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Agencies have saved or avoided spending $552 billion after addressing recommendations from the Government Accountability Office. But after taking action on about three quarters of nearly 1,300 actions, agencies can still save billions of dollars more. GAO finds 94 ways that Congress and agencies can improve federal efficiency. Some of those actions fall to the departments of Energy and Health and Human Services. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro says agencies should prioritize recommendations that would save the most money, along with those that directly impact public health and safety. Over the past 11 annual reports, the government has at least partially implemented 74% of the recommendations and saved or avoided spending $535 billion.
Comptroller General Eugene Dodaro called on Congress to designate one federal agency to develop a national strategy for diet related chronic health conditions. The new department would reduce overlap between the 21 agencies and over 200 federal efforts dealing with diet and health issues, which is costly for the healthcare system.
Ten states urge a federal appeals court to keep the Biden administration from enforcing its vaccine mandate for federal contractors. Missouri and Nebraska lead the coalition of states telling the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit not to overturn an injunction that prevents the federal government from enforcing its vaccination mandate for federal contractor employees. The states argue the policy amounts to government overreach, and would include about a fifth of the U.S. workforce. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in heard oral arguments in a case against the contractor vaccine mandate led by the state of Georgia. (Federal News Network)
House committee members clash over the future of telework for federal employees. The House Oversight and Reform Committee considered Rep. Gerry Connolly’s (D-Va.) bill to expand federal telework programs. But some committee members like Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.) say federal employees must make a full return to the office to best serve the public. Connolly reported that telework during the pandemic resulted in higher productivity and employee satisfaction. He adds that feds have continued to do their jobs and serve the public while working from home.
Managers across the federal government need to take faster actions to improve working environments for people with disabilities. Disability inclusion experts said at a seminar held by the Partnership for Public Service and the Boston Consulting Group that agencies should encourage a mentorship program to create a promotion pipeline for more people with disabilities to be leaders. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found on average people with disabilities were 53% more likely to involuntarily leave the federal government than people without disabilities between 2014 and 2018. Other suggestions for inclusive environments include viewing accessibility as productivity tools instead of budget burdens and creating encouraging workplaces for people to feel safe self-identifying. (Federal News Network)
The Department of Homeland Security’s watchdog helped DHS recover or avoid spending $11 million during a recent six-month period. The DHS Inspector General’s office reported a total of $63 million in recoveries, fines and restitution between October 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022. The watchdog closed 296 investigations during that period. The IG says its inquiries led to 45 arrests, 38 indictments, 62 convictions, and 18 personnel actions over the six-month period.
The U.S. Marshals Service has its work cut out managing cryptocurrencies seized by the Justice Department. The DOJ’s inspector general office found the Marshals Service in September 2021 held 22 different types of seized cryptocurrencies worth about $466 million. The IG found the agency lacks adequate policies or a system to keep track of these cryptocurrencies. The IG said the Marshals Service is looking to contract out its management of these cryptocurrencies, which should address some of the IG’s concerns.
The latest audit of the Defense Department’s biggest IT business systems revealed some major gaps. Fifteen out of DoD’s 25 major IT business programs lack a supply chain risk management plan. That’s according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office. DoD budgeted more than $38 billion in 2022 for the 25 software programs GAO reviewed. But the report says the 15 programs who lack supply chain risk plans are more susceptible to threats like internal malware insertion or data exposure in a cloud environment.
U.S. Cyber Command is preparing for its increased budget authority that starts in 2024. Executive Director Dave Frederick said CYBERCOM is going to prioritize joint cyber training, and the joint cyber warfighting architecture. Right now, those programs are both managed across multiple branches. Frederick said the new budget authorities will allow CYBERCOM to align the funding for those efforts. That will improve efficiencies and effectiveness, and allow a more agile response to the changing cyber threat environment. (Federal News Network)
U.S. Cyber Command wants to prioritize future investments in machine learning. That’s why it’s running a broader survey of machine learning requirements across the DoD in conjunction with DIU, DARPA and the new CDAO. CYBERCOM’s executive director, Dave Frederick, said he hopes to have a better handle on those priorities later this fall. But two areas he’s currently looking at investing in are synthetic users and continuous monitoring. (Federal News Network)
The Navy and Marine Corps are taking a safety pause after fatal accidents. Earlier this week the Navy and Marine Corps took time to review safety measures and conduct training on the threat and error management process. The pause comes after aviation accidents rocked the services this month. Two of those accidents were fatal. The Department of the Navy said in a statement that safety remains one of its top priorities and that the pause was necessary to maintain readiness. So far this year the Navy and Marine Corps have had nine class A mishaps, which is terminology for the most serious crashes resulting in damage totaling $2.5 million or more.
Space Systems Command says it is working with a buy first policy when procuring new space products. In order to get space weaponry into the battlespace faster, the command is looking to see if any industry solutions will work best before it uses resources building something itself. The command is also prioritizing solutions from allies as well by sharing space on satellites and cooperating on projects. (Federal News Network)
GSA has plans to improve the process to get a new or renew current schedule contracts. The General Services Administration wants to know if its current process for vendors to submit an offer to get on its schedule contract could be improved. GSA released a request for information yesterday seeking industry and agency feedback on four distinct schedule workflows. The first is for existing contractors seeking to renew their contracts. The second and third are for new companies wanting to get on the schedules, either through the Startup Springboard or through the Transactional Data Reporting or TDR offer. The fourth is for joint ventures. Responses to the RFI are due June 30.