Senate expresses concern over agencies’ first round of DATA Act reports

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  • Federal employees may not see higher-value buyouts in the near future. The House and Senate could not agree on a provision in the 2019 defense authorization bill calling for $40,000 Voluntary Separation Incentive Payments for feds. Current buyouts are capped at $25,000. The provision made it into the Senate’s version of the defense authorization bill. But NDAA conferees ultimately decided not to include it in the final version. (House of Representatives)
  • Following a critical report from the Government Accountability Office, Senate lawmakers expressed their own concerns with the quality of agencies’ spending data. Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) — the leadership of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations — found most agencies’ first round of DATA Act reporting fell short of the 2014 law’s expectations. The lawmakers found nearly all of the Treasury Department’s data was inaccurate. Treasury is tasked with ensuring the accuracy of other agencies’ data under the DATA Act. (Senator Tom Carper)
  • The House Homeland Security Committee passed more than a half dozen bills focused on everything from managing data to the fitness of contractors to cybersecurity. One bill would require the Homeland Security Department to name a chief data officer who will report directly to the secretary, and then a chief data officer in each component. Another bill would streamline contractor fitness determinations. And a third would codify DHS’s governmentwide cyber effort called CDM. (House Homeland Security Committee)
  • Lawmakers are withholding 15 percent of the funding for the Defense Department’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud initiative in the 2019 defense authorization bill. The cloud contract drew criticism from industry saying DoD was not transparent enough about it in the past. DoD still has not released the draft request for proposals. (House of Representatives)
  • U.S. Transportation Command is taking a second bite at the cloud apple in procuring services. This comes as REAN, the company originally slated to do cloud services for TRANSCOM was bought out by Hitachi. The Government Accountability Office ruled against TRANSCOM’s agreement with REAN, so it will hold an industry day on August 14. (FedBizOpps)
  • President Donald Trump nominated three members to the General Services Administration’s Public Buildings Reform Board. The 2016 Federal Assets Sale and Transfer Act authorized GSA to stand up the board. Its job is to recommend excess federal property that agencies should sell off. (White House)
  • A new mental health commission from the Veterans Affairs Department launched the Creating Options for Veterans’ Expedited Recovery, or COVER, commission. It will look at evidence-based mental health therapies, and the department’s current approaches to mental health care. Former White House senior adviser Jake Leinenkugel will lead the commission. (Department of Veterans Affairs)
  • The Veterans Affairs Department says it will have 35 percent of the necessary IT systems it needs to implement a new appeals process, by next month. But VA’s latest timeline is short of the 75 percent completion estimate it gave a couple months back, worrying members on the House Veterans Affairs Committee. VA is supposed to implement the new appeals process by February 2019. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Census Bureau moves to the final phase of its test for the 2020 Count. July 31 is the cutoff date for gathering responses to Census forms from test area residents. Census will have concluded tests in Providence County, Rhode Island plus rural areas in West Virginia and Washington state. It’s the most multimedia test in Census history, with residents having the option of answering on the internet. Enumerators will have mobile devices for the first time. (Census Bureau)
  • Charges are being brought against a midshipman and Naval Academy student for selling illegal drugs. An Article 32 hearing will take place today for Zachary Williams. The charges are based on an investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. Charges were then recommended by the school’s superintendent, Vice Admiral Ted Carter. (Associated Press)
  • A Border Patrol agent came across something a little more dangerous than usual, an unexploded ordnance from the World War II era. CBP said an agent assigned to the Brian A. Terry Station in Bisbee, Arizona found an unexploded MK2 37mm ordnance round near the international boundary fence. An airman from nearby Davis Monthan Air Force Base was dispatched to help dispose of it. (Customs and Border Protection)
  • A long-time federal IT watchdog is moving on. Dave Powner, the Government Accountability Office’s director of IT issues, is leaving after 16 years. Powner said he’s heading to a new position with the Mitre Corporation. During his time at GAO, Powner oversaw a majority of the last three administrations’ technology initiatives ranging from cloud computing to IT modernization to data center consolidation. Over the last two years, he worked closely with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to develop and improve the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act or FITARA scorecard.

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