Second agency joins the Centers of Excellence initiative

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  • A second agency has joined the IT modernization Centers of Excellence (CoE) initiative. The Department of Housing and Urban Development becomes the second agency to get help in upgrading its technology and financial management systems under the White House’s marquee IT modernization effort. HUD and the General Services Administration will launch a discovery sprint as part of the CoE initiative. The sprint will help HUD develop a comprehensive assessment of its IT needs and challenges. Then, HUD will determine how to upgrade its technology infrastructure and operating procedures. The Agriculture Department is the first agency testing out the CoE concept. (General Services Administration)
  • It’s about time the federal community finally addresses challenges with its existing civil service system. In a new report as part of its ongoing look at civil service modernization, the National Academy of Public Administration said the community has been “tinkering around the edges” in recent years, of the deeper challenges with the current system. (Federal News Radio)
  • Attorneys for President Donald Trump and Office of Personnel Management Director Jeff Pon appealed a recent federal district court ruling which invalidated nine key provisions of the president’s executive orders on collective bargaining and official time. The appeal includes all prior orders and decisions in the judge’s ruling from late last month. (Federal News Radio)
  • About 500 employees at the Education Department should be back in their offices this morning after a power outage struck about half of the headquarters building. A department spokesman confirmed there was a mistake during the construction of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial causing a power outage on the east side of the agency’s Lyndon Baines Johnson building. The impacted employees have the all clear to head back to their normal offices today. During the outage, they either worked in other parts of the building that weren’t affected, worked in other Education offices around the district or teleworked. (Federal News Radio)
  • A former National Security Agency employee was sentenced five and a half years in prison for holding classified national defense information. The Justice Department said Nghia Pho had vast amounts of highly classified information at his house without authorization. The documents were both paper and digital. (Department of Justice)
  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said “the jury is still out” on whether women can perform successfully in infantry jobs. Mattis told students at Virginia Military Institute that he’s asked both the Army and Marine Corps for data that would show whether having women in a “close-quarters fight” would help or hinder a military unit’s performance. He said he wants to give female integration into infantry units every opportunity to succeed, but doesn’t want to make personnel decisions that don’t make sense militarily. (Federal News Radio)
  • The IRS and its watchdog office faulted contractors for not doing more to mitigate a Tax Day systems glitch. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration finds Unisys and IBM should have done more to reach out to the IRS about the glitch. IRS is now seeking damages from Unisys for not meeting the terms of its Enterprise Storage Services contract with the agency. (Federal News Radio)
  • The IRS named two new members to its Electronic Tax Administration Advisory Committee. The agency picks Lynnette Riley, Georgia’s State Revenue Commissioner, along with Gene Salo, a private-sector tax professional, and member of the IRS’ Security Summit. The committee works to prevent identity theft and refund fraud and improve paperless tax filing. (IRS)
  • Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) and former Democratic congressman Patrick Murphy of Florida were picked to join the Cyberspace Solarium Commission. The commission is tasked with developing a unified, strategic response to the numerous challenges cyberspace presents. The panel will be comprised of fourteen people from the legislative and executive branches, as well as the private sector. The commission was created by 2019 defense authorization act and hopes to find ways to deter future cyber attacks. (Rep. Nancy Pelosi)

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