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The research arm of the U.S. Department of Energy has made several breakthroughs that could fundamentally change battery and energy-storage technology, according to the unit’s chief.

Ellen Williams, director of department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), gave few details on the breakthroughs the agency has made through its research and investments but described them as game-changers in the energy market. Entrepreneurs and philanthropists such as Bill Gates and Elon Musk have been pursuing advances in energy-storage technology.

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The Defense Department named Eric Schmidt, the former executive chairman of Google, as the chairman of the new Defense Innovation Advisory Board. The board is an effort to inject a culture of innovation into the DOD by tapping innovators from the private sector, in Silicon Valley and beyond, according to the Pentagon, and is similar to the Defense Business Board,  which offers the department advice on best business practices from the private sector.

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“Open government fights against corruption and results in innovation, the reduction of the digital gap and a strengthened relationship between the State and its citizens, creativity, participation and social inclusion,” according to Luis Guillermo Solis Rivera, the president of Costa Rica.

Rivera writes frequently about the role open government plays in democracy for the Open Government Partnership blog (, one of FedTech’s 50 Must-Read Federal IT Blogs. See the full list at

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The federal government annually spends more than $9 billion on software, a number U.S. CIO Tony Scott and Chief Acquisition Officer Anne Rung are looking to reduce.

The Office of Management and Budget has released draft guidelines on how federal agencies should purchase and manage software licenses. The guidelines are part of an effort to streamline and coordinate software purchases across the federal government. 

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Microsoft will end support for SQL Server 2005 on April 12, forcing users to switch to another SQL Server version or put themselves at risk for security breaches. For those ready to make the switch, SQL Server 2014 provides a number of benefits over the 2005 edition.

Microsoft touts several improvements:

• 100 times better query performance
• 30 times faster online transaction processing
• 13 times faster than SQL Server 2005


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The average person will own 4.3 mobile devices in 2020, according to a 2014 report from Strategy Analytics.

To prepare for that growth, agencies need a plan to manage employees who will use those devices for work. CDW understands the drivers behind that growth and can help agencies prepare forward-thinking strategies to more proactively manage mobility. Readers can download “Transforming Obstacles into Opportunity with Mobility Solutions” online at


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The federal omnibus appropriations package passed in December provides for a unique security information sharing agreement between government and business.

Companies that voluntarily share threat information with the government through a Homeland Security Department portal can receive liability protection in the event of a breach.

The legislation could reduce legal barriers to information sharing, thereby encouraging greater and timelier cooperation that should better protect private data and information.

The Justice Department will work with Homeland Security to draft policies to protect civil liberties. Businesses of all sizes, from Wal-Mart and Target to the local hardware store, can partake in the program once it’s fully stood up.

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Research firm Deltek expects federal demand for cloud computing services to grow to $6.2 billion by 2020, a 21.4 percent compound annual growth rate. Deltek made the forecast in, “Federal Priorities: Cloud, Big Data, Mobility, and Data Centers, 2015–2020,” in October 2015. Here is a snapshot of how Deltek expects the market to expand: 

Fiscal Year 2015: $2.35 billion

Fiscal Year 2016: $3.1 billion

Fiscal Year 2017: $3.85 billion

Fiscal Year 2018: $4.8 billion

Fiscal Year 2019: $5.8 billion

Fiscal Year 2020: $6.2 billion


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A pro-Palestinian Twitter account posted a Department of Homeland Security staff directory of 9,372 employees online, and then the person or persons behind the account claimed they would publish online the staff directory of more than 20,000 FBI personnel as well.  

The DHS staff directory includes the name, title, email address, and phone number of employees, according to CSO Online.  The titles “range from engineers, to security specialists, program analysts, InfoSec and IT, all the way up to director level,” CSO Online reported, adding that “more than 100 staffers are listed with an Intelligence related title.”

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