GSA spent the last four years misleading agencies about the security of a key program, according to an IG report. The Login.gov platform misrepresented its compliance with a key NIST standard to 22 agency customers between 2018 and 2022. A new report from GSA's IG found executives in the Technology Transformation Service knew they were being deceitful in how they applied identity-proofing capabilities to Login.gov. Sonny Hashmi, the commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Service, said GSA has been taking steps over the last year to fix these problems, including currently conducting a top-to-bottom review of Login.gov. "That review will include everything from financial management oversight to acquisition oversight to personnel matters, as well as the compliance and product dimensions," Hashmi said.
Agencies have a clearer picture on how they can better manage a hybrid workforce. A new five-part strategy from the Office of Personnel Management details how the agency plans to help federal leaders deal with long-term workforce changes that came from the COVID-19 pandemic. OPM will, for instance, offer free training to leaders and supervisors on strategies to effectively manage employees in a hybrid work environment. OPM said it will also work with federal unions and other organizations to help inform future policies and programs for the federal workforce.
The Army wants you to be all you can be, again. It is bringing back the catchy slogan for a new recruiting campaign debuting today. After a year where the Army fell short of its recruiting targets by 15,000 soldiers, it is reintroducing the slogan in a new campaign meant to appeal to Generation Z and their parents. The new video ads feature soldiers training for combat roles. The original campaign ran from 1980 to 2001 and was considered one of the most successful ad campaigns of its era.
The Government Accountability Office promises more details are coming about the troubled rollout of the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) update. After the TSP launched a new recordkeeping system last summer, TSP participants voiced major frustrations and concerns with both the system transition, and the update itself. Although TSP officials say many of the early issues have subsided, Congress asked GAO to examine participants’ concerns with the new system. GAO officials said their work is now underway, and they will complete their audit of the TSP by early 2024.
The Department of Veterans Affairs expects its legacy Electronic Health Record to be around for a while longer, as it looks into replacing its legacy EHR VistA with a new system from Oracle-Cerner. But the new EHR has experienced several outages and patient safety issues. House Republicans have proposed scrapping the multibillion dollar EHR contract with Oracle-Cerner and modernizing the VistA system that is already in place at most VA medical centers. Daniel McCune, VA’s executive director of software product management, said VistA is not suitable for the agency long-term, but the VA will still need to rely on it for another five-to-10 years, if not longer. “In essence, we are supporting two EHR systems simultaneously," McCune said.
Can your phone tell whether your driver's license is legit? Department of Homeland Security scientists aim to find out. The DHS Science and Technology Directorate's Remote Identity Validation Technology Demonstration is moving ahead this spring. Applications for the first phase were due in mid-February. The initial tests will evaluate whether software can detect a fake ID in a smartphone photo. The demonstration comes as the Biden administration pushes to combat online benefits fraud in the wake of the pandemic. DHS’ tests will be among the first to independently evaluate the accuracy of digital identity proofing technologies.
Democrats are pushing to ban facial recognition use at agencies. Members of the House and Senate reintroduced the Facial Recognition and Biometric Technology Moratorium Act this week. The bill would prohibit federal entities from using facial recognition technology, as well as voice recognition, gait recognition and other biometric systems. Several agencies are piloting or already using facial recognition technology, including the Transportation Security Administration and Customs and Border Protection.
The Defense Department forges another agreement to funnel cash to small business development. DoD's Office of Strategic Capital and the Small Business Administration plan to work together to increase early-stage investment in critical technology areas. They will work on the types of projects that historically have taken a long time and had lower returns on financial investments. Projects would potentially include semiconductors, advanced materials and biotechnology. The agreement uses new proposed SBA regulations to better align with the cashflow requirements of startups focused on hardware technology.
Lawmakers, on both sides of the aisles, are trying again to mandate that agencies identify, and that Congress eliminate, wasteful or redundant programs. Sens. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and Mike Braun (R-Ind.) joined Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) and Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) in re-introducing the Identifying and Eliminating Wasteful Programs Act. The bill would require agencies to identify and publicly list redundant or wasteful programs. Then, agencies would submit recommendations to Congress to eliminate or consolidate those programs. The Senate passed the bill last Congress, but it never advanced in the House.
A watchdog for COVID-19 funds is adding new leadership. The Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) has named Virginia Rone to serve as its executive director. Rone previously served as the Agriculture Department's assistant inspector general for analytics and innovation. Among her other federal jobs, she served on the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, which oversaw federal stimulus spending following the 2008 recession. Rone will take over for Robert Westbooks, who stepped down as the PRAC's executive director last October.