Thousands of public comments on OMB reorganization go missing

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  • The Office of Management and Budget said it has no records of the comments and recommendations it solicited from the public about its government reorganization initiative. Responding to a Freedom of Information Act Request from the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, an OMB FOIA officer said it could not locate any files on the hundreds of thousands of public comments the agency said were received. (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility)
  • With the hopes of reining in bid protests, the Pentagon sent Congress a legislative proposal to force vendors to choose whether to challenge contract awards at the Government Accountability Office or the Court of Federal Claims. Contractors would have 10 days to bring cases to the COFC, the same one used by GAO, thus eliminating the option of using both. (Federal News Radio)
  • Major changes are happening Friday at U.S. Cyber Command. At a ceremony at Fort Meade, CYBERCOM officially becomes a full unified combatant command, reporting directly to the secretary of Defense. It has been a subsidiary of U.S. Strategic Command since it was first created in 2009. Also today, Gen. Paul Nakasone will become the new commander of CYBERCOM and the director of the National Security Agency. He will replace Adm. Michael Rogers, who is retiring. Among Nakasone’s upcoming challenges is to help Congress and the president decide whether it is time to end the “dual-hat” arrangement that puts one official in charge of both organizations. (Defense Department)
  • One lawmaker wants to lock in lower tax rates for service members. Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) introduced the Permanently Amending Tax Cuts for our Heroes, or PATCH Act. The bill would make rates in the new tax reform law permanent for members of the armed forces. The bill coincides with the start of Military Appreciation Month. (Rep. Ralph Norman)
  • House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) introduced new Veterans Affairs community care legislation. He said the bill reflects a bipartisan deal VA congressional leaders agreed to last month. The MISSION Act would require veterans get access to community care if VA does not offer the service the veteran needs, or if the veteran was eligible for outside care under the 40-mile criteria detailed in the Veterans Choice Program. The House VA committee is expected to mark up the bill next week. It already has support from a variety of veterans service organizations. (House Veterans Affairs Committee)
  • The Veterans Affairs Department wants to stop manually scanning more than 3 million employee appraisal forms. The agency seeks to take its Electronic Employee Performance Management solution to the cloud. VA released a request for information asking industry for help in automating the entire process. The agency wants the new cloud solution to bring the five performance forms used by employees online as well as to complete the required workflows and automatically upload the appraisal package to the electronic official personnel file. The agency said the current manual process costs more than $30 million a year and makes transparency and audits more difficult. (FedBizOpps)
  • Some of NASA’s biggest space missions are falling behind schedule and over budget. The Government Accountability Office found major project launches were delayed by a year on average. It is biggest delay for NASA that GAO has found in the last 10 years. It also found the Orion crew capsule lacks a current cost estimate. NASA plans to use Orion to send humans to the moon and eventually Mars. (Government Accountability Office)
  • The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will pass an important milestone sometime in the next month when it grants the nation’s 10 millionth patent, although officials did not know precisely when that will happen. The agency has been working to reduce the patent application backlog, now about a half million. At Thursday’s Inventors Hall of Fame induction gala, USPTO chief Andrei Iancu called the intellectual property system the crown jewel of U.S. economy, culture and history.
  • The Department of the Treasury’s Bureau of Fiscal Service got a new leader this week. Kim McCoy replaced Sheryl Morrow, who retired after nearly 40 years of federal service, as commissioner of the BFS. McCoy has been serving as the deputy commissioner of the bureau and joined the Treasury in 1992. (Department of Treasury)