DoD mobilizes resources to help in Hawaii

In today's Federal Newscast: The FBI is getting a new leader to take on insider threats. The Defense Department mobilizes resources to help in Hawaii. And the s...

  • The Air Force has tapped a familiar face to be its new lead technology executive. Venice Goodwine is the Air Force's new chief information officer, as of August 13. Goodwine takes over for Lauren Knausenberger, who departed in June after more than two years in the role. Goodwine had been the director of enterprise IT for the Air Force since June 2021 and was previously a senior cybersecurity adviser for the service. She now oversees a $17 billion portfolio and leads 10,000 civilian cyber and IT personnel and another 20,000 cyber operations and support personnel around the world. The Air Force requested an IT and cybersecurity budget for fiscal 2024 of roughly $10.2 billion.
    (Air force names new CIO - Federal News Network)
  • A top cyber official is calling for agencies to focus on key security practices in the wake of recent hacks. Federal Chief Information Security Officer Chris DeRusha said multi-factor authentication (MFA) needs to be a major priority for agencies. A recent Cyber Safety Review Board report on the Lapsus$ attacks found the hacking group was able to take advantage of text-messaged based MFA, as well as stolen online credentials. DeRusha said older authentication practices need to be phased out. “It’s driving without seatbelts. We’ve got to move with alacrity toward phishing resistant MFA,” DeRusha said.
  • As deadly wildfires consumed parts of Maui, destroying more than 2,000 homes, the Defense Department mobilized its resources to both combat the fires and attempt to save lives. The department activated National Guard troops to work alongside active duty service members. Additionally, military helicopters helped with firefighting efforts and the Coast Guard conducted search-and-rescue missions for those who had plunged into the ocean to avoid the fire. Guardsmen are also working with the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency and local law enforcement to help local residents.
  • Congress gave the IRS more funding to boost its staffing levels — and it's doing exactly that. The IRS workforce is close to reaching 90,000 full-time employees, a staffing level the agency hasn’t seen in more than a decade. The IRS is making these hires under the Inflation Reduction Act, which gives the agency $60 billion to rebuild its workforce and upgrade its legacy IT over the next decade. IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said the agency is also looking to go after wealthy tax cheats and protect taxpayers from tax scams. “We’ve proved that the question shouldn’t be, ‘Can the IRS improve?’ The question should be, ‘Can the IRS continue to improve?’ So the momentum is good, but we have to keep it going,” Werfel said.
  • The Pathways Program, designed to bring young talent into government, will soon get a refresh. New proposed regulations from the Office of Personnel Management look to expand eligibility for the recent graduates’ Pathways Program. Once finalized, more individuals who don't have a college degree would be able to apply. OPM is also proposing to give agencies more flexibility in converting Pathways participants to full-time roles. OPM said the current Pathways Program regulations, now more than a decade old, no longer reflect the government's goals of moving toward skills-based hiring. The proposed regulations will be open to public comment for 45 days and OPM plans to implement the changes next summer.
  • The saga of the CIO-SP4 contract continues with yet another protest filed by an unsuccessful bidder. This time Inserso Corporation filed a complaint with the Court of Federal Claims in late July. The company said NITAAC improperly excluded it from phase 2 of the bidding process, by not giving it enough credit for past performance. The case is set to be heard before the Court of Federal Claims in mid-October. NITAAC has now faced more than 350 protests surrounding CIO-SP4, the $50 billion IT services governmentwide acquisition contract.
    (CIO-SP4 protest filed by Inserso Corp. - U.S. Court of Federal Claims)
  • The FBI is getting a new leader to take on insider threats. Janeen DiGuiseppi has been named the assistant director of the Insider Threat Office at FBI headquarters. She was most recently the special agent in charge of the Albany Field Office in New York. An Air Force veteran, DiGuiseppi joined the FBI as a special agent in 1999. She has served in a range of positions throughout the bureau, including assistant legal attaché in Baghdad, assistant chief of the Eastern Hemisphere Section for Transnational Organized Crime, and chief of the Training Division’s Curriculum Management Section.
  • The Veterans Health Administration is looking to exceed its year-end hiring goals, in a year where the agency already broke records to grow its workforce. Undersecretary for Health Shereef Elnahal said the VHA surpassed 400,000 employees for the first time ever. “There has never been a period of time in [Department of Veterans Affairs] history where the health care system has had this many employees," Elnahal said. VHA set a goal of growing its workforce by 3% this fiscal year. But the agency is already seeing a 5.5% rate of workforce growth and may actually double its goal by September 30.
  • The Defense Health Agency will take corrective action in an ongoing protest of its contract for IT services. The agency awarded six companies the $2.4 billion 10-year contract in July. The companies would provide IT support to DHA medical treatment facilities worldwide. AccelGov filed a protest with the Court of Federal Claims in mid-July. The protest said DHA did not establish a competitive range and conduct discussions or evaluate proposal changes. In DHA's notice of corrective action, it agreed to reconsider potential offerors and conduct discussions with the bidders.
  • Agency human capital shops have one year to re-code all of their program and project management positions. That deadline comes after the Office of Personnel Management announced that it is refreshing the skills and competency standards for federal program and project managers. OPM said the four new position codes, along with the existing occupational series, should help with better educating, recruiting, training, developing and retaining employees in that management field. The memo stems from the 2016 Program Management Improvement Accountability Act, which required OPM to update the project and program workforce guidance.

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