Homeland Security’s bug bounty pilot went so well, the agency is looking to expand it
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- The Government Accountability Office is pushing Congress to amend the Payment Integrity Act of 2019 in response to the ongoing COVID pandemic. The GAO said lawmakers should update the law to require all new agency programs making more than $100 million a year in payments to be “susceptible to material abuse” for their first few years of operation. This change, the GAO said, would address continued delays in agencies reporting incorrect payment information, as seen with COVID-19-related expenses. It would also change processes for reporting improper payments, which have impacted the transparency, speed, reliability and completeness of payment information. These delays have also contributed to the federal government’s inability to determine the extent to which irregular payments are occurring and to take appropriate action to reduce them.
- A top Democrat on the House Oversight and Reform Committee orders the State Department to claw back millions from an unfinished embassy project. National Security Subcommittee Chairman Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) said agency records show Caddell Construction failed to obtain the necessary permits to build a new U.S. embassy in Turkmenistan. Lynch said construction was expected to be completed in July 2018, but the project is still ongoing. The installation of the embassy was supposed to cost $196 million, but it is now expected to cost $430 million.
- Boeing said it still plans to deliver a pair of highly modified 747 jets to serve as the next generation of Air Force One, but will lose a lot of money on the deal. CEO David Calhoun told investors yesterday that a significant chunk of its more than $1 billion first-quarter loss was tied to the Air Force One deal the company struck with former President Donald Trump in 2018. Calhoun said the deal created risks “Boeing probably shouldn’t take,” and happened because the negotiations were widely publicized at the time. (Federal News Network)
- As supply chain issues continue to plague the United States, lawmakers are focusing on military inventory. Two lawmakers are asking for more money to revive the Department of Defense’s national stockpiles of rare earth minerals. The bipartisan duo said stocks of minerals like titanium and cobalt are at critically low levels. China currently produces more than 60% of the world’s rare minerals. Lawmakers wrote a letter to the House Appropriations Committee asking for help in adding more than $250 million to boost inventory. The United States established the National Stockpile during World War II to ensure the military had the resources it needed in the event of a supply chain disruption.
- The military said it was taking the next steps in its unified network plan. The service said it was establishing milestones and defining governance for the unified network. The program will modernize army computer systems needed for joint operations in the future. The military continues to move toward more weapons and joint systems. Joint command and control of all areas of the Department of Defense will connect systems to share data and make decisions faster. (Federal News Network)
- President Joe Biden has recruited a new deputy for US Cyber Command. Biden nominated Air Force Lt. Gen. Timothy Haugh for the number two position at CYBERCOM. If confirmed, he would replace Lieutenant General Charles Moore. Haugh currently heads the 16th Air Force, the service’s primary cyber command. He previously served as the commander of the Cyber National Mission Force. And during a stint at CYBERCOM, Haugh oversaw Joint Task Force Ares, which conducted offensive cyber operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
- DHS is ready to expand its cyber bug bounty program after a successful pilot. The Department of Homeland Security is planning eight new bug bounty programs next year and is looking to set up a new contract to manage that effort. DHS has issued a Request for Information seeking industry comment on its approach to this Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity contract. As part of the acquisition, DHS wants the contractor to design bug bounty, run a vulnerability disclosure platform, and hire and vet cyber researchers. This new contract follows an initial pilot conducted by DHS in 2021 which discovered more than 122 vulnerabilities, including 27 critical ones. DHS awarded a total of $125,000 to participants.
- Federal recruiting and cybersecurity are a few key components of the Department of Homeland Security’s fiscal year 2023 budget request. As part of the request, DHS will hire 300 agents and 300 processing coordinators for Border Patrol. This is part of the White House’s total request of $97.3 billion for DHS. The request also includes $1 billion to upgrade facilities and invest in border security technology. Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told a hearing Wednesday that the request provides the necessary funding and authority for DHS.
- The Postal Service is looking to hire 2,800 front-line supervisors over the next few months. USPS plans to hire these supervisors to work in customer services, distribution operations, maintenance operations, and transportation operations. Current, non-professional USPS employees are eligible to apply for these positions. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, in a recent interview, said the USPS is looking to hire front-line supervisors as part of its 10-year plan to improve operational efficiency. The vacant positions are level 17 positions in the management administrative schedule. Employees at this level max out over $87,000 per year. (Federal News Network)
- The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is seeking to reduce wait times for its 1-800 assistance number for field calls. The EEOC also partners with civil rights and labor organizations to reach people without access to virtual technology. President Charlotte Burrows told a hearing that the White House’s fiscal year 2023 budget request provides the resources needed to reduce wait times. Currently, EEOC appointment schedules often stretch several months into the future. It comes as the agency is still negotiating with the union to reinstate the field offices.
- We now know some of the best public servants in the federal workforce. This year’s cohort of Service To America Medals program finalists are out. This year’s list includes 44 individuals and several teams. They have done exceptional, jury-reviewed work in the areas of pandemic response, global human rights, climate and environment, national security, and many other areas. The annual Sammies program is run by the Partnership for Public Service, with awards available only to career federal employees.