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It took up to nine months for the FBI to notify victims of cyber attacks, according to the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General. The IG report said the FBI’s notification system, Cyber Guardian, lacked complete and reliable data, making it harder for the agency to determine whether all cyber-crime victims had been informed. The FBI has made plans to replace the system later this year, with a program called CyNERGY. The IG report said the new system could address some, but not all of the data quality issues it found with Cyber Guardian. (Department of Justice Office of Inspector General)
Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) wants to know if FEMA is planning to notify the 2.3 million victims of 2017 hurricanes and wildfires that their personal information may have been compromised. A DHS IG report said FEMA released the personal information of disaster victims to an unnamed contractor. Thompson asked for an update on FEMA’s assessment of the contractor’s technology systems, and what remedial actions the agency will take. (Twitter)
A federal IT executive calls it a career after three decades of service. Adrian Gardner, the former chief information officer at FEMA and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, retired after 30 years of federal service on March 31. Gardner announced in an email to friends and colleagues that he has taken a job, but didn’t say where or with what company. Most recently, Gardner, who also served as the president of AFFIRM, was FEMA’s executive director of recovery communications and technology in the Office of Response and Recovery. In that role over the past 11 months, he helped the Caribbean countries impacted by 2017 hurricanes rebuild their communications infrastructure. He served as FEMA CIO for almost five years before that and as NASA Goddard’s CIO from 2010 to 2013.
Discouraged workers at the Department of Homeland Security may soon see some relief. The DHS Morale Act cleared the House with a bipartisan voice vote. It would require the DHS Chief Human Capital Officer to adopt strategies to increase engagement and morale through workforce development, among other strategies. (Congress.gov)
Less than a year out from the start of the 2020 population count, Census Bureau officials said the agency is on-track with its preparations. Al Fontenot, associate director for decennial operations, said the agency officially wrapped up work on its 2018 field test last week. Households will start receiving invitations to respond to the 2020 census the week of March 12, 2020. (U.S. Census Bureau)
Changes are coming to the way the Department of Veterans Affairs handles Freedom of Information Act requests. VA Secretary Robert Wilkie approved a few changes to VA’s FOIA policies. FOIA officers who need more than the typical 20-day processing time can extend it by 10 additional days under unusual circumstances, as long as they inform the requester. VA must also tell FOIA requesters if they can completely respond to queries, or if they’ll receive a partial answer. (Federal Register)
Recommendations from the Veterans’ Family, Caregiver and Survivor Federal Advisory Committee got the thumbs up from Secretary Wilkie. The recommendations included an effort to identify all federal programs available and increased coordination in resource distribution to those who require them most. They also called for the implementation of the expansion of caregiver stipends with more standardization. (Department of Veterans Affairs)
The Pentagon starts to crack down on cost-type contracts — more than two years after Congress ordered it to. A proposed rule the Defense Department tells its contracting officers to consider using fixed-price contracts as their first choice. They would need permission from senior procurement officials to issue cost reimbursement contracts worth more than $50 million. Congress told DoD to make the changes as part of the 2017 Defense authorization bill, and they were supposed to have been in place by the summer of 2018. The threshold would decrease to $25 million next year. (Regulations.gov)
OMB has been without a permanent controller for two years, and the position could remain open for the foreseeable future. A senior administration official told Federal News Network, the White House is looking for another job for Fred Nutt, whom President Donald Trump nominated in 2017 to be OMB controller. A Senate aide also told Federal News Network that some members of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee were concerned about Nutt’s qualifications to be OMB controller, which his why he didn’t get voted out of the committee. (Federal News Network)
The Data Coalition and Data Foundation named Nick Hart as the organizations’ new CEO and interim president. Hart served as the director for the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Evidence Project where he helped shape the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act signed by Trump in January. Hart also worked as a senior analyst and special assistant at the Office of Management and Budget under the Obama administration. (Data Coalition)
When you’ve got a lot of territory to oversee, unmanned aircraft can come in handy. The Interior Department reported doubling its use of drone flights last year to more than 10,000. Flights took place over 42 states and territories. A report released Monday details the use of unmanned aircraft in remote or dangerous areas to look at wildfires, volcanoes, floods and animal movement. Interior uses more than 500 drones operated by 359 people. (Department of the Interior)
You can add the equal employment opportunity commission to the list of agencies facing budget cuts that certain members of congress are not happy about. A large amount of Congressmen sent a letter to House appropriation leaders, asking for an additional $20 million for the EEOC. The lawmakers said the agency needs the money to address the outpouring of workplace harassment charges from the #MeToo movement. They said the extra money would also help it meet court-mandated obligations to collect pay data. (Rep. Lois Frankel)