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Frank Konkel

Executive Editor Frank Konkel is Nextgov’s executive editor. He writes about the intersection of government and technology. Frank began covering tech in 2013 upon moving to the Washington, D.C. area after getting his start in journalism working at local and state issues at daily newspapers in his home state of Michigan. Frank was born and raised on a dairy farm and graduated from Michigan State University.
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Why This Tech Historian Thinks Robots are the Key to Human Innovation

October 27, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Walter Isaacson is an acclaimed CEO, editor and author of several books about revered innovators, such as Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin and Steve Jobs. He’s sure the key to human innovation is collaboration. But more and more, that collaboration is involving nonhuman partners. Federal researchers and policy-makers will have to...

GSA’s Green Proving Grounds Wants Government to be on the Greening Edge

October 23, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The idea to adopt and promote green technologies using federal buildings and facilities as guinea pigs is not a new concept. But the Obama administration has ramped up the practice significantly as part of a broader push to achieve environmental efficiencies across the federal government’s vast real-estate portfolio. Recently, the...

The Force is Strong with This One: IARPA Picks ‘Jedi Mind’ to Predict Intelligence Trustworthiness

October 9, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Editor's note: This story previously misstated the challenge was launched following the Edward Snowden leaks. The story has been updated. What if members of the intelligence community could use a combination of physiological data and computer algorithms to anticipate behavior and gauge trustworthiness of individuals? That was the public challenge...

How Canine 'Smart Collars' May Soon Help Secure America's Borders

October 8, 2014 In the future, sensor-equipped collars could let your dog tell you all about its day. If it sounds a little far-fetched, consider that the U.S. government is exploring the possibility of outfitting its border-protecting canines with futuristic collars that can, for example, translate a dog’s stress level through its bark...

30 Years Later, NOAA Administrator Reflects on Her Spacewalk

October 8, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Almost 30 years ago, Kathryn Sullivan – now the administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – became the first American woman to walk in space as a crew member of the space shuttle Challenger. Sullivan was among six women who comprised NASA’s first class of female astronauts and...

The Next Step in Securing the Border: Fido and a Smart-Sensor Collar

October 7, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow In the future, sensor-equipped collars could let your dog tell you all about its day. If it sounds a little far-fetched, consider that the U.S. government is exploring the possibility of outfitting its border-protecting canines with futuristic collars that can, for example, translate a dog’s stress level through its bark...

NASA Awards Flurry of Contracts for IT Services Under SEWP V

October 2, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow NASA has a host of new vendors to buy IT services from, after awarding 56 contracts to more than 40 companies under the latest version of its Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement, known as SEWP. Announced Oct. 1, SEWP V is the fifth generation of the multiaward governmentwide acquisition contract. This...

Why a Refrigerator-Sized Spacecraft Could be Humanity’s Best Hope Against Solar Storms

October 1, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Space is a violent place, and currently the only tool that helps predict solar storms is NASA’s Advanced Composition Explorer, operating 10 years beyond its design life. Realizing the severity of the risk posed by solar storms – like the one that narrowly missed Earth in 2012 – the U.S....

NOAA Taps New Head for Satellite Programs

September 30, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has tapped one of NASA’s top spaceflight officials to lead the division responsible for overseeing billions of dollars’ worth of environmental satellites. NOAA tapped Stephen Volz to be the new head of the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Services, filling a position left...

Fuzzy Math on Data Centers Could Sink Further Savings, GAO Warns

September 25, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The federal government hasn’t struggled to close or consolidate the growing number of energy-guzzling data centers, but a new Government Accountability Office report suggests agencies and overseers need to improve how they tally up cost savings or the feds could miss out on billions in further savings. The new audit...