Whistleblowers exposing fraud pocket over $350M

Whistleblowers filed more than 700 lawsuits under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act in fiscal 2023. That's the most since 2014.

  • Whistleblower lawsuits filed under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act totaled more than 700 in fiscal 2023, an increase of over 50 more than the year before and the most since 2014. The Justice Department said through these lawsuits, whistleblowers received almost $350 million in pay outs from exposing fraud. The increase in qui tam lawsuits mirrors the overall increase in False Claims Act recoveries, which DoJ said totaled almost $2.7 billion last year. That is $400 million more than in 2022. Justice said it also recovered more than $880 million in procurement, cyber and other non-healthcare related fraud settlements last year.
  • The Office of Personnel Management has laid out out specific ways agencies can address workforce challenges, as they now have more specific steps to take to improve how they recruit, retain and manage their workforces. OPM's new Workforce of the Future Playbook outlines 12 plays ranging from the use of pooled hiring to the integration of AI technology to data-driven workforce decision making. Each of the plays includes metrics, examples and resources to make implementation easier. OPM will be holding a series of webinars in the coming months to discuss each play and answer questions on how to implement the initiatives.
  • There has been a bit of a shakeup in the Defense Department's office of the Chief Information Officer. But the Pentagon is not saying why. Lily Zeleke was replaced as the deputy CIO for information enterprise late last week. Defense officials will only say that she has moved on to “new responsibilities.” Her former deputy, Bill Dunlap, will take over the job in an acting capacity while leaders search for a permanent replacement. Zeleke has been serving in the deputy DoD CIO role since the end of 2022, and helped lead DoD to sign its first-ever departmentwide cloud computing contracts.
  • New federal cybersecurity rules have sparked a strong reaction from the technology industry. Tech industry groups are pushing back against proposed cybersecurity rules for federal contractors that would require IT contractors to grant government agencies full access to their systems in the event of a cyber incident. Groups including the Cybersecurity Coalition, the Alliance for Digital Innovation, and BSA The Software Alliance said agencies should remove that requirement. In their comments on the rules, the groups are also urging the General Services Administration to soften the proposed eight-hour deadline for reporting potential cyber incidents.
  • The Navy has a new council that will focus on enhancing supply chain resilience and addressing risks related to foreign investments. The purpose of standing up the council is to mitigate foreign investment risks. The Maritime Economic Deterrence Executive Council will address “adversarial” economic activities, including supply chain disruptions and intellectual property theft. The council will be co-chaired by Vice Adm. Francis Morley, the principal military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition and Chris Diaz, the secretary’s chief of staff. Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro said the council will use authorities that are already granted to the Navy. The council will include representatives from various sectors, including the research and development community, critical infrastructure subject matter experts, the acquisition community, law enforcement and intelligence organizations.
  • It was a big day for Defense Department financial management, as the Marine Corps passed its first-ever financial statement audit on Friday. It is not the first military service to earn a clean opinion from auditors. That distinction belongs to the Coast Guard. But it is the first time it happened within the Defense Department. It came about because of a pilot project that let the Marines work together with their auditors to examine their finances and transactions across two fiscal years. Things still are not perfect. The independent audit firm, Ernst & Young Global Limited, reported seven material weaknesses in the Marines’ 2023 financial statements. DoD’s inspector general said the clean opinion required a “tremendous amount of work,” and highlights the need for the Marines and DoD to make the success they achieved this time more sustainable.
    (U.S. Marine Corps FY 2023 Agency Financial Report - U.S. Marine Corps; DoD Inspector General; EY)
  • The Federal Communications Commission is moving toward establishing an “Energy Star” type labeling program for cybersecurity. The FCC will vote on March 14 on whether to create a voluntary cybersecurity labeling program for internet-connected devices. Under the program, consumer products that meet security standards would receive a label called the “U.S. Cyber Trust Mark.” Eligible devices include security cameras, fitness trackers, garage door openers and baby monitors. FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said the goal is to help inform consumers and incentivize manufacturers to meet higher cyber standards.
  • The Special Operations Command is seeking candidates from research and development organizations, industry and academia to submit technology experimentation nominations. SOCOM’s technology experimentation event will allow technology developers to engage with operational personnel and determine how their technology development efforts can support the needs of special operations forces. The purpose of the event is to highlight technologies that support human-machine teaming, which is where humans and machines work together toward a common goal. Technology areas include data transport, data processing and autonomous operations for GPS-denied environments. The event will take place from June 3 to June 7 in Red Springs, North Carolina. Submissions are due by March 25.

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