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Joseph Marks

Staff Correspondent Joseph Marks covers government technology issues, social media, Gov 2.0 and global Internet freedom for Nextgov. He previously reported on federal litigation and legal policy for Law360 and on local, state and regional issues for two Midwestern newspapers. He also interned for Congressional Quarterly’s Homeland Security section and the Associated Press’s Jerusalem Bureau. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s in international affairs from Georgetown.
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Solyndra investigation led to new search tool at Energy

February 21, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The congressional investigation into alleged mishandling of a $528 million Energy Department loan guarantee to the now-bankrupt solar energy company Solyndra was bad news overall for the department. One silver lining, though, came from Energy Chief Technology Officer Peter Tseronis' office. When the probe began, the department's Loan Programs Office ...

Watchdog outlines $1.2 billion in IT overlap within Defense, Energy

February 17, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow An inventory of about 20 percent of all information technology investments at the Defense, Energy and Homeland Security departments turned up 37 potentially duplicative efforts that cost the government about $1.2 billion over the past five years, according to a watchdog report released Friday. Of those potentially duplicative investments, 31 ...

DHS defends social media monitoring program

February 16, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The Homeland Security Department monitors social media sites, blogs and online comment threads to gather "situational awareness" about threats and emergencies, but it doesn't pull identifying information about average citizens out of those comments unless it's a "life or death situation," officials told a House panel Thursday. The hearing of ...

Budgets on the Brain...and on the Train...

February 14, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Who knew the federal budget was so popular? A mobile website of President Obama's fiscal 2013 budget request received about 53,000 visitors during its first 24 hours online, a spokesman for the Government Printing Office told Nextgov Tuesday. To put that in context, GPO's first mobile site -- a detailed ...

White House Touts Contraception Turnaround on Petition Site

February 14, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Among the places the Obama Administration publicized its recent step back on a controversial rule requiring Catholic charities and other groups to supply birth control to female employees was the White House's online petition site We the People. A few hours after President Obama announced he would soften the policy ...

GSA's Web and mobile unit faces 7 percent budget cut

February 14, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow This story has been updated. A General Services Administration division responsible for guiding part of the government's Web and mobile strategy is slated for a 7 percent cut in President Obama's fiscal 2013 budget request. A GSA official told Nextgov on Tuesday that the proposed reduction was a result of ...

A Virtual Ambassador

February 13, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford is trying to remain an important voice in that chaotic and violence-wracked country despite the evacuation of the U.S. embassy in Damascus last week. In posts on the embassy's Facebook page Thursday and Friday, Ford decried Syrian President Basher Assad's use of heavy artillery ...

State plans to hike cloud spending, scale back digital diplomacy

February 13, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The State Department wants to invest about $22 million more in information technology this year, according to justification documents accompanying President Obama's proposed fiscal 2013 budget. By far the largest share of that increase would go to cloud computing initiatives, including building a "private cloud" for internal use and a ...

Under Obama plan, federal IT spending would drop 1 percent

February 13, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow This story has been updated. President Obama's proposed fiscal 2013 budget includes a dip of slightly more than 1 percent for federal information technology to about $78.9 billion. That overall drop is due largely to a major decline in Defense Department IT spending, which is projected to fall by about ...

Marines Navigate Another Digital Landmine

February 10, 2012 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The U.S. Marine Corps is getting another lesson in the power of ubiquitous digital technology. Less than one month after a video surfaced showing Marines urinating on Taliban fighters' corpses, a photo has been making the rounds of an elite sniper unit posing by a flag with the double lightning ...