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Mohana Ravindranath

Staff Correspondent Mohana Ravindranath covers civilian agency technology and IT policy for Nextgov. She previously covered IT for the Washington Post, and her work has also appeared in Business Insider and the Philadelphia Inquirer. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.
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Agencies a Step Closer to Open Data, Chief Data Officers

November 16, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The House on Wednesday passed a bill that would require agencies to evaluate the effectiveness of programs based on data and require agencies to open their data to the public. The Foundations of Evidence-Based Policymaking Act, a bill co-authored by Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., passed by a voice vote. The...

Lawmakers to Agencies on FITARA: Get It Together

November 16, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow In Congress’s fifth assessment of federal technology upgrades, lawmakers instructed agencies—the highest and lowest scorers alike—to try harder. The House Oversight Committee questioned officials from the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Energy Department about their performance on a Congressional scorecard assessing factors such as their ability to manage...

Acting CIOs Still in Place at One-Third of CFO Agencies

November 15, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Though the Trump administration is making progress filling federal chief information officer positions with permanent officials, about one-third of major agencies still have acting officials in place. Federal CIOs change after any administration change, but this year has been a particularly dizzying mix of the departures of politically appointed CIOs,...

Tech Industry Insiders Want to Standardize Data Scientists

November 15, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow A group of businesses is trying to standardize the definition of “data scientist” across various industries, including government. General Assembly, a coding boot camp, is working with companies including Booz Allen Hamilton, Spotify and Nielsen to create assessments for data science skills that employers could use to benchmark their potential...

Homeland Security's Top Buyer: Still All-In In Agile

November 14, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The Homeland Security Department is no stranger to agile and is still committed to the modular software development process despite the failure of its large-scale agile buying experiment. At a Tuesday event hosted by the technology group AFFIRM, Homeland Security’s Chief Procurement Officer Soraya Correa said the department is still...

Will Data-Driven Policy Change How IGs Operate?

November 13, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The federal watchdogs that routinely assess their agencies’ internal operations could do more to make government more efficient, a report argues. The Partnership for Public Service, a nonprofit advocacy group for the federal workforce, and auditing giant Grant Thornton interviewed several auditors, inspectors general and staffers about how having access...

Agencies Continue to Struggle With Accurate Spending Reports, Underreporting by Billions

November 9, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Most federal agencies are required by law to have uploaded their financial data on USASpending.gov, but complying with the federal transparency law has been a little messy, watchdog reports show. The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, known as the DATA Act, required agencies make their spending data available to the...

Survey: Telework Is Risky But Government Should Do It Anyway

November 9, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Some government employees think the traditional workplace—set hours, employees at their desks—is the safest option for data security. About 30 percent of public-sector employees said they thought a flexible work environment, in which employees might use cloud-based apps to access work information, could expose their teams to data security risks,...

DHS Mulling Blockchain at the Border

November 8, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The Homeland Security Department is investigating ways the decentralized ledger system used to track transactions that use bitcoin and other virtual currencies could be used at the nation’s borders. Customs and Border Protection is working with Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate on potential use cases, and is advising a...

Russian, Chinese Companies Win Intel Community's Facial Recognition Contest

November 8, 2017 A Russian company whose software is used to match facial photos to individual identities has $25,000 from the U.S. intelligence community. NTechlab, based in Moscow, is best known for building a product called “FindFace” that let users surreptitiously take photos of strangers and match them to their online social media...