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Trump’s 2019 budget could freeze federal employee pay

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President Trump’s fiscal 2019 budget proposal will likely include a pay freeze for all civilian federal employees, according to a non-public document communicating Office of Management and Budget guidance from the president to the Department of Homeland Security, which was obtained by Democratic staff of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and summarized for ... Read More
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Omarosa’s departure highlights lack of White House diversity

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WASHINGTON (AP) — With Omarosa Manigault Newman’s departure, the White House has lost arguably its most prominent and visible African-American senior staffer, serving as a reminder of the lack of diversity at the upper echelons of the Trump administration. Manigault Newman was one of just a handful of African-Americans to hold a senior position under Trump. Ben Carson, the secretary of Housing and Urban Development, is the president’s only African-American Cabinet member. Jerome Adams, Trump’s surgeon general, is also blac... Read More
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Omarosa’s departure highlights lack of White House diversity

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WASHINGTON (AP) — With Omarosa Manigault Newman’s departure, the White House has lost arguably its most prominent and visible African-American senior staffer, serving as a reminder of the lack of diversity at the upper echelons of the Trump administration. Manigault Newman was one of just a handful of African-Americans to hold a senior position under Trump. Ben Carson, the secretary of Housing and Urban Development, is the president’s only African-American Cabinet member. Jerome Adams, Trump’s surgeon general, is also blac... Read More
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White House: FBI records show ‘extreme bias’ against Trump

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House said Friday newly revealed FBI records show there is “extreme bias” against President Donald Trump among senior leadership at the FBI. The accusation came hours before Trump was scheduled to speak at the FBI training academy in Quantico, Virginia. Trump, who has described the agency as “in tatters,” is to speak at a ceremony at the FBI campus for law enforcement leaders graduating from a program aimed at raising law enforcement standards. ... Read More
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White House: FBI records show ‘extreme bias’ against Trump

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House said Friday newly revealed FBI records show there is “extreme bias” against President Donald Trump among senior leadership at the FBI. The accusation came hours before Trump was scheduled to speak at the FBI training academy in Quantico, Virginia. Trump, who has described the agency as “in tatters,” is to speak at a ceremony at the FBI campus for law enforcement leaders graduating from a program aimed at raising law enforcement standards. ... Read More
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Trump’s iffy numbers on regulation

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump and his administration are ignoring one side of the ledger when they claim big savings from the federal regulations they’ve been able to roll back over most of this year. Here’s a look at some of Trump’s statements about regulations and the economy Thursday and how they compare with the facts: TRUMP: “Instead of adding costs, as so many others have done, and other co... Read More
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USDA first up in White House, GSA tech acquisition pilot

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Just one day after releasing its finalized IT Modernization Report the White House Office of American Innovation announced a partnership with the General Services Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to pilot a Centers of Excellence program that draws on the best talent in the public sector and industry to achieve many of the goals set out in the report. ... Read More
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Trump relishes progress on rolling back federal rules

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is relishing the rolling back of federal rules in his administration’s first year even as critics say he has tried to dismantle important protections for the environment, consumers and others. “By ending excessive regulation we are defending democracy and draining the swamp,” Trump said Thursday, flanked by administration officials at a White House event. The effort is driven by Trump’s contention there are too many rules and that’s stifling economic growth — a claim critics s... Read More
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Cybersecurity industry and Trump’s 2018 budget proposal [Video]

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We're live with Symantec's Chris Townsend, vice president of federal, and Jeff Greene, senior director of global government affairs and policy, to discuss the president's budget and what it means for the cybersecurity industry. ... Read More
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A third of Interior Dept. workers report being harassed

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Interior Department says more than one-third of its employees report being harassed or discriminated against in the past year. Results released Thursday from an anonymous survey of the department’s 70,000 employees show that 8 percent report being victims of sexual harassment and 16 percent report harassment based on gender. More than 9 percent report harassment based on race or ethnicity. The Bureau of Indi... Read More
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EPA mum on whether failed Trump nominee is still on the job

