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Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) wants Secretary of Defense James Mattis to crack down on Pentagon waste and high contractor pay. He asked Mattis to provide a strategy to prevent future fraud by defense contractors. Sanders also noted that the CEOs of Lockheed Martin and Raytheon were paid more than $20 million salary last year, while more than 90 percent of the companies’ revenues came from government defense spending. (Sen. Bernie Sanders)
The Department of Education said it is implementing new bargaining terms, without agreement from the American Federation of Government Employees. The two parties have been negotiating for almost a year but have not been able to agree on a new contract. The new terms included more limitations on official time, and restrictions on AFGE’s use of the Education Department’s office space and supplies. They did not include the department’s policies on telework, employee training, and disability exceptions, which were part of the previous agreement. The department said the new terms went into effect earlier this week. (Federal News Radio)
The General Services Administration’s inspector general agreed to investigate the Trump administration’s decision to scrap a decade-long plan for a new FBI headquarters. GSA IG Carol Ochoa will determine whether the latest proposal for a new FBI headquarters accounts for the full cost of the project. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) made the request last month after several hearings with GSA officials. Instead of building the FBI a new consolidated campus in suburban Virginia or Maryland, the new plan called for razing the old J. Edgar Hoover building in Washington, D.C., and building a new headquarters in its place. (Federal News Radio)
GSA jump started the information technology modernization initiative by awarding five contracts for phase one of the Centers of Excellence initiative to modernize federal technology at the Agriculture Department. Under each part of the CoE, the winning vendor will provide planning and strategy services to help the USDA develop a road map for modernization across five areas: cloud adoption, IT infrastructure optimization, customer experience, contact center and service delivery analytics. Additionally, GSA announced Bob DeLuca had come over from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation to implement the day-to-day operations of the CoE initiative.
An updated version of the President’s Management Agenda will be issued next week. Margaret Weichert, deputy director for management at OMB, told House lawmakers IT modernization will be at the core of the PMA. But Weichert said it will require a broader approach of more than just technology to address the root causes of federal management challenges.
The Defense Department awarded a nearly $1.5 billion contract to Lockheed Martin for material and parts necessary for F-35 Lightning 2 air systems. The aircraft will be used by the Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, and non-U.S. DoD partners. The modifications will cover 214 aircraft for those stakeholders. (Department of Defense)
The Air Force urged a major contractor to finish a long overdue program. Air Force Under Secretary Matthew Donovan, in a site visit, told Boeing to double down on finishing the KC-46 tanker and get it to production. He called the plane’s capabilities “superb,” while saying the development phase needed to go the last 10 yards. The visit came the same day Air Force brass said they would split space launches between two contractors including a Boeing-Lockheed joint venture. (Air Force)
The Air Force is working with the Office of Personnel Management to speed up the security clearance process. The branch had 79,000 employees waiting for clearances. It wants OPM to conduct background interviews over Skype and to do interviews in hubs closer to where some employees live. (Federal News Radio)
Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.) wants the White House to make security clearance reform an “utmost priority.” Warner wrote to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, saying the administration needed a “whole of government” approach to tackle the backlog of over 700,000 pending security clearances. Warner said the administration should consider how continuous evaluation, adequate funding and uniform clearance standards could address the challenges. (Sen. Mark Warner)
A federal court ruled the Army Corps of Engineers was responsible for $300 million worth of flood damage across four Midwestern states. The 263-page ruling came after a trial that lasted for more than two months. The judge agreed with plaintiffs in a lawsuit that said the Corps’ management of the Missouri River caused more frequent and damaging floods, destroying private property in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa. Attorneys said the changes sprang from a management decision the Army Corps made more than a decade ago that was intended to preserve habitat for endangered species, while de-prioritizing flood control. (Federal News Radio)
Encryption plays a crucial role in cybersecurity, but advances in quantum computing could change that. Jason Matheny, director of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, a leading authority in quantum computer research, said advances in quantum computing over the next 20 years or so could crack some of the most sophisticated encryption available today. In recent years, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the National Security Agency have called for open collaboration with the public to develop quantum-resistance encryption. (Federal News Radio)