GAO releases biannual high risk list

In today's Top Federal Headlines, the Government Accountability office adds three new areas to its high risk list and removes one.

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

  • The Government Accountability Office added three new areas to its high risk list and removed one. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro released the biannual high risk list detailing 34 federal program in need of improvements. GAO added the Census Bureau’s Decennial 2020 count, federal programs serving tribes and the country’s environmental liabilities like EPA superfund sites. The one program removed focused on how agencies share terrorism information to protect the nation.
  • The high risk list also shows agencies still have a long way to go to achieve major improvements in how they manage their technology. The Government Accountability Office added the management and acquisition of technology to the list in 2015. Since then, agencies have made some progress. GAO said agencies have implemented 46 percent of their prior recommendations. Among the recommendations agencies still need to address are 17 priority improvements. These include reporting all data center consolidation cost savings to the Office of Management and Budget, addressing weaknesses in their management of software licenses and improving their implementation of the PortfolioStat process.
  • Federal agencies used their credit cards to spend more than $8 billion on micropurchases in fiscal 2014. A new Government Accountability Office report found the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs made up two-thirds of these smaller acquisitions. Micropurchases are currently capped at $3,500.
  • Having come out of retirement to steady a teetering Secret Service in 2013, Director Joseph Clancy is retiring again. He urged President Donald Trump to choose someone from outside the agency to take over. Clancy returned after a series of scandals and security breaches. forced the resignation of Julie Pierson. President Barack Obama made him permanent director in 2015. Clancy said he’s leaving now for personal reasons. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Office of Government Ethics director said there’s “strong reason to believe” presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway broke an ethics law, and urged the White House to consider disciplinary action against her. In a letter to the Deputy Counsel to the President, Walter Shaub said Conway’s televised comments about buying clothes from Ivanka Trump’s fashion line warranted an investigation. (Office of Government Ethics)
  • About half of agency supervisors, managers and senior executives said they’re confident they could fire an employee for misconduct. That’s according to a survey from the Merit Systems Protection Board. It asked 10,000 managers and supervisors about their opinions and understanding of the adverse action process. Many said it’s harder than it should be to fire employees, but not impossible. (Federal News Radio)
  • Former Navy acquisition chief Sean Stackley is figuring out how the Pentagon will split its acquisition, technology and logistics office. Congress required the split in the 2017 defense authorization act. Stackley is overseeing a review on how the Defense Department will execute the changes. It’s acquisition office needs a leader for research and one for day-to-day functions by 2018.
  • The Army said it’s begun to see significant progress in its effort to consolidate and shut down excess data centers. In a new report, the Army chief information officer’s office said the service has shut down 38 percent of its data centers as part of the governmentwide Data Center Optimization Initiative, including 41 percent of the large facilities known as “tiered” data centers. That last figure puts the Army ahead of goals set by the Office of Management and Budget, which told all agencies to close 25 percent of their tiered data centers by 2018. Eventually, the Army hopes to cut its number of data centers to just 10, including four in the continental U.S. In a new directive in December, the Army secretary set a schedule ordering the closure of hundreds of centers by the end of next year. (Federal News Radio)
  • Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) wants to know why the FBI is putting limits on its online portal for filing Freedom of Information Act Requests. Wyden said a 3,000 character limit and hindering filers from making automated submissions could make FOIA requests too difficult. He wants the agency to continue accepting email submissions. (Sen. Ron Wyden)

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