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Customs and Border Protection countered reports that it was separating families seeking asylum at ports of entry. Calling the reports false claims, CBP Executive Assistant Commissioner Todd Owen said agents almost never separates parents from children at ports of entry. He said the agency doesn’t deny or discourage asylum seekers. He said the volume of work can cause strains and slow processing. Owen said that along the Southwest Border, CBP processes 208,000 vehicles and more than a half million people daily. (Customs and Border Protection)
The Veterans Affairs Department’s new Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection said it needs more staff, resources and authority to propose disciplinary action for the full scope of VA employees. It’s been over a year since the president signed the bill which created the new office. New data from VA show disciplinary actions against senior executives continue to made up 0.1 percent of all total actions at the department during the law’s first year. Disciplinary actions against executives made up the same percentage of all actions at VA, before the law was passed. The House Veterans Affairs Committee is expected to examine VA’s implementation of the accountability law at a hearing next week.
Inspectors general still have some work to do to fully realize the power of the IG Act of 1978. In honor of the act’s 40th anniversary, the Bipartisan Policy Center made several recommendations to strengthen the IG community. The center said IGs should better address governmentwide challenges that cross multiple agencies. Congress should dedicate specific funding to the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency,or CIGIE. (Bipartisan Policy Center)
A case file has been opened by the Office of Special Counsel into whether Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke violated the Hatch Act with his socks. CNN reported the probe comes after a complaint was filed by the Campaign for Accountability, when Zinke tweeted a picture of him wearing socks with President Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” The tweet was later removed and Zinke apologized for the photo. (CNN)
The Navy issued a formal reprimand to an active-duty captain for “repeatedly and improperly” taking gifts from a Singapore-based defense contractor. Capt. Charles Johnson is one of more than 20 current and former Navy officials charged in the “Fat Leonard” scandal. Johnson will not face a court martial, though, as the statute of limitations has run out. He’s alleged to have traded Navy operational information for thousands of dollars in gifts, but that was in 2006, and the five-year statute of limitations has already run its course. (Federal News Radio)
The Pentagon made a $49 million award for a long-awaited upgrade to the government’s background investigation process. The Defense Information Systems Agency said it issued the award as an Other Transaction Agreement. Because of that, there are a lot of details that are still murky. DISA’s requirements for the National Background Investigation System were only made available to members of a consortium designed to attract “non-traditional” government vendors. And the company that appears to have won the OTA competition is a subsidiary of a major government contractor that earns more than $2 billion each year from federal contracts. (Federal News Radio)
Robots could play a part in the upcoming audit of the Defense Department. The Defense Information Systems Agency is employing robotic process automation to work out routing processes. DISA said the software will free up time for humans to do tasks which require emotional intelligence and judgment. (Defense Information Systems Agency)
The Pentagon is looking for an automated solution to help defense officials identify classified materials and enforce their decisions. An RFI from DoD’s chief information officer along with DISA, said it’s looking for a system that can understand and classify information using various security classification guidelines, and then label the information accordingly. It should also restrict access based on four attributes: the classification of the information, clearance level of the individual, facility and system accreditation. The system must comply with the standards developed by the National Security Agency and National Institute of Standards and Technology. (FedBizOpps)
The Marine Corps is offering tactical pilots more than $200,000 to stay in the service. The reenlistment bonus would go to pilots who reenlist for six years. Smaller bonuses are available for pilots who reenlist for two or four. The military is currently facing a pilot shortage. (Federal News Radio)