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One system, 187 datasets to track the coronavirus

At the heart of the White House Coronavirus Task Force's efforts to track and mitigate the coronavirus's spread is a system called HHS Protect. The Department of Health and Human Services created it to pull data from federal agencies, all 50 states, health care facilities and academia with contributions from private industry. HHS CIO Jose Arrieta detailed how the department linked 187 datasets in nine days, with the goal of providing crucial information to 200 decision-makers and responders, including Dr. Deborah Birx, the task force coordinator. Dave Nyczepir has the scoop.

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Army cloud office "functionally operational"

The Army's Enterprise Cloud Management Office is up and running, but it's missing some key personnel because of the coronavirus pandemic. The office says it is “functionally operational” despite the temporary holes in its workforce and is moving ahead even faster on its IT modernization work. “The COVID-19 pandemic has demanded that we adapt how we operate, but it has not adjusted our FY20 plans, and if anything it has accelerated them,” Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford, the Army’s CIO, and Paul Puckett, the ECMO’s inaugural leader, said in a joint statement. Jackson Barnett has more on the new office.

More data needed on social determinants of health

The coronavirus crisis has led to an explosion of data analysis and data-driven debate. But according to the Center for Open Data Enterprise's Joel Gurin, a key component has been overwhelmingly left out: the impact of social context on illness and its relevance to COVID-19. In a new contributed op-ed, Gurin explains how social determinants of health (SDOH) have a major influence on an individual’s health status. "These social factors can vary widely from community to community," he writes. "As researchers have said, your ZIP code may be as important as your genetic code in determining your health." Read the exclusive op-ed.

DARPA's complement for JADC2

The military services are keen on improving their data interoperability for a more coordinated operating environment. The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) recently launched a project called the Air Space Total Awareness for Rapid Tactical Execution (ASTARTE) to produce advanced low-cost sensors, artificial intelligence algorithms and virtual testing environments to create a better common operating picture when troops are spread out across domains of warfare. This effort is meant to “complement” Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2), the military’s futuristic network-of-networks being developed by the Air Force. Jackson has this one.

How the Army Corps of Engineers is scaling its IT for coronavirus response

The Army Corps of Engineers plays a critical role on the frontlines responding to the coronavirus pandemic. Since the virus has landed stateside, the corps has been building alternative care facilities out of arenas, hotels, dorms and convention centers in areas lacking traditional hospital beds for patients. With that, the service’s network capacity has been turned up and it has scaled users on its VPN from 5,000 to 40,000 in a matter of days — something that would traditionally take weeks. CIO Dovarius Peoples spoke with FedScoop about what this period has been like, including an early mishap that took some of the corps' IT services offline for eight hours. Billy Mitchell interviewed Peoples.

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