DHS needs more cybersecurity workers while also figuring out where to put them

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  • The Department of Homeland Security needs more cybersecurity workers, but it’s missing critical information about where to put them. The Government Accountability Office found that DHS missed several deadlines of the Cybersecurity Workforce Assessment Act. The law requires DHS to identify all cybersecurity functions and come up with job codes for all of its cyber positions. GAO also finds the agency’s reporting under the law was not complete. In August, DHS said it identified 95 percent of its cyber positions. But when GAO added vacant positions, the total was only 79 percent. (Government Accountability Office)
  • Shutdowns and continuing resolutions don’t just impact the military’s readiness. The Department of Homeland Security said its mission is also affected by stopgap funding. DHS deputy secretary Elaine Duke told senators her agency feels constrained and unable to begin new projects without getting new funding authorized by Congress. Claire Grady, the undersecretary for management, also said a slew of short-term CRs has delayed DHS on everything from new hiring efforts to major acquisitions. (Federal News Radio)
  • Military service and Defense Department Inspector Generals said they are in dire need of more employees. DoD Principal Deputy IG Glen Fine told Congress his department needs 100 more employees to keep up with demand. The Navy IG office said it is just now getting around to investigations from 2016. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Defense Department has put another piece in place as it revs up its move to the cloud. The Defense Innovation Unit — Experimental, or DIUX — expanded a third pilot into a full-fledge effort to make it easier for services and agencies to obtain cloud computing services. DIUX awarded a contract that could be worth as much as $950 million to REAN Cloud yesterday. The five-year deal would let DoD buy cloud services from REAN through a new streamlined process. Under the contract, REAN will provide access to Amazon Web Services using an automatic pricing and procurement model. The U.S. Transportation Command first tested this approach last year leading DIUX to expand it DoDwide. (REAN Cloud)
  • Two years after it decided to consolidate its cloud computing migration efforts within a single office, the Navy is taking a different approach. From now on, CIOs within eight different commands will have the responsibility for brokering commercial cloud services for the IT customers they serve. Officials said the previous approach created a bottleneck in the Navy’s ‘Cloud First’ strategy, and the new one reflects the fact that different commands have different requirements. (Federal News Radio)
  • New whistleblower guidance for agencies. The Office of Special Counsel reminded agencies to set up new training and education programs on prohibited personnel practices, and set new disciplinary requirements. The requirements came from the Doctor Chris Kirkpatrick Whistleblower Protection Act that President Trump signed into law last year. The Kirkpatrick Act requires agencies to set mandatory disciplinary penalties for managers who retaliate against whistleblowers. Another provision requires mandatory supervisor training on how to best respond to whistleblower complaints. (U.S. Office of Special Counsel)
  • A surge in applications forced the Labor Department to delay a key foreign worker program. Labor announced in January that an unprecedented number of H-2B non-immigrant worker petitions meant it won’t release certifications until late in February. Now U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said it’s maintaining what it calls a flexible approach to whom to let in for temporary work. It says it may select petitions at random to ensure the 33,000 visas get allocated fairly. (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services)
  • Members of the National Treasury Employees Union said cuts to their pay and benefits is their single biggest concern for this year. NTEU polled 730 of its members in which 82 percent said they’re afraid they’ll see familiar proposals to cut retirement and benefits. NTEU President Tony Reardon said it’s his biggest concern too. The union is watching the president’s fiscal 2019 budget proposal due next Monday for a pay freeze and higher retirement contributions. (Federal News Radio)
  • President Donald Trump continues to fill out key management roles in agencies. The President has planned to nominate Edward Rounds to be the next director of the Office of Government Ethics. Rounds has worked at OGE since 2009. Trump also announced plans to make Chris Krebs permanent under secretary for National Protection and Programs at the Homeland Security Department. On the military side, President Trump nominated Navy Rear Admiral Brian Brown to command the Naval Information Forces. The nomination comes with a promotion to Vice Admiral. Brown is currently serving as director of the Warfare Integration Directorate in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. Brown also led the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command. (White House)