Pentagon gives details on plan to send National Guard to US southern border

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  • Up to 4,000 National Guard troops will head down to the U.S. southern border to support the Homeland Security Department. Robert Salesses, deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense Integration and Defense Support of Civil Authorities said they will work only in operational support missions and will not interact with migrants or other people detained by DHS. (Department of Defense)
  • On Tuesday, Tax Day, the House may vote on as many as a dozen IRS-related bills. The Taxpayer First Act would require the IRS to submit a reorganization plan to Congress before the end of fiscal 2020, and stop private debt collectors from collecting on debts owed by taxpayers well below the federal poverty line. The 21st Century IRS Act would require the agency to accept credit card payments online. (Federal News Radio)
  • Rep. Dan Donovan (R-N.Y.) wants to know what is a cyber war? The lawmaker is asking the House Armed Services Committee to put a provision in the 2019 defense authorization bill to define the term. Right now there is no policy as to what type of cyber attack is considered an act of war. (Federal News Radio)
  • A $950 million contract is awarded to five companies to work with the Air Force Research Laboratories on cyber capabilities. Global InfoTek, Radiance Technologies, Assured Information Security, CNF Technologies and Invictus International Consulting are signed on to help the labs with research, development, prototyping, and the transition of cyber capabilities. (Department of Defense)
  • The Pentagon is not budging from its plan to award a multibillion dollar cloud computing contract to a single company. Amid more than a thousand written questions about DoD’s upcoming JEDI contract, dozens of vendors urged the Pentagon to change its strategy so that multiple companies can deliver services. At a minimum, they said DoD should explain its rationale for awarding the multibillion dollar contract to a single company. The department declined to do so, but said the JEDI award will not interfere with other cloud contracts the military services are already pursuing. The Pentagon plans to issue a final RFP next month. (Federal News Radio)
  • Tens of thousands of federal contractors have to visit a notary in the next 60 days. Up to 70,000 federal contractors must get a letter notarized by the end of June authenticating vital details of their businesses including who is the authorized entity administrator associated with their DUNS number. Vendors have to send that notarized letter to the General Services Administration to remain eligible for federal contracts. These are the first details of the impact on vendors emerging from the latest case of fraud that effected GSA’s System for Award Management or www.SAM.gov portal. A GSA spokeswoman confirmed the agency already has received 7,500 notarized letters from new contractors or those whose registrations are expiring. (Federal News Radio)
  • Jeff Boleng will serve as the Pentagon’s new software special assistant in the acquisition and sustainment office. The position was created last week to create the Defense Department’s software acquisition strategy and develop modern software skills in the acquisition community. Boleng spent 21 years in the Air Force and is the acting chief technology officer at the Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute. (Federal News Radio)
  • A second White House cybersecurity advisor is leaving the Trump administration. Rob Joyce, the cybersecurity coordinator, will return to the National Security Agency. A spokesman tells Reuters, Joyce is three months over his one-year term White House appointment, and leaves on his on volition. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said the new national security advisor, John Bolton, will select Joyce’s replacement. Joyce leaves a week after his boss, homeland security advisor Tom Bossert, was forced out. (Reuters)
  • The EPA violated spending laws by not telling Congress about building a soundproof booth in Administrator Scott Pruitt’s office. The Government Accountability Office found the agency spent over $43,000 for the booth, and said the agency has to report any office upgrades costing more than $5,000 dollars to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. The EPA said it will respond to the GAO report later this week. (Federal News Radio)
  • A new action plan from the Veterans Affairs Department looks to get it off the Government Accountability Office’s High-Risk List. GAO added VA health care on its high-risk list back in 2015. VA said it eliminated 235 outdated directives and 85 percent of outdated manuals in an effort to reduce red tape. VA also cut central office staff positions by 10 percent to eliminate bureaucracy. (Department of Veterans Affairs)
  • A bipartisan group of House lawmakers wants to give VA a leg up on hiring health care providers over the private sector. Reps. Mike Bost (R-Ill.), Luis Correa (D-Calif.), and Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) introduced The VA Hiring Enhancement Act, which lets VA start the recruitment and hiring process for new health care professionals two years before they finish the required training. It would put VA on a hiring timeline competitive with the private sector. The agency has at least 35,000 health vacancies. (Rep. Vicky Hartzler)