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.
Federal contracting continues in Afghanistan as the Pentagon takes steps to ensure security of those performing it. Contracting officers across the armed services and other DoD activities are instructed to hide the names and other information about contractors if the place of work is Afghanistan. Specifically, they’re told to enter generic entity identifiers when entering data into the Federal Procurement Data System. In a memo released Friday, the office of the DoD undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment says the purpose is to conceal the identities of Afghanistan partners, if publicly identifying companies or people would endanger them.
The House will take up a single bill later this week that includes both a temporary continuing resolution and a debt limit suspension. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Cali.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) say the bill will keep the government running through December of this year. They didn’t give a specific date for when the CR will expire. But the measure will include additional funding for Afghan resettlement efforts and disaster relief. Congress must pass some sort of short-term funding solution by September 30 to keep the government open.
Two Senators want to free up more than one point five billion dollars in funding that has been sitting in the Treasury Department’s account for a program that terminated in 1998. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) introduced a bill to close the U.S. Enrichment Corporation Fund and move the money into Treasury’s general fund. The lawmakers want the money to go to reducing the federal debt. The money has been sitting in that fund since Congress disbanded the U.S. Enrichment Corporation and turned it into a private, non-government entity more than 20 years ago.
A government watchdog says the Defense Department is not doing enough to combat fraud. The Government Accountability Office says the military is neglecting to name people to important tasks forces that fight corporate swindling and is not assessing the risks for fraud in contracts. GAO says the Defense Department is not treating the issue with the urgency it deserves. Between 2013 and 2017 more than $6.6 billion was recouped by DoD from corporate fraud cases. GAO says DoD needs to fill empty spots on its task force to reduce fraud and update its policies to better understand where fraud may occur.
U.S. Special Operations Command is exposing hundreds of millions of dollars of specialized equipment to unnecessary risks of foreign influence. That’s according to the Pentagon’s inspector general, who says SOCOM failed to comply with a DoD policy that requires supply chain protection plans for nearly a decade. SOCOM is developing those Program Protection Plans now, but doesn’t expect to have them finished for another year.
The Air Force is proposing restructuring much of its portfolio in order to adjust itself for future combat. The service wants to retire three of its fighter platforms and one of its bombers. The Air Force wants to use that money modernize its F-22 and F-16 fleets and pay to update its nuclear capabilities. The strategy might be a hard proposal since some lawmakers have been reluctant in the past to divest from legacy systems. (Federal News Network)
Federal contracting continues in Afghanistan, and the Pentagon takes steps to ensure security of those performing it. Contracting officers across the armed services and other DoD activities are instructed to hide the names and other information about contractors if the place of work is Afghanistan. Specifically, they’re told to enter generic entity identifiers when entering data into the Federal Procurement Data System. In a memo released Friday, the office of the DoD undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment says the purpose is to conceal the identities of Afghanistan partners, if publicly I-D’ing companies or people would endanger them. (Federal News Network)
The Pentagon has a new proposal to work more closely with allied countries on critical supply chains. The Defense Department is pushing Congress to expand the Defense Production Act so the U.S. government can help fund critical industries in the United Kingdom and Australia. Pentagon officials say working more closely with those countries on areas like rare earth elements and batteries can help reduce the U.S. military’s reliance on China for key supplies. Currently, the Defense Production Act only allows for investments in businesses in the United States and Canada. (Federal News Network)
Plans for a National Secure Data Service are taking shape as a federal advisory committee drafts its annual report. The service would give approved researchers access to sensitive government data for statistical purposes. It’s one of a few proposals Congress considered, but didn’t include in the Evidence Act that passed in 2019. The Advisory Committee on Data for Evidence Building will submit its report to the Office of Management and Budget by the end of October. The House passed legislation in June that would authorize a National Secure Data Service, but the bill isn’t making progress yet in the Senate. (Federal News Network)
The Commerce Department is using its data to better understand how it’s serving the public. Commerce is releasing a data strategy focused on equity challenges in job growth, and distribution of resources to under-served communities. Under the strategy, the department will hold summits looking at barriers that prevent greater use of federal data. The strategy highlights the work the Census Bureau is already doing to promote equity through its Opportunity Project. Census is also working on a toolkit focused on correcting sources of bias in federal data.
Tech companies, lobbyists and other interested parties have until November 4 to provide their suggestions on how the Biden administration should approach risks in the information and communications technology supply chain. A new Federal Register notice asks for public comment on the administration’s supply chain initiative. The Commerce Department and the Department of Homeland Security have been tasked with producing a detailed report on the ICT supply chain by next March.
The Department of Veterans Affairs is beginning to reimagine its enterprise cloud in the form of a new contract vehicle. Since March 2020, VA has doubled the number of applications in the cloud and is using five times more virtual machines for data analysis than a year ago. This increase is opening the door for VA to ask vendors whether their current approach with two secure cloud providers will be enough for the future. VA issued a request for information seeking feedback on its next acquisition strategy for FedRAMP high cloud services. The agency wants contractors to discuss the benefits and costs of expanding their cloud services providers beyond the two they are using. Responses to the RFI are due October 4.
Agencies have a new tool to help them hire military spouses into positions with the federal government. The Office of Personnel Management finalized the new hiring policy. It allows agencies to noncompetitively hire the spouse of an active-duty service member or the spouse of a 100% disabled service member injured in the line of duty. OPM temporarily removed previous relocation requirements, geographic restrictions and other quotas. The agency says those limitations prevented agencies from using this hiring authority more frequently in the past. (Federal News Network)