Federal employees may not be able to access social media, personal email if Senate bill becomes law

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  • Federal workers may be unable to check Facebook or their personal email accounts at work if a Senate bill becomes law. The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee forwarded the Federal Information Systems Safeguards Act. The bill would allow agency leaders to prohibit access to a website or to try out new cybersecurity measures if they feel it’s necessary. A similar bill in the House Oversight and Government reform committee passed in July. (Congress.gov)
  • Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie received more than 2,000 questions from employees, veterans and other stakeholders in the agency’s first live town hall. VA said it’s part of the agency’s effort to improve customer service. Employees across the department are receiving new customer service training. The Veterans Benefits Administration is planning to hold new quarterly calls with stakeholders to discuss new information. (Department of Veterans Affairs)
  • The backlog of pending background investigations and reinvestigations fell to 657,000 within the past few months. The Trump administration also said  made “significant progress” in planning to transfer the governmentwide security clearance portfolio from the National Background Investigations Bureau to the Pentagon. An initial transfer plan to move the security clearance responsibilities is in final coordination. (Performance.gov)
  • The military’s most senior enlisted member has been suspended from his duties amid allegations of misconduct. Command Sgt. Maj. John Troxell has been the senior enlisted adviser to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for nearly three years. On Thursday, Pentagon officials said he’s been suspended and temporarily reassigned, pending an investigation. But they declined to disclose what the investigation is about. Troxell has served in the Army for 36 years, including five combat tours in Panama, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Afghanistan. (Federal News Radio)
  • A bill to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration passed the House. The bill would also reauthorize the Transportation Security Administration for the first time. Among numerous other changes, it would give top-line authorization levels to TSA for the next three years. It would also establish a five-year term for the TSA administrator. Current TSA Administrator David Pekoske said during a hearing that a five-year term would provide consistency in leadership for the agency. (House Homeland Security Committee)
  • An increased workload and missed deadlines put the Internal Revenue Service at risk of a delayed start to next year’s tax filing season. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration said several of the agency’s business units have missed interim deadlines under new tax laws . The IRS is supposed to update over 100 IT systems as well as more than 400 tax forms. (Department of Treasury)
  • The initiative to modernize federal payroll systems reached a key milestone. The General Services Administration chose two teams under a 10-year, $2.5 billion deal to provide payroll services in the cloud. GSA awarded Team Carahsoft, which includes Immix Technology and Deloitte Consulting, and Team Grant Thornton, which includes the Arcanum Group and CGI Federal, under the blanket purchase agreement. Both teams will provide payroll and work schedule and leave management software-as-a-service capabilities and services under the shard services initiative. These awards mark the first update to the federal payroll shared services effort since 2003. (General Services Administration)
  • The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is relying more on commercial solutions to meet the unclassified parts of its mission. NGA Director Robert Cardillo said its private-sector partners have produced millions of satellite images in recent years. He wants NGA to use data analysis and artificial intelligence tools to sort through pictures faster. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Social Security Administration needs to finish addressing the role of its chief information officer. SSA required its CIO to report to the agency commissioner, but not to annually assess workforce IT management skills, among other critical shortfalls. The Government Accountability Office  said SSA has addressed 14 other IT-related recommendations it’s made since 2011. (Government Accountability Office)

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