To listen to the Federal Newscast on your phone or mobile device, subscribe in PodcastOne or Apple Podcasts. The best listening experience on desktop can be found using Chrome, Firefox or Safari.
A new collaboration is underway between the inspectors general for the Departments of Justice and Veterans Affairs. They’re setting up a new VA health care fraud task force, to investigate and prosecute instances within VA’s growing community care program. VA OIG attorneys will be detailed to serve as special prosecutors within DOJ’s health care fraud strike force. Both departments said the new task force gives them a chance to leverage each other’s experience and expertise. (Department of Justice)
It’s official: The governmentwide security clearance program is now part of the Defense Department. The people, resources and authorities of the Office of Personnel Management’s National Background Investigations Bureau have moved to the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency. All 3,000 NBIB employees transferred to the defense payroll and personnel systems without a hitch. DoD officials said they’re moving on to the transition and modernization phase of the security clearance transfer. (Federal News Network)
The General Services Administration’s first phase of the multiple award schedule consolidation effort is complete. The new MAS solicitation brings together 24 schedules for products and services into one offering. It’s organized by large categories and subcategories and features a simplified format, streamlined terms and conditions and new categories and Special Item Numbers. GSA said this new format will make it easier for contractors to offer products, services, and solutions, and for agency partners to find them. The consolidated offering is only for vendors who are applying for a schedule for the first time. GSA said it will modify existing schedule holders in 2020. (FedBizOpps)
For 12 vendors, the end of fiscal 2019 brought some good news from GSA. The General Services Administration late last week awarded a dozen contractors a spot on its multiple award CIO modernization and enterprise transformation or COMET contract. At the same time, GSA also awarded the first four task orders under COMET. The initial task orders included cloud services, fleet management support services and IT services for the Integrated Acquisition Environment. COMET replaces the CIO Application Maintenance, Enhancements, and Operations or CAMEO vehicle, which GSA awarded in 2014. (Federal News Network)
The National Security Agency officially set up its Cybersecurity Directorate. The organization is charged with preventing cyber attacks on the agency’s networks. NSA said the directorate will help the agency collaborate with partners across government like U.S Cyber Command and the Department of Homeland Security. The directorate will also allow NSA to share information about cyber threats with the private sector.
The Navy Department appoints two new senior officials to oversee IT and education issues. Effective this week, John Kroger is the Navy’s Chief Learning Officer, and Aaron Weis is the Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Navy for Information Management – also the department’s Chief Information Officer. Both positions are new to the Navy Department. For IT and cyber matters, the Navy settled on the special assistant role after Congress rejected the idea of creating a new assistant secretary for information management.
The Defense Department reported its highest active duty suicide rates in five years. However, Chris Ford, leader of Stop Soldier Suicide, said DoD needs to think outside the box when considering ways to stop deaths. Ford suggests DoD may want to enforce a better screening process for recruits and give them treatment through their military career. Recent research suggests childhood trauma leads to higher likelihoods of suicide among military members. (Federal News Network)
The FBI brings in big time outside expertise to help with the agency’s data science challenges. Melvin Greer is the chief data scientist at Intel, an old-line Silicon Valley company that actually is in the silicon business. He’ll become a fellow in residence and senior adviser to the FBI’s Information Technology Applications and Data Division. Greer will focus on hybrid cloud computing — that is, how to use a combination of agency data centers and commercial clouds. Greer has patents in cloud computing, synthetic biology and data analytics. (FBI)
This year’s annual prize competition from the Census Bureau seeks feedback from industry, on ways to use federal data to train the workforce of the future, and maximize participation in the bureau’s 2020 population count. Other challenge areas for the Census Opportunity Project include revitalizing communities, disaster preparedness, and creating new health care solutions. A grand-prize winner in each category will receive a $20,000 prize. Teams have until Nov. 1 to submit their ideas. (Challenge.gov)
Commercial Drone Delivery gets the go ahead from the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA issued a certification giving UPS the authority to use unmanned aerial vehicles, to deliver commercial packages. The concept began with a pilot with North Carolina’s Department of Transportation, where UPS delivered health care supplies around a hospital campus in Raleigh. U.S. Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratios said the certification marked an important step in emerging technology. (Federal Aviation Administration)
Another attempt to fix the Windfall Elimination Provision, or WEP, for current and future federal retirees. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) introduced the Public Servants Protection and Fairness Act. The bill would set a new formula to pay Social Security benefits in proportion to the share of a new retiree’s earnings that were covered for Social Security purposes. The bill is similar but slightly different from a measure Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-Texas) reintroduced this summer. (House Ways and Means Committee)