GSA releases tool for monitoring agency spending to contractors

In today's Federal Newscast, the General Services Administration makes its governmentwide category management awards exploration tool publicly available.

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  • Vendors have a new data source to find out where agencies are spending contract dollars. The General Services Administration makes its governmentwide category management awards exploration tool publicly available. This database lets users find information at the award level such as by contract name and spend under management tier. Previously, GSA made the tool only available to federal employees. The govermentwide category management awards tool is one of eight offered by GSA for vendors and other stakeholders.
  • House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committee leaders want the Government Accountability Office to look into how VA is managing its medical supply chain during the pandemic. They’re especially interested in how VA is using and managing the appropriated funds it got under the CARES Act. The chairmen and ranking members of both committees say the pandemic should prompt *extraordinary focus* from GAO. They’re especially interested in any contracting issues that came up during the pandemic and obstacles that prevented VA from relying on its usual partners and other federal agencies for supplies.
  • The House will decide on how to keep operating during the pandemic. The House is set to vote Friday on a temporary rules change that would allow members to vote by proxy and allow committees to hold hearings and markups remotely. The resolution aims to reduce the number of days needed for committee votes during the pandemic. It would also put the House Administration Committee in charge of reviewing the feasibility of holding floor votes remotely through videoconference platforms. (Federal News Network)
  • The team behind the Federal Data Strategy is pushing back the deadline for goals under its one-year action plan. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, agencies will now have until the end of July to decide on a maturity assessment model for their data infrastructure, and complete assessments of their workforce’s data literacy. The strategy also gives agencies an extra three months to submit reports on best practices for improving the quality of their data output.
  • The $3 trillion spending package offered by Democrats in response to coronavirus includes monetary protections for service members affected by the military’s stop move order. The bill would allow service members and their families to end housing leases and vehicle leases. Troops can also get out of cable and telephone contracts if their moves were canceled by the stop move order. More than 100,000 service members and their families were affected by the original stop move order put in place in March.
  • The Pentagon’s inspector general says it’s tracking more than 200 complaints related to the coronavirus outbreak. The vast majority of the complaints the IG has processed through its hotline have to do with how the military services are complying with DoD’s own policies on social distancing and quarantining. Those issues account for 186 out of the 229 complaints the IG has started investigating. So far, complaints about fraudulent spending related to COVID-19 have been relatively rare. The IG is working on just 8 fraud complaints. The office released the statistics as part of a newly-released plan to oversee DoD’s response to coronavirus. The OIG is planning ten separate audit and oversight projects in the coming months, and six more are already underway.
  • The Navy is expanding the number of off-base collaboration spaces for sailors and businesses. The Navy will increase its number of tech bridges by six to bolster innovation through partnerships. The new locations include the National Capital region; Corona, California, Hampton Roads, Virginia; Monterey, California; Patuxent River, Maryland and Ventura, California. The tech bridges work on early stage pilot programs to help the Navy solve technological challenges.
  • he Senate Sergeant at Arms issued its second sources sought notice in less than a month to address legacy technology. In this new request for information, the Senate is looking for infrastructure and platform cloud services. The Sergeant at Arms says these cloud services must be rated at a high security level, be used only by government agencies and be only U.S. based. This latest sources sought comes about three weeks after the Sergeant at Arms issued a RFI for cybersecurity services. Responses to the cloud RFI are due May 29.
  • A new progress report from the General Services Administration includes steps it’s taken so far to facilitate the upcoming presidential transition. The Agency Transition Directors Council and the White House Transition Coordinating Council are up and running. GSA is also preparing its own infrastructure to provide transition services remotely ahead of the November election. And it’s preparing to meet with the Justice Department, Director of National Intelligence and FBI to begin developing intelligence and national security briefings for the president-elect and his team.
  • The Transportation Security Administration has a new insider threat mitigation plan. TSA says it’s focused on using its data to detect threats, advancing its own capabilities to deter those threats, and then improving its abilities to stop them in the transportation sector. The agency will also create a new insider threat mitigation hub. TSA will use the hub to allow its own offices, other agencies and industry to share their advice and expertise. The Government Accountability Office previously dinged TSA and its insider threat plan. GAO said the previous plan lacked a direction and clear strategy.
  • Social Security’s administrative law judges chalk up a point in their long contractor negotiations with the agency. Their union says the Social Security Administration is on the hot seat now. That’s after a federal arbitrator said agency management violated federal law five times. In part, the arbitrator found the agency withheld information supporting its proposal for a seven-year contract, sending it not to union negotiators but rather to a federal impasses panel. The union has charged Commissioner Andrew Saul and Deputy Commissioner David black with attempted union busting.
  • FEMA wasn’t prepared to deploy federal employees from other agencies to join Homeland Security’s volunteer Surge Capacity force. The DHS inspector general says FEMA deployed 1,300 other federal employees during the 2017 hurricane season, without points of contact at other non-DHS agencies to let them know. And it didn’t have mechanisms to inform them about the surge capacity force. That meant FEMA was late in recruiting, onboarding and training outside volunteers. Billing overtime for and paying these volunteers was also chaotic.

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