CBP gets industry help with hiring plans

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  • Customs and Border Protection is getting some help hiring 5,000 new Border Patrol agents. CBP awarded a nearly $300 million contract to professional services provider Accenture to help recruit and hire new agents. According to the LA Times, Accenture will also be augmenting the agency’s existing internal hiring programs. (Los Angeles Times)


  • The House Veterans Affairs Committee is back to the drawing board to figure out a solution for the Veterans Choice Program. VA Secretary David Shulkin said the department will run out of funding in a few weeks if Congress doesn’t find a solution. The House committee will mark up another version of its community care legislation today. The bill would authorize a permanent community care program, and get rid of the current, arbitrary administrative rules. The Senate VA committee passed its own legislation. Neither bills have made it to full votes in the House or Senate. (House Veterans Affairs Committee)


  • Another House committee wants the Government Accountability Office to conduct five new reviews of how agencies are implementing the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA). In a letter to Comptroller Gene Dodaro, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee asked GAO for help continuing IT modernization oversight efforts. (House Oversight and Government Reform Committee)


  • The Homeland Security Department will have to defend a recent cyber directive in court. Kaspersky Lab is fighting back against the federal government’s ban of its software. Eugene Kaspersky posted an open letter yesterday, saying DHS’ actions have left him with no choice but to file an appeal to the ban in federal court. The company said DHS failed to provide Kaspersky Lab with adequate due process to counter the claims of wrongdoing. It also said DHS relied primarily on subjective, non-technical public sources in finalizing the binding operational directive from September. Kaspersky is asking the court to declare the BOD invalid. (Federal News Radio)


  • NASA has begun accepting nominations for a new group to consult the National Space Council. The Users Advisory Group was recently established with the purpose of advising and informing the council on aerospace topics, space-related national security priorities, and the impacts of U.S. and international space laws. Nominations are due by Jan. 10. (NASA)


  • To support its ultimate goal of getting to Mars, NASA needs to adjust its research agenda. A National Academies panel found NASA has responded well, five years into a 10-year set of goals related to deep space exploration. But the academic reviewers recommend NASA re-orient research done on the International Space Station and in low-Earth orbit generally to better support the Mars mission. They also recommend NASA put out more external research proposals for life support and physical sciences. (National Academies)


  • An update on how much real estate the government maintains. The General Services Administration released new info on the government’s real property inventory. GSA officials said the data incentivizes agencies to be more efficient with their brick-and-mortar spending. The information includes details like size, location, and agency ownership of the properties. The publication is required under the Federal Assets, Sales, and Transfer Act of 2016. (General Services Administration)


  • The Trump administration has released its national security policy. The United States is turning its security concerns toward China and Russia, according the Trump administration’s new security strategy. The document said China and Russia challenge American power, influence and interests. The new policy also puts an emphasis on ccounterterrorism border security and trade. North Korea and Iran are identified as continued threats to the United States as well as transnational terrorism organizations. The White House wants to use its power to protect the United States’ intellectual property and technological advances too. (Department of Defense)


  • National Guard members can now wear the bureau’s new organizational badge. Its design was officially unveiled at a celebration of the National Guard’s 381st birthday last week. Senior leaders say the new badge recognizes the guard’s history and helps create an “organizational identity.” You can see the new design here. (Department of Defense)


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