion-dollar deficit. Now, Governor Scott is touting a $4 billion surplus, and the fiscal year 2014 budget recommendations Scott released on February 6 actually add funds to state programs for the first time in six years. Also, in a reversal from years passed, Scott’s top budget priorities for FY 2014 include health care and education, both of which were once on the chopping block. 
 
The governor’s FY 2014 state budget recommendation, also called the Florida Families First budget, asks for a pay raise for K-12 teachers and state workers, an increase in funding for state universities, and, surprisingly, accepts federal funds to support the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA). If adopted, the Republican governor’s FY 2014 budget would be the largest in state history, at $74 billion.
 
 

 
This economic upswing has allowed Scott to tailor his budget around job creation by cutting business taxes, investing in workforce training programs, and calling for $8.3 billion in transportation projects. Scott has also added $3 billion to higher education, essentially restoring funds to pre-recession levels. Additionally, Florida’s unemployment rate dropped to 7.7 percent, signifying an increase in revenue from income taxes. The combination of less spending and larger revenues has resulted in this unexpected surplus.
 
Now that the state is seeing a fruitful recovery, there is more push from department heads to restore services and programs and take on new projects. Despite cries for relief, Scott’s budget largely resists large-scale funding restorations; instead, he has smartly decided to split the difference by recommending a smaller increase in spending while opting to replenish the state’s once-dry emergency fund.
 
 

 
The top vertical increases in Scott’s FY 2014 budget recommendations (compared to FY 2013) focus on higher education (66.2 percent), transportation (33.7 percent), and public finance (24.3 percent) verticals. The Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle Department within the transportation vertical received a $20.6 million increase compared to FY 2013. This increase includes a $4.9 million funding request to procure a new motorist service system that is expected to be implemented over multiple years.
 
The top vertical decreases in the FY 2014 budget recommendations are for natural resources (-5.8 percent), K-12 education (-7.3 percent) and social services (-9.6 percent) verticals. The bulk of losses for social services are represented by a $575 million decrease from the Elder Affairs and Children and Family Services departments, stemming from reduced public services and pending layoffs. However, the IT expenditures under the social services vertical actually see a 7.9 percent increase from FY 2013, due in large part to projects such as the state’s public assistance eligibility system and the child dependency information management system.
 

 
One of the bigger gaffes Florida faced during the 2013 fiscal year was the defunding and decommissioning of the Agency of Enterprise Information Technology (AEIT). Last year, Scott vetoed legislation that would have replaced AEIT with a new central information technology agency that would have focused more on the state’s data center consolidation effort. Scott justified the veto by stating he believed the new agency’s scope was too narrow. Even though both Scott and the legislature promised to work together for fiscal year 2014 to avoid another misstep, it seems the House and Senate have each introduced competing legislation – though each is requesting a new agency, the agencies would have differing scopes and oversight schemes. An aide in Senator Jeremy Ring’s office confirmed that, despite political maneuvering, the hope is to create a central agency to manage the state’s IT efforts and oversee nearly $51 billion in IT contracts, rather than have 19 different state agencies inefficiently managing their own. 
 
There are two major differences in oversight and scope between the House and Senate bills. Senate Bill 1762 calls for the head of the new agency to report to the governor alone, while House Bill 5009 calls for the head of the new agency to report to the governor as well as the cabinet. There’s also a difference in scope, as the House bill would pare down the new agency’s ability to influence IT purchasing decisions, while the Senate bill would create a department with robust authority including oversight of all IT purchases that involved multiple state agencies. Ultimately, HB 5009 would really only allow the new agency to track and analyze IT purchases and draft IT strategic plans in more of an advisory role. Since Governor Scott has yet to throw his support behind either bill, this battle will likely continue into the summer.
 
For an extended version of this article, please go here. 
 
For more information on Florida FY 2014 budget, visit the state profile here.
 
Not a Deltek subscriber? Click here to learn more about Deltek’s GovWin IQ database and take advantage of a free trial.

 

NASW’s Social Work Month coming to a close

This year’s annual Social Work Month and its theme of “Weaving Threads of Resilience and Advocacy” are coming to a close. The month-long event, which is spearheaded by the National Association of Social Workers (

NASW), has been celebrated each year since the 1960s, and is an opportunity for communities nationwide to highlight the profession and the important contributions social workers make each day. 
 
NASW is the largest membership organization of professional social workers in the nation. Its mission is to enhance professional growth and development of its members, create and maintain professional standards, and advance sound social policies. To honor Social Work Month, Deltek is taking a look at how New Mexico has immensely improved its Child Support Enforcement Division.
 
In June 2012, New Mexico was recognized by the National Child Support Enforcement Association (NCSEA) for having the most improved child support enforcement program in the country. The award is determined through an extensive look at a state’s child support program performance over three years to ensure consistent, broad-based improvement. In that time, New Mexico improved its Paternity Establishment Percentage (from 54th in the nation to 29th). The state’s child support enforcement system, eChild, is a Web-based solution that works in conjunction with the existing state legacy mainframe. New Mexico contracted with Health Management Systems in June 2012 to provide child support enforcement customer service.
 
New Mexico’s Child Support Enforcement Division (CSED) continues to provide child support enforcement services to the general public, as well as recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Medicaid. The mission of CSED is to reduce the impact of poverty on people living in New Mexico by providing support services that assist families in breaking the cycle of dependency on public assistance.
 
To learn more about New Mexico and other social services-related projects throughout the country, check out Deltek’s Vertical Profiles. Non-subscribers can learn more about GovWin IQ and sign up for a free trial here.

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