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Frank Konkel

Executive Editor, Nextgov 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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Microsoft Unveils Two Secret Data Centers Built for Classified Government Data

April 18, 2019 Microsoft unveiled two data centers Wednesday designed exclusively to host the government’s secret classified data. Microsoft’s announcement is part of the company’s plan to compete with Amazon—the only company cleared to host the CIA and Defense Department’s secret and top secret classified data—and comes as both companies compete for a...

CIA Considering Cloud Contract Worth ‘Tens of Billions’

April 10, 2019 After six years in a classified commercial cloud built by Amazon Web Services, the CIA wants more commercial cloud capabilities from potentially multiple companies. The agency is in the early stages of planning a contract for commercial cloud computing services that will be worth “tens of billions” of dollars, according...

Without JEDI, Pentagon’s AI Efforts May Be Hindered

March 29, 2019 The Defense Department needs enterprise cloud computing to make the most of its ambitious plans for artificial intelligence, according to Lt. Gen. Jack Shanahan, who leads the department’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center. There’s just one problem: The Pentagon doesn’t have those cloud capabilities yet, and its plan to acquire them—through...

Pentagon’s Cyber Mission Force Needs Better Training Plan

March 8, 2019 The Defense Department’s cyber warrior teams are struggling to maintain readiness, according to a congressional auditor. In 2013, the Defense Department began a years-long process to stand up 133 Cyber Mission Force teams of military personnel with elite cyber training to defend critical information networks. The department reached full operating...

Judge Puts Hold on Lawsuit on Pentagon’s JEDI Cloud Contract

February 20, 2019 U.S. Court of Federal Claims Senior Judge Eric Bruggink ordered a stay on proceedings Tuesday in the legal battle between Oracle and the Pentagon over its $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud contract after new information regarding potential conflicts of interest surfaced. The stay—requested by Pentagon lawyers and unopposed...

DHS ‘Doubling Down’ on Election Security Heading Into 2020

February 15, 2019 Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director Chris Krebs told reporters Thursday that the Homeland Security Department’s election security and countering foreign influence efforts are ramping up, not tapering down as a report Wednesday by The Daily Beast suggested. The report said two task forces set up within CISA—the agency within...

DARPA Is Trying Bioelectric Implants to Help Heal Wounds

February 11, 2019 The Defense Department’s research wing has created a new program office to develop bioelectronic implants that stimulate tissue recovery in complex wounds, such as those suffered by troops in battle. The Bioelectronics for Tissue Regeneration program, which the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency announced Tuesday, is looking for advancements in...

Pentagon Pushes for Speed in Cloud Strategy

February 7, 2019 Amid two high-profile, multibillion cloud procurements, the Defense Department released its cloud strategy Monday, laying a path forward for how the military branches and Pentagon components will adopt cloud technology. Key aspects of the strategy are the Pentagon’s desire for both speed in adopting cloud and support from multiple cloud...

‘Tens of Thousands’ of Government Contractors Laid Off Due to Shutdown

January 17, 2019 As unemployment filings among furloughed federal employees doubled last week across Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., the effects on government contractors are beginning to take shape. The shutdown is costing contractors an estimated $1.5 billion per week and companies that primarily serve the government have already hemorrhaged “tens of thousands...

The FBI Is Trying Amazon’s Facial-Recognition Software

January 6, 2019 The FBI is piloting Amazon’s facial matching software—Amazon Rekognition—as a means to sift through mountains of video surveillance footage the agency routinely collects during investigations. The pilot kicked off in early 2018 following a string of high-profile counterterrorism investigations that tested the limits of the FBI’s technological capabilities, according to...