Friday federal headlines – January 29, 2016

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

  • A retired Air Force Master Sergeant has been sentenced to 18 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to disclosing confidential procurement information and filing a false tax return. Trevor Smith, who retired in 2012, exchanged confidential bid information on government contracts with a Fort Lauderdale  contractor while serving in Afghanistan. He set up a shell corporation when he returned to the U.S. to help hide the money. (Justice Department)
  • Five out of 23 agencies are getting cyber intrusion prevention services from the Homeland Security Department. The Government Accountability Office said DHS doesn’t know how well its National Cybersecurity Protection System is working or whether agencies are fully implementing it. DHS developed performance metrics for the cybersecurity system, but those metrics don’t measure whether the intrusion detection capabilities are working or accurate. (GAO)
  • Federal employees suing the Office of Personnel Management over last year’s data breach now have a lead counsel. The National Law Journal said a federal district judge in Washington picked Daniel Girard, managing partner of Girard Gibbs in San Francisco. He’ll be representing employees suing OPM over cyber attacks that exposed the private information of some 22 million employees. (National Law Journal)
  • A Navy Commander pleads guilty to a bribery charge. Commander Michael Misievicz admitted to trading military secrets for prostitutes, travel expenses, and cash with foreign defense contractor Glenn Defense Marine Asia. The information Misievicz sent the company included ship schedules for the Navy’s ballistic missile defense operations in the Pacific. He’ll be sentenced in April. Eight other Navy and Defense Department individuals have been charged in connection with the so-called Fat Leonard scheme. (Justice Department)
  • The FBI takes a transparent approach to a deadly shooting. Perhaps to stave off complaints it overreacted, the FBI posted to YouTube a video of an agent shooting one of the occupiers of the wildlife refuge center near Burns, Oregon. The helicopter footage shows Robert Finicum running his truck into a snowbank at a roadblock, and moments later seeming to reach into his jacket before being shot dead. FBI officials said Finicum had a loaded pistol in the jacket. (Youtube)
  • The General Services Administration is trying to increase the public’s confidence in federal websites and applications. GSA launched the U.S. Digital Registry yesterday. The tool helps ensure users they are going to an official federal site when coming from third party platforms such as Facebook or Twitter. Currently about 3,000 sites are in the U.S. Digital Registry. GSA officials said their goal is  6,000 by Feb. 29. (Medium)
  • Federal offices in the D.C. area will operate on a normal schedule today after four days of closings and delayed openings. Employees have the option of unscheduled telework or leave. The Baltimore Federal Executive Board is recommending offices in that region open under a two-hour delay with unscheduled telework or leave. With the snow emergency winding down, tell us what you think of how OPM handled the status updates this week in dealing with the snow storm and its aftermath. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Pentagon is doubling the amount of paid maternity leave it allows for military service members. For new moms, paid parental leave will go from the current six weeks to 12 weeks under the latest round of DoD’s Force of the Future initiative. Paternity leave will also increase from 10 days to 14. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the changes are geared toward boosting the military’s retention in an era when most families have two working spouses. Among the other changes: an increase in the hours of DoD’s childcare facilities, from 12 hours a day to 14. (Federal News Radio)
  • A record year for one major technology services contract. Agencies spent more money through the Alliant governmentwide acquisition contract for IT services in fiscal 2015 than with any other GWAC ever. The General Services Administration says departments obligated $2.9 billion last year, up from about $2.7 billion the year before. Part of the reason for the increase is GSA gave 23 percent more contracting officers the ability to use the Alliant and the Alliant small business contracts directly instead of having to go through GSA. (GSA)
  • The National Commission on the Future of the Army recommends capping the Army’s minimum active duty force at four hundred fifty thousand troops. The commission’s congressionally mandated report suggests the Army further integrate the regular Army, Reserve and the National Guard. Commissioners also recommend merging the three components’ recruitment efforts. (Federal News Radio)

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