Postal Service could stand to lose a few square feet

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  • Eighty-six percent of nearly 400 postal facilities surveyed by the U.S. Postal Service’s inspector general have excess space. The IG estimates the agency has more than 1 million square feet in excess real estate, and recommended USPS look for ways to consolidate. The Postal Service owns more than 8,000 properties and leases more than 20,000 other locations. (U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General)
  • As an early gift for most federal employees, President Donald Trump issued an executive order closing federal offices Monday, Dec. 24. There’s been a more recent tradition of giving federal employees the day off when Christmas Eve falls on a Monday. The EO leaves it up to agency heads to determine if certain offices will need to remain open. (Federal News Network)
  • Veterans’ trust in the Department of Veterans Affairs was up this year. Eighty-six percent of veterans say they trust the VA in this year’s customer experience survey. Trust scores went up in particular at 128 out of 139 VA medical centers. Survey results found veterans are mostly concerned about having access to specialty providers. Improving parking at VA hospitals, and shortening the time it takes for veterans to get medications, were among common recommendations for improvement. (Department of Veterans Affairs)
  • Two Democratic Senators are renewing their calls for an inspector general investigation into undue influence three members of the president’s Mar-a-Lago club had at veterans affairs. Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) sent a letter to VA Inspector General Michael Missal, asking his office look into the matter, following recent developments on the scope of influence the three have wielded over decision-making on VA matters. The senators’ initial request for an investigation was accepted last month by the Government Accountability Office. (Sen. Elizabeth Warren)
  • The Office of Management and Budget is finding success in getting agencies to use “best-in-class” contract vehicles. OMB released new data under the President’s Management Agenda’s category management cross-agency priority goal showing agencies spent $29 billion last year on best-in-class contracts. That is $9 billion more than the 2018 goal and helped generate more than $9 billion in cost avoidance. The General Services Administration is also trying to drive more work to these contract vehicles by launching the BIC Research Tool to help agencies identify and compare available contracts. (Performance.gov)
  • The Defense Information Systems Agency said it’ll release its second set of capabilities for the new National Background Investigation Services system by the end of the month. DISA said it’s using about 1,000 people in the middle of the security clearance process as early adopters of the new background investigation IT system. The agency plans to release new capabilities on NBIS every three months. The first release came back in September. NBIS will eventually serve as the governmentwide system used to conduct suitability, security and credentialing investigations. (Defense Information Systems Agency)
  • GSA’s emerging technology office will host a robotic process automation forum in January. Justin Herman, the head of the office, said the meeting will focus on RPA use cases in government, as well as RPA’s impact on the federal workforce. GSA is also in the works to launch a process improvement competition on Challenge.gov during the RPA Day. (Federal News Network)
  • A Pentagon audit found the military services are opening themselves up to serious cybersecurity risks by failing to keep track of the software running on their networks. The DoD inspector general said none of the Navy, Marine Corps or Air Force commands it reviewed had accurate inventories of their software. The IG said not only is that a violation of DoD’s own policies, it’s also likely to lead to duplication in the applications the military buys. The audit found the Air Force has no process at all to prevent duplication, and the DoD Chief Information Officer hasn’t done enough to enforce application rationalization across the department. (Department of Defense)
  • Airmen are staying skeptical about strange emails in their inbox. Air Force Cyber wrapped up testing airmen in Europe with mock spear-phishing attacks and found most airmen did not fall for the ploy. Spear-phishing attacks target a specific recipient and appear to be from a trusted source. The Air Force says airmen should contact their local communications focal point if they receive a suspect email. (Air Force)
  • Governmentwide cybersecurity goals remain elusive for most agencies. The cybersecurity at 17 of 23 major agencies is not effective and does not meet all nine of the administration’s cross-agency priority goals. GAO’s latest review of agency progress shows continued struggles with internal controls and implementing capabilities to lower or mitigate risks. The report came as agencies continue to face more and more cyber attacks. In 2017, agencies reported to the Department of Homeland Security more than 35,000 cyber incidents, a 14 percent increase over 2016. (Government Accountability Office)
  • Two centers of excellence aimed at concept development and capability development are being created by the Navy. The research hubs will bring together naval doctrine, relationships with industry and educational resources to make Navy education and technology development more prepared future conflicts. The Navy will also set up a new three-star position to oversee the initiative. (Federal News Network)

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