Senators call on White House to fill DHS vacancies

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  • Leaders of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee are urging President Trump to quickly fill top vacancies at the Department of Homeland Security. Chairman Ron Johnson and Ranking Member Gary Peters say they’re concerned by the number of leadership vacancies at DHS. Seven of 18 positions requiring Senate confirmation are vacant. The senators say they don’t doubt the qualifications of DHS acting leadership, but a lack of Senate-confirmed leaders makes it more difficult for DHS to meet its long-term goals. (Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs)
  • The Senate has passed a bill to establish and implement a counterintelligence training program for federal employees with supply chain risk management responsibilities. It’s meant to prepare personnel to identify and mitigate threats throughout the lifecycle of a program. It would call on the Office of Management and Budget to work with the director of national intelligence, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and administrator of the General Services Administration to establish the program within six months of the bill becoming law. The bill is now awaiting action in the House. (
  • The Air Force has identified a special operations combat controller who was the subject of a multi-day search in the Gulf of Mexico last week. Officials say Staff Sgt. Cole Condiff was assigned to the 24th Special Operations Wing at Florida’s Hurlburt Field. The Air Force says he made an unintentional water landing during a parachute jump from a C-130 on Tuesday. The Coast Guard and other agencies suspended their search and rescue efforts on Friday. (U.S. Air Force)
  • Federal agencies are being told draw up plans to optimize their real estate portfolios and figure out how much funding they’ll need to execute those plans. A memo from the Office of Management and Budget tasks each agency’s senior real property officer, chief financial officer and budget officer with creating a capital planning strategy. In that strategy, agencies must rank the importance of maintenance and repair requests and factor those costs into their annual budget request. Agencies must submit their capital planning strategies to the Federal Real Property Council by August. (Office of Management and Budget)
  • The Homeland Security Department’s Science and Technology Directorate is spending nearly $200,000 to test out blockchain technology for Customs and Border Protection. DHS S&T awarded a contract to Transmute Industries to build an application that uses distributed ledger technology to secure the import of raw materials such as steel, timber and diamonds. Under the contract, the company will construct a secure, digital, chain-of-custody mechanism for raw material imports to help enable legitimate trade. DHS S&T made the phase 1 award under its Silicon Valley Innovation Program. The Silicon Valley program’s goal is to develop and adapt commercial technologies for Homeland Security use cases. (Department of Homeland Security)

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