NDAA amendment demands review of security clearances for DoD leaders convicted of sexual assault

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  • An amendment in the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act calls for investigating whether military or defense leaders found guilty of sexual assault or harassment should retain their security clearances. The amendment’s author, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), told USA TODAY lax punishment has let violators get off easily and failed to deter other transgressions. (USA TODAY)
  • Private collection agencies hired by the Internal Revenue Service are falling short of cybersecurity standards. A new audit from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found the IRS was unaware that one company could not do monthly vulnerability scans of its systems containing taxpayer data. Three other companies were also not addressing critical vulnerabilities within 30 days. (Department of the Treasury)
  • The Homeland Security Department clarified who’s in charge during a breach of personal information. A new policy issued earlier this year gives the agency’s chief privacy officer responsibility to lead the breach response team during a major PII incident. The CPO explained the policy in its semi annual privacy report to Congress. (Department of Homeland Security)
  • There are over 250 chief information officers in government, but they don’t have enough authority according to Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.). He is considering new legislation to designate a chief CIO at each agency who would report directly to their agency heads. Connolly said it would help improve agency grades on the next FITARA scorecard. (Federal News Radio)
  • The lead agency executive of the White House’s IT modernization initiative is leaving. Joanne Collins Smee, the director of the Technology Transformation Service at the General Services Administration, decided to exit federal service at the end of August. GSA announced Collins Smee’s decision Thursday in a release. Collins Smee joined GSA in September 2017 as the executive director of the Centers of Excellence initiative after spending her entire career in the private sector. GSA named her the director of TTS in 2018. During her time as TTS director, Collins Smee reorganized the organization to focus more on how to better serve the Trump administration’s IT modernization effort. It’s unclear who will replace Collins Smee even on an acting basis. (Federal News Radio)
  • A long-time industry association executive is stepping down. Ken Allen, executive director of ACT-IAC, will depart after 14 years. Allen told the American Council for Technology and Industry Advisory Association leadership about his plans to move on come March. ACT-IAC will begin the search for a replacement in October after this year’s ELC conference. (Federal News Radio)
  • Among beneficiaries of the Defense Department’s TRICARE health system, satisfaction rates are headed in the wrong direction. A survey of 8,500 TRICARE users by the Military Officers Association of America found military families are significantly less happy with the system, in the aftermath of changes that took effect in January. Only 28 percent said they were satisfied with the cost of their medication, compared to 42 percent last December. Fifty-three percent reported high satisfaction with their choice of providers, down from 58 percent in the advocacy group’s last survey. (Military Officers Association of America)
  • Ten Trump administration officials have been accused of violating the Hatch Act. The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said they all tweeted in support of President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, or the Republican Party in general. Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah number among the accused. CREW alleged that six cases involve the Trump campaign slogan “Make America Great Again” or the MAGA hashtag. (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington)
  • The FBI arrested an engineer for stealing trade secrets. The sting comes just days after Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen issued a fresh warning about the cybersecurity threat facing federal agencies and U.S. companies. FBI agents charge Xiaoqing Zheng, an engineer with General Electric, with encrypting turbine blueprints and embeding them in a photograph of a sunset. Then emailing them to his personal account intending to sell them to Chinese companies. (Department of Justice)