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Breaking Down the 2024 CIO Summit Keynotes

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Breaking Down the 2024 CIO Summit Keynotes

Information technology now inarguably powers many if not all aspects of society — including the federal government. On April 17th, IT leaders from a range of agencies within the Departments of Defense, Energy and State and more gathered at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center in Virginia for a deep dive on the technology strategies and digital modernization tactics being used to simplify processes and build a more efficient government. Like all Potomac Officers Club events, the 5th Annual CIO Summit was a hub for GovCon networking, important dialogues and impactful brand-building.

To browse a list of upcoming POC-hosted events, click here. We hope you’ll join us for our next big summit in about a month: the 2024 Cyber Summit on June 6. Register here!

Opening keynote fireside chat: Leslie Beavers, Principal Deputy Chief Information Officer at the Department of Defense, in conversation with Rob Carey, President of Cloudera Government Solutions

Primary takeaways:

  • DOD Office of CIO currently working to update software modernization strategy
    • Based on “what capabilities we and the department need in five years.”
  • This year, DOD CIO looking at expanding cloud, zero trust, 5G/dynamic spectrum sharing, workforce, AI, data
  • Improving cybersecurity within DIB:
    • If we were to do the basics well, breaches wouldn’t happen
    • Rule change made more companies eligible to work with DOD – “a big step in the right direction”
    • NSA Cyber Center
    • SBA Project Spectrum
  • With regard to cloud and JWCC, tools need to be usable, sustainable, secure
  • New plan – 3 tenets
    • Accelerate cloud adoption
    • Establish software development ecosystem
    • Transform process of software development – build security in from beginning
  • DOD has created over 50 software factories, some tailored to specific weapons systems, some more general.

Morning keynote: Doug Cossa, Chief Information Officer of the Defense Intelligence Agency

Primary takeaways:

  • 5 DIA IT priority areas
    • JWICS
      • 80% refresh on JWICS
    • Expand the Desktop Environment
    • International systems
      • Connectivity with allies
    • Mise en place — cybersecurity at the beginning
    • Workforce
  • AI + LLMs should be used to uncover unknowns, not just for increasing efficiency of existing tasks
  • DIA intends to make its data strategy its zero trust strategy

Morning keynote: Dr. Adele Merritt, Chief Information Officer, Office of the Director of National Intelligence

Primary takeaways:

  • IC’s 5 IT focus areas
    • Fortifying the mission through reliable and resilient digital foundation
    • Assuring the mission through robust cybersecurity
    • Enabling the mission through modern best practices and partnerships
    • Enhancing the mission with data centricity
    • Accelerating the mission with advanced technologies + workforce readiness
  • IC focused on “how we are working to make our IT the most robust, resilient, agile network?”
  • IC’s job is to disseminate analysis to policymakers, diplomats, defense leaders.
    • Without IT, this would be done with pen & pencil
  • Merritt views challenges of ever-evolving tech landscape through 3 vantages:
    • What advances are going to impact our foundation, our core enterprise services?
    • What amazing capabilities are around the corner that everybody’s going to be calling me about?
    • What are these advances going to do to my legacy IT?
  • Working to modernize without resorting to lowest common denominator

Afternoon keynote: Ann Dunkin, Chief Information Officer of the Department of Energy

Primary takeaways:

  • DOE AI efforts:
    • Named Chief AI and Chief Responsible AI Officer
    • Using AI to improve environmental permitting outcomes and efficiency
    • Developed DOE GenAI reference guide
  • Cybersecurity is a risk to our ability to use AI
  • Cyberthreats:
    • Adversarial AI
    • AI-enabled botnets
    • Data poisoning
    • Model theft
    • AI bias and ethics
  • 5 pillars of DOE Cybersecurity Strategy:
    • Understanding risk
    • Mitigating risk
    • Enabling mission resilience
    • Developing cyber workforce
    • Protecting critical energy infrastructure

Closing keynote: Lt. Gen. Robert Skinner, Director of the Defense Information Systems Agency and Commander of the Joint Force Headquarters – DOD Information Network

Primary takeaways:

  • Today, threat is higher than ever before
    • What are we doing to gain a position of advantage?
  • How to combat threats:
    • Understand what’s going on
    • Right sensors in the right place
    • Leverage tech to understand posture, capabilities, security
    • Hyperscaler security posture
    • “We are only as good as the least secure part of the data stream”
    • Fight organization + preparation
  • New DISA Next five-year strategy = coming soon, 4 tenets are:
    • Secure, operational, available capabilities
    • Strategic C3
    • Modernize for effectiveness
    • Data

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