Veterans Health Administration not ensuring reusable equipment is cleaned

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  • The Veterans Health Administration doesn’t know if its reusable medical equipment is being cleaned between uses. The Government Accountability Office said VHA has no rules or stipulations to ensure the equipment is properly processed after use, which includes being cleaned, disinfected or sterilized. GAO recommended VHA put rules in place to make sure the inspections happen. (Government Accountability Office)
  • House Democrats from D.C., Maryland and Virginia want congressional leaders to reconsider the president’s planned pay freeze for civilian federal employees. The eight members wrote to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, urging them to work the Senate’s proposed 1.9 percent pay raise through the appropriations process. The Senate has already agreed to a raise for civilian employees. (Federal News Radio)
  • Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) was selected as the new chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Inhofe has been a member of the committee for the past twenty three years. He took over the chairmanship from Senator John McCain (R-AZ), who passed away last month. McCain had been chair of the committee since 2015. (Sen. Jim Inhofe)
  • It’s being reported the Trump administration is now formulating a list of possible replacements for Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Unidentified sources in the White House told the Washington Post the administration expected Mattis would leave his role in the next few months, but with reports that Mattis allegedly made disparaging about President Trump, the search has been expedited. The short list includes four star general Jack Keane, Senators Tom Cotton and Lindsey O. Graham, former Treasury Department official David McCormick, and former senator Jim Talent of Missouri. (Washington Post)
  • The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee heard from two nominees with tough jobs ahead of them. James Gfrerer was nominated to be VA’s CIO and Tamara Bonzanto would take over its new Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection. Both promised to help Secretary Robert Wilkie embark on a long-awaited culture change at the department. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Government Accountability Office wants agency managers use more data in their decision making. A new report said despite efforts to get federal managers to use more data, there has not been much of an increase in 20 years. GAO recommended the Office of Management and Budget do more to further improve managers’ use of performance information. (Government Accountability Office)
  • The Department of Homeland Security faces challenges getting its arms around all of its cyber threat data. Brian Murphy is the principal deputy undersecretary for intelligence and analysis at DHS. Speaking Wednesday at INSA’s Intelligence and National Security Summit in National Harbor, he said the agency needs to be a consumer and pusher of cyber threat information. Murphy said the agency is looking at big data tools, like artificial intelligence, to prioritize risks. (Federal News Radio)
  • A bill to strengthen Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s biometrics program passed the House. It would fully authorize the Biometric Identification Migration Alert Program, or BITMAP. The program allows ICE and intelligence agencies to share data with law enforcement officers from other countries. ICE first stood up the BITMAP program in 2011. Congressman Mike McCaul said the program has helped flag several hundred known criminal and terror suspects from entering the U.S. (House Homeland Security Committee)
  • The Navy said it’ll spend nearly $800 million on a bridge contract to keep its IT networks running for another year. The step the Navy announced Wednesday evening will extend the existing NGEN contract for another year. It continues the terms the Navy agreed to five years ago when it picked HP for what had been a $3.5 billion contract. The latest NGEN extension comes after several consecutive delays for the contract that was supposed to succeed it, called NGEN-R. Navy officials had expected to issue a final solicitation for that follow-on procurement by the end of July. But as of this week, Navy officials say there’s no projected timeframe for the release of the final RFP. (Department of Defense)