Lawmakers worried about turnover at Homeland Security

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  • Three House committee chairmen are launching an investigation into recent leadership changes at the Department of Homeland Security Department. Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.J.) wrote to acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan to express concern about recent leadership departures which could put U.S. security at risk. They want to know what role White House aide Stephen Miller played in the departures of these officials. (House Oversight and Reform Committee)
  • House Oversight and Government Reform Government Operations Subcommittee Chairman Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) has three main goals for federal IT modernization in the current Congress. First, he intends to conduct oversight on FITARA goals, saying the administration is backsliding. He also wants to resolve appropriations concerns general counsels have about the Modernizing Government Technology Act. Finally, he says he wants to codify FedRAMP. (Federal News Network)
  • The Agriculture Department will review all of its owned and leased space in the national capital region. It’s looking to consolidate and move its employees into one or two buildings in the D.C. area. USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue is calling it the OneNeighborhood initiative. He said some work groups and teams are spread out too far in different … or sometimes the same buildings. Perdue said moving and reorganizing employees in the buildings will improve collaboration and customer service, and cut operational costs. (Federal News Network)
  • The long-awaited security clearance executive order is earning high praise from industry groups. The Professional Services Council, Intelligence and National Security Alliance and National Defense Industrial Association have all applauded the EO. They say the order paves the way for broader changes to the security clearance process. They’re also pleased that the transfer from the Office of Personnel Management to the Pentagon brings entire program under one roof, instead of at two separate agencies.
  • Automation will play a bigger role at the Defense Logistics Agency. DLA announces it plans to ramp up it’s continued use of bots, to extend when most employees leave for the day. The so called “unattended bots” will have their own security certifications, and run 24 hours a day, instead of requiring a human operator. (Federal News Network)
  • The Defense Information Systems Agency’s approach to identity management for mobile devices hits a major milestone. In just over a year, the number of Defense Department employees using DISA’s mobile security process called Purebred increased by five times. DISA announced that employees now are using more than 100,000 devices to sign and encrypt email and do secure web browsing without continuous need for a smart card reader and the user’s Common Access Card. The use of Purebred hit the 20,000 device plateau this time last year. DISA said Purebred works by relying on the user’s CAC issuance history as the authoritative data source to issue new mobile credentials. It also recovers the employee’s latest email encryption key to complete the security handshake. (Defense Information Systems Agency)
  • Christopher Hasson, the Coast Guard lieutenant accused of being a domestic terrorist, has been deemed eligible for release on bail before his trial on firearms and drug charges. A federal magistrate said the government hasn’t formally charged Hasson with any terrorism-related offenses, so there’s no legal justification for holding him without bond. Prosecutors allege he created a hit list of politicians, judges, journalists and social media company executives. (Federal News Network)
  • The Merit Systems Protection Board ordered the Postal Service to rehire a National Guardsman the agency refused in reinstate in 2016, after finishing his military service. MSPB said USPS violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, which allows service members to return to their civilian jobs. The Board has also ordered the Postal Service to provide the former National Guardsman with back pay and benefits. (Office of Special Counsel)
  • The Defense Department inspector general cleared Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan of conflict of interest allegations. Investigators say they were unable to substantiate charges, filed anonymously, that Shanahan showed favoritism towards the Boeing Company, his former employer. Now the ball is in President Donald Trump’s court, whether to nominate Shanahan for Senate confirmation as secretary. The IG report states investigators looked at more than 7,000 pages of documents and interviewed 33 witnesses. It said Shanahan cooperated fully. (Federal News Network)

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