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The use of agile development for IT projects remains elusive for most agencies. The Government Accountability Office reports 20 of 24 agencies have incomplete or no policies altogether for how to use incremental development. Under the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), agency CIOs are ordered to use and measure the impact of iterative development for IT projects. (Government Accountability Office)
The Army is aiming for an 18-month procurement cycle for IT items. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said the service buys IT systems too slowly with many out of date by the time they are implemented. The Army’s new acquisition modernization plan will try to address the problem. It will be implemented by summer of next year. (Federal News Radio)
The assortment and inconsistent application of cyber standards is annoying more than federal agencies. The associations representing state chief information officers and governors have told the Office of Management and Budget that complying with federal cyber regulations can hamper state IT modernization efforts. The National Governors Association and the National Association of State CIOs wrote to OMB Director Mick Mulvaney asking him to work with agencies to harmonize disparate and often conflicting federal cybersecurity regulations and to normalize the audit process. The associations said a large number of federal regulations has impeded state efforts to produce cost savings, and divert the attention of cyber professionals to compliance activities, rather than implementing security policies. (National Governors Association)
Complying with the DATA Act has proven tough for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. HUD’s inspector general found the agency’s Office of the Chief Financial Officer did not make the May 2017 deadline to submit complete and accurate data to USASpending.gov. The IG made five recommendations, including creating an internal DATA Act reporting mechanism. (Department of Housing and Urban Development)
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) has threatened the Pentagon to get it to finish its first-ever financial audit. McCain said Tuesday that DoD officials had been “getting away with” the department’s lack of audit-readiness for years. He threatened that the Senate will block authorizations for key acquisition programs if the Pentagon doesn’t finish the audit it’s pledged to conduct this year. A law in place since 2010 required DoD to be audit-ready a little over a month ago, and DoD has already hired outside firms to conduct the first audit. But department officials do not expect to earn a clean opinion on their first go-round. (Federal News Radio)
Foreign service members have been honored by the State Department. Five men and women have received the Secretary of State Award for Outstanding Volunteerism Abroad. In its 27th year, the winners’ work includes building a website to measure air quality in Thailand and mentoring young Ukrainian women in a technology competition.
The State Department has focused its attention and dollars on Nicaragua. State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor has opened an $800,000 funding competition for an organization to promote democracy and human rights in the nominally democratic country. Applications are due Jan. 15. Yesterday, the Trump administration gave Nicaraguans living in the United States one more year. And the Organization of American States called on Nicaragua to investigate five murders that followed local elections. (Department of State)
Thrift Savings Plan participants are close to seeing more flexibilities with the plan. The Senate passed the TSP Modernization Act. It gives participants more options for withdrawing from the TSP, letting participants make ultimate withdrawals. Current participants can only make one partial withdrawal before reaching age 59-and-a-half. The bill now goes to the president’s desk. (Congress.gov)
Twenty states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana or some kind of recreational cannabis use. But new legalization laws don’t necessarily apply to federal employees and contractors who still have to follow the Drug Free Workplace Act. Companies with contracts worth over $100,000 with an agency must have a drug-free policy. (Federal News Radio)