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The Pentagon’s inspector general said poor oversight led to at least a half billion dollars in questionable payments to contractors hired to do work in Afghanistan. The IG audit looked at payments under the Army’s LOGCAP program between 2015 and 2017. It found the Defense Department routinely reimbursed contractors for the expenses they claimed without examining their supporting documentation. Among the examples in the report: One contractor claimed more than $2,000 for state-side convenience store purchases. Another charged the government $195,000 for one employee’s work in a single pay period. (Department of Defense)
The Veterans Affairs Department signed its long-awaited contract with Cerner Corporation for a new electronic health record. The contract has a ceiling of $10 billion for 10 years. Cerner will help VA deploy MHS Genesis. It’s the same electronic health record that the Defense Department is currently deploying. Acting VA Secretary Robert Wilkie described the deal as one of the largest IT contracts in the federal government. The VA announcement comes nearly a year after VA had first announced his intention to adopt the Cerner system. (Federal News Radio)
Federal agencies are on track to exceed a governmentwide small business contracting goal this fiscal year. Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon said she plans to visit all 68 SBA district offices across the country. McMahon said she wants to spread the word about SBA’s mentoring and cybersecurity programs. (Federal News Radio)
Small business subcontractors are not getting a fair shake from the military. The Defense Department’s inspector general said there are trends of contracting officials being unable to monitor how prime contractors are meeting small business subcontractor goals. A recent DoD IG study found the small business missed out on nearly $915 million in contracts at two Army contracting commands. (Federal News Radio)
The Senate defeated an attempt by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to reignite the federal budget debate. Paul introduced a proposal to cut $13 trillion from the federal budget over the next 10 years. Late last year, Congress passed a two-year spending agreement that will last until the end of fiscal 2019. Seventy-six senators voted to reject Paul’s proposal on Thursday. (Federal News Radio)
Collective bargaining unit employees used slightly more official time in fiscal 2016 compared to 2014. The Office of Personnel Management’s latest review of agency official time data said employees spent 3.6 million hours doing union work during a normal work day, up slightly from 2014’s total of roughly 3.5 million hours. The Veterans Affairs Department as the second-largest government agency spends the most on official time out of any other agency. (Federal News Radio)
The departments of Homeland Security and Transportation teamed up to secure federal vehicles from cyber attack. DHS’ Science and Technology Directorate and DoT’s Volpe Center created a cybersecurity implementation and operational primer for them. DHS and DoT will help fleet managers and GSA secure these telematics systems based on standards from NIST. These systems are in every federal vehicle to collect data about fuel consumption, emissions, maintenance and location data. (Department of Homeland Security)
The Energy Department added its voice to the crowded week of cyber news. It detailed three goals to help reduce the risks faced by the nation’s energy sector from cyber threats. The new multi-year plan for energy sector cybersecurity also is the first piece of the foundation for the new Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response that Secretary Rick Perry created this year. DoE said that through the plan it will pursue goals like better threat sharing and organizing an incident response capability that over the next five years will reduce the risk of energy disruptions due to cyber incidents. (Department of Energy)
Some Lyft drivers will now be able to pick people up from Camp Pendleton in California and Fort Meade in Maryland. The ride-sharing company has created a new base mode, which will give select drivers access to bases so they can pick up and drop off passengers.
Several companies promised regular people future flights to space and back. Now NASA wants to see whether people can live in space. NASA requested proposals for commercial space habitation, aimed at enabling what it calls a space economy in low earth orbit. It’s asking companies for business and technology plans for either new, free-flying platforms, or using the International Space Station. NASA itself expects to use future, commercial orbiting capacity for its own missions. (NASA)