House passes $638 billion defense bill – Plus the DorobekINSIDER’s 7 stories

On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:

  • It seems you can't turn around these days without hearing about another government conference scandal. But what gets lost in the horror stories of magicians and fancy hotel suits is the real reason why these conferences are essential for govies, learning. Click here for the full recap.

The SEVEN stories that impact your life

  1. The House overwhelmingly passed a sweeping, $638 billion defense bill on Friday that imposes new punishments on members of the armed services found guilty of rape or sexual assault. Federal News Radio reports, ignoring a White House veto threat, the Republican-controlled House voted 315-108 for the legislation, which would block President Barack Obama from closing the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and limit his efforts to reduce nuclear weapons.
  2. The House Veterans Affairs Committee is turning up the heat on the Veterans Affairs Department and how it protects the data of millions of veterans. Federal News Radio reports Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) announced today the committee is requiring VA to take several steps to both improve the security of veterans' data and reassure former service members, and their families, that the agency is protecting their information. Miller and Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine) also sent a letter to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki seeking answers to questions that went unanswered at a recent hearing, including why VA didn't notify Congress after multiple nation state attacks and data breaches as required under the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA).
  3. The Postal Service is paying $17 million to settle a lawsuit brought by disabled employees. The plaintiffs said the agency restricted their work hours because of their disabilities. They also accused the Postal Service of denying them the use of devices like electric scooters. In settling the suit, the Postal Service is not admitting guilt. The class-action complaint covers 41,000 current and former Postal workers. Federal Times reports that after attorneys' fees, each plaintiff would receive an average of $300. The EEOC has granted preliminary approval to the settlement.
  4. The acquisition chief at the General Services Administration, is reviewing internal procurement procedures after GSA was stung by an inspector general report saying high level executives had interfered with schedule contract negotiations. Federal News Radio reports, three high-level GSA procurement employees have been put on leave. At issue are contracts issued to Carasoft, Deloitte and Oracle. The IG found that higher-ups overrode contracting officers on terms and conditions of the contracts. Acting GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini also recently named Rung to lead the Office of Governmentwide Policy.
  5. The House on Friday passed legislation that would overhaul how agencies manage their information technology dollars and require that each agency have only one chief information officer. Federal Times reports the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) was passed as an amendment to the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act. The bill is similar to the version passed by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in March and would mark the biggest overhaul to federal IT since the 1996 Clinger-Cohen Act, which created CIOs at federal agencies.
  6. Meanwhile, Agencies are not doing especially well at subjecting at-risk IT programs to formal TechStat Accountability Sessions, according to the Government Accountability Office. FCW reports, the Office of Management and Budget reported conducting 79 TechStats covering 55 programs as of April 2013, while four major departments – Agriculture, Commerce, Homeland Security and Health & Human Services – conducted 37 TechStats on 28 programs. GAO describes the TechStat process as "a face-to-face, evidence-based accountability review" that allows the government to intervene in programs that are not delivering results.
  7. And on GovLoop: Here is a staggering stat: 130 millions Americans own a smartphone, including roughly 1 out of 2 adults. That's a technology that wasn't even around 5 years ago. So how can government leverage this technology to connect, engage and empower government employees and the general public? Tune in to find out with the DorobekINISDER LIVE panel on June 26th at noon ET. Register for the free online webinar now.

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