Senators question TSP investment portfolios sans fossil fuels

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  • Two senators want to know whether the Thrift Savings Plan would take a hit if federal employees could divest from fossil fuel companies. Sens. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) asked the Government Accountability Office to review the TSP’s investment portfolios and identify companies which pose a risk to climate change. Hassan and Merkley said some defined contribution plans are addressing investment risks from climate change. They want to know how the TSP’s overall financial performance would change without fossil fuels. (Sen. Jeff Merkley)
  • The personal information of hundreds of federal agents and police officers appeared to have been stolen from websites affiliated with alumni of the FBI’s National Academy. Authorities are investigating a posting by a hacker group which contained the personal information of at least 1,400 employees of the FBI, Secret Service, Capitol Police, U.S. Park Police and other federal agencies, as well as police and sheriffs’ deputies in North Carolina and Florida. The records included home addresses and phone numbers, emails and employers’ names. The FBI National Academy Associates said the information appeared to come from the websites of three of its local chapters, with 17,000 members nationwide and in 174 countries. (Associated Press)
  • More than two dozen House Homeland Security Committee members want more money for the Department of Homeland Security’s Cyber and Infrastructure Security Agency. They asked House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) and Ranking Member Kay Granger (R-Texas) to increase the overall allocation for DHS’s cyber efforts. They said investment in federal civilian cybersecurity has not kept pace with threats and over the last few years that CISA has shown its value.
  • The Bureau of the Fiscal Service re-launched its citizen’s financial guide to help make government spending data more transparent. It’s called Your Guide to America’s Finances, and it will give users an annual snapshot on federal revenue and spending, as well as the deficit, and the federal debt. Bureau Commissioner Kim McCoy said the guide provides answers to commonly asked questions from the public. The bureau has collected questions from the public since last June. (Bureau of the Fiscal Service)
  • One member of Congress wants the Defense Department to get on with its JEDI cloud contract. Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.), chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities, said endless challenges to the $10 billion contract are holding up capabilities DoD needs. Last week DoD reported back a clean internal investigation into whether Amazon Web Services had an unfair advantage with the contract. (Federal News Network)
  • After more than a year of court battles, the Pentagon’s new policy on transgender military service is now in effect. The policy largely reverses a change DoD made during the Obama administration. Existing military members will be allowed to continue serving, but will have to meet all of the standards for their birth gender. Going forward, the department will treat a diagnosis of gender dysphoria as disqualifying for anyone who wants to join the military, unless they’ve shown “stability” in their biological sex for at least the previous three years. (Department of Defense)
  • Two other senators want to know how climate change could potentially impact the defense supply chain. Sens. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) sent a letter to GAO, asking for a study on the potential impact climate change would have on defense contractors, as well as how the Pentagon considers climate change during the contracting process. DoD recently conducted an analysis of its effect on military facilities, however the senators are looking to expand on that to see how climate change could put military contractors at risk. (Sen. Elizabeth Warren)
  • There are still oversight gaps with the Small Business Administration’s Women-Owned Small Business program. GAO found SBA has yet to implement recommendations to help monitor third party companies, which screen applicants for eligibility. In fiscal 2017, SBA reported 40% of its sample of women-owned small business that received contracts under the program, weren’t eligible to receive them. (Government Accountability Office)
  • James Byrne was nominated to be permanent deputy secretary for the Veterans Affairs Department, a role he’s been acting in since last August. He’s also been VA’s general counsel since August of 2017. VA has been without a permanent number two since former VA Deputy Secretary Tom Bowman retired nearly 10 months ago. Senate VA Committee Chairman Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) said he expects his committee will hold a confirmation hearing in the coming weeks. (White House)
  • The Army Corps of Engineers has a new CIO. Dovarius Peoples received the nod to lead the Army Corps of Engineers technology as its chief information officer and director of corporate information. Peoples comes over to the Army Corps from the Army Network Enterprise Technology Command or NETCOM where he served as the deputy to the commanding general, senior technical director and chief engineer since July 2018. He will start at the Army Corps on April 28th. Peoples has had a long career in government, working at at the Office of Personnel Management as the associate CIO for Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions, the National Security Agency and DISA. Peoples will replace Greg Garcia, who moved on to be the deputy CIO of the Army last October.
  • DoD has a new top flack. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan tapped Jonathan Rath Hoffman as assistant secretary for public affairs. Defense News reported Hoffman had been interviewing for the job for the last six weeks. Hoffman will move over from DHS where he was also assistant secretary for public affairs. Among earlier posts, Hoffman served on the White House Homeland Security Council. He’s also a major in the Air Force Reserve’s Judge Advocate General Corps. (Defense News)

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