After John Oliver segment, FCC faces major IT problems

  • A popular late night talk show host caused major IT problems at the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC was struck by a massive distributed denial of service attack Sunday night and into Monday morning. FCC Chief Information Officer David Bray said the D-DOS attack was a deliberate attempt by external actors to bombard the commission’s comment system with a high amount of traffic to its commercial cloud host. The attack came after HBO’s John Oliver talked about the changes under consideration by the FCC around Net Neutrality. Bray said the attackers were not attempting to file comments, but instead make it difficult for citizens to use the system. (Federal Communications Commission)
  • It took the Office of Personnel Management much longer to process retirement claims in April. It processed 27 percent of claims last month within the standard 60 days. That’s well below the 77 percent processing rate OPM hit in March. OPM received nearly 6,600 claims in April and processed about 8,200. OPM made progress on bringing down the claims backlog. But it is sitting at nearly 19,000, 6,000 off from OPM’s steady state of 13,000 claims. (Federal News Radio)
  • A 1 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget will force the agency to freeze staffing levels for another year. The Obama administration had proposed adding more staff to EPA, but the idea was rejected in the 2017 omnibus appropriations bill President Donald Trump recently signed. Staffing will stay at 15,000 positions, the lowest EPA has had since 1989. (Environmental Protection Agency)
  • Agencies must start implementing the DATA Act. The deadline to start doing so was yesterday, and Congress wants to know if agencies are ready. Members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, asking for an update on several auditor recommendations related to the standardization of federal spending reports. Mnuchin has until May 22 to respond. (House Oversight and Government Reform Committee)
  • One of President  Donald Trump’s selections for a major defense role was confirmed. Heather Wilson will be the next secretary of the Air Force. Wilson will be stepping down from her post as president of the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology and is expected to be sworn in within a week. An Air Force Academy grad, Wilson also served in Congress for over a decade representing New Mexico’s 1st District. (Air Force)
  • President Donald Trump’s second nominee for Army Secretary dropped out last week. Mark Green pulled his nomination after receiving criticism over past statements on LGBT and religious issues. Last year, Green called being transgender a disease. Those comments and others gave pause to Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.). Green was Trump’s second nominee for the position to pull his hat out of the ring. Vincent Viola dropped out earlier this year over concerns about his business ties. (Associated Press)
  • The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation tested 94 of them for security, speed, mobile friendliness or accessibility. ITIF said 99 percent failed to meet basic standards in at least one of those metrics. Worse only 52 percent were found to be accessible for people with disabilities. The organization suggests the legislative branch adhere to the same standards as their executive counterparts when it comes to website standards. (Information Technology and Innovation Foundation)
  • The Interior Department wants to hear from you on which national monuments should retain their protected status. The department is reviewing the status of several monuments after President Donald Trump issued an executive order in April calling for one. The public comment period will begin this Friday. (Department of Interior)

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