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency is refusing to say whether President Donald Trump’s failed pick to oversee chemical safety will continue to work there as a senior adviser, a role that doesn’t require Senate confirmation. Michael L. Dourson withdrew his nomination Wednesday to serve as head of the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention amid bipartisan opposition in the Senate. Dourson ha... Read More
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Farenthold to retire from House amid harassment accusations

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Texas Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold won’t seek re-election next year, two Republicans said Thursday, adding his name to the list of lawmakers leaving Congress amid sexual harassment allegations that have cost powerful men their jobs in politics, the arts and other businesses. The accusations against Farenthold first surfaced in 2014, when a former aide sued him over sexually suggestive comments and behavior and said she’d been fired after she complained. The lawmaker said he engaged in no wrongdoing and ... Read More
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EPA chemical safety nominee drops out amid strong opposition

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s pick to oversee chemical safety at the Environmental Protection Agency withdrew his nomination Wednesday after bipartisan opposition made his Senate confirmation unlikely. Officials at the White House and the Senate told The Associated Press that Michael Dourson had sent a letter asking his name to be removed from consideration to serve as head of the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. The two officials were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and sp... Read More
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Former ‘Apprentice’ star Omarosa denies White House firing, says she has stories to tell

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Former “Apprentice” star Omarosa denies she was fired from her job at the White House — and she’s teasing that she has stories to tell about what she’s seen and heard there. In an interview Thursday with ABC’s “Good Morning America, Manigault Newman also said reports that she made a scene while being escorted from the White House grounds this week are “100 percent false,” and questioned why no photos or video of the alleged ruckus had surfaced. ... Read More
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Congress again facing a looming VA care funding crisis

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WASHINGTON — For the second time in less than a year, a controversial Veterans Affairs health program is just weeks away from running out of money and disrupting care for thousands of patients. And, for the second time over that span, lawmakers hoping for sweeping changes to VA health operations are scrambling to balance their long-term solutions with a short-term funding headache. At issue is the Veterans Choice Program, which all... Read More
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White House releases final IT Modernization Report

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The White House’s American Technology Council Wednesday released its final report to the president on federal IT modernization, which focused on network modernization and the increased use of shared services as the vehicles for achieving a more modern federal IT landscape. “Agencies have attempted to modernize their systems but have been stymied by a variety of factors, including resource prioritization, ability to procure services quickly, and technical issues,” the report said. Recommendations to address the aforementioned... Read More
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Security clearance investigations fall behind despite reforms

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Executive agencies are getting worse at processing background investigations in a timely manner, despite reform efforts, according to a recent Government Accountability Office report. In 2012, 59 percent of executive branch agencies reviewed by GAO reported meeting timeliness objectives for top secret clearances, according to the report. In 2016 that number fell to 10 percent. The executive branch was previously required to submit th... Read More
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What agencies can learn from OPM’s cyber challenges

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The Office of Personnel Management’s own inspector general recently completed an audit of the agency’s security programs and practices and the findings were, at best, a mixed bag. Thorough and extensive, the resulting report could easily be applied to many agencies and is a piercing commentary on the state of cybersecurity in many federal agencies today. Interestingly, the audit used the NIST Cybersecurity Framework to measure the overall maturity level of the OPM security program with five levels of maturity ranging from “A... Read More
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Senate Dems: EPA nominee plagiarized written testimony

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President Trump’s nominee for chair of the Council on Environmental Quality, Kathleen Hartnett White, may have plagiarized her testimony before the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works from previous Environmental Protection Agency nominees, according to a recent letter written by EPW Democrats. “We are troubled that it appears that you have cut and pasted from the written answers of other nominees in your responses to questions that were submitted to you,” the letter reads. “In at least 18 instances […] y... Read More
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MGT signed into law; central fund money still in question

In Business, Emerging Technology, Government, Legal, Security by Federal TimesLeave a Comment

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The Modernizing Government Technology Act became law on Tuesday as part of the National Defense Authorization bill signed by President Trump. “It took longer than I expected, to be honest, but a lot of folks were involved and I think it’s going to be enduring for a long time,” said MGT’s original author, Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, in an interview with Federal Times. MGT was first introduced in the last Congress in September 201... Read More
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Tillerson: No diplomatic ‘wins on the board’ after Year 1

