Trump budget request could mean billions for defense contractors

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 Trump’s budget request includes a boost in defense spending and contractors could see a healthy chunk of it.

  • With the release of President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2017 and 2018 budget requests today, OMB is telling Cabinet secretaries they have more discretion than ever to implement potential cuts or increases. OMB Director Mick Mulvaney said the budget request increases discretionary spending by $54 billion in the defense category and reduces it by the same amount in the non-defense discretionary accounts. (Federal News Radio)
  • That boost in defense funding could mean contractors will get a sizeable chunk of it. An assessment by Bloomberg Government said of the proposed increase of more than $50 billion, about $27.5 billion will go to contractors. Still, as money shifts to one sector, that means others lose out. BGOV predicts contractors for agencies facing cuts could see $13.9 billion in reductions. (Bloomberg Government)
  • With all eyes on today’s budget release, the House Budget Committee has been working a potentially far-reaching piece of policy. The committee was to mark up a Republican plan for overhauling the Affordable Care Act. Bloomberg BNA reports, each party gets to submit seven non-binding motions. Committee Chair Diane Black (R-Tenn.) said members will also consider recommendations from two other committees before approving the Obamacare replacement, setting up a full House vote next week. (Bloomberg Government)
  • A White House Homeland security advisor said the coming cyber executive order will focus on federal networks and data, critical infrastructure, and IT modernization. Tom Bossert said the administration will also measuring agencies’ progress in adopting the National Institute of Standards and Technology cybersecurity framework. (Federal News Radio)
  • There is one way every agency can improve their cybersecurity. Agencies are facing cyber attacks that are coming faster and are more lethal than ever. But employees remain the weakest link. OMB said in the 2017 Federal Information Management Security Act report that hackers are using attacks via email message or attachment or by having employees go to a website with malware more often than other types of attacks. Agencies reported almost 3,300 incidents to U.S. CERT last year that involved email or phishing. They reported more than 4,100 incidents involving a website or an online application. Other types of attacks such as brute force or spoofing accounted for fewer than 200 total attempts. (The White House)
  • The Veterans Affairs Department has stood up a search commission to find its next undersecretary for benefits. A law requires the agency do so. The commission will submit candidates to the President. Whomever the president nominates will need to go through Senate confirmation. (Department of Veterans Affairs)
  • The Government Accountability Office said it talked to the Veterans Affairs Department three times about its placement on the High-Risk List. But VA didn’t take GAO up on its offer to help. New VA Secretary David Shulkin met with Comptroller General Gene Dodaro earlier this month. VA leadership said it’s committed to addressing GAO’s recommendations but said transformation won’t happen overnight. (Federal News Radio)
  • As the Marine Corps tries to control a nude photo scandal in its ranks, a new Navy Times report said the Navy may be just as implicated in its own scandal. The report states female sailors may be targeted by people online collecting and distributing nude photos. This comes as the Navy is implementing a new leadership plan to instill character in its leaders. The Marine Corps photo scandals involved marines sharing photos of their peers. The entire military is now investigating any other instances of photo sharing. (Navy Times)
  • The Office of Personnel Management cancels 21 occupations based on agency suggestions. Coding, office drafting, cryptography are among the occupations that only have 25 or fewer federal employees, which means they will get reclassified in OPM’s Enterprise Human Resources Integration Data Warehouse. OPM reclassifies occupations agencies are no longer using as often. (Chief Human Capital Officers Council)

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