White House looks to ignite innovation in commercial drone use

In today's Federal Newscast, a new drone Integration Pilot Program aims to update U.S. aviation regulations to let companies test out new uses for unmanned airc...

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  • The Trump administration says U.S. aviation regulations are outdated and limit the amount of testing companies can do with drones. To help, the White House has launched a new drone Integration Pilot Program. It orders the Transportation Department to work with state and local governments to establish innovation zones to test ways of incorporating drones into local airspaces. (White House)


  • The General Services Administration has taken another step to get out from under Dun & Bradstreet. It issued a request for proposals on non-proprietary ways to verify the identity of contractors. GSA’s contract with Dun & Bradstreet for use of the DUNS numbers expires next year. Responses to the RFP are due Nov. 20. (FedBizOpps)


  • The IRS has updated its hiring practices and policies. Jeffrey Tribiano, IRS deputy commissioner for operations support, said the agency is on track to meet its end of October deadline for the hiring changes. The updates include flagging a candidate’s suitability issues earlier in the hiring process. (Federal News Radio)


  • U.S. Transportation Command said it’s beginning a major move to the cloud. TRANSCOM said it’s the first big DoD organization to do so. This follows a contract earlier this year to a company building a commercial cloud inside the command’s cybersecurity perimeter. A newly-created Cloud Center of Excellence will handle the migrations. Five systems began the transition last month. Officials said 22 more will follow by the end of the year, with all of the command’s major systems having made the move by next July. (Air Force)


  • The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has postponed its vote on the top nominees for the Office of Personnel Management and General Services Administration. The nominations were supposed to move forward yesterday, but the committee said OPM hasn’t given chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) information on the agency’s 2013 Affordable Care Act ruling, which exempted Congress from the law. OPM said it’s quickly trying to comply with the chairman’s request. (Federal News Radio)


  • Lawmakers seek more answers about the threat of a specific software product. Kaspersky Lab may be getting all the attention on Capitol Hill and from the Homeland Security Department, but cyber experts warn agencies are at risk from any vendor providing similar cyber products and services. The House Science, Space and Technology subcommittee on oversight heard concerns yesterday that Kaspersky Lab and other similar cyber tools are given front door access to agency networks. This lets these vendors obtain internet intelligence to create a private global network. Experts said agencies need to focus on resilience and supply chain risk management to combat these threats. (Federal News Radio)


  • Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) wants Congress to find a way to help military spouses who are unable to find jobs. The military spouse unemployment rate is five times the national average. Many spouses have trouble finding work because they move so often or must be relicensed in their field after moving to a new state. (Federal News Radio)


  • Veterans Affairs pharmacy managers have responded to critiques of VA’s arrangement with a non-profit drug assessment organization. VA launched a collaboration with the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review of Boston back in June. ICER helps VA judge drugs and negotiate prices with pharmaceutical companies. The companies’ association has urged caution. But, writing in Health Affairs Today, the three pharmacy benefits managers argue the arrangement enhances veterans’ care and sharpens VA pharmacy practices. (Health Affairs Today)


  • Applications are open for the 2018 Presidential Management Fellowship program. 2018 marks its 40th year. The PMF is a leadership development program open to recent graduates. The Office of Personnel Management places fellows in two-year positions at an agency. Applications are due by Nov. 1. (Office of Personnel Management)

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