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Seeking to reassure American diplomats amid low morale, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson unveiled changes Tuesday to the State Department that he said would help workers perform better and position the United States to advance its interests overseas. At a town hall meeting with the diplomatic corps, Tillerson conceded that there are deep concerns about his planned overhaul and that progress on key foreign policy priorities has been slow. As the first year of the Trump administration concludes, Tillerson has fac... Read More
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Zinke, House GOP escalate feud with Patagonia over monuments

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and House Republicans have escalated their feud with Patagonia after the outdoor retailer told Americans that President Donald Trump “stole your land” in his move to shrink two sprawling Utah national monuments. The dispute pitting the GOP against a private company raised questions about use of taxpayer resources for political criticism and whether Republicans are trying to stop Patagonia sales weeks before the Christmas holiday. ... Read More
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Zinke, House GOP escalate feud with Patagonia over monuments

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and House Republicans have escalated their feud with Patagonia after the outdoor retailer told Americans that President Donald Trump “stole your land” in his move to shrink two sprawling Utah national monuments. The dispute pitting the GOP against a private company raised questions about use of taxpayer resources for political criticism and whether Republicans are trying to stop Patagonia sales weeks before the Christmas holiday. ... Read More
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Waiting for Congress, Mnuchin makes 2nd emergency debt move

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday he is making a second emergency move to keep the government from going above the debt limit while awaiting congressional action to raise the threshold. In a letter to congressional leaders, Mnuchin said he will not be able to fully invest in a large civil service retirement and disability fund. Skipped investments will be restored once the debt limit has been raised, he said. ... Read More
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Waiting for Congress, Mnuchin makes 2nd emergency debt move

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday he is making a second emergency move to keep the government from going above the debt limit while awaiting congressional action to raise the threshold. In a letter to congressional leaders, Mnuchin said he will not be able to fully invest in a large civil service retirement and disability fund. Skipped investments will be restored once the debt limit has been raised, he said. ... Read More
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Trump wants to send man back to moon, on to Mars

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump wants to send man back to the moon — and on to Mars. Trump signed a policy directive Monday instructing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to “refocus America’s space program on human exploration and discovery.” The move, Trump said, “marks an important step in returning American astronauts to the moon for the first time since 1972 for long-time exploration.” ... Read More
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Former DHS director elected to Lockheed Martin board of directors

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The Lockheed Martin board of directors elected former Department of Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson to the board effective Jan. 1, 2018, the company announced Monday. Johnson was director of DHS from December 2013 to January 2017 under the Obama administration and has been a partner at the international law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP since his retirement. Alongside Johnson, the board also elected Jame... Read More
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Former DHS director elected to Lockheed Martin board of directors

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The Lockheed Martin board of directors elected former Department of Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson to the board effective Jan. 1, 2018, the company announced Monday. Johnson was director of DHS from December 2013 to January 2017 under the Obama administration and has been a partner at the international law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP since his retirement. Alongside Johnson, the board also elected Jame... Read More
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Trump accuses Dems of blocking military funding in budget negotiations

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President Donald Trump this weekend accused congressional Democrats of holding military funding hostage for “amnesty” for illegal immigrants, endangering national security on multiple fronts. “This isn’t a Republican thing or Democratic thing or anything,” he said during a Friday night campaign-style event in Florida. “It’s time for Democrats in Congress to drop the threats of shutdowns of government and support a clean appropriations bill that fully supports and funds our military. We can’t play games anymore.”... Read More
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Trump accuses Dems of blocking military funding in budget negotiations

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President Donald Trump this weekend accused congressional Democrats of holding military funding hostage for “amnesty” for illegal immigrants, endangering national security on multiple fronts. “This isn’t a Republican thing or Democratic thing or anything,” he said during a Friday night campaign-style event in Florida. “It’s time for Democrats in Congress to drop the threats of shutdowns of government and support a clean appropriations bill that fully supports and funds our military. We can’t play games anymore.”... Read More
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Louisiana man admits misusing Trump’s Social Security number

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A Louisiana private investigator pleaded guilty on Monday to misusing Donald Trump’s Social Security number in repeated attempts to access the president’s federal tax information before his election last year. Jordan Hamlett, 32, faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine following his guilty plea in federal court. Authorities have said Hamlett failed in his attempts to get Trum... Read More
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Agencies to begin assigning NICE codes to cyber, IT positions

