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Jose Arrieta, associate deputy assistant secretary of acquisition at HHS, Oki Mek, chief product officer at the Division of Acquisition at HHS, and Michael McFarland, director of the Office of […]

Jose Arrieta, associate deputy assistant secretary of acquisition at HHS, Oki Mek, chief product officer at the Division of Acquisition at HHS, and Michael McFarland, director of the Office of Acquisition Business Systems at HHS, discuss the government’s first blockchain authority to operate, and what it means for the department’s acquisition workforce.  


While other agencies are experimenting with blockchain, The Department of Health and Human Services has obtained the first authority to operate for the technology in the federal government. HHS will use the technology in their procurement shop, and use it to provide as much information as possible to the acquisition workforce. Government Matters assembled a panel of HHS’s acquisition experts, to discuss what the blockchain procurement means for the agency.   Jose Arrieta, associate deputy assistant secretary of acquisition at HHS– “You don’t achieve the first authority to operate for a blockchain capability in the federal government, and I’m told the first blockchain capability for public procurement in the world without an ecosystem of support…The folks in the CIO shop have been amazing… we have built all of this with input from the acquisition workforce and these guys have been a great help.”   Oki Mek, chief product officer at the Division of Acquisition at HHS– “We had to meet the FISMA requirement. Part of that requirement is that all federal funded systems have to be authorized to operate. Part of that process is a rigorous assessment process and authorization by the authority official… We have proven that blockchain can be authorized to operate in the federal government. Not only that, we found out that blockchain improves cybersecurity. When you think about blockchain, you think about immutability, prominence, time stamp and transparency in the data…”   Michael McFarland, director of the Office of Acquisition Business Systems at HHS– “They will have unprecedented access to prices paid, vendor data, other acquisitions that have been done, so that they will be able to make decisions with a great deal more information than they have had available to them before in my experience, in 30 years of acquisition.”

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