Friday federal headlines – November 20, 2015

The Federal Headlines is a daily compilation of the stories you hear discussed on the Federal Drive.

The Government Accountability Office said agencies need to work more closely with the private sector to learn how to better protect vital industries such as transportation and health from cyberattacks. A new report said certain sector-specific agencies need to collaborate with sector partners on measuring the effectiveness of their prevention methods. (GAO)

Homeland Security Department components can’t...

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The Federal Headlines is a daily compilation of the stories you hear discussed on the Federal Drive.

  • The Government Accountability Office said agencies need to work more closely with the private sector to learn how to better protect vital industries such as transportation and health from cyberattacks. A new report said certain sector-specific agencies need to collaborate with sector partners on measuring the effectiveness of their prevention methods. (GAO)
  • Homeland Security Department components can’t communicate with one another during emergencies. The DHS Inspector General said the department doesn’t have a communications interoperability plan or a single radio channel. It’s one several operations and integration challenges at DHS in 2015. The IG said the department has made some progress. It had 691 unresolved IG recommendations back in fiscal 2011. It now has 21. (DHS OIG)
  • A Government Accountability Office study found that the Defense Department needs to adjust its methods for developing standard fuel prices. GAO said DoD has not updated its approach to establish the standard price for fuel since 2007. The methods therefore do not reflect the existing market conditions. DoD was able to save money this year due to a downturn in global oil prices. (GAO)
  • The Department of Labor has reached a settlement with federal contractor G&K Services. The company will pay $1.8 million after the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs found it discriminated against female employees and failed to provide equal opportunity to African-American and Caucasian employees. The company has also agreed to undertake a detailed assessment of its hiring practices to ensure it provides equal opportunity and no longer discriminates on the basis of sex or race.  (Department of Labor)
  • They may have had big mouths, but the Defense Department’s inspector general found Adm. John Richardson and Rear Adm. Joseph Tofalo did not violate laws against lobbying by federal officials. Both had urged industry audiences to tell Congress to support the Ohio class submarine program. The Project on Government Oversight cried foul. But neither officer had spent money, so the IG  cleared both men. (DoD IG)
  • The Federal Acquisition Regulations Council is moving the government away from what many see as a costly way to track and manage vendors. A new proposed rule by the council asks how the government can stop using the proprietary standard for identifying entities receiving federal awards provided for decades by Dun & Bradstreet. The council is asking for input on establishing a transparent process to explore potential alternatives to Dun’s numbers. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Homeland Security Department has been running 136 sensitive or top-secret applications without the proper authorizations. The DHS inspector general is reporting the expired authorizations are putting systems at risk for hacker attacks. Auditors found FEMA and the Coast Guard have the most systems without proper cyber approvals. The IG made six recommendations to fix these issues. These include improving the oversight of component systems and cyber milestones as well as notifying senior officials when systems fall out of compliance. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Homeland Security Department is communicating the importance of cybersecurity by setting up phishing stings on its own employees. Federal Times reports Secretary Jeh Johnson, speaking at CyberCon, revealed an operation in which the department sent out emails to employees offering free NFL tickets to whomever clicked through. Employees who did received a message to come to a room in the building where they received a briefing on proper cybersecurity practices. (Federal Times)