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Agencies will soon be able to provide greater specificity on the critical cybersecurity roles performed by members of their IT workforces, as this month they began to implement a new coding structure to identify those positions. Nearly two years after the passage of the Federal Cybersecurity Workforce Assessment Act, which requires federal agencies to assign the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education’s coding structure to its cybersecurity and information technology positions, agencies have begun the process of reviewin... Read More
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Agencies to begin assigning NICE codes to cyber, IT positions

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Agencies will soon be able to provide greater specificity on the critical cybersecurity roles performed by members of their IT workforces, as this month they began to implement a new coding structure to identify those positions. Nearly two years after the passage of the Federal Cybersecurity Workforce Assessment Act, which requires federal agencies to assign the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education’s coding structure to its cybersecurity and information technology positions, agencies have begun the process of reviewin... Read More
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Agencies to begin assigning NICE codes to cyber, IT positions

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Agencies will soon be able to provide greater specificity on the critical cybersecurity roles performed by members of their IT workforces, as this month they began to implement a new coding structure to identify those positions. Nearly two years after the passage of the Federal Cybersecurity Workforce Assessment Act, which requires federal agencies to assign the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education’s coding structure to its cybersecurity and information technology positions, agencies have begun the process of reviewin... Read More
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Policy shift: DoD is pushing major program management back to the military

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WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has steadily been pushing milestone authority for major defense programs to the individual military services, but shifting personnel down from the Office of the Secretary of Defense will take longer. At a Dec. 7 hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Ellen Lord, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, logistics and technology, or AT&L, said her intention is to continue to hand off the day-to-day running of programs to the services, preferring her office serve as a kind of high-level group pr... Read More
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Learning on the upswing [Commentary]

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In today’s world, continuous learning is the key to survival, not only for the organization but for the individual. Change occurs at such a rapid pace, that only the “prepared mind” can take advantage of Fortuna and the slings and arrows that she sends our way. Lady Fortuna is our future, for as far as we can see. Rising and falling world powers, seismic changes in the Middle East power structure, highly chaotic weather systems, national political upheavals, and unpredictable financial markets – all contribute to our sense... Read More
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New rule coming for US names mentioned in spy reports

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s national intelligence director next month will tighten rules for providing government officials the names of Americans whose identities are blacked out in classified spy reports. The new policy aims to stiffen existing safeguards to ensure that names aren’t disclosed for political reasons, especially during presidential transitions. Republicans have alleged that Obama administration officials improperly shared the identities of members of Trump’s presidential transition team who w... Read More
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Start the clock for Trump, GOP in last push on taxes, budget

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Start the countdown clock on a momentous two weeks for President Donald Trump and the GOP-run Congress. Republicans are determined to deliver the first revamp of the nation’s tax code in three decades and prove they can govern after their failure to dismantle Barack Obama’s health care law this past summer. Voters who will decide which party holds the majority in next year’s midterms elections are watching. ... Read More
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Essye Miller named DoD acting CIO

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Department of Defense Deputy Secretary Patrick Shanahan announced that Essye Miller will take over the role of acting chief information officer, effective Dec. 8, 2017. “In this role, Ms. Miller is the primary adviser to the secretary of defense for matters of information management, information technology and information assurance, as well as non-intelligence space systems; critical satellite communications, navigation and timing programs; spectrum; and telecommunications,” Miller’s new DoD biography reads. ... Read More
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Interior chief spent more than $53K on 3 helicopter trips

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Newly released records show Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke spent more than $53,000 on three helicopter trips this summer, including one that allowed him to return to Washington in time for a horseback ride with Vice President Mike Pence. Records released by the Interior Department show Zinke spent more than $39,000 on a July helicopter tour above two national monuments in Nevada. Zinke was considering whether to recommend downsizing the two sites. ... Read More
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Two birds, one stone: VA’s EHR to address interoperability and data centers

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With the Veteran’s Affairs initiative to transition their electronic health records system from the current VistA program to a new system implemented by health IT company Cerner, officials hope to both make the agency interoperable with the Department of Defense’s system and to kickstart their data center consolidation efforts. “I think that data center consoli... Read More
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Deputy national security adviser to leave White House

