Wednesday federal headlines – February 3, 2016

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

  • Senior officials from the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps laid out plans to integrate women into combat roles before the Senate Armed Forces Committee. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus addressed concerns of standards being lowered in order to let more women in. Army Undersecretary Patrick J. Murphy followed Mabus’ lead saying enforcing standards fairly and objectively will remain the guiding principle for mission success. (DoD)
  • The Department of Homeland Security and the Coast Guard are increasing maternity leave for members of the Coast Guard from six weeks to 12 weeks for mothers. This follows the Department of Defense’s lead, which announced a new maternity leave policy for the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps last week. The Coast Guard is also considering the other Force of the Future workforce initiatives recently announced by the Secretary of Defense to further enhance readiness as well as personal well being. (DHS)
  • DHS’ Office of Inspector General said the TSA is not holding human capital services contractors accountable for performance deficiencies. There were instances where TSA did not hold the contractor monetarily accountable for personally identifiable information violations, which could have saved the agency $4.2 million. The IG said TSA needs to improve its monitoring of contractor performance. (DHS OIG)
  • House lawmakers still aren’t satisfied with the Education Department’s efforts to secure the data of more than 139 million Americans. The Oversight and Government Reform Committee grilled Danny Harris, Education’s CIO, and Acting Secretary John King, for three hours Tuesday about systemic cyber shortcomings. Lawmakers also expressed concern about Harris’s behavior, questioning whether he should stay in the role of CIO. Education said it’s making progress. Harris said more than 85 percent of all employees log on to the network using two-factor authentication. (Federal News Radio)
  • Agencies could soon have a new way to measure and communicate how much they spend on IT. Transportation Chief Information Officer Richard McKinney said the Office of Management and Budget expressed interest in a new IT cost framework the Technology Business Management Council is developing. McKinney SAID the framework should be out by March or April. Four working groups are tailoring the system to suit federal governance processes now. The TBM Council is made up of private and public sector CIOs. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Office of Personnel Management’s inspector general is resigning. Patrick McFarland has been OPM’s IG for 25 years, the longest of any presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed inspector general. Deputy IG Nobert Vint will step in as the acting OPM IG until President Barack Obama names a permanent replacement. McFarland’s office has been behind several high profile cases in the past, including a series of reports investigating the two cyber breaches at OPM over the summer. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Defense Department may be facing a growing hole in its funding starting in 2017. DoD is already facing a $14-to-22 billion deficit for 2017, but unless Congress completely repeals sequestration more deficits will be coming in future years. According to a report by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments the compounding deficit could reach $104.5 billion by 2021. That could have major impacts on DoD’s modernization plans in the 2020s, the report said. (Federal News Radio)

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