IG: DHS needs better way of making sure suspended contractors actually get suspended

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  • The Homeland Security Department’s watchdog office said the agency needs better controls to keep individuals and companies from receiving contracts and grants while suspended. The DHS Office of Inspector General found the agency lacks a centralized database to make sure suspended companies don’t compete for new contracts. The OIG also found that FEMA has not updated its databases on companies prohibited from doing business with the federal government. Congressman Bennie Thompson requested the OIG review the program. (Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General)
  • White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Rob Joyce said the federal government needs more information sharing from other countries in order to track down some of the hackers behind big data breaches. Joyce said lawmakers are working on legislation to allow the government to subpoena offshore cyber data from U.S. companies. Joyce said hackers currently still see more reward than risk when beaching government systems. Under current law, Joyce said hackers see more reward than risk when it comes to breaching government systems. He said he’s looking at ways to improve cyber deterrents. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Defense Department is studying the impacts of wearable devices possibly giving away too much information on troops’ locations. The fitness tracking app makers Strava released a heat map showing the routes service members run or cycle in their daily exercises. DoD fears that the maps can show military bases or could be used to target individuals. (Department of Defense)
  • The Navy plans to spend $100-million on new cyber technologies, in an end-run around the traditional procurement system. The branch is the latest DoD organization to turn to other transaction authorities to speed up its acquisition process, particularly for new prototypes. It has planned to set up a new OTA called the Information Warfare Research Project, with the first new projects set to begin as soon as fall 2018. The prototypes would be handled by members of a new industry consortium made up of traditional and non-traditional Defense companies. Space and Naval Warfare Systems have commanded plans to give companies more details on the project during an industry day in Charleston, South Carolina later this week. (Federal News Radio)
  • A $24 million contract for two refrigeration units on Air Force One has been sent to Boeing. The Air Force says the cost of the award includes designing, procuring, manufacturing and installing the units. The units are expected to be completed by the fall of 2019. (DefenseOne)
  • A former federal CIO has found a new job. Jonathan Alboum, the former Agriculture Department chief information officer, is making the jump to the private sector. Alboum will join Veritas as its public sector chief technology officer. In this new role, Alboum will help government agencies manage, protect and extract value from data on-premises and across multi-cloud environments. Alboum was USDA’s CIO from June 2015 until August 2017. USDA moved him into a new role as part of the agency’s management reorganization. Since August, Alboum served as the deputy senior procurement executive for Agriculture. (Veritas)
  • A new bill would put agencies on a path to relocating their headquarters out of the DC Metro area. Congressman Luke Messer (R-Ind.) introduced the Strategic Withdrawal for Meaningful Placement, or SWAMP Act. It would let the General Services Administration set up a process for states to bid on the relocation of an agency’s headquarters. The public would have a chance to comment on the relocation solicitation. The bill would also prohibit agencies from starting any new construction or major renovation inside the District and the surrounding counties. (Federal News Radio)
  • Homeland Security rolled out new security vetting of refugees from eleven high-risk countries. The new policy follows a 90-day review. In effect, it will reopen the United States to the refugees. The Trump administration had suspended the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program last summer. DHS is sketchy on details. But it said it’ll add additional screening measures and use risk management to operate the program. In a statement, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen added its critically important to know who’s entering the country. (Department of Homeland Security)
  • Federal Employee Health Benefits Program carriers have been asked to find new cost savings for 2019. The Office of Personnel Management said insurance companies should find ways to change existing plans or develop new ones altogether, to offer lower cost options. It’s part of the agency’s strategy to find balance, quality, affordability and innovation in the FEHBP. Carriers are also asked to pay attention to the opioid crisis, and prescription drug costs for the next year. OPM says 26% of FEHBP costs go toward prescription drugs. (Federal News Radio)