Despite its hefty price tag, the Air Force is keeping its program to modernize older nukes

In today's Federal Newscast, the troubled Air Force program to modernize aging nuclear missiles survives despite ballooning costs.

  • The troubled Air Force program to modernize aging nuclear missiles survives despite ballooning costs. Earlier this year, the Air Force’s Sentinel intercontinental ballistic missile program exceeded baseline cost estimates, triggering the Nunn-McCurdy Act. A breach occurs when the cost of a program grows by 25% unless the Defense Department proves that the program meets the criteria to continue. Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment William LaPlante determined that the program can continue despite soaring costs. The Sentinel program is now expected to cost $140.9 billion.
  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is running into staffing problems for its marine operations. NOAA data shows high employee turnover among its mariner workforce, and that attrition has outpaced hiring in three of the past five years. The Government Accountability Office said problems with work-life balance, and high disqualification rates in medical screenings is hurting NOAA’s recruitment and retention efforts.
    (NOAA mariner recruitment and retention - Government Accountability Office)
  • Want to be the National Institutes of Health's first permanent CIO in 18 months? Well, submit your resume and qualifications by July 11. NIH is trying for a second time to hire a permanent CIO since Andrea Norris retired in December 2022. For this senior executive service position, NIH said it wants someone to lead the IT and cybersecurity management for the agency. NIH changed the make up of its CIO's office soon after Norris retired, separating its CIO from the director of the Center for Information Technology to create two distinct positions after almost 25 years of combining the roles. Dennis Papula has been the acting CIO for the last 18 months.
  • The Supreme Court overturned a 40-year-old precedent at the core of how federal agencies issue regulations. So what happens next? The court eliminated Chevron deference. It’s a legal precedent that required judges to defer to an agency’s interpretation of relevant laws when its regulations were challenged in court. The court further weakened agency rulemaking in two other recent decisions. Caroline Wolverton is former senior trial counsel for the Justice Department Civil Division’s Federal Programs Branch. She said the Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are among the agencies that might see the most legal challenges, after the court’s ruling. “Those could be areas where you see upticks in litigation,” she said.
  • There are 45 rule changes in the works for Federal Acquisition Regulations. The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs issued its semi-annual regulatory agenda detailing 25 acquisition regulations in the pre- or proposed rule stage and 20 in the final rule stage. Rules expected to be finalized this year include one from 2015 implementing reverse auction guidance and another from 2019 to bring procedures on suspension and debarment of contractors into closer alignment. The FAR Council is also expected to issue notices of proposed rulemaking to address organizational conflicts of interest, including contract clauses, and another about protecting controlled unclassified information in contracts.
    (The 2024 Spring Regulatory Agenda - Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs)
  • The Department of Homeland Security is working with start-ups to boost the privacy of digital wallets. DHS’s Science and Technology Directorate has awarded contracts to six companies to work on the identity security effort. The vendors will develop technologies that protect the identity and security of people who use digital versions of credentials for immigration and travel. The initiative comes as more states have started to issue digital drivers licenses and other documents.
  • The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is getting some push back on its proposed cyber incident reporting rule. The Information Technology Industry Council said CISA should scale back the scope of its incident reporting regulation. The council is one of several tech industry groups that provided comments to CISA this month. ITI said the proposed rule could lead to over-reporting of cyber incidents and potentially bury the cyber agency with irrelevant data. CISA published the proposed incident reporting rule in March. The agency is expected to finalize the regulations by next year.
    (ITI comments responding to CIRCIA - Information Technology Industry Council)
  • The Army is looking to refine requirements for its Unified Network Operations program. The service’s goal is to provide standardized and interoperable tools to support both tactical and enterprise environments. The Unified Network Operations program is central to the Army's efforts to modernize and unify its network operations. This request for information is open to all business types and responses are due by July 17. The service expects to issue the multiple award, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract in fiscal 2026.


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