Wednesday federal headlines — December 30, 2015

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

  • The White House released a cyber deterrence policy after repeated calls from Congress to do so. The policy makes public how the United States will retaliate to cyber attacks from malicious actors. Congress wanted a public strategy so attackers would know what punishment would befall them if they tried to breach U.S. cyberspace. The policy includes using law enforcement, sanctions and even military force against cyber attackers. (Federal News Radio)
  • Federal prosecutors are not pressing criminal charges against the two Veterans Affairs senior executives accused of manipulating the department’s hiring system. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia declined the VA Inspector General’s request to criminally prosecute Diana Rubens and Kimberly Graves. The U.S. Attorney’s Office says it’s referred the case back to the VA for appropriate administrative action. The VA has said it will reissue demotions to both senior executives once the problem is resolved. (AP)
  • Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is the latest person calling for an audit of the Defense Department. Real Clear Politics reports Sanders, while speaking at an event in Iowa Monday night, cited a speech by former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld talking about trillions of dollars of unaccounted defense spending. He says the contracting system is too complicated and too large, causing massive cost overruns. (Real Clear Politics)
  • The Internal Revenue Service isn’t meeting National Institute of Standards and Technology authentication standards. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration says the IRS is bringing more of its services online. But most of them use different authentication standards. The agency also lacks a consistent service-wide strategies for checking taxpayers’ identities and preventing tax fraud. The IRS says it’s created a new position and appointed Rene Schwartzman to come up with an agency strategy. It’s also working with the U.S. Digital Service to improve its online services. (Federal News Radio)
  • Command Sgt. Maj. of the Army Reserve Luther Thomas Jr. will assume a new role next year. Thomas will take over the role of senior enlisted adviser to the assistant secretary of defense for manpower and reserve affairs on Jan. 11, Army Times reports. Thomas enlisted in the Army in 1984 and is a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, He’s also served as the Reserve’s top enlisted soldier since April 2013. (Army Times)
  • The FBI Biometrics Technology Center in North Central West Virginia is now open for business with the first employees moving in just before Christmas. The Exponent Telegram says the 360,000 square foot facility took about 10 years in planning and construction due to the exacting standards needed for a highly secure compound. Employees at the facility will work with biometric identification and recognition technology, using human characteristics to provide to law enforcement and military personnel. (The Exponent Telegram)