Digital Services: Disruptive DevSecOps

Digital Services: Disruptive DevSecOps

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Disruptive DevSecOps
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Federal agencies’ digital modernization strategies are focusing on strong DevSecOps approaches to software and application development. This includes agile methods in coding, infrastructure support and security, and building the skilled workforce to collaborate and support these services.

May 19, 2021
11:00 am - 1:00 pm EDT
Virtual event
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Agile requires longstanding culture shifts and decisions rooted in data.
The Air Force, VA and NASA encourage communication, training and empowerment to better adoption of agile software development methods.

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COL Sang D. Han is the Chief of the Infrastructure and Platform Division at the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC). COL Han is responsible for establishing the Joint Common Foundation (JCF) that supports the JAIC’s mission to accelerate the delivery of artificial intelligence-enabled capabilities, scale the department-wide impact of AI and synchronize AI activities to expand joint force advantages.

He specializes in implementing and managing communication networks in support of mission-critical operations and integrating cybersecurity and new information technologies.

COL Han received his commission in 1996 while on active duty through the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York.

COL Han has served for more than 23 years in numerous military leadership and staff positions around the world to include Platoon Leader, Detachment Commander, Network Planner and Company Commander. As a Company Commander with the 32nd Signal Battalion in Darmstadt, Germany, he deployed a 120 personnel unit to Iraq in 2003. COL Han has also served as:

  • Army Human Resource Officer, Deputy Chief Information Officer/ Deputy G6, with the25th Infantry Division in Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, where he deployed with the Division to Iraq in 2008;
  • Chief of Communications and Information Systems with NATO’s Communications andInformation Agency in the United Kingdom supporting NATO’s Maritime Counter-PiracyOperation;
  • Chief Information Officer/G6 for Task Force Bragg at Fort Bragg, North Carolina;
  • Chief Information Officer/G6 for First Army Division East at Fort Meade, Maryland;
  • Senior Signal Observer/Trainer at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California;
  • Director of U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command’s Network Migration and Modernization at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, migrating the Army’s network to theDepartment of Defense’s Joint Information Environment, Joint Regional Security Stack.

COL Han’s military and civilian education includes the Signal Officer Basic Course; Airborne and Jumpmaster Course; U.S. Marine Corps’ Command and Control Systems Course; a Master’s Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the College of Naval Command and Staff; a Master’s Degree in Management Information Systems from the University of Maryland at University College; and a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Biology from the State University of New York at Buffalo. COL Han recently completed an Army War College Fellowship at Carnegie Mellon University in 2018.

Chief of Infrastructure and Platform, Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, DOD

Dr. Brian Hermann is the Director and Program Executive Officer for the Services Development Directorate. He is responsible for the development and acquisition of Information Technology services for the Department of Defense. His three portfolios encompass DoD-wide enterprise services and unified capabilities, business systems, and warfighting command and control capabilities.

Dr. Brian G. Hermann previously served at the Defense Information Systems Agency as the Chief of the Enterprise Services Development Division and Manager of the Unified Capabilities portfolio. He was responsible for developing and implementing information technology services and strategies for unification of communications and collaboration services for the DoD-Wide Enterprise.

A retired U.S. Air Force Communications and Cyber Officer, Dr. Hermann has served in a variety of communications, acquisition-related, software, test and evaluation, information technology, and educational positions. He developed techniques for evaluating software product maturity and reliability used for major acquisition programs including JSTARS, the CV-22, and the E-3 Radar System Improvement Program for the AWACS. He also has extensive experience teaching systems and software engineering, delivering information technology services, and leading educational departments. As a National Defense Fellow, he published research on a normative U.S. Government response to cyber-attacks.

In his final active duty tour, Colonel Hermann led DISA’s Net-Centric Enterprise Services (NCES) program’s collaboration services team and served as the Chief of DISA’s Enterprise Applications Services Division.

