House Dems threaten subpoenas for Trump Administration whistleblower documents

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  • Democratic leaders on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee want to subpoena the departments of Homeland Security and Justice for documents related to possible violations of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act. Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) said they’re concerned by recent memos and statements from those departments and their decisions to use of non-disclosure agreements. The lawmakers said they are concerned those non-disclosure agreements don’t include required language reminding federal employees of their whistleblower rights. (Democrats/House Oversight)
  • The White House gave its go-ahead to the Census Bureau and Small Business Administration to run pilot programs that will improve Trusted Internet Connections (TIC). Trusted Internet Connections (TIC) were mandated by Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to reduce the number of internet gateways on the federal government network and ensure that all external connections are routed through a government agency that has been designated as an approved provider. The president’s senior policy adviser on cybersecurity and IT modernization, Jack Wilmer, said agencies have been reluctant to move to the cloud because of the TIC requirements. (Federal News Radio)
  • NASA’s Langley Research Center said it is using the internet of things, fully integrating sensors and other online devices to better manage building maintenance and control systems. Over the last three years, NASA Langley said it has focused on about 500 sensors that could bring the organization the highest return on investment. Jeff Seaton, the Langley chief information officers, said operations managers are using data to know when a heating or air conditioning system needs work  instead of just guessing or going off of a manufacturer’s schedule. According to  Seaton, Langley has saved 2,000 employee hours and almost $1 million over the last three years.  (Federal News Radio Advisory)
  • The National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) said it is still looking for the authority to restructure and rename the organization. The agency that protects federal civilian networks and works with the private sector to mitigate cyber threats, wants to be known as the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said he tried to include the renaming in the 2018 omnibus, but the measure didn’t make it into the final bill. NPPD Director Jeanette Manfra said the agency’s name has an impact on employee morale, because it doesn’t reflect what they do. (Federal News Radio)
  •  Senators from Virginia and West Virginia are seeking a name change for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Shelly Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) have introduced a bill that would  rename the agency the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. The senators proposed the name change to reflect USDA’s growing role as a provider of loans and technical assistance to more than 45 million people living in rural areas. (Scribd.com)
  • The Defense Department has defended its plan to use a single-award contract for an upcoming cloud computing competition that’s expected to be worth billions of dollars. The industry has protested for months about the way the Pentagon plans to award the contract for its Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud program. Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said DoD hopes to eventually award multiple contracts to different companies to move its IT systems to the cloud.  Shanahan said the competition is not a winner-take-all affair – in this case, something more like 20 percent. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Homeland Security Department confirmed all government agencies have stopped using Kaspersky products and services.  DHS issued a binding operational directive back in September banning agencies from using Kaspersky after accusations arose that the company is controlled by the Russian government and that its software could be used for espionage.  DHS Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications Jeanette Manfra said the Kaspersky incident has demonstrated DHS’ need to rethink the way it addresses third-party risks.   (Federal News Radio)
  •  The General Services Administration said a new software bot will serve to alert agencies when their solicitations for information technology fail to include accessibility requirements.  The bot replaces $1 million worth of annual contractor work to spotcheck Request for Proposals (RFPs) posted to FedBizOpps. John Sullivan, supervisory program analyst at GSA, said the software will automatically notify the point of contact associated with the offending RFP, as well as the agency’s Section 508 officer. Sullivan said 95 percent of RFPs leave out handicapped accessibility requirements. (Federal News Radio Advisory)
  • The Senate has confirmed the next director of the National Security Agency (NSA) and commander of U.S. Cyber Command. The unanimous voice vote also included a promotion for  now-Gen. Paul Nakasone. The Pentagon said he’s set to formally take over his new rolls Friday during a change of command ceremony at Fort Meade, Maryland. Nakasone will replace Adm. Mike Rogers, who is retiring from the military this week.  (The Hill)
  • The Senate Armed Services Committee voted to approve Adm. Philip Davidson to lead U.S. Pacific Command,  and Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy to head U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command. Both will now face a full Senate vote for confirmation. (Federal News Radio Advisory) 

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