Trump hints at agreement to avoid government shutdown

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  • A government shutdown on Oct. 1 may not be in the cards after all. President Donald Trump stepped back his threat to shut down the government if Congress doesn’t fund the border wall. Trump assured supporters he has secured commitments from Congressional leaders to fund the wall after midterm elections.
  • The House will begin to conference with the Senate over a series of appropriations bills, including the financial service and general government measure. Both chambers named conferees who will work through their differences in the Interior, Environment, Financial Services and General Government minibus, as well as the Defense, Labor, Education and Health and Human Services minibus. Senate leaders said they want to move appropriations through in regular order this fall. Government funding runs dry on Sept. 30. (House Speaker Paul Ryan)
  • DHS is taking a crawl-walk-run approach to a big cybersecurity consolidation effort. The Homeland Security Department has 16 different security operations centers (SOCs), all with varying capabilities and services. DHS Chief Information Officer John Zangardi wants to get down to four or five over the next few years. Zangardi said DHS created four interagency working groups to review the current SOC set up. The groups will review the service plans, the policies and procedures governing the centers, the contracts each component uses to staff and resource their operations centers and the current toolset each SOC has today. Zangardi said in the end, each of those four or five SOCs will run common tools, follow similar processes and procedures and be managed under a single contract.
  • A federal-local partnership will let travelers at a D.C. area airport board just by walking past a camera. Customs and Border Protection established a joint program with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority to bring facial recognition for international passengers to and from Dulles International Airport. Dulles by year-end will join 14 other airports where CBP is testing the technology. Cameras scan a traveler’s face, and the image is compared to a database of faces on the day’s flight manifests. (Customs and Border Protection)
  • The Environmental Protection Agency launched a new environmental data dashboard. The agency releases its industry “sector snapshots” application. The new web app pulls environmental and economic data from a handful of agencies, and tracks industries’ output of air emissions and greenhouse gasses over the last 20 years. The agency released snapshots on the iron and steel, chemical manufacturing, and utilities and power generation sectors. It will release 10 more industry snapshots on a rolling basis. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Air Force is calling on industry to help with its Pilot Training Next program. The initiative uses individualized training, biometrics and virtual reality to train pilots faster. The service’s innovation hub, AFWERX, is leading a challenge asking industry to bring technologies to the Air Force that integrate technology and learning, and analyze data. (Federal News Radio)
  • Maj. Gen. Jim Richardson was picked as the Army’s next deputy chief of the service’s new Futures Command. Richardson, currently the leader of U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, will serve as the deputy to General John Murray who assumed leadership of Futures Command last month.
  • A study by the Government Accountability Office finds widespread duplication and overlap in the Defense Department’s HR functions. GAO noted that there are at least six organizations that provide HR services to the various military services and defense agencies. And in some cases, those organizations are paying multiple providers for the same services. Auditors said the fragmentation is leading to unnecessary overhead costs, and makes it hard to track the performance of DoD’s HR system. For example, GAO said the duplication has led the department to implement more than 800 learning management systems. Many of them are duplicative, but no one in DoD can calculate their total cost. (Government Accountability Office)
  • Members of the National Federation of Federal Employees said managers at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Georgia, recorded a private meeting. Union and Veterans Affairs Department management were in the middle of negotiations. NFFE said the use of a recording device violates the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute, unless both parties agree to it. Federal unions say collective bargaining negotiations are still tense after a federal district judge invalidated provisions in the president’s recent executive orders. (National Federation of Federal Employees)