State Department IG investigating reassignments of high level personnel

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  • An investigation into reassignments at the State Department is underway by the agency’s inspector general. Talking Points Memo reports the IG launched the review after a request from Democratic members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Back in January, Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) said whistleblowers at State described situations where high-level career personnel were forcibly moved to tasks outside of their area of expertise like processing Freedom of Information Act requests. The IG said it was looking into whether the reassignments were politically motivated. (Talking Points Memo)
  • Robert Wilkie may not have to wait too long to remove the acting title from his job in leading the Veterans Affairs Department. President Donald Trump intends to nominate Wilkie to be the next VA Secretary. The Senate already expressed its support for him when it confirmed him to be undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness. Wilkie has been acting VA secretary since late March. (White House)
  • President Donald Trump signed an executive order to continue some of the basic principles of the Obama-era GreenGov initiative. The order seeks to increase energy efficiency, and water and waste reduction for the government’s more than 350,000 buildings and 600,000 vehicles. The EO calls for the Council on Environmental Quality and the Office of Management and Budget to simplify how they measure progress. The CEQ also will launch a website with guidance, resources and progress reports. The EO encourages agencies to use performance contracting to make facilities more energy efficient at no up-front cost. (White House)
  • The Transportation Department doesn’t want any more money to modernize its technology. Transportation Chief Information Officer Vicki Hildebrand laid out nine goals to transform the way her agency serves its customers with technology. Hildebrand called them her nine big hairy audacious goals. They include shrinking the IT footprint, expanding self service of technology services, retaining savings and modernizing multi-modal processes. Hildebrand said she started a series of six study teams and four work streams, led by bureau officials from across the CXO community, to determine short- and long-term objectives. She also is changing DoT’s culture by proving software updates can be done quickly and for little cost. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Pentagon’s first ever Chief Management Officer was officially sworn in. John Gibson is now third in authority at the Defense Department. The position was created in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act. Defense Secretary James Mattis said Gibson will be in charge of reforming the department for efficiency, capability and affordability. (Department of Defense)
  • New rules from the Defense Department detail what happens if a vendor voluntarily tells the Pentagon its pricing was inaccurate. DoD issued a final rule earlier this month giving contracting officers more leeway to decide how to handle the defective pricing claim. They can determine the scope and extent of the review by the Defense Contract Audit Agency. (Federal Register)
  • New bipartisan legislation in the Senate aims to increase research of traumatic brain injuries in American troops. Sens. Jodi Ernst (R-Iowa) and Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) Blast Exposure and Brain Injury Prevention Act also looks to improve DoD’s capacity to track and prevent blast pressure exposure to service members. More than 370,000 service members have been diagnosed of traumatic brain injuries since the 2000. (Sen. Jodi Ernst)
  • All 133 of U.S. Cyber Command’s cyber mission forces are now at full operational capability. The teams are in charge of protecting Defense Department networks, protecting the homeland and supporting combatant commander missions. U.S. Cyber Command became a full unified combatant command earlier this month.
  • The federal government’s backlog of security clearance reviews isn’t just about individuals. The Defense Security Service is in charge of overseeing military contractors’ procedures for safeguarding classified information within their own facilities. According the Government Accountability Office, DSS only managed to review 40 percent of those facilities in 2016. Defense officials told GAO they’ve shifted to a new approach to watch for intelligence threats since then. But the watchdog says DSS still hasn’t outlined how exactly it’ll execute that strategy, or how many personnel it’ll need. (Government Accountability Office)