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell will be leaving the Trump administration early next year. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says in a statement that Powell had always planned to serve for a year before returning home to New York. She’s expected to continue working with the administration on Middle East policy issues from outside the White House. ... Read More
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Trump signs 2-week spending bill to avoid shutdown

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Bill passed to keep government open until Dec. 22 WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Friday signed a spending bill to avoid a government shutdown and keep the federal government running through Dec. 22. The president signed the two-week spending measure in private at the White House after the House and Senate acted to prevent a government shutdown this weekend. The funding reprieve comes as the White House and congressional leaders are negotiating a longer-term ... Read More
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Defense contractor sentenced to five years for defrauding more than $15 million

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A North Carolina-based defense contractor has been sentenced to five years in prison for defrauding the government of more than $15 million through two separate conspiracies. The Virginian-Pilot reported in March that the 46-year-old Deines, a former Global Services executive, was sentenced in November... Read More
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GSA taps 80 small businesses for IT GWAC

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The General Services Administration recently released the list of 80 pre-awarded offerors in the $15 billion Alliant 2 Small Business IT and professional services governmentwide acquisition contract. “After review and evaluation in accordance with the criteria established in the solicitation, the following organizations are deemed to be the highest technically rated offerors with a fair and reasonable price,” the pre-award notice said. “This list represents a complete roster of the apparently successful offerors.” ... Read More
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EPA chief defends spending on travel, soundproof booth

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt on Thursday defended his frequent taxpayer-funded travel and his purchase of a custom soundproof communications booth for his office, saying both were justified. Pruitt made his first appearance before a House oversight subcommittee responsible for environmental issues since his confirmation to lead EPA in February. While his fellow Republicans largely used their time to praise Pruitt’s leadership, Democrats pressed Pruitt on his proposed rollbacks of environ... Read More
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House passes stopgap spending bill to avert weekend shutdown

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The House on Thursday passed a stopgap spending bill to prevent a government shutdown this weekend and buy time for challenging talks on a wide range of unfinished business on Capitol Hill. The measure passed mostly along party lines, 235-193, and would keep the government running through Dec. 22. The Senate was expected to swiftly approve the measure as early as Thursday night and send it to President Donald Trump. ... Read More
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House committee explores improvement to harassment reporting process

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On Thursday, members of the House Administration Committee examined changes to the Congressional Accountability Act and sexual harassment reporting process that would reduce the “cooling off” time required and create a victims’ advocate to offer currently-absent support to those reporting harassment. “The Congressional Accountability Act needs to be reformed,” said Rep. Robert Brady, D-Penn. The act has not been reformed since its passage in 1995. “We need to improve this process, but most importantly we need to change... Read More
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GOP leaves little doubt they’ll prevent government shutdown

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Top Republicans left no doubt that the House will approve legislation Thursday preventing a weekend partial government shutdown, erasing any suspense over an impending budget clash that would put a calamitous exclamation point at the end of the capital’s tumultuous year. “I feel good where we are,” House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told reporters hours before his chamber planned to vote on legislation keeping federal agencies afloat through Dec. 22. Their money runs out at midnight Friday without approval ... Read More
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FBI director defends his agency against Trump’s attacks

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Countering strident attacks on his agency from the president who appointed him, FBI Director Chris Wray on Thursday defended the tens of thousands of people who work with him and declared, “There is no finer institution, and no finer people, than the men and women who work there and are its very beating heart.” Wray provided his first public defense of the nation’s premier law enforcement agency since a weekend of Twitter attacks by President Donald Trump, who called the FBI a biased institution whose rep... Read More
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Sen. Franken announces intent to retire ‘in coming weeks’

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Thursday, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., announced on the Senate floor that he will be resigning from his position in Congress within the next few weeks in the wake of mounting allegations of sexual misconduct against him. “I know that in my heart that nothing that I have done as a senator, nothing, has brought dishonor on this institution, and I am confident that the ethics committee would agree,” said Franken. “Nevertheless, I am announcing that in the coming weeks I will be resigning as a member of the United States Senate.”... Read More
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Congress seems set to avert weekend government shutdown

