Congress extends deadline for GSA to create plan for FBI headquarters

In today's Federal Newscast, the General Services Administration gets a 60-day extension to figure out the direction it wants to take with the FBI headquarters.

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  • Congress has extended the deadline for the General Services Administration to come up with a plan for the FBI headquarters. Members of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works have given GSA a 60-day extension to provide information about facility requirements and site consideration, as well as an analysis of work that was done on the now-canceled project. (Senate Environment and Public Works Committee)


  • The current continuing resolution is set to expire Dec. 8 and the National Treasury Employees Union wants Congress to guarantee pay for federal employees if the government shuts down. NTEU has encouraged lawmakers to pass the Federal Employee Fair Treatment Act, to make sure federal employees furloughed during a government shutdown get paid when agencies reopen. (National Treasury Employees Union)


  • According to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) though, all is well. McConnell told ABC’s “This Week” there will not be a government shutdown. The concern was that the argument over whether to continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program would cause a stalemate. McConnell said Congress can work on that issue after the new year. (ABC News)


  • The U.S. Agency for International Development has pushed ahead on a program to stimulate food production in the third world. USAID’s Bureau for Food Security has updated plans for a five-year, indefinite delivery-indefinite quantity contract. Bloomberg reports it’s now worth up to $1.5 billion. The agency is looking for vendors with expertise in agriculture, training and technical assistance, commodities markets and information technology. The deal will include set-asides for small business. A final RFP is expected Dec. 18. (Bloomberg Government)


  • New guidance from the Justice Department’s Office of Information Policy looks to make agency Freedom of Information Act websites more user-friendly. It recommended agencies use plain language and adopt consistent styles on their FOIA sites. DoJ also urged agencies to include links to FOIA libraries, reference guides, and annual FOIA reports. (Department of Justice)


  • The first evidence has emerged for why the government banned Kaspersky Lab software. A former National Security Agency employee has pleaded guilty to stealing classified information. Nghia Pho, of Ellicott City, Maryland, worked for NSA’s Tailored Access Operations unit as a developer from 2006 to 2015. The Justice Department said Pho admitted to removing and retaining classified documents and writings containing national defense information starting in 2010. The New York Times reports Pho’s home computer was hacked by Russian operatives, who got in through a hole in the Kaspersky Lab software Pho was using. Pho faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for April 6. (Federal News Radio)


  • Words of warning from the nation’s highest authorities on space defense. Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson and U.S. Strategic Command’s Gen. John Hyten said despite being prepared today, the U.S. is not ready to fight a war in space in the future. Wilson stressed the need to speed up acquisition and innovation. (Department of Defense)


  • The Army is issuing more waivers for prior cannabis use as one way to meet one of its biggest recruiting challenges in years. It’s waived its traditional prohibitions against past drug use by incoming recruits more than 500 times in 2017, compared to just 191 the year before. Three years ago, it issued no waivers at all. Officials said the waivers are only being issued to recruits with relatively high scores on aptitude tests, and only with the understanding that they won’t be allowed to use pot while in the military. The Army’s recruiting goal for this year is 80,000 new soldiers — more than it’s ever accessed without violating Defense Department policies. (Federal News Radio)


  • The “My Navy Portal” program has in the group receiving this year’s Department of Defense Chief Information Officer Award. The DoD CIO Award recognizes IT achievements in the department. The My Navy Portal team won for successfully implementing DoD and the Department of the Navy’s first Information Level 4 system to be hosted by a commercial cloud provider. (Navy)

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