Bipartisan infrastructure bill includes funds to help federal cyber efforts

In today's Federal Newscast, the $1 trillion infrastructure bill passed by the Senate gives the National Cyber Director money to get started, and a rainy-day fu...

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  • The $1 trillion infrastructure bill passed by the Senate give National Cyber Director Chris Inglis funds to stand up his new office. The bill gives Inglis’ office $21 million through the end of the next fiscal year. Inglis took office in July, but his office has lacked appropriated funds to operate. Members of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, and Cyberspace Solarium Commission co-chair Senator Angus King (I-Maine) said the funding will tide Inglis over until Congress passes a spending bill for fiscal 2022.
  • A rainy-day fund for major cyber-attacks passed as part of the Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure bill. The Cyber Response and Recovery Act included in the bill would authorize $100 million over five years, to support federal response to cyber incidents. The act would allow the Secretary of Homeland Security, working with the National Cyber Director, to declare a significant cyber incident. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency would coordinate response to the incident, and would authorize use of the emergency fund.
  • Agencies have new cyber deadlines to secure certain software components. The Biden administration’s first sprint under the cybersecurity executive order is underway. It starts by giving agencies 60 days to identify 12 types of critical software that they are using on-premise or are in the process of buying for on-premise use. Once agencies identify those software installations, the Office of Management and Budget will give them 12 months to implement the critical software protections outlined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology in July. The software types include everything from web browsers to end point security to remote access applications. (Federal News Network)
  • The infrastructure bill is on the fast track to becoming law, but the Defense Department won’t see much from it. Top Republican lawmakers have lamented that extra funding wasn’t added for the Defense Department in the $1 trillion infrastructure bill. The top Republicans of the Senate Armed Services and Appropriations Committees were hoping to add $50 billion to the bill for shipyard improvements, 5G, test range modernizations and more. The Pentagon has had funding increases over the last five years and its budget dwarfs much of the civilian departments’ appropriations. Military accounts are expected to receive more than $750 billion in 2022.
  • The Air Force will have new dress codes starting in October. Changes for men include an increase in hair length and the authorization of scalp tattoos. For women, hosiery will become optional with any combination of their uniform, and the size of hair accessories will increase from one inch to two inches. Transparent piercing spacers will also become acceptable. Airmen are expected to see improved combat uniforms and physical training gear as well. All of these changes will also apply to Space Force members, except where specific guidance already exists.
  • The Space Force has teamed up with its first university in hopes of developing future guardians, pursuing research areas of mutual interest and establishing internship opportunities. The University of North Dakota and the Space Force signed a memorandum of understanding earlier this week. Ten additional universities are on track to join the school. They include Howard University, MIT, the University of Southern California and The University of Colorado System.
  • NASA might not meet its goal of delivering next-generation spacesuits by 2024. That’s according to audit from the Office of Inspector General. Funding issues, COVID-19 impacts and other technical challenges are expected to push back the rollout of NASA’s Extravehicular Mobility Units to at least April 2025. The report also revealed that NASA has yet to formalize an acquisition strategy for its spacesuits. Among the IG’s recommendations, NASA is encouraged to adjust its schedule to reduce development risks. The IG also recommended that NASA only award contracts once technical requirements for the spacesuits are solidified.
  • The Federal Acquisition Regulations Council is clearing its to-do list. The FAR Council published four final rules yesterday, some dating back to the 2013 Defense authorization bill. One of the final rules implements revised and standardized limitations on subcontracting for small businesses. Another final rule outlines examples that would be considered a failure to make a good faith effort to comply with a small business subcontracting plan. And a third final rule incorporates recent revisions and updates to accessibility standards issued by the U.S. Access Board.
  • USPS has brought back a temporary price increase for many of its package services ahead of its holiday rush. The Postal Service is asking its regulator for permission to raise its package rates from October 3 to December 26 for commercial and retail shippers. USPS said it’s implementing the rate hike in order to get ahead of heightened package demand. USPS began the temporary rate hike on packages last year, when it delivered more than a billion packages during its peak season.

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