The Federal Headlines is a daily compilation of the stories you hear discussed on Federal Drive with Tom Temin.
Emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by the organization Judicial Watch show contractors involved with the roll-out of HealthCare.gov had numerous concerns about the site’s security just days before its launch. One validation contractor, Blue Canopy, refused to sign an “Authorization to Operate” memo before the launch, saying sensitive data was publicly accessible. (Judicial Watch)
Another new website launched to house data about federal government spending. It’s still a beta site and light on data, but USAFacts.org opened to the public. Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, now the owner of a professional basketball team, kicked off the site. Billed as our nation in numbers, the mostly anonymous site lists three partners. The Wharton School, Lynchburg College and the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. (USAFacts)
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly is not surprised by the low morale at his department over past several years. He said pointless bureaucracy and disrespect from ignorant public officials are the main culprits. Kelly said he’d rather Congress change the law if it doesn’t agree with DHS policy, otherwise, let employees do the jobs for which they were trained. (Federal News Radio)
President Donald Trump’s executive order requiring agencies to put more emphasis on buy-american rules in federal procurement is concerning some industry associations. The IT Alliance for Public Sector said the order would hurt the federal government’s ability to buy leading technology because of the global supply chain most vendors rely on. ITAPS also said the EO would increase costs for agencies, and stifle innovation among companies. (Information Technology Industry Council)
The Defense Department is taking the first steps to split its acquisition office. Congress mandated the Pentagon do so in the 2017 defense authorization act to try to spur innovation. DoD is in the process of assigning responsibilities to each office. The research and development office will be in charge of technology development. The other office will focus more on things like contract policy. (Federal News Radio)
The General Services Administration is ready to recompete a 10-year-old contract. The contract to run the USA Contact program is coming up for renewal and GSA wants to know how customer service and technology has changed over the last decade. GSA and the Office of Personnel Mangement’s Innovation Lab are holding an agency customer day May 18 in Washington, D.C. to gather feedback for a new contract in 2018. GSA awarded nine companies a spot on the $2.5 billion USA Contact contract in 2008. Since then, agencies have spent about $1 billion on contact center services and technology. (General Services Administration)
The Treasury Department is looking to industry to help it manage its mobile devices. In a Request for Information, the agency said it wants vendors to provide mobile device integration services and help desk support services for an estimated 100,000 users. Responses to the RFI are due by May 4. (FedBizOpps)
Some prominent veterans service organizations are vowing to fight a proposed Congressional overhaul of the GI bill. The new rules would establish enrollment fees of $2,400 for incoming service members hoping to use the GI bill to pay for future college tuition. The Veterans of Foreign Wars is among the groups who call the plan an unfair “tax” on new troops. The proposed changes were first reported by Task and Purpose. Not yet formally introduced, they’ll likely come up during a House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing next week.
A Navy officer is charged with hazing and maltreatment after verbally and emotionally abusing a sailor. The Virginian Pilot reports the unnamed lieutenant commander is a reservist assigned to Navy Cargo Handling Battalion Eight in Lakehurst, New Jersey. The officer is also charged with nine counts of making a false official statement. (The Virginian Pilot)