President Joe Biden is ordering some updates directed at a group that oversees the security of federal facilities. The Interagency Security Committee (ISC) has coordinated security for federal facilities since it was set up six months after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. In a new executive order signed Monday, President Biden is directing some reforms to how the ISC works. Agencies will now have to designate a senior official responsible for complying with facility security policies. And the EO also calls on the committee to provide best practices for securing a more mobile federal workforce.
The Office of Management and Budget is pushing a new approach to help agencies think about program integrity and performance from the beginning. OMB is bringing together agency program teams, executives and inspector general leaders along with White House officials to figure out the best way to apply oversight and performance goals before an initiative kicks off. Deidre Harrison, the deputy controller at OMB, said her office has led about 60 of these joint review meetings. "We have stood up a new payment integrity and fraud symposium, where we bring together program staff and leadership to collaborate and learn in real time. So this isn't just about being talked to, it's about problem solving together at the same time," Harrison said.
(OMB Deputy Controller Deidre Harrison - Federal News Network)
The Biden administration is using data to pinpoint where government services are falling short of expectations. The National Science Foundation, through its “Analytics for Equity” initiative, is pairing researchers with agencies to better understand the gaps in federal services. That includes finding out which communities and demographics are not receiving equal access to those services. NSF is partnering with the White House and other federal agencies on this effort. Nani Coloretti is the deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget. She said the project is based on listening sessions the White House held last year. “We want to continue a world where we're using evidence to make better decisions about how to serve people," Coloretti said.
The Defense Department is seeking to update its acquisition regulations to better support the use of modular open systems designs in acquisitions of more than just weapons systems. DoD is considering is requiring new or existing contracts to identify modular system interfaces and certain related technical data or software, among other changes. DoD will hold a public meeting about the modular open systems approach on December 14 and comments on the advanced notice of proposed rulemaking are due by January 16. This effort dates back to a 2012 provision in the Defense authorization act.
The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency (IARPA) wants to make it easier to identify the perpetrators behind cyber attacks. IARPA is launching a new program this month called Securing Our Underlying Resources in Cyber Environments (SOURCE CODE). The goal is to provide technologies that can identify the likely hacker behind a cyber incident, based on coding styles and other clues. IARPA hopes the program will help raise the cyber defenses of both private companies and the intelligence community.
It is official: The price of stamps is going up again next year. The Postal Service’s regulator approved a proposal to charge 68 cents for a first-class stamp. That is a two-cent increase from current prices. The new rates will go into effect on January 24. This marks the Postal Service’s fifth price hike since 2021. But USPS said its rates are still a bargain compared to what it costs to send mail in other countries.
The Defense Department should not just focus on short-term success for its Replicator program, which aims to scale small, cheap drones. Instead, DoD will need to replicate this initiative to ensure longer-term success to bridge the department’s so-called Valley of Death, according to Lauren Kahn, a senior research analyst at Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology. The Valley of Death is the awkward place companies find themselves in between R&D and getting funding for their program.
Industry will have a chance to learn more about the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Scalable On Array Processing program. The program aims to achieve scalable algorithms to replace large matrix operations in signal processing. DARPA is hosting a proposer’s day in Arlington, Virginia, on December 11 for its new program. At the event, the agency will share what it is interested in and the goals of the program. Registration closes December 4. DARPA will release the solicitation on Sam.gov.