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Fewer federal contractors were debarred or suspended last year. In it’s annual report to Congress, the Interagency Suspension and Debarment Committee said agency use of the punishments decreased modestly from fiscal 2016. In all, there were 604 suspensions, more than 1,400 debarments and a littler over 1,600 proposed debarments in fiscal 2017, a 14 percent decrease. The committee said the departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and Housing and Urban Development were among the agencies who carried out the most suspensions, debarments and proposed debarments. (Interagency Suspension and Debarment Committee)
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence is preparing a plan to overhaul the security clearance process by the end of the year. Implementation would begin in 2019. National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director Bill Evanina said it will create holistic change for the security clearance process. It’s part of the ODNI’s Trusted Workforce 2.0 Initiative. Evanina says security clearance applicants would see shorter wait times under the new initiative. (Federal News Radio)
The Pentagon has a growing list of inspector general recommendations it still hasn’t implemented. The Defense Department IG’s latest update said there are 1,558 open recommendations, about 250 more than there were a year ago. The office estimates the department would save a total of $2.3 billion if it implemented just 33 of the most significant recommendations it’s made over the course of several years of audits and investigations. Federal law generally requires DoD to take action on IG recommendations within one year, but the new report said 56 of the recommendations have been open for five years or more. (Department of Defense)
Defense Secretary James Mattis said the Pentagon is in complete alignment with the White House on the creation of a Space Force. President Donald Trump has repeatedly called for the creation of a new military branch specifically for space. Mattis said the Defense Department is now trying to figure out the best path forward for its inception.
The Defense Department selected five teams of university and industry researchers for the Defense Enterprise Science Initiative. The pilot program supports the collaboration of business and academia to accelerate research on defense capabilities. The teams include a collaboration between Stanford University and Skydio as well as a partnership between Boeing and Arizona State University and Syracuse University. (Department of Defense)
It didn’t take long for the Defense Department’s $10 billion cloud contract to come under protest. Oracle filed a pre-award complaint with the Government Accountability Office Monday, 11 days after DoD released the final Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) solicitation. Oracle said it’s protesting DoD’s rationale for making JEDI a best value single award contract. The vendor details three reasons why the RFP is faulty, including failing to meet the rigorous legal standards required for a single award contract over $112 million. The protest doesn’t stop DoD from receiving and evaluating proposals, but it does prevent them from making the final award. GAO has until Nov. 14 to make a decision on the protest. (Federal News Radio)
A former Immigration and Customs Enforcement employee agreed to resign following a Hatch Act investigation. The Office of Special Counsel found the employee wrote over 100 social media posts supporting presidential candidate Hillary Clinton while on-duty. The employee also invited coworkers to vote for Clinton and attend campaign rallies. OSC said the employee continued to violate the Hatch Act, even after the agency interviewed her. The former employee also agreed not to seek federal employment for five years. (Office of Special Counsel)
Dustin Brown, the Office of Management and Budget’s deputy assistant director for management, is taking a six-month sabbatical and joining the Volcker Alliance as a senior fellow. Brown has been with OMB since 2001. He is using Title IV of the Intergovernmental Personnel Act of 1970, which permits temporary assignment of personnel between federal, state and local governments, institutes of higher education, and other eligible nonprofit organizations. At the Volcker Alliance, Brown will try to improve recruitment of top talent from universities into the government and figure out which skills are most in demand. (Volcker Alliance)
The Office of Personnel Management is recognizing World Breastfeeding Week this year. It’s reminding agencies federal law requires they provide nursing employees with time and private space during the first year of their child’s life. It also recognized NSA, NIH, and Energy Department for going above and beyond federal requirements. OPM said these agencies offer prenatal education kits, host new parent open houses and teach breastfeeding classes onsite. (Office of Personnel Management)