Former security officials irked by Spanberger questionnaire release

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  • More than 200 former national security professionals said they want answers from the Office of Personnel Management and from the Director of National Intelligence about how and why the U.S. Postal Service released the confidential national security questionnaire (SF-86) of Abigail Spanberger.  In a letter sent to DNI Dan Coats and OPM Director Jeff Pon, the former uniformed and civilian national security executives said they are angered, disappointed and feel like their trust has been violated by this action. Spanberger served as a CIA case officer until 2014, and before that worked at the Postal Service. She is running for Congress in Virginia. Spanberger has blamed a conservative political action committee for obtaining the  questionnaire in order to search for political ammunition. (National Security Action)
  • It’s Washington’s turn to say goodbye to the late Sen. John McCain. The six-term Republican from Arizona who lived and worked in the nation’s capital for over four decades will lie in state under the Capitol Rotunda today for a ceremony and public visitation. On Saturday, McCain’s procession will pause by the Vietnam Memorial and head for Washington National Cathedral for a formal funeral service. At McCain’s request, two former presidents, Barack Obama and George W. Bush were invited to speak there. McCain will be laid to rest on Sunday afternoon at the Naval Academy Cemetery in Annapolis. (Federal News Radio)
  • President Donald Trump has told Congress he wants to freeze the pay of civilian federal employees in 2019.  The action means federal pay rates will remain flat unless Congress passes — and the president signs — a bill that includes a raise by the end of the year. In a letter to members of both houses, the president said “federal agency budgets cannot sustain such increases.” He said the country’s fiscal situation warrants more performance-based pay and not across-the-board raises for civilian employees. Most federal employees were supposed to get a 2.1 percent raise in 2019. Military members are on track to get a 2.6 percent raise next year. (Federal News Radio)
  • A new study from the RAND Corporation has found the Air Force is too small to meet the security challenges that face the nation. RAND said the Air Force would not be able to meet demands for all types of aircraft in possible Cold War-type situations. The analysis suggested that prolonged operations are particularly stressing to the force, which is significant given that the average length of operations has been increasing since the end of the Cold War. (RAND)
  • The Air Force said it is considering a major restructuring to boost its information warfare capabilities. Air Force chief of staff David Goldfein said his service is contemplating a restructuring of its Pentagon staff offices, combining the directorates that currently handle cyber, IT, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance into one. The change would mirror a reorganization the Navy made in 2009. If the idea moves forward, it’s likely to happen in concert with a similar restructuring of the service’s operational forces along the same lines. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Navy has awarded a big contract for aircraft-carrier based drones. The deal, worth up to $800 million, went to Boeing after a three-way competition. The Naval Air Systems Command called it a fixed-price-incentive-target contract for design and construction of four MQ 25A unmanned aerial vehicles, and integrating them into a carrier wing. The planes, dubbed  Stingray,  will be used for refueling of FA 18s and F-35s. The hoped-for completion date is August 2024. (DoD)
  • The former chairman of the Defense Science Board, William Schneider, said he thinks the Pentagon may be hurting itself in its haste to transition to the cloud. Schneider said Defense Department’s lack of strategy is hurting its cloud procurement. Schneider said DoD needs to be more forthcoming about where it wants to go with cloud, just as the intelligence community did when it transitioned to the cloud about five years ago, shooting itself in the foot in its haste to transition to the cloud. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Department of Homeland Security said it is looking for potential in new X-ray research. The agency’s Science and Technology Directorate awarded nearly $3.5 million dollars to three groups to conduct research and development projects. DHS said the technology could help the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) screen luggage. DHS Science and Technology will oversee the groups’ research through its Checked Baggage Program. That program supports TSA requirements to improve its detection technology. (
  • The Census Bureau said it faces thousands of cybersecurity weaknesses it needs to address in the coming months. The agency told the Government Accountability Office (GAO) it considers 43 of those weaknesses to be “high risk” or “very high risk.” The majority of cyber weaknesses relate to IT infrastructure developed by the agency’s tech integration contractor. GAO also reports Census is having trouble staffing the program managment office that oversees that contractor. (Federal News Radio)
  • A familiar name has moved to her new address at the Energy Department’s new cyber office. Karen Evans has returned to federal service after nearly 10 years away.  She was the former administrator of e-government and IT at the Office of Management and Budget. On Tuesday, the Senate confirmed Evans by voice vote to be the Energy Department’s first assistant secretary for cybersecurity, energy security and emergency response. As part of her new role, Evans will work closely with DHS and private sector providers to ensure the energy grid is secure. Trump nominated Evans for the position June 18. Energy Secretary Rick Perry stood up the new office in February to protect the country’s energy infrastructure from cyber attacks. (
  • An arbitrator at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service said the Veterans Affairs Department violated terms of its contract with the American Federation of Government Employees in implementing certain provisions of the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act. VA can appeal the decision to the Federal Labor Relations Authority within 30 days. The arbitrator said VA should start to re-hire or make whole employees who were removed without a performance improvement period under the accountability act. (Federal News Radio)

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