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress seems set to prevent a weekend government shutdown, but lawmakers and President Donald Trump still have longer-range disputes to settle over spending, immigration and other issues before they can declare budget peace. With many on both sides deciding a headline-grabbing federal closure would be a political blunder — at least for now — the House planned to approve legislation Thursday financing federal agencies through Dec. 22. The Senate seemed ready to follow. Without legislation, many agencies wo... Read More
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FBI director heads to Hill after Trump’s attacks on agency

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Christopher Wray faces a tough test four months into his leadership of the FBI: He must defend America’s top law enforcement agency against blistering attacks from President Donald Trump without putting his own job at risk. The competing pressures Wray faces will be on display Thursday when he testifies before the House Judiciary Committee. Democrats may push him to respond forcefully to Trump’s weekend tweets calling the FBI a biased agency whose reputation is “in Tatters — worst in History!” and urg... Read More
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White House encourages short-term spending fix

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is encouraging Congress to pass a temporary spending measure to keep the government funded through Dec. 22. The Office of Management and Budget is encouraging the House to pass a continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown Saturday, when most federal spending authority is set to expire, adding President Donald Trump would sign it. The temporary measure would maintain government funding at ... Read More
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Shulkin urges emergency aid for VA private health care soon

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WASHINGTON (AP) — In a fresh warning, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said Wednesday there could potentially be delays in providing medical care to tens of thousands of veterans if lawmakers don’t act soon to approve billions in emergency funding for the ailing private-sector Choice program. In a statement, Shulkin said he was heartened by several congressional bills that would provide longer-term fixes to the Department of Veterans Affairs program by giving veterans wider freedom to see private doctors at taxpayers... Read More
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Senators want probe of firm that defaulted on FEMA contract

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Seven senators are urging the internal government watchdog at the Department of Homeland Security to investigate how a tiny Florida company won more than $30 million in contracts for desperately needed relief supplies following Hurricane Maria. The Associated Press first reported last month that Bronze Star LLC failed to deliver the emergency tarps and plastic sheeting needed to cover tens of thousands of Puerto Rican homes damaged by the storm’s winds. The Federal Emergency Management Agency eventually termi... Read More
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Doctors identify brain abnormalities in Cuba health attack patients

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Sonic attacks: Hear what Americans heard in Cuba health attacks It sounds sort of like a mass of crickets. But not quite. AP shares recordings of what some U.S. officials heard in Cuba 'health attacks.' WASHINGTON (AP) — Doctors treating the U.S. Embassy victims of mysterious, invisible attacks in Cuba have discovered brain abnormalities as they search for clues to explain the hearing, vision, balance and memory damage, The Associated Press has learned. ... Read More
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Tillerson says diplomatic people were ‘targeted’ in Cuba health attacks

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the United States is convinced that the incidents harming the health of U.S. Embassy workers in Cuba were “targeted attacks.” Tillerson is pushing back on Cuba’s complaints that the U.S. hasn’t shared enough information to let Cuban authorities investigate. He says the U.S. has shared some information but that he’s put two restrictions in place. Tillerson says he won’t share informati... Read More
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House conservatives show openness to bill averting shutdown

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Hard-right House conservatives signaled an openness Wednesday to backing a short-term spending bill this week, raising the odds that Congress will pass the measure and prevent a partial government shutdown on Saturday. “We’ve got to get across the finish line on tax reform,” Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., leader of the House Freedom Caucus, told reporters after the group met privately early Wednesday. “Any distraction from that is a problem.” Asked if a federal shutdown would be a problem, he said, “Of ... Read More
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Leadership determines best agencies to work in, research finds

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Leadership engagement is the number one indicator of the best federal agencies to work in, according to Mallory Barg Bulman, vice president of research and evaluation at the Partnership for Public Service, which Wednesday released its “2017 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government” rankings with Deloitte. “It is really important and critical that leaders listen,” said Bulman, adding that positive changes in agency rankings can often be “directly related to leaders paying attention.” ... Read More
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Senate confirms Trump pick for GSA administrator

