Thursday federal headlines – November 12, 2015

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

  • The Justice Department is urging local police departments to adopt body cameras, but federal marshals are not allowed to wear them. That means marshals can’t work on joint task forces with local police who do. The Wall Street Journal reports Justice simply hasn’t developed rules for federal officers to wear the cameras. (Wall Street Journal)
  • A major carrier joins the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity program known as Einstein 3. In a blog post, AT&T Federal’s Chris Smith said the company signed a contract to put the intrusion detection and mitigation system on its federal networks. It joins Verizon and CenturyLink, both of which signed on earlier. (AT&T)
  • A leading industry association is asking the Office of Federal Procurement Policy to stop requiring vendors to report information on service contracts. The Professional Services Council released a white paper detailing the need to repeal requirements for contractors to report the total dollar amount invoiced and number of people employed under each of their services contracts. PSC said the requirement is redundant because the data is already available in the government’s own databases. The association also said it can cost companies as much as $20,000 a year to comply with this mandate. PSC submitted this suggestion to the second national dialogue to improve federal procurement. (PSC)
  • A Defense Department inspector general report found that the Marine Corps did not ensure prime contractors provided small businesses with adequate subcontracting opportunities. The report said that 12 prime contracts valued at almost $225 million did not give small businesses enough opportunity. Additionally, the Marine Corps did not track compliance with small business subcontracting goals on four contracts. The inspector general recommended establishing guidance for contracting officers for reviewing, approving and administering subcontracting plans. (DoD IG)
  • The Office of Personnel Management has a new white paper on employee engagement. It gives agencies a clear definition of “engagement” and ideas on how they can improve. OPM commissioned a study on employee engagement and put together a working group with research psychologists and agency leaders. (OPM)
  • President Barack Obama used Veterans Day to push for better management at Veterans Affairs. In his speech at Arlington National Cemetery, Obama noted  progress the department has made, such as cutting the backlog of disability claims by 90 percent. But he pointed out long wait times for appointments at VA facilities remains a problem. Obama announced several new programs for veterans. He’s doubling the size of the Veterans Community Initiative and creating a better online tool for comparing trade schools. (Federal News Radio)
  • Top managers at Homeland Security agreed that the secretary’s Unity of Effort initiative is driving change. But buy-in and progress from the department’s 22 components aren’t universal. The Homeland Security and Defense Business Council and Grant Thornton surveyed DHS managers. A third said the efforts would have no impact on their particular missions. (Federal News Radio)

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