The IRS is cracking down on back taxes from high-income earners. The IRS said it is going after 1,600 millionaires and 75 large business partnerships that owe the agency a considerable amount in back taxes. The agency is using artificial intelligence tools to help identify high-income individuals and businesses that are not paying what they owe. The IRS is specifically targeting individuals that owe the IRS at least $250,000 in back taxes. IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said the agency is also ramping up hiring to build out its enforcement capabilities.
New details have emerged on how hackers, reportedly from China, accessed the emails of high-ranking U.S. officials earlier this year. A China-based hacking group compromised a Microsoft engineer’s account to steal a cryptographic key that was then used to break into Outlook email accounts. That is according to Microsoft, which released new details on its investigation into the incident last week. The company said the cryptographic key was inexplicably included in the details of a system crash more than two years ago. The group used the key to forge access to the unclassified email accounts of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and other U.S. officials earlier this year. Microsoft did not detail how the engineer’s account was compromised.
NASA offers the first glimpse of version six of its mega governmentwide IT contract. The draft of the much-anticipated SEWP VI solicitation is out. NASA is seeking comments on anything and everything about the draft request for proposals. It said offerors should identify any unnecessary or inefficient requirements and are also encouraged to comment on the draft RFP's unique terms and conditions, exhibits and the clarity of the instructions and evaluation criteria. NASA is planning an industry day on October 18 in the Washington D.C. area. Comments on the draft solicitation are due by October 2.
Federal contract workers are calling for higher pay. But that is easier said than done. Call center employees at federal contractor Maximus organized a rally last week to push for a big pay raise. The customer service workers handle millions of calls for the Affordable Care Act's health care plans. Their push for a raise comes ahead of an anticipated spike in workload at the start of open enrollment on Nov. 1. But the issue of federal contractor pay is more complicated than meets the eye. A 1965 law determines how their minimum pay rates are calculated and there is currently little incentive for contractors to offer above the minimum requirements. Acquisition experts say it would likely take a change in Congress to reach that higher pay.
The Agriculture Department’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) just made it easier to share information about food recalls and public health alerts. FSIS launched its first public Application Programming Interface (API), to help third-party developers and others receive alerts on potential food safety issues. FSIS data play an important role in supporting food safety research, surveillance and regulatory efforts to protect public health. The agency publishes several sets of data publicly on its website that it regularly collects, analyzes and uses in its decision-making process. The API has been possible because, since 2020, FSIS has migrated several public-facing websites to the cloud.
When the Washington Commanders defensive players put on their practice jerseys this season, they'll be sporting the logo of the Air National Guard. In a first-ever agreement between the National Football League and the Air National Guard, the two will team up to bolster recruiting and retention. The new initiative is part of a larger effort on the part of the Commanders to partner with the military through an effort called, "Washington Salute." Throughout the season, service members will host a number of game-day events to educate fans about the military.
A new data platform will help the Navy link fuel consumption, mission and environmental data to provide operators afloat and ashore with an integrated platform to manage energy consumption. The Navy announced on Friday that it hit a milestone when it installed the Global Energy Information System on its Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. The platform includes energy assessment tools and a digital logbook that form a command and control function as it delivers recommendations to operators about energy usage and availability. The systems on the destroyers will undergo testing and crew training before becoming operational later this year.
Agencies have a new deadline to get some data over to the Office of Personnel Management. The agency is issuing a childcare data survey to learn more about the federal workforce's childcare needs. Many agencies offer childcare subsidy programs. But OPM said right now, relatively few feds actually benefit from them. The agency is looking to review and retool the workplace offerings, and increase access for employees. Agencies have until Oct. 18 to fill out OPM's survey.
Is generative artificial intelligence helping or hurting cybersecurity efforts? That is the question on the mind of two U.S. senators. In a new letter to Acting National Cyber Director Kemba Walden, Sens. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) write that generative AI raises new opportunities for both cyber defenders and attackers. They are asking Walden how critical infrastructure groups can leverage AI to defend their networks, and whether cyber criminals are taking advantage of large language models.
The Veterans Affairs Department is taking on a surge in medical disability exams. Now Senate VA Committee Chairman Jon Tester (D-Mont.) is leading a bill to improve the process of getting those exams done. The Medical Disability Exams Improvement Act would strengthen VA’s ability to hire medical disability examiners to conduct exams. It would also require the VA to develop a plan to improve rural veterans’ access to medical disability examinations. The VA completed more than two million medical disability exams so far this fiscal year, about 600,000 more exams than the previous year.