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Carter: DoD needs acquisition 'fast lane'

Ashton Carter, the Defense Department's undersecretary for acquisitions, said the Pentagon can buy things quickly when it truly needs to. But when it comes to supporting overseas contingency operations, he said the country needs a dedicated, permanent "fast lane" that leapfrogs DoD's notoriously slow methods of buying goods and services.

Tags: DoD , contracting , best practices , management , Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afgh , Ashton Carter , DoD budget , DoD Report

Tuesday - 03/29/2011, 07:23am EDT
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New FBI system boosts fingerprint ID capability

The FBI is beginning to replace its fingerprint identification system with a next-generation version that will dramatically speed up the time it takes to link prints to an identity. The agency says the next generation identification system reached initial operating capability this month at its Clarksburg, West Virginia information services facility. For high-priority prints, it'll be able to find a match in as little as ten minutes - compared to the two hours required for a ten-fingerprint match using the previous generation IAFIS system.

Tags: technology , Meeting Mission and Goals through Technology ,

Monday - 03/28/2011, 07:16pm EDT

FAA studies iPads for navigation

The FAA has been studying whether tablet devices can replace paper aeronautical charts in the cockpits of planes. And for at least one charter jet company, the answer is yes. The agency has given the go-ahead to a large executive aircraft operator to use iPads equipped with a special app to display charts to pilots electronically through all phases of flight. The decision follows three months of testing - including an in-flight decompression test at 50-thousand feet - in which the device held up just fine.

Tags: technology , Meeting Mission and Goals through Technology ,

Monday - 03/28/2011, 07:13pm EDT

Army exploring smartphone technologies for battlefield

The Army is working on keeping deployed soldiers connected to each other - and to the network using commercial, off the shelf technology in smartphones. The Multi Access Cellular Extension program is developing phones that can operate securely on cellular data networks around the world or on Wi-Fi hotspots. If neither of those are available, the phones will be designed to form their own local network and keep soldiers in a small unit at least connected to each other. The army wants the devices to handle voice, data, and specialized military apps.

Tags: technology , Meeting Mission and Goals through Technology ,

Monday - 03/28/2011, 07:21pm EDT

USPS cuts 7,500 jobs, offers $20,000 buyouts

The Postal Service will offer $20,000 early retirement incentives to administrative employees, who must make a decision on whether to leave USPS by late April. RIF notices will be issued on May 25 to any affected employees who do not voluntarily retire or move to a lower grade.

Tags: USPS , RIF , management , pay and benefits , Patrick Donahoe , Postal Regulatory Commission , Anthony Vegliante , cost cutting , budget ,

Thursday - 03/24/2011, 03:53pm EDT
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Call center opens to field Arlington Cemetery inquiries

A new call center, staffed by professionals trained to handle grieving callers, is among the first technology upgrades the Army has made in the aftermath of a management scandal at Arlington National Cemetery last year. Phase two will involve tackling the massive challenge of digitizing the cemetery's paper records.

Tags: DoD , technology , Arlington National Cemetery , Army Information Technology Agency , Donald Adcock , John McHugh , call center , IT services , DoD Report

Wednesday - 03/23/2011, 07:19pm EDT
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Record claims spur demand for automation at VA

The Department of Veterans Affairs, which processed a record one million claims in 2010, is still seeing claims come in faster than it can process them and expects even more new filings in 2011. Despite that, VA hopes to eliminate its backlog of claims by 2015.

Tags: VA , technology , management , disability claims , Eric Shinseki , Veterans Benefits Administration , American Legion , female veterans , veterans , claims processing ,

Wednesday - 03/23/2011, 07:29am EDT
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Army, Marines begin separate ERP rollouts

The Army and Marine Corps are both in the early phases of deploying logistics accountability systems that will replace a collection of disconnected, stovepiped IT systems and processes that have grown up since the 1960s. Though the systems share the same objective, they were made by different vendors, prompting questions from one member of Congress.

Tags: DoD , Congress , management , Army , Marine Corps , Claire McCaskill , financial management , DoD budget , Enterprise Resource Planning , Drew Dwyer , James Amos , Senate Armed Services Committee , DoD Report

Tuesday - 03/22/2011, 07:35am EDT
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DoD, DHS to share biometrics

The Department of Homeland Security already has real-time access to biometric data maintained in the FBI's huge database of criminal records. Soon, agency officials say they'll be able to share similar data with the Defense Department. Biometric information - mainly fingerprints - can be shared between DHS databases and the criminal records the FBI holds at its Criminal Justice Information Services Division in West Virginia. DoD's database will be in the loop within the next year - among other things - letting customs and immigration officials instantly know if someone trying to enter the country has been on the battlefield against the US military. The technology could potentially come into play even if the Defense Department hasn't positively identified that person. That's because the database also includes latent fingerprints taken from improvised explosive devices in Iraq and Afganistan. DoD and DHS say it'll be a big improvement over the limited information sharing they conduct now, using slow, manual processes.

Tags: technology , Meeting Mission and Goals through Technology ,

Monday - 03/21/2011, 06:54pm EDT

HHS opens data to app developers

The Health and Human Services department wants researchers and IT developers to use its vast storehouse of data to make new apps. And it's trying to make it easier for that to happen. The department has created what it calls a Health Indicators Warehouse - a collection of databases on health indicators, along with application programming interfaces built on Web 2.0 technologies. HHS hopes programmers will come up with innovative ways to use the information it's built up in its databases and make it more relevant and more widely available. The agency says the data sets available through the new APIs include 1200 different health indicators from 170 data sources. To get the ball rolling, HHS started developing some of its own apps using the data last year, as part of the Community Health Data Initiative. The apps, and the APIs, are available at health indicators.gov.

Tags: technology , Meeting Mission and Goals through Technology ,

Monday - 03/21/2011, 06:53pm EDT
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