Trump shakes up National Security Council

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

In today’s Top Federal Headlines, President Donald Trump revises the attendance at the National Security and Homeland Security Councils.

  • President Donald Trump has revised the attendance at the National Security and Homeland Security Councils. In another memo, he added the president’s chief strategist to the list of people invited to attend National Security Council meetings. That same position, held by Steve Bannon, is also added as a regular attendee to the policy-setting principals committee. But the director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff now attend committee meetings when they’re needed. (The White House)
  • President Trump has ordered his executive appointees to sign an ethics pledge. It bans members from engaging in lobbying activities for five years after completion of service, and from ever lobbying on behalf of a foreign government. President Obama signed a similar order which imposed a two-year ban. (Federal News Radio)
  • The president’s plan to increase troop levels will put more stress on military family support systems, says Joyce Raezer, the executive director of the National Military Family Association. Raezer said if the president and Congress want to increase end strength, then childcare, health services and other support need to be increased as well. That could be an issue considering the federal government is currently not hiring for civilian positions. (Federal News Radio)
  • President Trump has ordered a 30-day review of the military’s readiness posture, and a new budget request to pay for near-term training and equipping needs. In a memo to the secretary of Defense and the director of the Office of Management and Budget, Trump said he wants the military services to assess everything from their current munitions stocks and unit training status to their short-term modernization needs. From there, the administration intends to submit an emergency budget request for 2017 that’s focused on readiness. Each of the military service chiefs has been issuing dire warnings about readiness since the onset of automatic budget cuts in 2013. The Obama administration echoed those concerns, but said they couldn’t be resolved without a political resolution to the Budget Control Act. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Veterans Affairs Department has exempted some positions from President Trump’s hiring freeze. Acting VA Secretary Rob Snyder said some medical center directors, doctors and construction positions are exempt, since they provide direct patient care to veterans. Some positions which provide burial services are exempt as well. This comes after 55 lawmakers wrote to Trump asking that he exempt the entire VA. (Federal News Radio)
  • An agency which could see more than a hiring freeze, the Environmental Protection Agency. The former head of President Donald Trump’s transition team at EPA, Myron Ebell, said he expects the administration will attempt significant budget and staff cuts. Ebell suggested cutting the agency’s staff in half and $1 billion from EPA’s budget. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Trump administration wants to put its mark on federal cybersecurity efforts. The White House is circulating a draft of a new executive order around cybersecurity. It would be the 11th since 2001 and seventh since 2011. The draft order, obtained by the Washington Post, calls for three 60-day reviews and one 100-day review of various cyber capabilities. Among the requirements in the draft order are recommendations to President Trump on how to enhance protections of federal networks and systems. The draft EO also wants recommendations for how best to get the private sector to adopt cyber protections. (Washington Post)
  • Harris Corporation said it will sell its government IT services business to private equity firm Veritas Capital. Veritas will pay $690 million. The unit’s estimated 2017 revenues are about a $1 billion. Among its customers, NASA’s Space Communications Network and Deep Space Network programs. (WTOP)

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