Online security

House passes bill to give IG more job security

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  • the House Appropriations Committee adopted the 2022 bill on financial services and public administrations. The legislation silently approves President Biden’s proposed 2.7% salary increase for federal employees. It increases funding for the IRS. It provides $ 300 million to electrify the federal fleet. And it lifts previous restrictions on abortion services in the federal employee health benefits program.
  • The Chamber passes a comprehensive bill aimed at strengthening the role of agency inspectors general. the IG Independence and Empowerment Law limits a chair’s ability to suppress an IG session extract for a defined set of valid reasons. It would also establish whistleblower training for IGs and their staff, and give IGs subpoena power to obtain testimony from contractors and former federal employees. The bill would also prevent “double-haired” agreements where an agency or the president appoints a current head of the agency to serve as an interim IG.
  • A key House committee has proposed new whistleblower protections for federal employees. The Improved Whistleblower Protection Act gives federal employees access to a jury trial in federal district court. That is if the Merit Systems Protection Board cannot hear these cases within six to eight months. The MSPB currently cannot hear most cases because it does not have a quorum. The bill would also prohibit agencies from launching retaliatory investigations against employees who report. The bill is submitted to the Plenary Assembly for a vote. (Federal Information Network)
  • Affirmative action in government hiring would be banned under a new bill. Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ) introduced the bill, called the “Make excellence the replacement of the law on identity”, which would prohibit agencies from implementing any practice or program that uses race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin or disability as the basis for action by the staff. The bill would also prohibit any entity that uses affirmative action, including contractors or subcontractors, from receiving federal funds.
  • The Chamber approves plans to create a National secure data service within the National Science Foundation. This would allow accredited researchers to access sensitive government data while ensuring the confidentiality and security of that data. This is one of the few recommendations from the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking that Congress has not included in the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2019. Representative Don Beyer (D-Va.) Presented the National Secure Data Service Act before lawmakers incorporated it into the reauthorization bill, the NSF for the Future Act.
  • the CMMC accreditation body issued a warning regarding organizations falsely claiming they are allowed to provide training for assessor or instructor certification exams. The accreditation body is the only entity that the Ministry of Defense has authorized to manage the training or certification of assessors and instructors. This is not the first time that red flags have been issued about fraudulent third parties who distort their ability to provide training or certification.
  • A new audit reveals major weaknesses in the acquisition card program used by the military to purchase aviation fuel at commercial airports. For example, the DoD paid more than $ 50 million in a single year to refuel planes that don’t exist in the program’s database, making it difficult to say whether these transactions were legitimate. That same year, records show that $ 174 million was spent refueling planes with more fuel than their tanks can hold. the Pentagon Inspector General made several recommendations to strengthen the integrity of the program. Defense officials have agreed to implement most of them.
  • A mobile app designed to help Air Force families sublet child care spaces will launch this summer. the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center plans to test the app, called Kinderspot, at eight bases after its first pilot at Malmstrom Air Force Base in MT. DoD parents can create an account on the app to offer or rent daycare spaces by the week. Major Jacque Vasta, section commander of Air Force Personnel Center Headquarters, led the creation of the app and received more than $ 1 million in Air Force funding.
  • A key US cyber agency would get a big budget boost under a new House spending bill. the House Supply Subcommittee on Homeland Security includes $ 2.4 billion for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in its spending bill. That’s nearly $ 400 million increase from last year’s budget and $ 288 million more than the Biden administration’s request for CISA. Lawmakers have called for an increase in the ICAR budget after several high-profile cyberattacks on U.S. agencies and critical infrastructure in recent months.
  • The senior cybersecurity official in the Pentagon’s procurement bureaucracy has been suspended from her post over allegations she mismanaged classified information. According to her lawyer, Katie Arrington has been on paid leave for more than six weeks, but has yet to be made specifically aware of the information she is suspected of having inappropriately disclosed. Arrington has been instrumental in the development of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification Program, the DoD’s ongoing effort to improve cyber defenses at its industrial base. (Federal Information Network)
  • One of the six vacant CFO Act CIO positions has been filled. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has appointed Beth Niblock as its new chief information officer. Niblock replaces David Chow, who was politically appointed during the Trump administration. She comes to HUD from Detroit where she was CIO for the city for the past seven years. Prior to coming to Detroit, Niblock was CIO for the Louisville Metro Government. At HUD, she inherits an IT budget of $ 447 million in 2021 and significant customer experience improvement and cloud migration programs. Other agencies that still lack permanent CIOs are DoD, Veterans Affairs, Transportation, Health and Human Services, and the Office of Personnel Management.
  • Matt Cornelius brings much-needed technology and cyber expertise to Capitol Hill. The former director of the Office of Management and Budget cyber office has joined the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee as a senior executive to President Gary Peters. In this new role, Cornelius will focus on government operations and reforms, regulatory matters, transparency and more. Cornelius has spent the past 18 months as Executive Director of the Alliance for Digital Innovation, an industry association. Cornelius also worked in general service administration and treasury before the OMB.
  • the National Institute of Standards and Technology is seeking public feedback on its latest step to develop a baseline for trustworthy artificial intelligence. The agency publishes a draft report outlining proposals for identifying and managing bias in AI. NIST said the special publication project was a step towards its goal of developing a risk framework for the use of AI algorithms. He accepts comments on the draft report until August.
  • Many federal agencies are unaware of what type of facial recognition system their employees are using. the Government Accountability Office reports that 13 of 14 agencies assessed in a recent audit lacked complete and up-to-date information on non-federal facial recognition tools used by agency staff. Law enforcement officers often rely on such tools, which store millions or even billions of photos. But they also present major privacy and accuracy risks, which means agencies should track their usage, according to GAO.
  • The second-largest health insurance provider for federal employees has an incentive for participants who receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Some participants in the Government Employees Health Association Plan who show proof of vaccination will receive a wellness credit of $ 75. GEHA said federal employees can use this credit for doctor visits, co-payments, prescription drugs, glasses, and x-rays. Participants can submit proof of vaccination from July 1. All federal employee members who have received at least the first dose of vaccine by July 31 are eligible for the incentives. The program ends at the end of the year.

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