OPM has yet to fix issues with contracts to help 2015 data breach victims

In today's Federal Newscast, the Office of Personnel Management's inspector general says the agency is not keeping a good enough eye on the companies its contra...

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  • There are still unresolved issues with how the Office of Personnel Management is handling a major identity theft services contract for victims of the 2015 cyber breaches. OPM last signed a contract with ID Experts and subcontractor Experian in December 2018. ID Experts is supposed to provide credit monitoring and identity theft protection services for victims of OPM’s two cyber breaches. The agency’s inspector general said ID Experts is performing its duties, but OPM isn’t keeping track of the contractor’s self-evaluations and didn’t visit the ID Experts facilities to review its performance. The IG has twice raised concerns about the agency’s handling of its credit monitoring services contracts. (Office of Personnel Management)
  • More top-ranking federal employees will see their salaries compressed by an arbitrary pay cap this year. Salaries for federal employees on the General Schedule can’t exceed the salaries for political appointees at level four of the Executive Schedule. That salary is limited to $170,800 in 2020. The pool of employees whose salaries are capped at this rate expanded within eight locality pay areas this year. Almost half of all locality pay areas experienced some kind of salary compression. (Federal News Network)
  • A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit challenging an executive order which orders agencies to repeal two old regulations for every new one they introduce. A District of Columbia U.S. District Court judge ruled that the groups that filed the lawsuit, Public Citizen, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Communication Workers of America, didn’t have standing to sue the Trump administration over the executive order. The judge also found that the plaintiffs couldn’t prove the executive order delayed the finalization of several pending rules. (Public Citizen)
  • Government attorneys are telling a federal appeals court it should rule against Oracle’s ongoing legal challenge to DoD’s JEDI Cloud contract. DoD and the Justice Department said Oracle’s claims about alleged conflicts of interest between the Pentagon and Amazon Web Services are now moot, because Microsoft won the JEDI contract — not AWS. (Federal News Network)
  • A veterans legal assistance group is suing the Pentagon, saying it’s illegally withholding thousands of documents that are supposed to be public. At issue are the past decisions of the review boards that handle veterans’ requests to correct their military service records. The National Veterans Legal Services Program and other groups rely on those decisions to help build cases for the vets they represent. But the lawsuit said DoD pulled the entire archive offline in April of last year with no indication of when it’ll be restored. That’s despite federal law and Pentagon regulations that require all board decisions – going back to 1996 – to be posted on a centralized website. (Federal News Network)
  • Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) the ranking member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, has announced he’ll retire at the end of this year. Among his accomplishments, Roe said he considers increasing veterans’ access to health care and greater oversight of the Department of Veterans Affairs part of his legacy on the committee. He told the Associated Press he expects Congress to pass legislation that addresses veteran suicides before he departs his role. VA Secretary Robert Wilkie attributed Roe with played a critical role in the most comprehensive overhaul of the department in generations. (Federal News Network)
  • VA is now processing claims for Blue Water Navy Vietnam veterans. Blue Water Navy claims processing started on the first day of the new year. VA spent the last six months preparing its IT systems and digitizing records to handle claims for a new group of veterans who served off the coast of Vietnam between 1962 and 1975. The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act extended eligibility to these veterans for the first time. (Department of Veterans Affairs)
  • The Navy’s 2nd Fleet declares full operational capability. It announced the reestablishment of the fleet in August 2018 due to the return to great power competition. Full operational capability means the fleet reached sufficient capacity to sustain command and control of its forces. The 2nd Fleet will primarily focus on forward operations and the employment of combat ready naval forces in the Atlantic and Arctic. The fleet is headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia. (Navy)
  • The Defense Department released a long awaited policy on middle-tier acquisition. The contracting method rapidly prototypes and fields technologies in a five-year timeframe. The policy validates the way DoD has been using the acquisition process, and gives the DoD agencies broad authority over their mid-tier acquisition programs. The policy was supposed to be delivered three years ago. Congress and the Government Accountability Office were concerned that the lack of a policy on mid-tier acquisition would hinder proper oversight of the method. (Federal News Network)
  • Tensions with Iran prompted a bulletin from the National Terrorism Advisory System. The bulletin said the Department of Homeland Security has no information about any specific threats, following U.S. elimination of a top Iran military officer with a long history of international terrorism. But the bulletin stresses the possibility of cyber attacks originating in Iran with what the Advisory System calls temporary disruptive effects against critical infrastructure. And it notes Iran and its partners have the capability to carry out kinetic attacks in the U.S. (Department of Homeland Security)
  • The General Services Administration will begin the consolidation of its 24 supply schedule contracts this month and wants to make sure vendors are prepared for the changes. GSA is holding a webinar on Jan. 8 to discuss these changes. It said vendors should be prepared for the re-mapping of special item numbers, updates to contract clauses or provisions and how to incorporate the requirements that ban of certain Chinese telecommunications technology. (General Services Administration)
  • GSA and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency are looking for feedback on how to set up a centralized vulnerability disclosure platform. In a request for information, both agencies asked vendors what they should look for in a commercial, software-as-a-service solution. The RFI comes after CISA and the Office of Management and Budget released a draft binding operational directive last month ordering agencies to stand up vulnerability disclosure programs. (Beta.Sam.gov)
  • The CIO Council is preparing agencies for the network of the future. Software-defined networking, 5G and intent-based networking are the future for federal networks and the CIO Council’s Innovation Committee wants you to be prepared. A new white paper details each of these emerging technologies, highlighting factors and considerations for every agency chief information officer. The committee also provides four recommendations ranging from surveying the technology landscape to running pilots using these technologies to working with GSA through the EIS contract to bring on any or all of these network modernization architectures. (CIO.gov)

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