Acting IGs can be just as effective as permanent leaders

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  • They may not be on the job for long, but acting inspectors general still provide robust oversight of the agencies they oversee. A Government Accountability Office survey polled nine acting IGs and their staffs. 49-to-69 percent of OIG staff said  having an acting IG had “no impact” on the office’s ability to plan or conduct audit work. At the time of the survey, 12 out of 64 IG offices had acting heads. (Government Accountability Office)
  • Congress has eight legislative days to avoid a third government shutdown this fiscal year. Representative Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) said there’s a possibility lawmakers may need a short CR to hammer out any outstanding issues. But he said agencies should have budget certainty through the rest of the fiscal year with an upcoming omnibus. The current continuing resolution expires March 23. Congress did most of the heavy lifting when it set new spending caps for defense and domestic agencies last month. Lawmakers need to finish appropriations by next Friday. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission is hiring a chief risk officer, following a massive data breach nearly two years ago. SEC Chairman Jay Clayton came up with the idea after testifying to Congress about the breach last September. Clayton also asked lawmakers to approve a budget that’ll allow the SEC to improve its cybersecurity. SEC would receive a $1.6 billion budget  under President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2019 budget proposal — a 3.5 percent increase over enacted levels. (Federal News Radio)
  • A Homeland Security agency spokesman publicly quit, citing a disagreement with the Trump administration. James Schwab was public affairs officer for the San Francisco division of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that he resigned. Schwab cited statements by Acting ICE director Tom Homan and Attorney General Jeff Sessions about whether the Oakland mayor was responsible for 800 dangerous illegal immigrants at large. Schwab said those claims were false, and that he was told to deflect questions about them. (San Francisco Chronicle)
  • President Trump pardons a Navy sailor who took photos of classified areas inside a submarine. Kristian Saucier has already served a year in prison after pleading guilty in 2016 to unauthorized retention of defense information for taking photos inside the USS Alexandria. Saucier claimed he just wanted to show them to his family. (Associated Press)
  • With a nod towards transparency, the Veterans Affairs Department is making public for the first time its GI bill tuition and fee payments to VA approved colleges, universities and other training institutions. The data includes the names of each school, the number of enrolled beneficiaries, total amount of money paid and grand totals for each fiscal year. Current data spans the past eight fiscal years and dates back to 2009. VA said it will update the data at the end of each fiscal year. (Department of Veterans Affairs)
  • A Pentagon audit suggests the Army misled Congress about the costs of its civilian workforce. The report by the DoD inspector general claimed the Army requested $482-million more than it actually needed for civilian salaries in fiscal 2017. The IG claimed the Army commands “intentionally” hired fewer personnel than they were authorized so that they could spend the remaining funds on other headquarters functions the Army had been ordered to cut. Army officials strongly dispute the IG’s findings, saying they’re not supported by empirical evidence. (Federal News Radio)
  • A review of the Homeland Security Department’s information security program shows the agency could be doing better. DHS’ inspector general said the program missed its target evaluation score in three of five areas listed in this year’s FISMA reporting instructions. Those areas are protection, detection and recovery. The IG said DHS concurred with all five of its recommendations for improvement. (Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General)
  • Auditors find continued and significant holes in how FEMA manages technology. The Homeland Security Department’s inspector general said the FEMA chief information officer misled auditors and removed funding and staff resources needed to address open recommendations. The IG issued a management alert after work reveals continued and long-standing shortcomings in how FEMA manages its technology. The IG said it has issued similar recommendations as far back as 2005. More recently, FEMA CIO Adrian Gardner told auditors he took steps to close one recommendation around IT governance. But the IG said the justification that FEMA provided didn’t support that result. (Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General)