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It’s going to be tough to reverse the impact 6 years of sequestration has had on military and defense facilities. Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment Lucian Niemeyer told the House Armed Services committee’s subcommittee on readiness that DoD has an underfunded maintenance backlog exceeding $116 billion. 23 percent of the department’s facilities are in poor condition, and another 9 percent are in failing condition. (Department of Defense)
Today is the 23rd anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing. A ceremony at the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum is planned to remember the victims. The names of the 168 victims who died as a result of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building will be read. A 168-second moment of silence will also be observed. (NewsOK)
Members of the federal oversight community released their first-ever report on governmentwide management and performance issues. The Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency identified seven of the most common issues raised by agency IGs. The report found many of the problems, like IT security and human capital management, tie back to constrained budgets and hiring and retention troubles. (Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency)
A bill to eliminate seven defense agencies and reduce others is hitting resistance from lawmakers and former Defense Department officials. Former DoD Deputy Chief Management Officer Peter Levine said the cuts would not save as much money as expected and could compromise the mission of the agencies. (Federal News Radio)
The author of that bill also said the Defense Department has way too many people with the title of Chief Information Officer. Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) said he wants to get rid of most of those CIOs as part of his committee’s version of the annual Defense authorization bill. By his count, there are 60 CIOs throughout the military services and Defense agencies. The legislation he’s proposing would reduce that number to no more than five CIOs within DoD’s Senior Executive Service. Thornberry told reporters the number of CIOs throughout the department is a major factor preventing the military from integrating its IT systems. (Federal News Radio)
The Veterans Benefits Administration is a step closer to having a permanent leader for the first time in almost three years. The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee cleared Paul Lawrence to be VBA undersecretary, and Joseph Falvey to be a judge for the Veterans Board of Appeals. Their nominations now go to the full Senate floor for a vote. Falvey’s confirmation would fully staff the Board of Appeals for the first time in three years. (Senate Veterans Affairs Committee)
The White House’s choice of acting chief information officer at the Veterans Affairs Department is stirring up some division. Camilo Sandaval was picked to replace Scott Blackburn as acting CIO. Sandaval ran data operations for President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. However, a recent lawsuit accused him of sexually harassing a co-worker during the campaign. House Veterans Affairs Committee Ranking Member Tim Walz (D-Minn.) called the White House’s decision to name Sandaval “disturbing and unacceptable.” (House Veterans Affairs Committee)
Now the White House is looking into one appointee’s cone of silence. This development follows a Government Accountability Office investigation of office spending by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. Now Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvany told a House panel his office will also look into Pruitt. Among the issues is $43,000 Pruitt authorized for a soundproof telephone enclosure, he said to ensure privacy. New agency heads are generally limited to $5,000 for redecorating. (ABC News)
The National Treasury Employees Union is once again encouraging members of Congress to consider giving federal employees a pay raise in 2019. NTEU National President Tony Reardon asked members of Congress to use their authority to propose an alternative pay raise of 3 percent next year. The president proposed pay freeze for civilian employees in 2019 will remain if lawmakers do nothing. (National Treasury Employees Union)
The extra money to modernize some federal IT projects is almost ready to be doled out. The Office of Management and Budget is reviewing nine business cases from agencies applying for money from the Technology Modernization Fund. The TMF Board, which is led by OMB, has $100 million to give to agencies to help them get IT modernization efforts moving faster. OMB Director Mick Mulvaney told the House Appropriations Subcommittee yesterday that no decisions have been made yet of who will get first allocation of funding. He said OMB believes the process is going well and he expects greater participation from agencies going forward.
The Internal Revenue Service brought its processing systems back online Wednesday, after dealing with a major hardware issue that prevented it from receiving tax returns on Tax Day. Taxpayers had until midnight Wednesday to file their returns. Acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter said the IRS has received more than 14 million tax returns since fixing the problem. (Federal News Radio)