Agencies could be significantly overpaying for office space

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.

  • The federal government may be significantly overpaying for leased office space. The Government Accountability Office says feedback from federal agencies shows the General Services Administration’s lease requirements cause building owners to charge the government more than private companies would pay for the same office space. Those requirements include the right to end leases early and change which agency is using the space in the middle of the lease term. (Government Accountability Office)
  • 90% of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s $15 billion budget goes to contracts, but its struggling to track where all the money is going. A new GAO report says while the NNSA has made some progress over the last year, its data quality is lacking as contractors are reporting financial data differently than how the agency needs it. GAO also says NNSA needs to improve how it identifies and reports costs for programs of record and base capabilities. GAO made four recommendations for how NNSA can ensure vendors are giving them the information they need. (Government Accountability Office)
  • The State Department launched a new data and analytics hub to help more than 75,000 employees make better policy and management decisions. The Center for Analytics brings together tools, training and technologies for diplomats to prioritize foreign policy goals, track security trends and more, using data. The Center aligns with the President’s Management Agenda to use data management as a strategic asset. (Department of State)
  • The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has made a familiar choice for its new chief information officer. Sylvia Burns is the new CIO at FDIC. She takes on the top job after spending the last two years as the agency’s deputy CIO. Burns replaces Howard Whyte, who left in January after over two years on the job. Burns came to the FDIC in 2018 after spending four years as the Interior Department’s CIO. As the FDIC’s new CIO, Burns is expected to continue down the same IT modernization path started by Whyte. The FDIC’s IT modernization plan focuses on ensuring its workforce has the skills necessary for the future and delivering capabilities instead of systems or applications. (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation)
  • There’s a new website dedicated to the Bureau of Land Management’s relocation to Grand Junction, Colorado. There aren’t many new details, but it does describe a July 2020 end date for the move. BLM also says it will offer career counseling and interviewing workshops for employees who choose not to relocate to Colorado or another western state. Interior also identified the Employee Assistance Program as an option for BLM employees.
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement stepped up its pressure to get cities to cooperate on detainers for undocumented immigrants. Calling them a last resort, ICE issued administrative subpoenas to Denver and New York City seeking to get information on people ICE wants to deport. The cities vowed to withhold cooperation. Henry Lucero, deputy executive associate director for ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations, says the subpoenas might expand to other cities. In New York, acting ICE director Matthew Albence blames sanctuary policy for a recent rape and murder.
  • Industry is urging government to begin sharing the insider threat information it collects on cleared contractor employees. It says the data government collects about its clearance holders through automated records checks could inform their own insider threat programs. But agencies aren’t typically sharing that information with industry today. The Trump administration is planning a major ramp-up of continuous evaluation capabilities over the next few years. If they are, industry says their practices are inconsistent throughout government. (Federal News Network)
  • In an internal memo obtained by Federal News Network, the Army wants to slow down the transition of its health facilities to the Defense Health Agency. It’s concerned the merger is happening too fast and fears DHA does not have a clear plan for policy and budget. The transfer is supposed to be completed by the fall of 2021. The Army is supposed to complete its transfer of military treatment facilities to DHA by the fall of 2021. The Army also wants Congress to consider letting the service keep its medical research arm instead of surrendering it to DHA. (Federal News Network)
  • The Navy says it’s on track to hire more than half of the existing number of housing staff to better support service members and families living in privatized military housing. The goal is to hire 183 new personnel by the end of September. That would raise the total staff enterprise-wide from 320 to 503. The Navy is hiring housing management specialists, housing inspectors, quality assurance specialists and project and business managers. The new employees are in response to reports of mice, mold and lead paint in privatized military housing. (Navy)
  • The Navy is asking sailors to think twice about using commercial genetic testing services. In a message to the fleet on Friday, the director of Navy staff said some genetic testing companies appear to be directly targeting military members with discounts and other incentives, and that sailors who accept those offers may be signing up for security risks. Among other worries, officials say there is “serious concern” that the genetic data could be used for mass surveillance or individual tracking, though the message doesn’t explain exactly how.