Senator worried about potential budget cuts to several IG offices

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  • Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) is troubled by potential cuts to several inspectors general offices. Her office found the Trump administration’s fiscal 2019 budget plan would substantially cut five IG office’s budgets and give nine IG offices less than what they outlined in their budget requests. McCaskill said these cuts could hurt IG’s oversight impact. (Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee)
  • The end of the fiscal year is approaching, and the House has passed seven appropriations bills so far. The Senate has done six. The Professional Services Council said that’s more accomplished at this point in the year than in the last 12-to-13 years. But that doesn’t guarantee any certainty about the prospects of another government shutdown in 2018. PSC is encouraging its members to start preparing now for a possible lapse in appropriations after Sept. 30. (Federal News Radio)
  • Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats names Stacey Dixon as the new head of the Intelligence Advance Research Projects Activity. Dixon spent the last 15 years serving in several science and technology roles in the intelligence community. She’ll take over for Jason Matheny, who’s been IARPA director for the past three years. (Office of the Director of National Intelligence)
  • The Army wants its cyber troops to learn how their keystrokes might impact the real world. At an event next week, members of the Army’s Cyber Protection Brigade will arrive by helicopter at the Muscatatuck Training Center in Indiana. Their job will be to defend a port under attack by cyber adversaries. The facility is unique – besides that port, it has a fully-functioning power plant, a subway station and several other features that make up modern cities. Designers of the exercise believe it’ll give cyber defenders a deeper training experience than they would get at a traditional cyber range. (Federal News Radio)
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology and Defense Information Systems Agency want to bring some standardization to how agencies buy cloud services from the private sector. An interagency group plans to develop a catalog of standardized metrics for service level agreements for agencies to use when buying commercial cloud services. The SLAs would not be mandatory, but serve as a tool for agencies as they write new cloud contracts. NIST and DISA release a request for information earlier this week seeking industry feedback on the metrics. The interagency group has identified 10 categories where SLA metrics are required, including accessibility; availability; performance; data management; governance; and termination of service. Responses to the RFI are due Sept.r 10. (FedBizOpps)
  • The Agriculture Department’s signature IT modernization initiative, Farmers.gov, added two new features. USDA said the portal now includes a place for users to conduct secure business transaction. It also now has a disaster assistance discovery tool. The initial version of the business transaction tool is a secure dashboard for producers to manage program applications and other USDA documents. The disaster discovery tool asks farmers to answer five questions to help them identify what USDA disaster assistance programs meet their needs. (U.S. Department of Agriculture)
  • It takes the Merit Systems Protection Board about 100 days on average to resolve an employee’s initial appeal of a disciplinary action. Petitions for review to the full board take anywhere from 99 to 250 days. The Government Accountability Office reviewed the steps agencies take to discipline federal employees for misconduct. It said suspensions are the most commonly used form of punishment. A quarter of suspended federal employees have multiple suspensions. (Government Accountability Office)
  • A Justice Department employee will not face any disciplinary action for harassing Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen at a restaurant according to the Washington Times. The Office of Special Counsel concludes Allison Hrabar’s actions and Twitter posts complaining about deportation and detention policy are not political activity. Hrabar works as paralegal at DOJ. (Washington Times)
  • A federal grand jury indicts a man for making a bomb threat at the Veterans Affairs Clinic in Mount Vernon, Missouri. The indictment alleges Richard Turner threatened to blow up the Community Based Outpatient Clinic located in Mount Vernon last month, after he was told his appointment time had been changed. (Department of Justice)