AFCEA DC DHA Panel Discussion

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​The DC Chapter of AFCEA held a moderated Defense Health Agency panel discussion on April 26, 2016 focusing on innovative solutions for the military health system. 
 
The panelists were:

  • James Craft, Chief Information Officer, Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, Department of Defense
  • Steven Hernandez, Chief Information Security Officer, Office of Inspector General, Department of Health and Human Services
  • Rose-Marie Nsahlai, Lead IT Security Specialist, Office of the National Coordinator for HIT, Department of Health and Human Services
  • Dr. Joseph Lucky Ronzio, Deputy Chief Health Technology Officer, Veterans Health Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs 

The main topics of discussion were in relation to Mobile Health Technology, Interoperability and Cybersecurity.   
 
The discussion surrounding Mobile Health Technology focused on empowering the consumer / patient to be more active and collaborative with their providers when making health and wellness choices, and on embracing sensors and telehealth / telemedicine as alternatives to physician office visits.  The Deputy CHTO of the VA, Dr. Ronzio, argued that both provide a better patient experience, while lowering costs for all parties.  Moving forward, more emphasis will be placed on devices and mobility for both the patient and the provider.  NSA, for example, is working on a "thin" encryption that is specifically for health and wellness devices, so the security layer is a lower overhead for the device.

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DHS Developments Part II: Coast Guard – Modernization Programs and Service Priorities 

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National security cutter Bertholf, EADS HC-144, and H-65 helicopter

The US Coast Guard (USCG) received $10 billion for fiscal year (FY) 2015, $435.9 million above the Obama Administration’s FY 2015 budget request. The FY 2015 budget, in conjunction with the newly released Navy maritime strategy, A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower, provides insight towards future USCG priorities, procurement programs, and sought after capabilities and technologies. 

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Developments in DHS: Part I – Improving Border Security

In early March, Congress passed a $39.7 billion budget for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) which is $400 million dollars greater than the enacted FY 2014 levels.  Most components of DHS received a funding increase, but the FY 2015 budget prioritizes a series of initiatives to strengthen border security through hiring new personnel, developing new biometric identification technologies, and supporting previous efforts to improve border infrastructure. Part II of this series on the FY 2015 DHS budget will detail significant increases in the capability of the Coast Guard as a result of the FY 2015 budget, as well as trends within the agency.

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CBP MQ-9 "Reaper" UAV

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State of the Union & Expected Legislative Activity

Of all the measures outlined in the President’s latest state of the union address, the three measures below are the most likely to pass the Republican controlled Congress. 

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F/A-18F Super Hornets from Strike Fighter Squadron 22 operating from the USS Carl Vinson in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.
Image Credit: U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Scott Fenaroli

1.  Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF)

During his address, President Obama asked the Congress to pass an AUMF specific to combating ISIL in Iraq and Syria. The President has been in consultation with members of Congress with respect to a new AUMF since late December of 2014, and  Speaker of the House John Bohner has indicated a vote will be held on the AUMF by spring of 2015 (Bennett, 2015). A point of contention between Congressional Republicans and Democrats in negotiating an AUMF is the level of discretion the bill will afford to the President, particularly the measures that would prohibit the deployment of ground troops.

The ISIL related AUMF will greatly augment the President’s legal justification for Operation Inherent Resolve, which has been previously justified by the nearly 14 year old AUMF passed after September 11th 2001. Since combat operations in late 2014, the US has launched over 1,800 airstrikes in both Syria and Iraq at a total cost of $1.2 billion. 

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Developments in DHS-S&T

The House Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies & the Subcommittee on Research and Technology recently held a joint hearing on the potential re-authorization of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science and Technology (S&T) directorate. S&T’s objective is to develop new technologies for agencies under DHS such as the Transportation Security Administration, Coast Guard, Federal Emergency Management Agency, etc. to better protect the homeland from a wide variety of threats. Representatives from both committees were concerned on the level of redundant research programs within S&T’s $1.2 billion budget across DHS; Chairman Lamar Smith highlighted a government accountability office report which described S&T’s R&D management approach as “fragmented and overlapping.” 

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