With less people using USPS, IG looks to optimize agency’s services

Also in today's Federal Newscast, for the first time in 12 years, federal civilian agencies suffered no major cyber incidents in fiscal 2018.

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  • Amid a decline in mail volume, the Postal Service has more infrastructure than it needs to process its current workload. The USPS inspector general is looking at ways the agency can standardize its mail processing operations, as well as other ways USPS can stay profitable amid a decline in mail. The report is expected to come out in March. (U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General)
  • Another federal employee union is suing the Trump administration over the president’s workforce executive orders. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) represents federal employees in upstate New York and filed its own separate lawsuit in the U.S. District Court. It’s seeking relief from the executive orders for federal employees in New York, and at agencies across the country. It makes the same argument that a group of federal employee unions made late last summer when they filed suit in the D.C. circuit. (SEIU)
  • New data shows agency cybersecurity is getting better. For the first time in 12 years, federal civilian agencies suffered no major cyber incidents in fiscal 2018. This was one of several highlights from the Office of Management and Budget’s annual Federal Information Security Management Act report to Congress. OMB has been tracking major cyber incidents since 2007 and defines them as one that impacts national or economic security, or one that affects more than 100,000 people. Agencies also faced fewer overall cyber incidents last year, seeing a 12% decline to just over 31,000. Email remains the biggest attack vector for agencies. (Federal News Network)
  • The Department of Health and Human Services is moving toward zero trust as its model for network security. Its Chief Technology Officer Oki Mek said it’s to wean employees off passwords. HHS is also working with the Defense Information Systems Agency on a pilot to use biometric and behavioral characteristics for network access. This comes after HHS Chief Information Officer Jose Arrieta said his office is working with the Defense Information Systems Agency on a pilot to use biometric and behavioral characteristics for network access. (Federal News Network)
  • The General Services Administration is extending the Transactional Data Reporting or TDR pilot for an additional year. GSA announced the program will continue so as not to cause any further disruption during fiscal 2020 as it consolidates 24 schedules down to one. At the end of the pilot, GSA will decide whether to continue the pilot, to cancel it or to expand the optional TDR pilot participation to schedule contract holders. GSA hoped TDR would replace the price reduction clause, which many vendors find onerous and a legacy of how the government bought in the 1990s. (General Services Administration)
  • The leader of all Army service installations was relieved of command last week. According to a statement from the Army, Lt. Gen. Bradley Becker was removed from his position as leader of U.S. Army Installation Management Command due to a loss of trust and confidence. The deputy of Installation Management Command, Maj. Gen. Timothy McGuire will serve as interim leader.
  • The Navy said it’s creating a new position to oversee all of its cyber, data and information technology issues. Navy Department leaders have been pressing to establish a new assistant secretary for information management since early this year, but the idea never gained traction in Congress. So officials said they’re doing the next best thing: Creating a special assistant who will report directly to the secretary of the Navy and also serve as chief information officer. Sources told Federal News Network the Navy has hired Aaron Weis as the first person to fill the new job. Weis is currently a senior adviser to the Defense Department CIO. (Federal News Network)
  • Defense contractor ManTech is paying a $750,000 fine to settle allegations that it lied to the government and violated the False Claims Act. The Justice Department claims ManTech falsely represented that its principal manager of a contract for security services at the Environmental Protection Agency had a top secret clearance. DOJ also alleges that the company failed to inform EPA that the manager lost the clearance and then misrepresented the project manager’s status a second time. ManTech earned more than $1.8 billion in government contracts in 2018. (Department of Justice)
  • Billions of dollars could be saved over the next two decades by expanding the government’s continuous evaluation program to more security clearance holders. The RAND Corporation estimates the government could save nearly $28 billion over 25 years, if agencies implemented continuous evaluation instead of conducting periodic reinvestigations. Agencies spend anywhere from 20 cents to $5 a month continuously evaluating a single clearance holder. Background investigations and reinvestigations by contrast range from $433 to nearly $6,000 depending on the type of clearance. (RAND Corporation)
  • The Defense Department is taking full advantage of the hiring authorities Congress has given it over the last several years. According to the Government Accountability Office, from 2014 to 2018, DoD used hiring flexibilities for 90% of its 44,000 actions regarding its acquisition workforce. The Pentagon also increased the amount of money it paid out for recruitment and retention incentives. In 2014 DoD authorized about $14 million for those purposes. By contrast, in 2018 it authorized almost $34 million. (Government Accountability Office)
  • DISA is making it easier for DoD components and cloud service providers to get together. DISA’s new provisional authority lets agencies post impact level two data on commercial clouds without first having to get a written OK letter. The authority applies only to cloud providers that have passed muster under the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, or FedRAMP. Roger Greenwell, DISA’s point man on cloud, said the new authority also simplifies life for the providers. But it requires them to keep up their FedRAMP certification. (Defense Information Systems Agency)

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