Oversight group tags DoD with $675M in wasteful spending overseas

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  • An oversight group uncovered new instances of wasteful Defense spending overseas. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction tagged DoD for $675 million badly spent. It faulted DoD’s Task Force for Business and Stability Operations in Afghanistan on planning, contracting and oversight, and for not articulating its mission or objectives. In numerous projects, the task force failed to coordinate with other federal agencies operating nearby. Even a cashmere goat farm failed. (Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction)
  • Early retirement offers are coming to thousands of postal employees this week. They must have 20 years of experience and past the age of 50, or have 25 years of service at any age to be eligible, and must retire by the end of March. This is part of an effort to rightsize the USPS workforce through attrition. (Federal News Radio)
  • A career employee at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is in a senator’s crosshairs. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said Leandra English burrowed into a job at CFPB after serving as a political appointee at the Office of Personnel Management. English recently challenged the appointment of Mick Mulvaney as acting CFPB director. The agency’s last permanent director, Richard Cordray, tapped English as acting director before stepping down. (Federal News Radio)
  • Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) is questioning a $300 million contract Customs and Border Protection awarded Accenture to help the agency meet the demands of President Donald Trump’s executive order to hire 15,000 new agents and officers. The contract will only help CBP hire about 2,000 new employees over the next five years, well-below what it needs to properly staff ports of entry, according to McCaskill. (Federal News Radio)
  • Defense contractor Leidos retaliated against a former subcontractor after she complained about a hostile work environment, according to the Defense Department’s inspector general. The IG said Leidos punished the worker by not selecting her to continue her contract after she made two protected disclosures, one to the company and the other to the government. (Department of Defense Office of Inspector General
  • The federal government is asking a judge to dismiss a wrongful death suit by the family of a Marine recruit who was driven to suicide by an abusive drill instructor. In court filings, the government said it is taking the conduct that led to Raheel Siddiqui’s death extremely seriously. The drill instructor, Joseph Felix, has already been court martialed and sentenced to 10 years in prison for terrorizing young Muslim recruits. But federal attorneys said the government can’t be held liable in civil court for military injuries or deaths, and that the $100 million lawsuit should be thrown out. (Federal News Radio)
  • TRICARE recipients will see slightly lower copays than expected in 2018. The Defense Health Agency recalculated what it will charge military families and retirees for primary care and other medical needs. Military families will have a copay of $21 instead of $27. Military retirees will pay $28 instead of $35. (Federal News Radio)
  • Agencies continued to struggle in choosing the right industry code for some federal procurements. The Government Accountability Office found a proposed change to the Federal Acquisition Regulations in 2016 has yet to be finalized and that is causing more confusion. Industry groups and contractors are concerned about ambiguous codes and overlap in the descriptions of certain codes with different size standards. (Government Accountability Office)
  • Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) is expanding his reach to improve cybersecurity. The Aspen Institute is launching a new cybersecurity effort and relying on an IT leader in Congress to make it happen. Hurd, the chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on IT, will be one of three chairpeople of the Aspen Cyber Strategy Group. Along with IBM CEO Ginni Rometty,and former Homeland Security Adviser Lisa Monaco, the group plans to bring together experts from across industry sectors to keep up to date on the latest malicious cyber threats and trends. Hurd said the new group will facilitate conversations among 35 CEOs, lawmakers and academics on how to best address today’s cybersecurity challenges. (Rep. Will Hurd)