Tuesday federal headlines – February 9, 2016

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

  • Another firing of a senior executive from Veterans Affairs has been overturned. The Merit Systems Protection Board reversed the department’s firing of Linda Weiss, who was the director of the Albany Stratton VA Medical Center in upstate New York. This is the third time in less than a month a fired VA official has be reinstated by the MSPB. Weiss was previously let go from her job after a string of incidents occurred at the Albany facility. (MSPB)
  • President Barack Obama will request $19 billion for federal cybersecurity efforts in his fiscal 2017 budget scheduled to be sent to Congress today. This is a 35 percent increase over what agencies received in 2016. The additional funding would support a new cybersecurity national action plan. The CNAP is focused on strengthening federal networks, improving education and training and improving private sector technology against cyber attacks. White House cybersecurity coordinator Michael Daniel said the action plan and funding support both short-term and long-term initiatives turn the tide against the growing impact of online attacks. (Federal News Radio)
  • It may be budget time, but the President is requesting $1.8 billion in emergency funding to build on ongoing efforts fighting the Zika virus. The funds would be spread across the Department of Health and Human Services, the Agency for International Development and the Department of State, to boost research, treatments, and prevention methods. (White House)
  • The day after the White House releases its 2017 budget request, everyone’s favorite station is WIIFM — What’s In It For Me. It’s too early to say what the final numbers will be. That’s because Congress tends to dissect White House requests. But this year could go more smoothly because Democrats and Republicans are in the second year of a two-year budget compromise. One thing seems certain: A 1.6 percent pay raise for federal employees.
  • The Commerce Department, local members of Congress and other administration officials cut the ribbon on the newly expanded National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence. The center is run in part by the National Institutes of Standards and Technology in Maryland. The ribbon cutting on Monday highlighted the new 60,000 square-foot facility, which includes 22 labs, including two large enough to hold vehicles for cybersecurity testing. Through the facility, NIST works with the private sector to identify broad cybersecurity challenges and develop solutions that enable companies to better protect themselves from cyber attacks. (NIST)
  • Law 360 is reporting that the Justice Department is suing the Navy contractor Inchcape Shipping Services, accusing it of overcharging the government millions of dollars for port services around the world. DOJ said Inchcape routinely inflated the amount of goods and services it provided for ships at port, marked up its expenses by as much as 1,000 percent, billed for services that were covered under its contracts and charged for services provided by a fake company. (Law 360)
  • The White House is setting up a new privacy council to update policies and regulations that are behind the times. President Barack Obama will sign a new executive order today to create the council. Tony Scott, the federal CIO, said it’s modeled after the C-suite councils like those for CIOs or CFOs. The council will be made up of federal experts who will implement a more strategic and comprehensive set of privacy guidelines. The council members also will share best practices and strengthen the governmentwide understanding of good privacy practices in a consistent way. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Office of Management and Budget wants to create a new IT modernization fund to help agencies move off legacy technology. President Barack Obama will request $3.1 billion in his fiscal 2017 budget request going up to Congress today to support that effort. Tony Scott, the federal CIO, said the General Services Administration would run the fund and agencies would have to pay back money they receive over time. Scott said OMB will prioritize the use of money in the IT modernization fund for agencies that face a high cybersecurity risk. OMB also will use the money to move applications to shared services and the cloud. (Federal News Radio)

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