GSA cuts amount of federally leased property by 10 million square feet since 2014

In today's Federal Newscast, the agency’s fiscal 2021 budget justification to Congress shows that agencies went from about 194 million square feet of leased s...

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  • Over the past seven years, the General Services Administration has cut the federal government’s leased-property footprint by about 10 million square feet. The agency’s fiscal 2021 budget justification to Congress shows that agencies went from about 194 million square feet of leased space in 2014 to just under 183 million square feet projected in 2021. GSA’s push to reduce leased office space stems from a 2015 Obama administration strategy that’s continued under the Trump administration. (General Services Administration)
  • Deputy Director for Management Margaret Weichert will be leaving the Office of Management and Budget for the private sector next month. Weichert says she changed the conversation about what’s possible in government during her tenure. She’ll be the managing director for Accenture’s commercial practice. Members of Congress and at least one employee group praised Weichert for contributions to the president’s management agenda. She’s been at OMB since February 2018. (Federal News Network)
  • Another key IT executive at the Department of Homeland Security is leaving. Paul Beckman, the chief information security officer at DHS, is moving to a new position in the private sector. He becomes the third senior IT official to leave the agency since November. Since June, DHS has lost its CIO, deputy CIO, enterprise network director and now its CISO. Many of these moves have been in the works for some time, but they do leave DHS with a lot of holes in their IT lineup. Beckman, who has worked at DHS for 14 years, is joining Consolidated Nuclear Security in Tennessee. His last day at DHS is February 21. Deputy CISO Dr. Thresa Lang will serve as Acting CISO in the meantime.
  • Over 1,100 former Justice Department employees have published a letter calling for the resignation of Attorney General William Barr. The group criticized Barr’s handling of the case against Roger Stone. The letter includes signatures from DoJ employees dating back to the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations, according to POLITICO.
  • A former State Department contracting officer is facing 87 months in jail and a $25,000 fine after being convicted of 13 counts of conspiracy, bribery, wire fraud and making false statements. The Justice Department says Zaldy Sabino engaged in a bribery and procurement fraud scheme. Sabino received more than $500,000 in cash from an owner of a Turkish construction firm while overseeing contracts to the company. (Department of Justice)
  • The Navy may have run afoul of federal procurement rules as it scrambled to recover from a damaging hurricane season. A review by the DoD Inspector General says Naval Facilities Engineering Command appears to have set up an illegal contract structure by agreeing to pay contractors percentage-based fees on top of their actual costs. The work was done as part of the Hurricane Irma recovery in 2017 and 2018. Federal regulations don’t allow those types of awards, because they tend to incentivize vendors to inflate their costs to earn excess profit. The Navy says it will ask the Defense Contract Audit Agency to take a detailed look at the arrangement and ask for refunds if necessary.
  • Civilian government employees who are deployed into warzones like Iraq and Afghanistan need better services to reintegrate them back into society once they return. A new study from the RAND Corporation states civilian deployees often seek assistance when returning home, but lack the knowledge on what is offered. RAND recommended the Defense Department and other federal agencies work to consolidate post-deployment services and raise awareness of what is offered. RAND also said agencies should mandate exit interviews to get useful information about what civilians need after a deployment.
  • President Trump intends to nominate Kathryn Wheelbarger to be deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence and security. Wheelbarger served as policy director and counsel on the Senate Armed Services Committee. She is currently performing the duties of assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs. Wheelbarger will take over for Kari Bingen, who left the Pentagon last month. (White House)
  • The Army’s number-two real estate official has been tapped for a promotion. Jordan Gillis, deputy assistant secretary for Installations, Energy and Environment is the White House’s pick to be next assistant secretary of Defense for sustainment. That position is in charge of managing the long-term costs of weapons systems once they’ve been procured. Gillis would replace Robert McMahon, who retired last November. (White House)
  • EPA would move forward with one of its largest workforce consolidation efforts under the administration’s fiscal 2021 budget request. It seeks to relocate 1,200 employees from a leased building in Arlington, Virginia, to the agency’s headquarters in D.C. The consolidation would begin in March 2021, when the EPA’s lease on the Arlington building expires. The General Services Administration seeks $48 million next year to upgrade elevators and a wheelchair lift in the EPA headquarters to handle increased capacity. (Federal News Network)
  • Congress is planning on early action toward the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act. An unnamed aide told Bloomberg Government the House Armed Services Committee will markup its version of the bill on April 29. The Senate Armed Services committee will consider its bill about a month later. House concerns will include what to do about the position of chief management officer at the Defense Department, and finding the right mix of research and development spending. Ranking member Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) told BGOV he’s anticipating a smooth process.
  • Federal contractors say they face more scrutiny and share more information when monitoring their employees on continuous vetting and insider threat programs than their government counterparts. The Intelligence and National Security Alliance says a greater portion of contractors are subject to continuous monitoring, while not all agencies are. INSA recommends establishing common vetting standards for both feds and contractors. That’s because federal contractors are required to have insider threat programs. But not all agencies are enrolled in continuous vetting programs at this point.  (Intelligence and National Security Alliance)

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