Congressional reorganization of DHS gets thumbs-up from new secretary

A bill calling for a new branch of the Homeland Security Department to focus solely on cybersecurity and infrastructure has passed the House.

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  • A congressional reorganization plan for the Homeland Security Department has drawn the support from the new secretary. The bill passed the House yesterday after a months-long amendment cycle. It would replace DHS’ National Protections and Programs Directorate, or NPPD. The new entity would be called the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection Agency. Its director would report directly to the DHS secretary. The passage drew praise from newly installed DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. She urged the Senate to pass a companion bill. (Department of Homeland Security)
  • The federal workforce is getting its own quadrennial review. Acting Office of Personnel Management Director Kathleen McGettigan said the quadrennial workforce review is under final consideration and will be out soon. The review details governmentwide key human capital priorities and strategies, and will include methods for communicating them to agencies. (Federal News Radio)
  • After 11 years of construction, the Veterans Affairs Department reopened the Lafayette Building in Washington. The move consolidates about 1,200 employees from the Veterans Health Administration and Office of Information and Technology from four buildings, into one. VA invested $14 million into new windows, and modern office spaces and systems. VA is expected to save $10 million in rent with the new space. (Department of Veterans Affairs)
  • With more than 30,000 items on it’s to-do list, the Federal Communications Commission launched a new dashboard tracking all petitions, applications, complaints and requests before it. The FCC expects the new dashboard to give people a better idea of how quickly the it completes its work. (Federal Communications Commission)
  • Transgender people will be able to openly join the military starting Jan. 1, despite attempts to ban them by the Trump administration. The D.C. District court denied the Defense Department’s request to delay recruiting transgender people into the military. DoD has been preparing to bring transgender people on board for the past year and a half. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Air Force isn’t turning to enlisted airmen to fly combat aircraft just yet. Despite a shortage of 2,000 pilots, the service still wants officers in the positions. However, Air Education and Training Command is using enlisted airmen in its Pilot Training Next program. The Air Force says the program is to help understand how people learn to fly more effectively. (Air Education and Training Command)
  • The Pentagon named a new official in charge of its sprawling information technology enterprise. Essye Miller became the new acting Defense Department chief information officer on Friday. She’s currently the deputy DoD CIO for cybersecurity, a title she’ll continue to hold for the time being. Miller has served for decades in technology leadership posts throughout DoD, including the Army and the Air Force. The top DoD IT post has been vacant since the end of October, when John Zangardi left the department to become the CIO at the Homeland Security Department. (Federal News Radio)
  • The General Services Administration is looking for a new director of its technology service for the second time in the last 14 months. Rob Cook is out as director of the Technology Transformation Service at GSA. Alan Thomas, the Federal Acquisition Service Commissioner, announced Monday Cook “has been asked” to join GSA’s Office of Governmentwide Policy as its chief innovation adviser. Federal News Radio has learned Thomas asked Joanne Collins Smee to serve as acting TTS director and deputy commissioner of FAS. Cook came to TTS in October 2016 after spending his entire career in the private sector. This is the second personnel shuffle Thomas has implemented since he became FAS commissioner in June. (Federal News Radio)
  • It may get harder for government officials to identify Americans whose names are blacked out in classified reports. National Intelligence Director Dan Coats said he will be tightening rules in place to make sure people aren’t unmasked for political reasons. The move comes after Republican lawmakers voiced concerns on the Obama administration’s use of unmasking. (Associated Press)

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