Some veterans’ groups still support Shulkin

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  • Despite facing recent scrutiny, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin does have support in his corner. Both the American Legion and AMVETS released statements in support of Shulkin, and the work he’s done so far to improve veterans’ access to care, expansion of mental health care and collaboration with VA stakeholders. The Legion says Shulkin “remains the best person” to lead VA. The statements come in light of several reports describing efforts to unseat Shulkin and Deputy Secretary Tom Bowman. (AMVETS) (American Legion)
  • The National Institute of Standards and Technology wants a standardized set of regulations for the Internet of Things. So on Capitol Hill, Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Congressman Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) said they have a bill to do just that. The Cyber Shield Act would set up an advisory committee within the Commerce Department to test products for their internet security. Companies would have to volunteer to have their products tested. Devices that pass would carry a cyber shield logo, like the Energy Star logo for energy efficiency. (Federal News Radio)
  • House lawmakers want the Federal Aviation Administration to beef up the security of its credentials for pilots. The FAA issued a proposed rule in 2010 to make pilot credentials harder to counterfeit, but never issued a final rule. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee asked for more information about the agency’s security procedures before March 8. (House Oversight and Government Reform Committee)
  • The Homeland Security Department continues to struggle with its identity management program. The agency’s implementation of Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12, or HSPD-12, is hamstrung by the same challenges today as it was in 2007 and 2010. The agency’s inspector general found significant program and management shortcomings, such as placing priority on terminating cards for contractors who no longer require access. Auditors said DHS made some progress in using these smart identity cards for physical access control. But the decentralized approach to physical access security particularly around its ability to inventory cards, assign risk levels to cardholders and identify existing mechanisms for securing owned and leased facilities, remains a challenge. (Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General)
  • Members of the Homeland Security Industrial Base are still looking for more communication and collaboration from the Homeland Security Department. The Joint Requirements Council is helping agency components find common investments for new capabilities. JRC Executive Director Vince DeLaurentis said the council is starting to mature and let subcomponents take the lead in developing their own requirements. But members of the DHS Industrial Base said Dthey’re still looking to interact with the JRC, and the agency’s Deputy Management Action Group. (Homeland Security & Defense Business Council)
  • The Defense Department’s inspector general says the Military Health System has fixed many of the problems a comprehensive review uncovered four years ago. The 2014 study found military treatment facilities, on the whole, were as good or better than their civilian counterparts — but there were a few “outliers.” The IG said that’s no longer the case. Eight facilities that had been singled out for poorer-than-average rates of post-surgical medical problems are now at or above the national average. The same is true for other facilities the study flagged in other areas, including perinatal care, and whether or not patients could consistently see the same caregiver. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Senate confirmed John Demers to head up the Justice Department’s national security division. His nomination was one of several being held up by Colorado Senator Cory Gardner. Gardner froze several DOJ nominees to protest Attorney General Jeff Session’s outspoken stance against states with legalized cannabis. Gardner said he’s allowing some through after positive conversations with Deputy Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. (Associated Press)
  • NASA is preparing to launch a satellite on behalf of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Set for launch March 1 from Cape Canaveral, the new bird will be the second in the geostationary operational environment satellite S series. The first, Goes 16, launched in 2016. The new one, dubbed GOES -17, will position itself over the Western U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico and parts of Central and South America. It will have four times the resolution of its sibling. (NASA)
  • While the federal government remains the largest employer in the D.C. Metro area, the number is actually slightly down. The District’s Office of Revenue Analysis said as of November 2017, the federal government directly employed 364,000 people, down about 4,200 from November of 2016. It still accounts for slightly more than 1 out of every 10 jobs in the region. (WTOP)