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On Tuesday evening, the Senate unanimously confirmed Emily Murphy to head up the General Services Administration, a position which hasn’t had a confirmed official since Denise Turner Roth left the post in January 2017. “It’s truly an honor and a privilege to receive the Senate’s support for my nomination to serve as administrator of GSA,” said Murphy. “I look forward to working with our partners in industry, customer agencies, and Congress so that GSA can continue to fulfill its mission of providing the best value in r... Read More
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Senate confirms Nielsen to head Homeland Security

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WASHINGTON — The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Deputy White House chief of staff Kirstjen Nielsen as President Donald Trump’s choice to lead the Department of Homeland Security. Senators approved Nielsen’s nomination, 62-37, on Tuesday. Nielsen, 45, is a former DHS official who is considered a protege of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, a former DHS secretary. Senate Majority Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called Nielsen a qualifi... Read More
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Tribes: Trump’s monument order disrespects native people

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SALT LAKE CITY — President Donald Trump’s rare move to shrink two large national monuments in Utah triggered another round of outrage among Native American leaders who vowed to take the fight to court to preserve protections for land they consider sacred. Environmental and conservation groups and a coalition of tribes began filing lawsuits Monday that ensure that Trump’s announcement is far from the final chapter in the years-long battle over public lands. The court cases are likely to drag on for years, maybe even into a ne... Read More
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Rep. John Conyers announces retirement amid sexual misconduct allegations

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Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., announced his retirement from office Dec. 5 while speaking on the Mildred Gaddis Show, a Detroit-based radio program. “I am retiring today, and I want everyone to know how much I appreciate the support, the incredible undiminished support I have received across the years from my supporters, not only in my district but across the country as well,” said Conyers. “I am in the process of putting my retirement plans together and I will have more about that very soon.” ... Read More
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Senate panel approves Jerome Powell as Fed chairman

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WASHINGTON — The Senate Banking Committee has given approval to President Donald Trump’s selection of Jerome Powell to be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve. Powell won the support of everyone on the committee except Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts. She cast the lone no vote saying she could not support Powell because of her concerns that he would join in efforts by the Trump administration to unravel the Dodd-Frank Act passed in 2010 to strengthen regulation of the nation’s banking sector. ... Read More
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CBO: Trump military buildup would cost taxpayers an extra $683 billion

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WASHINGTON — The military buildup President Donald Trump has called for would cost $683 billion more over the next decade than current plans, according to a new analysis by the Congressional Budget Office. To achieve the buildup, the base budget would have to reach $688 billion by 2027, more than 20 percent larger than peak defense spending spending during the 1980s, CBO said in a r... Read More
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Trump takes rare step to reduce 2 national monuments in Utah

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SALT LAKE CITY — President Donald Trump on Monday took the rare step of scaling back two sprawling national monuments in Utah, declaring that “public lands will once again be for public use” in a move cheered by Republican leaders who lobbied him to undo protections they considered overly broad. The decision marks the first time in a half century that a president has undone these types of land protections. Tribal and environmental groups oppose the decision and are expected to go to court in a bid to stop Trump and Interior ... Read More
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GAO: More can be done to increase minority representation in tech

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Government agencies responsible for the enforcement of workforce diversity require improvements to more effectively push for minority representation in the tech sector, according to a recent Government Accountability Office report. “Both the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) have taken steps to enforce equal employment and affirmative action requirements in the technology sector, but face limitations,” the report said. ... Read More
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Trump arrives in Utah to announce scaling back of monuments

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SALT LAKE CITY — President Donald Trump arrived in Utah on Monday to announce that he is scaling back two sprawling national monuments, a move that is welcomed by the state’s top Republican officials but opposed by tribes and environmental groups. Trump traveled west to announce his intention to shrink the Bears Ears and the Grand-Staircase Escalante national monuments. Both were among a group of 27 monuments that Trump ordered Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review earlier in the year in response to what the Republican presi... Read More
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Trump complains about ‘very unfair’ treatment of Flynn

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WASHINGTON — Lobbing new criticism at the special counsel’s Russia investigation, President Donald Trump said Monday he feels “very badly” for former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who last week pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about reaching out to the Russians on the president’s behalf. “I think it’s a shame,” Trump said of Flynn’s situation, adding that it’s “very unfair” and that Flynn had “led a very strong life.” ... Read More
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Trump suggests openness to negotiations on GOP tax plan

