Move to replace Interior Dept.’s inspector general leaves some troubled

To listen to the Federal Newscast on your phone or mobile device, subscribe on PodcastOne or Apple Podcasts. The best listening experience on desktop can be found using Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

  • A move to replace the Interior Department’s acting inspector general with a political appointee has other government watchdogs scratching their heads. The Project on Government Oversight called the move to replace current Interior IG Mary Kendall with Suzanne Israel Tufts puzzling as she has no oversight experience. Tufts was assistant secretary for Administration with the Department of Housing and Urban Development. POGO said the timing is troubling since there are several ongoing investigations involving Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s activities currently. (Project On Government Oversight)
  • The Office of Management and Budget laid out 47 strategies to help agencies better manage their data. The draft federal data strategy is out for public comment over the next 30 days. Four interagency working groups created the principles over the last five months around areas such as governance and management, security, and promoting efficient data use as a strategic asset. (White House)
  • Less than two years out from the 2020 population count, the Census Bureau is helping nine countries with their own censuses. The agency has teamed up with the U.S. Agency for International Development helping ensure the world has better data. The Bureau has helped more than 100 countries conduct population counts in the past 80 years. Census is also developing a technology playbook for populations counts in low and middle-income countries. (U.S. Census Bureau)
  • Thomas McDermott, deputy assistant secretary for Cyber Policy at the Homeland Security Department, said DHS is seeing “significant progress” in agencies adopting Domain-Based Message Authentication, Reporting & Comformance (DMARC), a protocol that authenticates an organization’s emails. After exactly one year, 74 percent of agencies have published DMARC records, and 6.5 percent are fully compliant. (Federal News Network)
  • The General Services Administration is aiming to simplify the lives of federal contracting officers. Federal contracting officers are inline to have their jobs reimagined. The General Services Administration plans to take a series of steps to simplify how acquisition is done through its schedules contracts. GSA Administrator Emily Murphy said the Federal Acquisition Service will reduce the number of schedules, create catalog and ordering tools and move toward a dynamic pricing model at the task order level. Murphy said all of this is to enable agency customers to more easily buy and industry to more easily sell solutions that include both products and services.
  • Is the government’s “revolving door” pushing IT leadership out of agencies? Mark Kneidinger, deputy director of the Homeland Security Department’s new National Risk Management Center, said it’s an area of concern. Especially amid the Trump administration’s IT modernization push. The Government Accountability Office recently found the median tenure of chief information officers was only two years. The agency recommends CIOs stay three-to-five years, and even longer amid major change initiatives. (Federal News Network)
  • The White House has a new class of fellows joining its ranks. President Donald Trump named 14 people to the White House fellowship class for 2018-2019. These 14 people will spend one year at a variety of agencies in the Executive Branch and the White House. New fellows will work in the Office of Personnel Management, Treasury and Homeland Security Departments, and the White House Office of American Innovation. The White House Fellowship program started back in 1964 during the Lyndon Johnson administration. (White House)
  • The Army is close to deploying its new Integrated Personnel and Pay System. It’s planning to apply it to the National Guard in all 54 states and territories next year. Active-duty and reserve troops will use the new system in 2020. It pulls together 200 different pay and personnel systems from across the Army, into one. The new system will also give soldiers a capability to describe their skills and talents in their own words. (Federal News Network)
  • Hurricane Michael made a mess of Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, but there may be a silver lining. Air Force leaders say the F-22s left behind on Tyndall Air Force Base during Hurricane Michael are in better shape than they expected. The Air Force did not say how many planes it left behind, but the service will do an extensive inspection of them before they fly again. Hurricane Michael displaced thousands of airmen and civilians and destroyed all of the on-base housing. The Air Force is still not sure when employees of the base can return to the area. The National Guard is still deployed in the Florida panhandle to help with the cleanup in civilian areas.