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The National Security Agency is bringing together its foreign intelligence and cyber defense missions into a new directorate. NSA Director Gen. Paul Nakasone announced the new Cybersecurity Directorate on Monday. NSA said the Cybersecurity Directorate will better position the agency to collaborate with partners across the government like U.S. Cyber Command and the Department of Homeland Security, while also enabling them to better share information with industry and agencies. Nakasone said Anne Neuberger, the assistant deputy director of NSA’s Operations Directorate, will lead the new directorate. The office will reach initial operating capability by Oct. 1.
There’s been more musical chairs at the Pentagon, this time for the nomination of Defense Department Comptroller David Norquist as deputy Defense secretary. While his nomination is under consideration, newly confirmed Defense Secretary Mark Esper will appoint Navy Secretary Richard Spencer as acting deputy defense secretary. Norquist will then only hold his confirmed position of DoD comptroller while his nomination is being considered. (Department of Defense)
The confirmation of the Pentagon’s number-two uniformed officer is in some doubt because of past allegations of sexual misconduct. Members of the Senate Armed Services Committee are hearing closed-door testimony this week about allegations that Gen. John Hyten made unwanted advances toward an aide two years ago. The female Air Force officer met with senators yesterday, and Hyten is scheduled to do so tomorrow. Hyten’s public confirmation hearing for the job of Joint Chiefs vice chairman could happen as soon as next week. The Air Force has already conducted an internal investigation into the allegations, but said it didn’t have enough evidence to substantiate them. (Federal News Network)
The Naval Warfare Center Atlantic is the first Defense Department entity to join the Amazon Web Services Academy. The academy is a collaboration between DoD and Amazon to teach active duty and civilian military employees about AWS cloud services. The academy is open to all branches of the military. (Navy)
The FBI warned members of Congress that Russia has not been deterred from trying to influence US elections ahead of 2020. FBI Director Christopher Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that the Bureau has seen no sign of Russia slowing down its efforts, both with propaganda campaigns and attempted network tampering, to undermine state and local election systems. Wray told senators his agency feels it has what it needs to do its part but the White House has asked for additional resources. (Senate Judiciary Committee)
A bipartisan group of senators has urged Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler to reconsider new procedures to vet Freedom of Information Act requests. An EPA final rule would allow EPA political leaders to make a final determination on FOIA requests before documents get sent out to the public. If EPA doesn’t rescind the rule, Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) have asked the agency to allow the public to provide comments. (Sen. Patrick Leahy)People might not think of Capitol Hill as a dangerous place, but offices there receive safety awards. The Office of Congressional Workplace Rights recognized some 60 offices for keeping away hazards. Safety Recognition Awards went to 51 members’ offices and another 12 congressional workplaces. Awardees developed safety criteria in cooperation with the National Safety Council. Awards in the 115th Congress required offices to undergo inspections, and recipients were honored at a ceremony presided over by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). (Office of Congressional Workplace Rights)
Federal employees should have an easier time now communicating with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission online. EEOC has expanded its public portal to allow federal employees to file and manage their complaints online. The portal will let employees send and receive documents and track their case status. The agency said the portal will also streamline its own operations and communications. Employees with open cases after a certain date can create an online account to track their complaint on the portal. (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission)
A group of former management officials said government oversight needs a culture change. A task force at the Bipartisan Policy Center said internal agency oversight bodies need to collaborate more with external organizations like the Government Accountability Office. They said agencies too often focus on compliance over their own performance. Agencies and oversight groups should together develop plans to improve the organization’s actual performance, instead of only meeting reporting requirements. (Federal News Network)
Auditors at the General Services Administration are recommending the agency cancel its schedule contracts with McKinsey and Company. The inspector general said McKinsey, which received almost $1 billion in task orders since 2006, refused to provide the necessary information during a pre-award audit and potentially overcharged agencies by as much $69 million. The IG also said the GSA’s division director failed to comply with federal laws, regulations and policies by using invalid price comparisons, relying on unsupported information and advocating for the vendor. GSA told the IG that it would renegotiate with McKinsey immediately to fix the schedule contract problems. (General Services Administration Office of Inspector General)