Weekly Roundup: HHS Hires CIO, DoD Absorbs DARPA, DHS Selects 8, ECS and Serco Strike Big Deals

Jim Garrettson

This week, Jose Arrieta was confirmed as the chief information officer for the Department of Health and Human Services. Arrieta confirmed his appointment on Thursday during the Association for Federal Information Resources Management’s Leadership Awards event.

In Virginia news, it was also revealed that President Trump intends to nominate Ken Cuccinelli, former attorney general of Virginia, to serve as the new director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within the Department of Homeland Security. USCIS is responsible for processing immigration, naturalization applications and establishing policies regarding immigration services.

Department of Defense Making Changes

In an effort to centralize more research divisions under Michael Griffin, DoD undersecretary and 2019 Wash100 Award recipient, DoD is planning to absorb the strategic capabilities office into the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

In addition, DoD is looking to cut regulations and update its policies to accelerate the adoption of new military capabilities. DoD is also implementing a new multi-vendor approach to its 2018 Enterprise Cloud Strategy to transition away from the hardware-dependent infrastructures.

Karl Kurz, program manager for DISA’s unified capabilities portfolio, noted the commercial cloud will eliminate the extra cost and maintenance of individual data servers, and minimize the attack surface – consolidating security efforts within a single enterprise cloud environment rather than multiple data centers.

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Elsewhere, ECS Federal, headed by George Wilson, secured a six-year, $276 million task order to help DHS update a dashboard for the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation program. 

Dave Dacquino

Serco, led by David Dacquino, also agreed to acquire the naval systems business unit of Alion Science and Technology for $225 million in a push to expand its footprint in the naval modernization, sustainment and support services market.

Under the second phase of the Smart Cities Internet of Thing Innovation (SCITI) Labs initiative, DHS has selected eight companies to further develop unmanned aerial systems, in-building sensor and communications technology prototypes.

“This process provides an ‘integrate-test-apply’ development and deployment approach to the much-needed mission capabilities to help meet homeland security needs,” said Jeff Booth, SCITI Labs program lead at DHS’s S&T directorate.

The eight participating companies are:

  • Airgility
  • Coolfire Solutions
  • Datakwip Holdings
  • EcoDomus
  • Excession Technologies
  • Mutualink
  • One Engineering
  • Third Insight

Also, leading tech firm Leidos developed an artificial intelligence-based analytics tool that works to help users analyze big data from multiple sources, including social media, software and other systems. The company plans to modify the tool to integrate sensitive-site exploitation data with information from open sources, signals intelligence and human intelligence.

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