Veterans Day indictment for former Veterans Affairs employee

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  • A former Veterans Affairs employee faces a Veterans Day indictment for stealing money from veterans. An upper Marlboro, Maryland, man is charged with four counts of wire fraud, and one count of bribery. Russell Ware allegedly wired $21,000 from disability benefits accounts to his own bank account and 46,000 to a friend in Mississippi. She sent Ware kickbacks using Walmart-to-Walmart transfers. The friend Jacqueline Crawford, pleaded guilty in February to theft of government property. (Department of Justice)

 

  • The National Treasury Employees Union called on Congress to give civilian federal employees a 2.4 percent pay raise in 2018. That’s what military members got in the 2018 National Defense Authorization. The current proposal would give feds a 1.4 percent raise with a 0.5 percent adjustment for locality pay rates. NTEU says the administration’s proposal for civilian employees is inadequate.

 

  • A fund manager is needed for the Thrift Savings Plan’s F fund. The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board issued a request for proposal for one as its contract with BlackRock is set to expire. The new contract will be for a one year term and four yearlong options. The F fund held about $28 billion in assets as of October. BlackRock currently manages the F fund and all other TSP funds. (Federal News Radio)

 

  • The Veterans Affairs Department asked industry for input on an application programming interface, or API, management platform. The goal of the platform is to offer one place where veterans can access health and benefits information. It will also make it easier for VA employees to navigate different department systems. (Federal News Radio)

 

  • Members of Congress want the departments of Defense, Labor and Veterans Affairs to do a better job of tracking the success of the Transition Assistance Program. The program helps military service members prepare for civilian lives and jobs, but the Government Accountability Office found inaccurate numbers in a DoD report on the program. Lawmakers found agencies track graduation rates, but not whether those graduates actually succeed outside of the military. (Federal News Radio)

 

  • Sharing cyber threat data remains a struggle for the Department of Homeland Security. DHS is providing cyber threat information to the private sector but may be focused on the wrong outputs. The DHS inspector general says the agency’s cyber sharing efforts should focus on quality and the contextual data needed to effectively defend against ever-evolving threats. Instead, auditors say the current focus is on volume, velocity and timeliness of information. The IG also said DHS should integrate unclassified and classified databases to improve how analysts compile complete situational awareness of potential threats. (Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General)

 

  • It appears the idea for the U.S. Space Corps to be a new branch of the military may be on hold for now. It was originally in the House version of the 2018 defense authorization bill but did not make the final version. Instead, the most recent version tries to streamline space acquisition and deconflict some of the leadership roles. (Federal News Radio)

 

  • Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson acknowledged the criminal history of the shooter in Sunday’s mass shooting in Texas should have been reported to the FBI, but wasn’t. Wilson told reporters at the Pentagon that the Air Force inspector general has interviewed about 100 people who played a role in Devin Marshall’s earlier court martial for domestic abuse to find out where the breakdown occurred. More broadly, she said the Air Force is working 24/7 to scrub its military justice databases going back to 2002 in an effort to figure out how many more lapses there might have been in reporting offenses to federal databases. After that, the service plans to do the same thing with paper records going back to 1996. (Associated Press)

 

  • A senator wants to know more about USAID’s cancellation of foreign service jobs. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) wrote to USAID Administrator Mark Green asking why the agency recently announced it is rejecting one hundred foreign service applicants, and cancelling their respective posts. (Senate Foreign Relations Committee)