He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science with a focus on Software Engineering from Arizona State University. He is also a graduate of the Air War College, the College of Naval Command and Staff, and the Air Force Institute of Technology.

After military retirement, Dr. Hermann spent several years in industry before rejoining the government in July 2016.

Director, Services Development Directorate, DISA

Florence Kasule is an acquisition professional focused on the big and ever-evolving world of Information Technology. She currently serves as Director of Procurement with the United States Digital Service (USDS), where she and her team work to modernize and streamline the acquisition process to bring amazing digital experiences to the American public. Prior to her time with USDS, Florence served as the head of Acquisitions for the Defense Digital Service, as a Digital Service Procurement Expert with USDS, and led teams as a Contracting Officer with the Department of Defense, the National Labor Relations Board and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Her educational background includes a B.A. in International Relations and Economics from the University of California, Irvine, an M.B.A from the George Washington University and certifications include Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) Level 3 and Federal Acquisition Certification in Contracting (FAC-C) Level 3. Florence was recently nominated for the FedScoop 50 in 2020, an annual award recognizing the best and brightest in government tech leadership and innovation.

Director of Procurement, U.S. Digital Service

Mr. Edmond Kuqo currently serves as the Assistant Program Manager – Lead Engineer to the PMW240 Sea Warrior Program on all matters related to Manpower, Personnel, Training and Education (MPT&E) – Pay & Personnel (NP2). Mr. Kuqo assists the Department of Navy in understanding industry capabilities, as well as existing and emerging technologies, to support the information technology (IT) modernization for MPT&E transformation. Mr. Kuqo works closely with customers and senior level leadership to assess their needs in resolving critical issues and assist the program manager by aligning Science & Technology (S&T) investment priorities with operational requirements.

From March 2017 to December 2018 Mr. Kuqo served as the Chief Engineer for the Veterans Affairs - Veteran Benefits Management System (VBMS) providing strategic long-term planning and technical leadership to ensure both the readiness and the performance of the program throughout its lifecycle. He worked closely with the Office of Information & Technology (OI&T) leadership team on all aspects of program management, technology recommendation and budget for forward planning to meet their future information technology needs.

From March 2015 to March 2017 Mr. Kuqo served as the Chief Engineer for the Global Combat Support System-Marine Corps (GCSS-MC) which provides accurate, near real time integrated logistics information and enterprise-wide visibility of logistics data. He was a key participant in executing a 50% cost reduction plan for the overall program by implementing and making available better tracking and collaboration tools for the program.

Mr. Kuqo is a 2005 graduate of the University of Coastal Carolina (B.S. Computer Science), Webster University (M.A. Computer Resources & Information Technology - Honours). His professional certifications include: SSC Atlantic Stepping Up to Leadership Program, Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) Engineering level II, Science & Technology Management (S&TM) level I and Information Technology (IT) level I. He is a recipient of the Department of the Navy on the Spot Award.

Lead Systems Engineer for DevSecOps, Naval Information Warfare Center - Atlantic, U.S. Navy
Acting Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary, Enterprise Program Management Office, VA
Deputy Director, Office of Application Engineering and Development, USPTO

Mr. Todd Simpson serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary, DevSecOps within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Information and Technology. He has 30 years of information technology (IT) leadership and management experience from the private sector and the Federal Government. For the last 15 years, he has led at the executive level focusing on strategic planning, technology modernization, organizational development, and operational efficiency.

Mr. Simpson began his career in the United States Air Force, serving three years active duty and three years active reserve.

He worked in the IT field as a systems analyst, developer, network engineer, IT manager, and Chief Information Officer (CIO) in the private sector for 18 years.

In 2010, Mr. Simpson began his Federal Government career as the CIO for the U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division in Washington, D.C. As the CIO, he led the IT and litigation support units, which supported over 2,000 investigators. Under Mr. Simpson’s leadership, the organization reduced the annual IT and litigation support budgets by more than 50 percent, achieved a net annual savings of more than $3 million from data center and server consolidation, and implemented a disaster recovery and continuity of operations solution that increased network and application availability by 22 percent and realized an annual cost savings of $3 million.

