Navy bans vaping on ships, subs, aircraft

The Federal Headlines is a daily compilation of the stories you hear discussed on Federal Drive with Tom Temin.

  • No more vaping on Navy ships, subs or aircraft. A joint message from the Commander of U.S. Fleet Forces and Commander of the U.S. Pacifice Fleet cited reports of the electronic nicotine delivery systems exploding as the reason for the new policy. It says multiple sailors have suffered serious injuries from such incidents. The new policy takes effect May 14. (Navy)
  • Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin is planning to bring Congress a way to redesign the Choice Program in the fall. Funding under the Veterans Choice Program will run out by the end of 2017. Congress recently passed an extension of the program that will get it to the end of the year. In a C-SPAN interview, Shulkin said he is now working with members of Congress on that plan. (C-SPAN)
  • Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Congress is failing the American public. He all but advocated citizens to vote out their lawmakers for not passing a budget on time. Selva said continuing resolutions are causing more waste and cost overruns within the Defense Department. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Social Security Administration’s departing chief information officer passed on a few lessons learned from his two-year tenure. Outgoing CIO Rob Klopp offered a few parting thoughts about the future of federal IT. Klopp, whose last day at SSA was April 14, wroteon the CIO Council website that IT modernization is not a build or buy decision, but an open source versus proprietary decision. Klopp said every IT modernization effort must consider existing code to reduce cost and risk. But he also warnned against buying open source software that has been customized for your agency. That could lead to higher costs in the out years. (CIO Council)
  • A proposed rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services updates Medicare policies and payment methods at hospitals. CMS hopes it will cut down on regulatory burdens for providers; enhance patient-doctor relationships; and promote transparency and innovation. One way is by eliminating some reporting requirements for care providers, but CMS also issues a request for information looking for more ideas. (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services)
  • They might be relatively small contracts, but, for the Homeland Security Department, they add up. DHS has trouble managing all of its non-major acquisitions. The Government Accountability Office defined those as contracts worth less than $300 million. Auditors found component agencies don’t do a good job of tracking smaller acquisitions, even as their ability to track the big ones improves. One reason: Agencies can’t identify them all. GAO recommends headquarters set deadlines. (Government Accountability Office)
  • Ben Tuttle, director of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency’s Silicon Valley outpost, said the agency was working to bridge the gap between the West Coast and Washington. Those efforts include introducing NGA representatives to tech companies, simplifying government acronyms for potential industry partners and reaching out to academia. (Federal News Radio)
  • One senator introduced a bill to reverse a recent policy change for the Federal Communications Commission. Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s (D-Conn.) MY DATA Act would give the Federal Trade Commission the power to protect internet users’ data. This is in response to a resolution enacted last week that scrapped FCC rules requiring internet service providers obtain permission before sharing its subscribers’ data. (Sen. Richard Blumenthal)
  • The Navy is telling its commanders it’s time to get serious about their role on the long road toward preparing the Defense Department for a financial audit. In a message to the entire fleet, Adm. Bill Moran, the vice chief of naval operations, said it was a commander’s business to immediately improve their internal controls. Moran said all Navy leaders must “move now” from an annual paper checklist process to a day-to-day one that makes sure their revenues and expenditures are accurately recorded and protected against waste. He said those functions have been left up to unit comptrollers until now, but that the Navy can only meet its 2017 deadline for audit readiness if commanders insist on an “all hands” approach.