Trump administration wants to let the space industry soar freely

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  • The Trump administration has proposed rolling back what it deems over-regulation of the commercial space launch industry. A sweeping policy memorandum will give the deregulatory task to the Transportation Department. It called on DoT to replace prescriptive regulations for commercial launch and re-entry operations with performance-based criteria. And to consider a single license to cover all types of launch technologies. The order also seeks to roll back Commerce Department regulations on commercial remote satellite sensing, many of which date to the early 1990s. (The White House)
  • A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a bill to reduce improper payments. Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) want to simplify regulations so agencies can prevent improper payments. Agencies would be responsible for developing strategies to accomplish that goal. The bill would also create a working group to encourage collaboration between federal agencies and non-federal organizations to reduce fraud and other root causes of improper payments. (Sen. Claire McCaskill)
  • 22 agencies received high recognition for managing and tracking performance and financial accountability. The CFO Council, OMB and the Association of Government Accountants handed out the 20th annual Certificate of Excellence in Accountability Reporting awards. 13 agencies were given “best-in-class” awards for specific areas of their reports, including innovative presentation and overall quality. (Association of Government Accountants)
  • The latest report card on IT reforms showed progress in more ways than a bunch of letter grades. Agency progress to improve how they manage and buy technology may not look good on paper, or electronically for that matter, on the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act or FITARA scorecard. But when you dig into the details, CIOs are making real progress. For instance, 87 percent of all federal IT programs use incremental or agile development, which is up from 58 percent in 2014. Agencies are on pace to close more than 7,000 data centers out of 12 thousand, and save $4 billion by September. Agencies expect to reduce the number of software licenses and save more than $340 million governmentwide.
  • NASA’s Inspector General is not satisfied with the agency’s progress on supply chain risk management. The OIG said weak controls have imperiled the agency’s systems and data. NASA does not require testing of IT and communications products before deploying them. It also relies on internet searches or the word of mouth when determining the risks for cyber-espionage. (NASA Office of the Inspector General)
  • Majority members on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee conducted their own study of agencies’ official time use. They asked 24 agencies for information on employees who have used it the past two years. 12,500 employees used official time at some point in 2017. Members of both parties agree there are accuracy problems with governmentwide official time data. Democrats on the House oversight committee said there are flaws with the Republican report. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Senate passes a bill overhauling how Congress deals with sexual assault cases. The bill will put an end to mandatory wait times for handling claims and will require members of Congress who reach harassment settlements, to repay the Treasury Department. The bill now goes to the House. Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) said the Senate bill doesn’t go far enough to hold lawmakers accountable. (Federal News Radio)
  • The House passed its version of the biggest defense bill of the year. Military service members are one step closer to seeing a 2.6 percent increase in pay and the Defense Information Systems Agency could see some reductions. The House passed the 2019 defense authorization bill by a vote of 251-66. The bill authorized $714 billion for the Defense Department in 2019. It also called for a 25 percent cut to some agencies like the Defense Information Systems Agency located in Ft. Meade, Maryland. The Senate still has not taken up its version of the bill. (Congress.gov)
  • The Air Force is doing cost-benefit analyses on who it should keep in the service after DoD announced service members who are unable to deploy must leave the military. Air Education and Training Command chief Lt. Gen. Steve Kwast said the service is using common sense in granting waivers to talented airmen who perform needed roles. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Office of Personnel Management is observing Employee Health and Wellness Month. OPM reminded agencies of the resources they have to create and advertise activities encouraging federal employees to live healthy lives. OPM wants agencies to highlight this month and the programs the government has to promote health and wellness. (Chief Human Capital Officers Council)
  • Two postal workers who violated the Hatch Act are suspended. The Office of Special Counsel handed one employee a 30-day suspension, and the other a 60-day suspension. OSC said one employee handed out signs for a presidential candidate at work. The other shot a video in his postal truck in which he endorsed a candidate for president. (Office of Special Counsel)