Wednesday federal headlines – December 2, 2015

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

House lawmakers passed the Intelligence Authorization Act for fiscal year 2016. The bill authorizes funding and sets policies for intelligence-related activities at 18 federal departments including the NSA, Department of Homeland Security, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. It also calls for the White House to submit a report in the next 120 days on...

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

  • House lawmakers passed the Intelligence Authorization Act for fiscal year 2016. The bill authorizes funding and sets policies for intelligence-related activities at 18 federal departments including the NSA, Department of Homeland Security, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. It also calls for the White House to submit a report in the next 120 days on the effects and national security implications from the 2015 OPM data breach. (Congress)
  • The U.S. Agency for International Development has a new administrator and now a new and most importantly permanent inspector general. Ann Calvaresi Barr will take over a chief watchdog of the agency, a position Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ed Royce (R-Calif.) says the agency has not had filled for four years now. The chairman said he was glad to see the administration finally put forward a suitable replacement after many calls from the committee. (Foreign Affairs)
  • The General Services Administration is bringing the Internet of things to agency vehicles. Through a new contract with AT&T, GSA is letting agencies take advantage of telematics. Telematics is technology that combines telecommunications and information processing to send, receive, and store data related to remote objects.  The data will help agencies improve operational fleet efficiency and effectiveness.  Telematics will provide agencies with data around fuel consumption. It establishes vehicle use patterns and encourages modified driving behaviors. (GSA)
  • Acquisition experts tell Senate lawmakers the Defense Department needs to do more to court Silicon Valley companies. Experts say DoD needs to come up with mutually beneficial contracts for the military and tech companies. DoD has been upping its investments in cyber as part of its Defense Innovation Initiative. The Initiative is aimed at keeping the United States technologically superior to its rivals. Defense Secretary Ash Carter recently set up the Defense Innovation Experimental unit in Silicon Valley to try and partner with tech companies. (Senate Armed Services Committee)
  • A federal judge is sentencing former Lee Dynamics International President Justin Lee to a year in prison. Prosecutors say Lee paid more than $1.2 million in bribes to U.S. military officers during the Iraq War to secure contracts. Lee pleaded guilty in 2011 to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and four substantive counts of bribery. He admitted to paying multiple bribes in the form of cash, airline tickets, trips and hotel stays, to military contracting personnel in exchange for their agreement to take official action to award lucrative contracts to both LDI and American Logistics Services, another company he worked for. (Justice Department)
  • Current and former federal employees still wondering if their personnel information was caught up in the massive data breach can finally get an answer. The Office of Personnel Management officially opened the cybersecurity verification center Tuesday. OPM said current and former feds can email or call the center to see if they were affected. So far, OPM has sent letters to about 17 million cyber breach victims. The agency says it will finish sending out letters to victims over the next 10 days. (Federal News Radio)
  • More updates to Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s “Force of the Future” plan could come out as soon as later this month or in January. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Personnel Policy Anthony Kurta said the department will need to overcome an institutional resistance to change before it can fully embrace the Secretary’s reforms. He said some have described Carter’s first round of proposals as “evolutionary” rather than “revolutionary.” Carter released his first set of reforms last month. (Federal News Radio)
  • Congress is trying again to see if outsourcing tax collection services could work. For the third time in the last 20 years, lawmakers approved the use of private collection agencies at the IRS. The National Treasury Employees Union criticized the passing of the provision as part of the transportation funding bill. NTEU said the use of private collection agencies has not worked in the past because the government lost money and taxpayers complained of strong-arm tactics by collection agencies.