In 2014, Mr. Simpson was appointed to the Senior Executive Service (SES) as the Associate Chief Information Officer at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). His responsibilities included leading the IT Shared Services organization that supported 72,000 users; providing the vision, leadership, and oversight in the development of the strategic direction of DOT’s Common Operating Environment and Enterprise Architecture; as well as IT policy and procedure planning, formulation, and direction.

From 2015 to 2018, Mr. Simpson was the CIO at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in Washington, D.C. In this role, Mr. Simpson was responsible for providing IT services and support to approximately 25,000 federal personnel and contractors that comprised the FDA community throughout the continental United States and internationally. During his time at FDA, Mr. Simpson developed a cloud brokerage model, moved over 10 percent of FDA’s application portfolio to the cloud, modernized technology, fundamentally transformed the agency’s security posture, automated dozens of legacy workflows, and created a true DevOps framework.

In 2018, the Department of Health and Human Services selected Mr. Simpson to be their first Chief Product Officer. In this role, Mr. Simpson provided the Department's data, cloud, platform, security, and development services. Mr. Simpson also managed the Department's Vendor Management Office where he consolidated software purchases that gained efficiencies and saved the Department millions of dollars, most notably a VMWare deal that saved the Department $33 million over the next five years.

Mr. Simpson earned a Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS) from Drexel University in Pennsylvania, a Master of Public Administration (MPA) and a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Resource Management from Ohio State University, and an Executive Leadership Certificate from Cornell University. Mr. Simpson also holds several Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) certifications, a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, an IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) certification, a Six Sigma Black Belt certification, a strategic planning certification (BSC), a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification, and a Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) certification.

Deputy Assistant Secretary, DevSecOps, Veterans Affairs

Shenandoah Speers is the Associate Chief Information Officer (ACIO) and the Program Executive (PE) for Applications. He joined NASA in June 2018. Located at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, the Applications Division of NASA's Office of the Chief Information Officer manages the agency's information technology applications portfolio and develops and maintains applications architecture and strategy. The division also develops, implements, manages, and supports NASA enterprise and center business applications.

Mr. Speers comes to NASA from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Enterprise Services Center (ESC) in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where he served as the ESC Information Services Deputy Division Manager from 2015 to 2018. In this role, he provided oversight and leadership for ESC’s IT Shared Services, supporting the financial, procurement, and mission support applications for the Department of Transportation (DOT) and over 20 government organizations. He was responsible for all aspects of IT services, strategy, planning, management, investment, budget, development, operations, and cybersecurity for ESC’s IT Shared Services division.

Mr. Speers joined the FAA in 2012 as the Financial Systems Branch Manager where he was responsible for the software development of the DOT’s federal financial system. From 2014 to 2015, he served as the ESC Architect and Design Manager, directing the planning, development research, analysis, programming, and operational support for major national computer systems.

Before joining the FAA, Mr. Speers began his career in the private sector with Lockheed Martin in 1999 as an applications software engineer, web developer, and a database administrator. In 2002, he transitioned to Federal service as an IT Specialist database administrator with the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). He then served as an IT Specialist from 2003 to 2012 for the Department of Defense (DOD) U.S. Air Force 72nd Air Base Wing Communications Directorate at Tinker Air Force Base.

During his DOD tenure, Mr. Speers served as the Software Development Branch Chief, where he was responsible for the applications portfolio management, development, architecture, and strategy of the U.S. Air Force 72nd Air Base Wing applications. He led an application and Data Center consolidation effort, provided oversight to the development and maintenance of multiple Air Force systems for thousands of end users across the globe, and implemented Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) methodologies and best practices into the culture.

