Tuesday federal headlines- July 21, 2015

The Federal Headlines is a daily compilation of the stories you hear discussed on the Federal Drive and In Depth radio shows each day. Our headlines are updated twice per day — once in the morning and once in the afternoon — with the latest news affecting federal employees and contractors.

  • Agencies will soon have to start paying for the services the Office of Personnel Management is giving to more than 21 million current and former federal employees impacted by the agency’s cyber breach. OPM Acting Director Beth Cobert said agencies will have start contributing this fiscal year. And costs will likely carry over to other years. It’s unclear just how much agencies will have to pay. OPM hasn’t yet awarded a contract for credit monitoring services for the victims of the second breach. (Federal News Radio)
  • A former Housing and Urban Development employee made $12,000 in fraudulent purchases. But no one noticed for a while because it happened during the 2013 government shutdown. The HUD Inspector General said  that employee no longer works for the department. (HUD OIG)
  • The Defense Department told recruiting centers nationwide to step up security in the wake of the Chattanooga attacks that left four Marines and a sailor dead. Northern Command chief Adm. Bill Gortney issued a modest security directive, while Pentagon officials are consideriong more comprehensive steps. The Wall Street Journal reports Gortney’s order does not let recruiters carry weapons at the centers. Officials wouldn’t give details except to say the order covers basics like keeping blinds closed when people are inside. (Wall Street Journal)
  • In the wake of the shootings in Chattanooga, one senator said service members should be able to keep their guns with them when they’re at military facilities. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said he’ll sponsor a bill called the Armed Forces Self-Defense Act. He said the rules that prohibit military members from carrying firearms on installations have made them easy targets for terrorist attacks. Johnson chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. (Sen. Ron Johnson)
  • It might sound surprising, but the Office of Personnel Management is making it easier for outsiders to look at its databases. NextGov reports that in the aftermath of the great cybersecurity breach,  OPM has rewritten its privacy rules. They now let investigators look at any of more than a dozen databases when the agency suspects or confirms there’s been a successful cyber attack. And when letting outsiders see the data is reasonably necessary for responding. A spokesman said the revised rules are part of OPM’s comprehensive review of policies relating to the data it holds. It announced the review on the day it confirmed a second breach had resulted in the loss of more than 21 million records. (NextGov)
  • The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency is asking industry for a new approach to predicting cyber attacks. The program is called the Cyber-attack Automated Unconventional Sensor Environment, or CAUSE. The agency is looking for ways to combine data from what it calls sensor technology with conventional intrusion detection methods. The project is not just for government. IARPA said performers will generate cyber-attack warnings for companies that want to participate in the program. Companies have until Aug. 24 to submit ideas. (IARPA)
  • The General Services Administration is seeking developers who want to take a bite out of the concrete jungle that is Federal Triangle South. GSA is offering its regional office building and the Cotton Annex, both near the Federal Triangle Metro Station, to a select group of developers who would help it renovate four historic buildings at St. Elizabeths in Southeast. That’s where the Homeland Security Department hopes to locate its headquarters. GSA plans to move the 1,500 employees at its regional office building to its headquarters at 18 F St. N.W. The Cotton Annex is vacant. (GSA)
  • The truth is out. The General Services Administration can claim responsibility for all of the buzz around the idea of putting a woman on the $10 bill. It turns out, the Treasury Department called on the GSA’s 18F team to come up with a digital media strategy for getting the word out. That’s according to a blog post by 18F’s Deputy Director Kara DeFrias. She said 18F designed the website and came up with a hashtag. DeFrias said she smiled for hours when she first learned of the project. (GSA)
  • Former Naval Academy Superintendent Michael Miller will get to keep his rank of vice admiral when he retires next month. The Navy reprimanded Miller for his role in a bribery and fraud scandal. Miller announced his retirement a year ago, but it was postponed by a year because of the investigation into Navy contracts for port services in southeast Asia. At the time, he commanded Carrier Strike Group 7. Miller was reprimanded for improperly accepting gifts from a “prohibited source.” (Federal News Radio)
  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is trying a new approach to help dying patients. It said it will let them use both hospice and regular medical services at once. CMS has long paid for end-of-life hospice care. But people using it weren’t allowed to also use regular medical services. Now they can. The agencies lined up 140 hospice facilities for a pilot program. Statistics show less than half of eligible patients use hospice care. CMS officials figure that’s because they don’t want to lose other medical benefits.