Congressional oversight leaders ask NASA for more info on official time use

In today's Federal Newscast, the leaders of both congressional oversight committees are not satisfied with the data on official time NASA provided.

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  • Congressional oversight leaders want more information from NASA about how many of its employees are using official time. House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and his Senate counterpart Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) asked for official time data from all agencies. They said NASA only gave some information, witholding the names of its employees who use official time. It was one of three agencies that didn’t provide names. (House Oversight and Government Reform Committee)


  • Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin could be on the way out. The Associate Press reports three administration officials have said President Donald Trump is planning to sack the embattled VA secretary amid an extraordinary rebellion at the agency and damaging government investigations into his alleged spending abuses. Two of the sources said it could happen as soon as this week. (Federal News Radio)


  • Major leadership changes at the Department of Health and Human Services. Janet Vogel, deputy chief information officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, will be taking over the position of HHS chief information security officer in April, according to an internal email obtained by Federal News Radio. Vogel replaces Chris Wlaschin, who is resigning this week, citing personal reasons. Also, Dennis Papula will be taking over the chief business technology officer position at the department’s Program Support Center in April. (Federal News Radio)


  • Federal agencies are looking at ways to reduce or repurpose leased office space as more employees decide to telework. The Government Accountability Office looked into the topic at four agencies. It found the General Services Administration and Justice Department are using more small offices spaces and shared desks for employees who telework part-time. (Government Accountability Office)


  • The Government Accountability Office is facing a major problem with one of its governmentwide acquisition systems. An unknown number of government contractors are victims of payment fraud. GSA said a third party allegedly changed the registration of who is the global parent entity in the System for Award Management or SAM By doing that, the third party compromised the financial situation of the companies by funneling payments to a different bank account. GSA began notifying vendors last Thursday. The agency set up new requirements to register with SAM, including needing an original, signed notarized letter identifying the authorized Entity Administrator. The GSA inspector general is investigating the incident. (Federal News Radio)


  • A decade-old strategy to save money by combining the management of more than two dozen military installations into “joint bases” hasn’t worked. The Army’s top installations commander, Lt. Gen. Kenneth Dahl, said it’s time to scrap the idea as the concept has failed to deliver on its promised cost savings and may have eroded military readiness. He said if DoD wants to save money on base management, it needs to restructure its installation management bureaucracy in the Pentagon. (Federal News Radio)


  • The Pentagon’s, new, multibillion dollar plan to buy up to 10 years worth of cloud computing services has generated an awful lot of feedback. In a notice DoD posted to the FedBizOpps website over the weekend, officials said the cloud procurement project they’re calling JEDI has elicited nearly 1,100 comments in the time since they unveiled their acquisition strategy three weeks ago. They comments came from four dozen companies and industry associations and three government agencies. DoD said it won’t reveal any details beyond those statistics, but will consider the feedback as part of a second draft solicitation it plans to issue two weeks from now. (FedBizOpps)


  • The Census Bureau is gearing up for a busy April. As it prepares for its first and only IT field test next month, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross must submit a final list of 2020 census questions to Congress by April 1. Reps. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) asked Ross to have senior Census and Commerce employees brief the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee about the census questions a week after the deadline. Under the omnibus spending bill the president signed last week, the Census Bureau gets a $2.81 billion budget for the rest of fiscal 2018. That’s a $1 billion more than President Donald Trump proposed for the agency in last year’s budget request. (House Oversight and Government Reform Committee)


  • Border patrol agents say they need more personnel and technology along the southern border more than anything else. A new report from Democrats on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee said agents identified 902 capability gaps along the southern border that exist because of poor surveillance equipment, and a lack of people and training. (Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee)

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