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An investigation by the Energy Department’s inspector general found the agency’s chief financial officer spent $16 million more than he was supposed to in 2017. Spending more than is apportioned for a program violates the Anti-Deficiency Act. It was unable to verify allegations of a cover up. The money went to the Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability account. (Department of Energy Office of Inspector General)
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Acting Director Mick Mulvaney wants to close the agency’s public complaint database. He said making the complaints public before verifying them could hurt businesses. Several good government groups, including the Project on Government Oversight, sent Mulvaney a letter urging him not to do so. The letter cited the public benefits of accountability and transparency. (Project On Government Oversight)
The House draft of the 2018 defense authorization bill holds a perennial pain for transparency advocates. A provision giving the Defense Department more flexibility when it comes to complying with the Freedom of Information Act is up for consideration. This is the fourth year the provision is in the defense bill. Opponents said the provision gives DoD too much power to withhold information. (Federal News Radio)
The Defense Department ordered the removal of some Chinese brand cell phones from military exchanges because the devices may pose a risk to personnel and mission. Huawei and ZTC brand cell phones are no longer allowed to be sold at exchanges because of possible security risks.
The NFL is not the only place where brain injury is a big concern. Some people in the military are susceptible to serious head trauma as well. Defense Department studies showed some service members are experiencing issues like delayed verbal memory, delayed visual-spatial memory and delayed executive function after firing heavy weapons. Further research showed higher rates of concussions among individuals with a history of low-level blasts from shoulder-fired weapons. Currently the military does not have any requirement to protect against blast injuries. The Center for a New American Security suggested improving helmets against blast pressure, bettering safety when training on heavy weapons and investigating long term options for blast protections. (Center for a New American Security)
Four agencies earned the first ever National Federal Facility Excellence in Site Reuse awards. The Environmental Protection Agency recognized the Air Force, Navy, Army and Defense Department for cleaning up superfund sites and repurposing them for state, local or private sector use. The awards recognize innovation and partnership to promote economic growth in the surrounding communities. (Environmental Protection Agency)
A big contract for the government’s signature cybersecurity program: the General Services Administration and Homeland Security Department awarded the second task order under the phase 3 of the continuous diagnostics and mitigation or CDM program. GSA, which acts as the procurement arm of the DHS program, tapped CACI to provide services under a six-year, $407 million contract. CACI will provide a host of cyber tools to the Homeland Security Department headquarters and its components. GSA made the first award under phase three in January for seven agencies, including USDA, VA and OPM.
Senior Democrats on the House Veterans Affairs Committee want the Veterans Affairs Department and its inspector general to review the delays in finalizing a contract for a new electronic health record. The members want an update on the status of the contract negotiations, along with a review by the VA IG on possible inappropriate interference with the EHR acquisition. VA was supposed to announce the details of its contract with Cerner Corporation months ago. (Rep. Julia Brownley)
The National Institutes of Health will kick off a massive research program this weekend. On Sunday, NIH will launch what it calls its All-Of-Us research program aimed at advancing precision medicine. Events will take place in seven locations throughout the country. NIH seeks 1 million Americans to sign up and share their health information. The data will become available to numerous health research programs. The ultimate goal is to learn how health care can be tailored to each individual. (National Institutes of Health)