GOP senators hope to avoid government shutdown

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  • More than four months away from the end of the fiscal year, seven Republican senators are warning against the threat of a government shutdown. They said they are wary about another last-minute budget deal. Last weekend, President Donald Trump tweeted that if a deal is not struck by August, Congress should skip its recess and double down on negotiations. The senators said they are willing to work nights and weekends to a reach an agreement. (YouTube)
  • Senate Intelligence Committee ranking member Mark Warner (D-Va.) is not impressed by a plan to shrink the government’s security clearance backlog. The director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center told lawmakers that agencies have a plan to cut it by 20 percent within six months. Warner said the plan was less ambitious than it was billed in earlier talks. The government currently has a backlog of more than 700,000 cases. (Federal News Radio)
  • Twenty-two years after creating chief information officers in every agency — another attempt to give them a seat at the table — Trump signed an executive order yesterday to try to address systemic challenges for agency CIOs. The EO requires agency heads to make sure the CIO reports directly to them, while the CIO would be the main adviser for all budget, management, acquisition, policy and programmatic IT issues. The EO also gives CIOs direct hiring authority to fill critical skill gaps. Senior administration officials said the order is part of an effort to build institutional capabilities to drive IT modernization and bring the government into the modern era when it comes to managing technology and people. (Federal News Radio)
  • The National Security Council is eliminating the cyber coordinator’s role and two Democratic lawmakers want to bring it back. Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) and Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) introduce the executive coordination cybersecurity act to codify the position and give it specific authorities. Politico first reported the decision by National Security Advisor John Bolton. Rob Joyce held the position until last Friday, before returning to his home agency of the National Security Agency. (Rep. Jim Langevin)
  • A new cybersecurity strategy was unveiled by the Homeland Security Department. DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said the department is rolling out the strategy’s seven goals Wednesday. Strengthening and protecting federal networks, responding effectively to cyber incidents and improving DHS own cyber management are among them. DHS said it will have improved national cyber risk management by 2023. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Defense Information Systems Agency’s milCloud is about to get a lot of new customers. In a memo, the Defense Department’s CIO ordered DoD agencies that collectively operate more than 100 of their own data centers to start moving their applications to milCloud 2.0. The directive includes a deadline of September 2020, and includes so-called “fourth estate” organizations like the Defense Logistics Agency and the Defense Finance Accounting Service. milCloud 2.0 is DISA’s latest cloud offering operated by a private contractor inside the agency’s data centers. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Veterans Affairs Department designated 18 facilities across the country as whole health flagship sites. These facilities are designed to help veterans take control of their own health care decisions, and changing how VA thinks about treating vets. VA said it wants to focus on treating a veteran’s physical, mental, emotional and environmental needs, not just a specific disease or condition. Other VA facilities will focus on implementing specific elements of VA’s whole health system. (Department of Veterans Affairs)
  • Parking in the city can be expensive, but VA’s Los Angeles medical campus may have gotten the worst deal. The owner of a parking lot-operating business pled guilty to participating in a 15-year bribery scheme which defrauded the agency out of over $13 million. The Justice Department said David Richard Scott, 58, paid nearly $300,000 in bribes to a VA contracting officer, to hide the amount of revenue he was making from parking facilities at VA’s Los Angeles medical campus, therefore decreasing the amount he owed VA. (Department of Justice)
  • The Commerce Department expanded its partnership with libraries that bring the Patent and Trademark Office closer to the people. USPTO added the public library in Durango, Colorado, bringing the nationwide total to 86. The designated libraries are called Patent and Trademark Resource Centers and they give free help to local residents in locating documents, accessing PTO databases, and navigating the PTO web site. The library program started in 1871. It includes college, state and local public libraries. (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office)