Thursday federal headlines – February 18, 2016

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

When it comes to transparency initiatives, the Obama administration is still pretty opaque. That assessment comes from Open the Government, a coalition of two dozen good-government groups. It looked at transparency initiatives outlined in the second national action plan for open government launched in December 2013. Of 16 goals, the administration completed only one concerning the oil and coal industries. The group found much...

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

  • When it comes to transparency initiatives, the Obama administration is still pretty opaque. That assessment comes from Open the Government, a coalition of two dozen good-government groups. It looked at transparency initiatives outlined in the second national action plan for open government launched in December 2013. Of 16 goals, the administration completed only one concerning the oil and coal industries. The group found much of the work has failed to lead to a more collaborative government. (Open the Government)
  • The Department of Defense’s Office of Inspector General has a new report criticizing the Defense Logistics Agency for not determining fair and reasonable prices for a spare parts contract with CFM International. The IG specifically blamed the contracting officer for not conducting a sufficient price analysis and not questioning the commercial off the shelf classification for parts with no commercial sales. It wants the DLA’s director to require contracting officers to enhance review of parts with that status before awarding the next CFM International contract. (DoD IG)
  • OPM’s acting Director Beth Cobert has been operating in violation of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act for three months. That’s according to the the agency’s Inspector General. The IG cites an August decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. It ruled a person holding an acting position may not continue after he or she has been nominated for the same office. An IG spokesman wouldn’t comment further. The decision to appeal the circuit’s decision falls to the Justice Department. (Federal News Radio)
  • House Republicans continue their push to find out how much time federal employees are spending on union business while on the clock. Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and chairman of its Government Operations Subcommittee Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) sent letters to heads of every major federal agency last week asking them for more information on official time. They said the information is needed so the committee can better understand the number of employees receiving taxpayer-funded salaries for official time duties. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Homeland Security Department’s Science and Technology Directorate is seeing some success with its Silicon Valley satellite office. S&T Directorate Director Doug Maughan said his office finished a recent solicitation in about ten days. S&T is using what’s called an “other transactional solicitation” to speed up the contracting process. It lets the directorate hear oral pitches from start up companies who might not be familiar with the traditional Federal Acquisition Regulation. (Federal News Radio)
  • The new cybersecurity mission has its new leadership. Tom Donilon and Sam Palmisano will lead the new Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity. The commission is charged with giving President Barack Obama recommendations by Dec. 1.  Donilon, the chairman of the commission, is a familiar face in the White House, having served as the President’s national security adviser from 2010 to 2013. Palmisano will be the vice-chairman and is the former CEO of IBM. The commission’s report will address all facets of cybersecurity from the federal government to critical infrastructure to consumer hardware and software. (Federal News Radio)
  • Darren Ash, one of the longest serving federal chief information officers, is moving to a new job. Ash has been named the CIO of the Agriculture Department’s Farm Service Agency. He comes to the USDA after spending the last almost nine years as the CIO of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. FSA confirmed Ash would move to the agency starting March 5. Ash replaces Larry Gross, who left in October to be CIO of the FDIC. (Federal News Radio)