Bill to publicize IG recommendations passes Senate

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  • The Senate has passed the Inspector General Recommendation Transparency Act of 2018. The bill is aimed at agencies who have failed to implement recommendations from their inspector general in a timely manner.  The bill’s authors, Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Jodi Ernst (R-IA), said their measure would require all open recommendations from IGs that are more than 12 months old to be posted to a single, searchable website. The senators said the public website would let the public better monitor problems and solutions identified by IGs. (Sen. Heidi Heitkamp)
  • House Foreign Affairs Committee ranking member Eliot Engel (NY-D) said Secretary of State  Pompeo missed a deadline to reponsed to claims his agency sought to remove career employees. Pompeo was asked provide investigation documents to lawmakers regarding retaliation claims made by a whistleblower back in March. The whistleblower claimed State  leadership tried to fire career staff who they thought didn’t support President Donald Trump’s agenda. Engel asked Pomeo to produce the documents by the end of this week. (House Foreign Affairs Committee)
  • Acting IRS commissioner David Kautter said the agency plans to hire 1,700 full-time employees ahead of next year’s filing season. According to the National Association of Enrolled Agents, Kautter also plans on hiring more attorneys at the Office of Chief Counsel. Those new hires would help implement the new tax reform law President Donald Trump signed last year. The IRS will have to update 140 computers systems and 450 tax forms by the next tax season. (Federal News Radio)
  • The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) has joined other federal employees unions in a lawsuit challenging the president’s executive order on official time. An earlier lawsuit was filed by the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) and the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU). AFGE said Trump’s official time order violates federal employees’ First Amendment expressive rights.  (American Federation of Government Employees)
  • The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) said it is looking for a vendor to help it eliminate the burdensome manual processes regarding federal employee records, and go to an  electronic digital record instead, It said such a move would allow it to follow employees from agency to agency. An OPM RFI said a vendor day will be held on June 7. Screenshots of a blockchain prototype for employee transfers are included with the RFI. (FedBizOpps)
  • The General Services Adminisitration’s (GSA) said its revamped Section 508 dot gov site focuses on an improved user experience. The upgraded site breaks down information by tasks such as buying or selling, and managing a 508 program. GSA asks for continuous user feedback to further improve the portal. The requirements under Section 508 deal with buying and providing technology that people with disabilities can easily use.  (Section 508)
  • The Center for a New American Security said the Trump administration’s defense budget request for 2019 favors big legacy systems rather than creating new systems.  The Center said in a new report the budget suggests upgrading older, less used systems like Abrams tanks and F-18s. The Pentagon said it needs new, innovative systems to counter adversaries. (Center for a New American Security)
  • The Army said it is planning on building its active duty force to more than half a million soldiers and putting new soldiers through a longer basic training as part of its plan for 2028. Army Secretary Mark Esper said the service will need to build up until 2022 so it can stay ahead of Russia and China. (Federal News Radio)
  • In a new request for information, the Defense Information Systems Agency said it is looking at ways to isolate its employees’ web browsing from military networks as one way to reduce its cybersecurity risk.  It has asked industry for technologies that could redirect at least 60 percent of the data traffic from Defense employees’ web browsers away from the DoD Information Network. That traffic – to and from the public Internet – would be funneled through a cloud-based service hosted by a commercial provider. DISA said the service should be able to track individual users’ web browsing behavior while they’re at work, including how much data they use. (FedBizOpps)
  • John Zargardi, the Homeland Security Department’s (DHS) new chief information officer, said the agency is standing up a cloud center of excellence. DHS said it wants to find and share best practices among its 22 components, with the goal of moving about 50 applications to the cloud by the end of the year. Only seven components have the resources to move to the cloud on their own, but the other 15 components don’t have the staff to devote cloud-first efforts. (Federal News Radio)
  • Federal agencies have achieved at least one early goal of the Trump administration. Agencies were told to eliminate two regulations for every new one they propose. The ratdio is closer to four-to-one. That’s according to the American Action Forum. Researchers there studied the White House spring 2018 Unified Agenda. It showed 499 de-regulatory actions, and 133 regulatory actions big enough to fall under the executive order. But more than 2,000 rulemakings of all sizes are actually underway. (American Action Forum)