On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:
There is a major disconnect that exists right now about the use, state and function of the information highway. Many leading internet policy experts simply don't understand how the internet works on a physical level. They don't know how the networks connect, worse yet, they don't seem to care. Check out part 3 of our interview with author Andrew Blum.
The SEVEN stories that impact your life
Federal prosecutors are investigating Leonard Glenn Francis, a Malaysian contractor for the U.S. Navy, for his orchestration of an overbilling scheme that defrauded the Navy out of tens of millions of dollars. Francis has been charged with using money, prostitutes, and gifts to bribe Navy officials into looking the other way as he overcharged for fuel, port security, and other services at various docks throughout the Pacific. The New York Times reports that two Navy commanders and an investigative agent have been charged with accepting bribes. Currently, two admirals and a captain are also under investigation. Prosecutors expect that more servicemembers will be implicated.
The Defense Department has established three new security rules for contractors. The first is that contractors will have to report any and all cyberattacks that result in a loss of technical information. The second is that contracting firms will have to integrate established DOD information security standards into their unclassified networks. The Federal Times notes that the third new rule calls for an increase in security around “unclassified controlled technical information.”
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved this week Jeh Johnson's nomination for the position of DHS Secretary. The Government Executive observes that Johnson did face opposition from Sens. Rand Paul and John McCain during the committee’s vote. McCain opposed Johnson because of his refusal to provide information to the senator regarding border security. Despite such hurdles, Johnson is expected to be confirmed by the whole Senate.
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) introduced before Congress this week the Low-Wage Federal Contractor Back Pay Act, which would award backpay to federal contractors who were forced to take unpaid leave during the government shutdown. The Government Executive explains that the bill would provide retroactive pay to contractors that had performed “retail, food, custodial and security services to the federal government.” The idea for the new legislation came from contract employees working on the U.S. Capitol grounds. Currently, it has the backing of 11 congressional members who are co-sponsoring the bill.
The Congressional Budget Office predicts that the federal government will lose its authority to borrow money as early as March of 2014 if the debt ceiling is not raised by lawmakers. The Washington Post notes that extraordinary fiscal measures by the Treasury Department and the influx of taxes between February and April could postpone this deadline until May of next year. However, if lawmakers do not raise the debt ceiling by then, the CBO states that the country will go into default.
Members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security are calling for faster punitive action to be taken against CBP officials charged with abusing their administratively uncontrollable overtime pay. Lawmakers on the subcommittee have become frustrated with DHS testimonies and witnesses, which keep providing vague answers as to what will be done to punish those responsible for the fraud and abuse of taxpayers’ dollars. The Government Executive states that overtime pay abuse has been found at six border patrol offices and that so far, this abuse has cost the U.S. government $9 million annually.
The Forest Service has released a new app for Android and Apple products that will make it easier for visitors to U.S. national parks and grasslands to plan their trip. The app, reports the Federal Times, has more than 700 maps and the ability to cross-reference a user’s GPS coordinates in order to provide directions, measure distances and areas, and plot markers and coordinates in national parks. Users of the app also have the opportunity to enter their own data and photos. Overall, the app is designed to encourage more people to visit national parks through the U.S.
DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder