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Blockchain is commonly described as one of the most promising technologies on the IT landscape, and federal agencies are rushing to learn how to make the most of it.

The Department of Homeland Security is studying how the federal government can use the new capabilities, which include improving the efficiency and security of a digital log of transactions. DHS is funding research projects on whether blockchain can provide additional security and privacy controls, including at airports.

If so, agency leaders envision blockchain would allow for:

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President Donald Trump on Thursday signed a much-anticipated (and delayed) executive order on cybersecurity, and it prioritizes risk management for federal IT systems, modernizing federal technology and the use of shared IT services. The order refocuses cybersecurity policy around three main areas: protecting federal networks; protecting critical infrastructure; and securing the nation through deterrence, international cooperation and the workforce.

Under the order, agency heads will be held accountable by Trump "for implementing risk management measures commensurate with the risk and magnitude of the harm that would result from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction of IT and data."

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The Trump administration is signaling it is serious about modernizing federal IT.

On Monday, the White House announced, via an executive order, the creation of the American Technology Council, or ATC. The purpose of the ATC is to "coordinate the vision, strategy, and direction" for the federal government's use of IT and the delivery of digital services. Additionally, the ATC is supposed to "coordinate advice to the president related to policy decisions and processes regarding" the government's use of IT, the group will work to ensure that these decisions and processes are consistent with the goal of promoting the secure, efficient, and economical use of technology. 

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Former Defense Department CIO Terry Halvorsen has a new job — he’s a Samsung man now.

Last week, the South Korean electronics giant announced that Halvorsen, who left the government in February, will serve as an executive vice president, and he will advise JK Shin, president and CEO of IT and Mobile Communications at Samsung. Halvorsen will focus on helping Samsung grow its global enterprise mobility business, potentially with government agencies.

Samsung said Halvorsen “will advise customers and partners on how to implement effective mobile enterprise strategies within their mobile workforce and help further propel corporate government and regulatory business” for Samsung’s global enterprise mobility unit.

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President Donald Trump has named Michael Kratsios to serve as his deputy chief technology officer and deputy assistant to the president, according to multiple reports. Kratsios previously served as chief of staff at Thiel Capital, an investment firm founded by Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel, a prominent backer of Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign. 

The hiring, first reported by Politico and confirmed by TechCrunch, represents one of the Trump administration’s most prominent technology personnel decisions to date. The administration has yet to name a permanent CIO to replace Tony Scott, who left the government in January.

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Government could save as much as $1 trillion over the next decade by taking advantage of IT innovation, according to a new report from the Technology CEO Council. The group includes the chiefs of IT companies such as Dell, IBM and Oracle. Their suggested ideas and the savings they can generate include:

$500 billion: Improve supply chain and acquisition through advanced analytics and commercially proven process improvements

$270 billion: Effectively mine available data and use that information to identify and stop fraud and improper payments

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The best way for federal agencies to adapt to a wave of young workers is to create a clear and reasonable bring-your-own-device policy, according to “Millennial Rising: ‘Digital Warriors’ Introduce Risk to Federal IT Systems,” a new report from information security company Forcepoint.

The report found that millennials are expected to make up almost 75 percent of the federal workforce by 2025, and suggests that organizations need to develop tools that provide greater visibility into users’ motives through behavioral monitoring.

“If security protocols and policies do not evolve, a highly effective millennial worker can quickly go from a super employee to an insider threat,” the report says. 

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As the Trump adminsitration starts to tackle IT priorities across the federal government, here is a look at three large technology projects that could take shape in the near future:

1. Faster Airport Security Lines

The Transportation Security Administration’s Precheck program clears the majority of travelers before they arrive at the airport. Instead, employees devote most of their time screening for those with criminal backgrounds or on terrorist watchlists. Biometrics could further streamline the process by validating passengers with iris scans, says Tom Greiner, managing director of technology at Accenture.

2. Better Protection of Personal Data

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1. Provide user training. Agencies should educate users about the value and inner workings of software licenses. For example, a database license may only allow access to a specific number of processor cores, while other software vendors may charge through a consumption-based model, says Amy Konary, IDC’s vice president of software business models.

2. Coordinate between stakeholders. Many software asset management tools require the installation of software agents on servers to collect data. This means system owners must collaborate with the software asset management team to successfully run the asset management tool, says Daniel Cosgrove of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

3. Take an agile approach. USCIS adopted agile principles to make continuous improvements to its software management processes, allowing the agency to make changes that met business needs while realizing immediate results, Cosgrove says.

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