PREPARE ACT proposed to develop plans for extreme weather events

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  • Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.) has introduced legislation to form an inter-agency council to help agencies better prepare for major weather events.  Carwright’s PREPARE Act would authorize the president to appoint senior officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the National Security Council (NSC) and other agencies to develop recommendations for government preparation and response to hurricanes, wildfires and other big weather events. (House Oversite Committee)
  • House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said they will introduce a bill requiring agencies track the effectiveness of their programs through data analytics. Ryan and Murray said their Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act would require agencies to submit evidence-building plans, which would then be developed into a government-wide strategy overseen by the Office of Management and Budget. (Federal News Radio)
  • House legislators have proposed major changes to how the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) secures its own IT systems and networks, and how they work with the private sector. House Energy and Commerce Committee members introduced the HHS Cybersecurity Moderization Act on Nov. 1. This is the second time the committee has tried to improve the cyber posture of HHS. Like the bill from last year, the new legislation would move the chief information security officer (CISO) out from under the Chief Information Officer. It also would give the CISO more authority,direct funding and a direct reporting line to the secretary.  (House Energy and Commerce Committee)
  • CenturyLink finalized its acquisition of Level-3 Communications in a $30 billion deal after receiving approval from the FCC yesterday. Both companies won spots on GSA’s Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions contract earlier this year to provide next generation telecommunication services to the government. CenturyLink also provides internet, phone and TV service to millions of consumers across the nation. (CenturyLink)
  • The Government Managers Coalition said it wants the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to pass a bill that would put most federal employees and senior executives on a two-year probationary period. The coalition said another year would give supervisors more time to evaluate their employees after they’ve finished most of their training. Entry-level claims specialists at the Social Security Administration, for example, take months of classroom and practical training. They’re not often fully independent specialists for three to four years.  (Federal News Radio)
  • The former head of the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) announced plans on Nov. 1  to send 13 legislative proposals to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform aimed at increasing transparency, while reducing the reporting burden on federal agencies. Among Walter Schaub’s proposals were a suggestion to lawmakers that they clarify OGE’s authority to collect ethics information. Shaub said the proposals aim to strike a middle ground, which he said was important so that people wouldn’t consider them partisan issues. Schaub resigned from OGE in July saying federal ethics rules need to be tougher.  (Federal News Radio)
  • Davita Vance-Cooks announced she is leaving after more than four years as director of the Government Publishing Office (GPO) for a job in the private sector. GPO Deputy Director Jim Bradley will assume her position until a replacement is found. Vance-Cooks was the first woman and first African-American to lead the agency. It was during her tenure that GPO’s name was changed from “Printing” to “Publishing” to reflect the agency’s transition to digital publishing technologies. (GPO)
  • The Navy said two ship collisions this summer that claimed the lives of 17 sailors were due to breakdowns in procedure and poor decision making. A critical report scheduled to be released Nov. 2 calls for about 60 recommended improvements that range from improved training on seamanship, navigation and the use of ship equipment to more basic changes to increase sleep and stress management for sailors.  The USS John S. McCain and an oil tanker collided near Singapore in August, leaving 10 U.S. sailors dead. And seven sailors died in June when the USS Fitzgerald and a container ship collided off Japan. (Federal News Radio)
  • A military judge at Guantanamo Bay found the top defense lawyer for military commissions in contempt of court, and ordered him confined to quarters for three weeks. In an unprecedented ruling, the judge, Col. Vance Spath, found Brig. Gen. John Baker in contempt because he had allowed three civilian attorneys to quit their positions as defense counsel representing a terrorism suspect. The lawyers reportedly resigned over what they viewed as a breach of attorney-client privilege, but the Pentagon said the exact reasons are classified.(Federal News Radio)

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