A District of Columbia federal judge is granting the government's request to raise the fine, by $50 million, for Gen Digital's violation of the False Claims Act. The judge said Gen Digital, formerly known as Symantec, must now pay $16.1 million in rebate damages and $36.8 million in civil penalties. The decision comes after the federal court initially penalized Gen Digital about $1.5 million in total False Claims Act fines for violating the terms of its General Services Administration schedule contract.
Labor Department employees have a little breathing room before a planned increase to in-person work requirements. Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su has announced a delay in the department’s initial return-to-office plans. The delay is due to ongoing negotiations with the department’s unions, according to an email Su sent to employees on Friday. The original plan was to increase in-person work on Jan. 28 to five days per two-week pay period. Su said she will now update employees on the progress of negotiations by Feb. 9.
Agencies are under pressure to close two major software vulnerabilities. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is mandating agencies take steps by the end of today to mitigate cyber holes in secure virtual private network software from Ivanti. Eric Goldstein, the executive assistant director for cyber at CISA, said at first glance, agencies seem to be in good shape. "The potential exposure on the federal civilian government is limited. There were around, I will say, 15 agencies or so that were using these products," Goldstein said. Goldstein credits cyber efforts over the last two years that focused on securing end points.
The Labor Department is trying to make it easier for agencies to reach a wider array of job candidates. Thousands of resumes from college students, graduate students and recent graduates with disabilities are available online for agencies at any time. A database from the Labor Department’s workforce recruitment program compiled the resumes to try to help agencies hire candidates with disabilities for federal internships or full-time government jobs. The department refreshes its resume list each December, and candidates can update their applications throughout the year.
The Defense Department is taking another step toward making it easier for military retirees and dependents to renew their DoD-issued ID cards online. A pilot program the department started last year opened the door to online renewals, but the renewals had to be requested by the card holder's sponsor. Starting this week, retirees and dependents can do it themselves. Defense officials say the change is meant to free up in-person appointments at the military services' ID-card offices.
Pentagon Comptroller Michael McCord will provide an update next month on the department’s progress toward getting a clean audit. McCord will brief the Defense Business Board on the latest DoD audit and the path forward. Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks will provide an update on DoD budget priorities that shaped the department's budget request for fiscal 2025. Board members will also meet for an open session to discuss the study on the benefits and challenges to implementing a digital ecosystem across the department. The board is scheduled to meet on February 6 and February 7.
As one way to diversify DoD's supply base, the Pentagon is setting up a new buying vehicle that uses DoD's Other Transaction Authority (OTA), which is a workaround to the government's usual acquisition rules. The department announced the new Defense Industrial Base Consortium last week. It will use an OTA agreement that lasts for the next 10 years and has no upper limit on how much it can spend. It is a follow-up to the National Defense Industrial Strategy (NDIS) that DoD released earlier this month. Among other objectives, the NDIS looks to expand the department's suppliers and use simpler acquisition processes.
The Defense Department is going on a marketing campaign to catalyze semiconductor innovation across the country. Leaders from the Naval Surface Warfare Center and the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense will spend three weeks visiting Microelectronics Commons Hubs in California, Arizona, North Carolina, Ohio, New York and Indiana. The Pentagon plans to award up to $280 million for microelectronics prototyping and manufacturing projects. And DoD leaders will meet with technical experts and program leaders to discuss how they can best support the upcoming projects. The tour will kick off January 22.