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It’s report card day for the government’s IT modernization efforts and several agencies are in big trouble. Eleven agencies saw their grades drop in the latest Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act or FITARA scorecard. The Defense Department earned the only F-plus grade, and the Agency for International Development saw its A-minus grade drop to a C minus because their CIO doesn’t answer directly to the administrator or deputy administrator. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released the expanded FITARA report card today. Five agencies saw their grades go up, including Transportation earning a C-plus, which is up from an F-plus last time, and the National Science Foundation joined GSA and Education as the only agencies to earn a B plus grade. (House Oversight and Government Reform Committee)
The federal government remains on a hot streak as it exceeds its governmentwide small business contracting goal for the fifth year in a row. According to the scorecard put out by the Small Business Administration, small business contracting exceeded $100 billion for the first time ever in fiscal 2017. SBA said that’s about 23 percent of the government’s overall contracting spending. (Federal News Radio)
The IRS’ budget for fiscal 2019 could mean more job cuts. The National Treasury Employees Union said the Trump administration’s request for the next fiscal year could mean cutting nearly 6,000 more employees. NTEU has estimated that the IRS has already lost more than 22,000 full time employees employees since 2010. The IRS has lost more than $700 million from its budget in the same period of time. (National Treasury Employees Union)
NASA has not documented its IT strategic planning processes. A new report from the Government Accountability Office said the agency is not regularly assessing competency or staffing needs for its IT workforce. And NASA has neither an agencywide cybersecurity risk management strategy, nor a dedicated office to oversee risks. The report did say, however, that NASA has designated a risk executive, and is developing a cybersecurity strategy. (Government Accountability Office)
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said it’s time for the Defense Department to fall in line with federal policies on website security. In a letter to the Pentagon’s chief information officer, Wyden pointed out that many of DoD’s websites still use unencrypted connections to serve content to the public. That included the DoD CIO’s own website. Instructions from the Office of Management and Budget three years ago ordered all federal agencies to deploy https by the end of 2016 to provide secure connections between web browsers and government websites. A binding operational directive from the Homeland Security Department last year reiterated that requirement. (Sen. Ron Wyden)
The Senate Armed Services Committee began the full markup of the 2019 defense authorization bill on Wed. May 23. The subcommittees finished their markups May 22. The Senate will not release any details on the bill until it is finalized by the committee. The House brought its version of the defense authorization bill to the floor on May 21.
More servicemembers will be getting bonuses for reenlisting. The Army is boosting its bonuses for security force assistance brigade noncommissioned officers and junior enlisted in certain occupations who reenlist. Bonus increases range from about $10,000 to $44,000. Soldiers who reenlist 10-to-15 months before the end of their current enlistment period will be eligible for an extra $3,000 if they sign up for five years and $6,000 if they sign up for six years or more.
Lawmakers are taking a closer look at the structure of the Veterans Affairs Department. The Veterans Health Administration is made up of 18 “Veteran Integrated Services Networks” responsible for healthcare in specific regions. But a recent inspector general investigationfound that leaders at some of these networks were unwilling or unable to fix known problems. VA IG Michael Missal told the House Veterans Affairs Committee the VISN’s failures to correct the problems are a “breakdown of systems and leadership at multiple levels.” (House Veterans Affairs Committee)
A survey of 26 agencies found that they are doing a better job in training new managers than providing continuing education for existing managers. The survey also found that departments were struggling across the board to ensure new and existing supervisors have formal development plants. The Office of Personnel Management gave five recommendations to help improve the accessibility, adequacy and effectiveness of training for new and existing federal managers. (Federal News Radio)