DHS: Agro Industry also facing cybersecurity challenges

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  • It’s not just the financial and energy sectors in need of better cyber defenses. The Homeland Security Department found large agricultural operations also face cybersecurity challenges. DHS reported the threats range from data theft, to the destruction of large-scale farm equipment. In August, DHS launched its National Risk Management Center. The center aims to share cyber threat information with a wide range of private-sector industries. (Department of Homeland Security)
  • The Office of Personnel Management wants the lowest performing agencies on the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey to improve their scores by 20 percent by 2020. New guidance from now former OPM Director Jeff Pon calls on agencies to identify the lowest scoring work units and subcomponents, and how they’ll improve in the next six weeks. (Chief Human Capital Officers Council)
  • The secretary of Defense called for a new executive order to help shore up vulnerabilities in the DoD supply chain. A new report identifies five macro forces which influence 10 risk archetypes, each representing a threat to the stability and security of the defense industrial base. The report makes 11 recommendations across three departments. The proposed executive order would require the relevant secretaries to implement these recommendations. (Federal News Network)
  • The General Services Administration wants to make it even easier for agencies to buy cloud services. GSA proposes to change the special item number (SIN) for cloud services under the schedules contract. In a request for information, GSA seeks feedback on a new minimal pay as you go unit of measurement for cloud services. The new SIN also would include IT professional services focused on the adoption of and migration to cloud computing. GSA’s goal with these changes is to improve the ability of vendors and agencies to more efficiently provide and acquire cloud applications and supporting services as a solution. Responses to the RFI are due Oct. 23. (FedBizOpps)
  • One of the big five cloud providers is dropping out of the competition for the Defense Department’s $10 billion program. Google said it’s decided not to bid on the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure procurement. The company said there are certain requirements it can’t meet and DoD’s strategy of awarding to a single cloud provider doesn’t meet its principles around AI. Google said it plans to continue to compete for other cloud contracts in DoD and across the government. (Federal News Network)
  • Postal employees rallied across the country Monday, calling on lawmakers to stop plans to privatize the Postal Service. A majority of the House and nearly half the Senate have cosponsored legislation to block efforts to sell the agency. Supporters also want postal reform legislation to address the Postal Service’s financial challenges. (Federal News Network)
  • The Navy’s service for solving human resources problems worldwide is now available 24 hours a day. The MyNavy Career Center offers help anytime by phone, email or on its website, with 200 agents taking on cases. The Navy previously only offered services for 12 hours a day. (Navy)
  • The Army may be looking for more civilian employees to fill out the teams that defend its networks. The 41 teams that make up the Army’s share of the Cyber Mission Force are overwhelmingly dominated by uniformed personnel: only 20 percent of the staff are civilians. Army officials say they’re reevaluating that ratio. The new assessment comes at a time when the military services are placing a premium on physical fitness. The Army is aiming to have 95 percent of its service members prepared for ground combat in the next two years. (Federal News Network)
  • President Donald Trump signed the longest reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration since 1982. The bill authorizes the agency for another five years. It also provides funding for infrastructure improvements and security upgrades, including cybersecurity enhancements. Transportation Safety Administration will also have to give real-time updates on wait times online and in airports. (Senate Commerce Committee)
  • Matt Dummermuth is named as the new head of the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs. He replaces Laura Rogers who is now director of the DOJ’s Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. Dummermuth will lead the department’s main funding component, overseeing more than $5 billion in grants and investments for state and local law enforcement and victim services. Prior to this appointment, Dummermuth was special assistant to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, and special assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia. (Department of Justice)