Law enforcement agencies are watching gun debates, pondering new regulations.

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  • President Donald Trump signaled his interest in banning certain modifications to simulate automatic fire. But the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives isn’t sure it can regulate legal items without Congressional action. ATF last reviewed the devices in 2010. In the aftermath of the Florida High School shootings, the agency said it’s received 100,000 comments and has diverted staff to review them. (Associated Press)
  • The Veterans Affairs Department launched a new initiative that connects recently separated members of the military to VA staff members who can answer their questions about enrolling in VA health care. The new program is called for Concierge for Care. The Defense Department will give VA a list of departing service members each week. VA has set a goal of contacting veterans within a month of discharge. VA Secretary David Shulkin said the goal to make more veterans aware of their options with the department. (Veterans Affairs)
  • A major change to the military’s TRICARE health insurance system is causing long waits and other problems for beneficiaries in the western U.S.  Defense health officials said the new regional TRICARE contractor, Health Net Federal Services, is dealing with a large backlog of both new enrollments and provider referrals and authorizations along. Beneficiaries trying to reach the insurer’s call centers are also seeing long wait times. DoD said Health Net is adding staff to help solve the problems, and in the meantime, TRICARE is waiving its usual authorization requirements. The company took over the western region in January as part of a new round of TRICARE contracts. (TRICARE)
  • The General Services Administration wants private-industry feedback for its next broker contract. This spring, GSA will hold one-on-one listening sessions with private-sector real estate companies in four cities. The agency plans to use that feedback to develop its fourth iteration of the National Broker Contract. GSA plans to award the contract by 2020, with a notice to proceed by 2021. (General Services Administration)
  • The Air Force said it expects to lay off a small percentage of airmen under a new Defense Department policy. The policy requires the military services to push out troops who have not been deployable for a year starting in October. (Federal News Radio)
  • Cybersecurity has been a material weakness at the Veterans Affairs Department for almost two decades. In its latest year-end IT update, VA’s CIO said it has remediated those problems and moved even further to improve its cyber posture. VA said it has secured 92 percent of all medical devices that it identified vulnerabilities in. The agency requires two-factor authentication for 99.8 percent of non-privileged users and 100 percent of privileged users. And VA reduced by 94 percent the number of unapproved software instances on its network. (Veterans Affairs)
  • The General Services Administration chipped away another burdensome procurement regulation. GSA issued a final rule to standardize how it applies commercial supplier agreement terms and conditions. GSA said the statues behind this requirement, also known as End User License Agreements, were inconsistent leading to more risks and costs for agencies and vendors alike. (General Services Administration)
  • Vice President Mike Pence wants to ease restrictions on space companies. Pence called for fewer regulations, especially in the launch license process. Pence met with stakeholders in the space industry on Wednesday in Florida. The meeting focused on returning to the moon and possibility sending people to Mars. (Space News)
  • The U.S. Agriculture Department plans to rename one of its IT service providers next month. Under Secretary Sonny Perdue’s agency reorganization, USDA will rename its Client Technology Services as the Customer Experience Center on March 2. USDA Client Executive Rory Schultz said Thursday that the name change reflects an increased emphasis on customer service. (USDA)
  • Twenty-eight Federal Executive Boards led training exercises for over 41,000 federal employees across the country over the last year. The Office of Personnel Management estimated those training exercises saved nearly $8 million in fiscal 2017. OPM also praised the FEBs for their help in creating new partnerships with colleges and universities to support governmentwide recruitment initiatives. Twenty-eight FEBs also handed out 2,900 awards to recognize employees for their work. (Office of Personnel Management)