Poor conditions of Navy’s shipyards impact operations, says GAO report

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  • The Government Accountability Office has reported the average age of the equipment at the Navy’s four public shipyards has exceeded its useful life. It said the poor condition of the facilities is one reason there is a growing backlog of ships that need maintenance. The backlog has grown by 41 percent in just the last five years, and at the current rate, it’ll take nearly $5 billion and 19 years to dig out. Among other problems, GAO said many of the shipyards’ drydocks can’t accommodate the Navy’s newest ships, like the Ford-class aircraft carrier.  (GAO)
  • A federal judge in Hawaii has sentenced a retired Navy commander to 18 months in federal prison for his role in the “Fat Leonard” bribery scandal.  David Kapaun was found guilty in June of lying about his relationship with Malaysian defense contractor Leonard Francis, and receiving gifts in exchange for information that helped the contractor’s company. Prosecutors said Kapaun was at  the center of the scandal involving 30 defendants. (CivilBeat.org)
  • The Veterans Affairs Department has opened a third Veterans Crisis Line call center and said it will hire about 100 employees to staff it.  VA Secretary David Shulkin said the third center in Topeka, Kansas will open this fall to help veterans at risk for suicide. VA opened its second suicide prevention hotline center in Atlanta earlier this year. Researchers report 20 U.S. veterans die every day by suicide, a rate much higher than in the general population. (Veterans Affairs)
  • Rep. Will Hurd  (R-Texas) said he is confident his Modernizing Government Technology Act (MGT), which aims to reduce wasteful IT spending and strengthen information security, will be included in the defense authorization bill.  The bill was passed by voice vote in the House in May. The Senate is currently debating the legislation. Hurd said the MGT has been tweaked, but remains mostly intact compared to the legislation passed by the House.
  • The Department of Homeland Security has given agencies 30 days to identify where they are using products and services from Kaspersky Lab, and remove them from federal networks 60 days after that. DHS issued a binding operational directive  detailing the steps agencies must take. White House cyber coordinator Rob Joyce said DHS made a risk-based decision about the technology and the environment. Joyce said it was determined using Kaspersky software was unacceptable for federal networks because of concerns about sharing data with the Russian government. Kaspersky Lab said the allegations are completely unfounded. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Justice Department has offered government agencies a Freedom of Information Act toolkit to help improve their management of the law. The toolkit includes information on streamlining request processing and increasing proactive disclosures, as well as ways for agencies to beef-up services for FOIA requesters and websites. (Justice Dept.)
  • The National Treasury Employees Union said its members haven’t had much engagement or communication with agency leadership or the Office of Management and Budget about their ideas for government reorganization. NTEU said it solicited feedback from its local chapters and sent it to each agency, but has received little response. Agencies have until Sept. 30 to submit their final reform plans to OMB. (Federal News Radio)
  • Responses to hurricane Irma became a nearly all-of-government affair. Besides the familiar responders — FEMA, Customs and Border Protection, the National Guard, and the Coast Guard, others joined in to help. The U.S. Agency for International Development was on scene, if not directly in Florida. It sent Disaster Assistance Response Teams to several Carribbean locales including Haiti, Dominican Republic, Barbados and the Bahamas. State Department employees from San Juan and Dallas helped evacuate 1,200 Americans from Saint Maarten. (DipBlog)