Mr. Speers has received numerous honors and awards, including the 72nd ABW Communications Directorate Employee of the Year, Air Force Organizational Excellence Award, and Commander’s Excellence in Action Award. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management Information Systems from the University of Oklahoma. A native of Oklahoma, Mr. Speers is married to Cristy Speers and they have one child, Elexis.

Associate CIO, Applications, NASA

Eileen M. Vidrine is the Air Force Chief Data Officer, Headquarters, U.S. Air Force, Arlington, Virginia. She develops and implements strategies for enterprise data management, analytics and digital transformation to optimize performance and drive out innovation in and across all missions and operations.

Ms. Vidrine began her government career in 1986 as an enlisted member of the U.S. Army and was commissioned in 1987 through the U.S. Army Officer Candidate School Program as a U.S. Army Transportation Officer. Later in her Army career, she was selected and integrated into the U.S. Army Acquisition Corps. She began her civilian career as a senior faculty member at the Joint Military Intelligence College and led the college’s technology transformation as the first Director for the Center for Educational Technologies.

From 2006 to 2012, Ms. Vidrine served in various positions of leadership at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence culminating as the Chief of Staff for the Assistant Director of National Intelligence for Human Capital. In 2012, Ms. Vidrine was selected to serve as the DoD Intelligence Community Enterprise Architect assigned to the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, Human Capital Management Office. In 2014, Ms. Vidrine assumed HCMO chief of staff responsibilities. In 2016, she was nominated by the Deputy Secretary of Defense and selected to serve as a White House Leadership Fellow, supporting the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management. After her fellowship she was detailed to the Executive Office of the President Office of Administration. Ms. Vidrine was appointed to the Senior Executive Service in June 2018.

Chief Data Officer, Department of the Air Force
Digital Service Delivery, 18F, GSA



Opening Remarks

  • Michael Hoffman, President, GovernmentCIO Media & Research

Fireside Chat: DevSecOps Strategies in IT Modernization

  • Todd Simpson, Deputy Assistant Secretary, DevSecOps, Veterans Affairs
  • Moderator: Megha Chokshi, Senior Vice President, GovernmentCIO

Agile Teaming

Moving from siloed acquisition to an agile, product-oriented model requires pairing strategic acquisition methods and technologists. Learn how agencies are embracing Agile methodologies to further support DevSecOps transformations toward the delivery of digital services.

  • Brian Hermann, Director and Program Executive Officer, Services Development Directorate, DISA
  • Florence Kasule, Director of Procurement, USDS
  • Mandy Moore, Deputy Director, Office of Application Engineering and Development, USPTO
  • Lindsay Young, Digital Service Delivery, 18F, GSA
  • Moderator: Amy Kluber, Editorial Director, GovernmentCIO Media & Research

Emerging Tech Adoption

Integrating development, operations and security teams allows for stronger adoption of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and RPA to streamline digital services. Agencies are turning to these technologies with a DevOps mindset to support cloud computing, infrastructure security and more.

  • Col. Sang Han, Chief of Infrastructure and Platform, JAIC, DOD
  • Edmond Kuqo, Lead Systems Engineer for DevSecOps, Naval Information Warfare Center - Atlantic, U.S. Navy
  • Moderator: Adam Patterson, Staff Writer/Researcher, GovernmentCIO

Embracing a DevSecOps Culture

Systems are resilient. How are agencies making sure that the infrastructure, design and workforce are in place to safely recover with DevSecOps? In this panel, federal officials will share their strategies and discuss how their teams account for and bounce back from failure through cultural transformation.

  • Dan McCune, Acting Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary, Enterprise Program Management Office, VA
  • Shenandoah Speers, Associate CIO, Applications, NASA
  • Eileen Vidrine, Chief Data Officer, Department of the Air Force
  • Moderator: Gerry Lowe, Vice President, GovernmentCIO

Closing Remarks

  • Michael Hoffman, President, GovernmentCIO Media & Research