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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump suggested Saturday he may be willing to negotiate changes to a significant portion of the tax overhaul, the corporate tax rate, injecting an element of uncertainty into the tax plan only hours after it cleared the Senate. Trump told reporters at the White House before a trip to New York City that he would consider setting the corporate tax rate at 22 percent, compared to a 20 percent rate that he has pushed for with House and Senate Republicans during the fall. ... Read More
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Highlights of Senate, House GOP bills to overhaul tax code

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The Senate and the House seek to achieve a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s tax code but go about it in different ways. With the Senate bill passed Saturday and the House bill passed two weeks ago, congressional Republicans now will work quickly on a compromise measure to send to President Donald Trump by Christmas. A comparison of the Senate and House bills, each coming in at nearly $1.5 trillion: — Personal income tax rates: S... Read More
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Tax bill clears Senate in big boost for Trump, GOP

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WASHINGTON — Republicans muscled the largest tax overhaul in 30 years through the Senate early Saturday, taking a big step toward giving President Donald Trump his first major legislative triumph after months of false starts and frustration on other fronts. “Just what the country needs to get growing again,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in an interview after a final burst of negotiation closed in on a nearly $1.5 trillion package that impacts the breadth of American society. ... Read More
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Trump to scale back 2 national monuments in trip to Utah

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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump plans to scale back two sprawling national monuments in Utah, responding to what he has condemned as a “massive federal land grab” and an important move for “state’s rights.” Trump is traveling to Salt Lake City on Monday to outline his intention to shrink the Bears Ears and the Grand-Staircase Escalante national monuments spanning millions of acres in Utah. The two national monuments were among 27 that Trump ordered Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review earlier this year. ... Read More
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Former NSA employee kept top secret information at home

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WASHINGTON — A former National Security Agency employee pleaded guilty Friday to keeping top secret U.S. defense material at his home — the latest in a series of breaches involving workers at the nation’s largest spy shop. Nghia Hoang Pho, 67, of Ellicott City, Maryland, pleaded guilty to willful retention of national defense information, according to federal law enforcement officials. The guilty plea said that between 2010 and... Read More
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Former Trump adviser Flynn pleads guilty, is cooperating in Trump campaign probe

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WASHINGTON — Michael Flynn, the retired general who campaigned at Donald Trump’s side and then served as his first national security adviser, pleaded guilty Friday to lying to the FBI about reaching out to the Russians on Trump’s behalf and said members of the president’s inner circle were intimately involved with — and at times directing — his contacts. Flynn’s plea to a single felony count of false statements made him the first official of the Trump White House to admit guilt so far in a wide-ranging criminal inves... Read More
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Quarterly cyber briefings part of maturing Cyber Command

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As Cyber Command continues to grow in capacity and capability so too does congressional oversight. Not only is the command itself relatively young, but the notion of cyber operations and the international legal framework behind them are also nascent. “When it comes to oversight, I think it’s important from the policy maker’s perspective particular for members of Congress that have been in office for quite some time, we n... Read More
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Postal regulators move to let stamp prices jump higher

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WASHINGTON — Seeking to bolster the ailing U.S. Postal Service, federal regulators moved on Friday to allow bigger jumps to stamp prices beyond the rate of inflation, a move that could eventually add millions more dollars to companies’ shipping rates and consumer costs. The Postal Regulatory Commission announced the decision as part of a much-anticipated, 10-year review of the Postal Service’s stamp rates. It concluded that the post office’s mounting red ink from declining mail volume and costs from its pension and health ... Read More
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Chinese drone maker denies giving data to government

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BEIJING — The Chinese company that is the world’s biggest maker of commercial drones is denying claims in a U.S. government document circulated online that it gives Beijing information about American law enforcement and utility companies. DJI Ltd. denied suggestions in the document, posted on technology news websites, that it shared information about U.S. utility companies and other “critical infrastructure” with the Chinese government. A company statement said it doesn’t look at flight logs, photos or video “unless cu... Read More
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Hacking Congressional culture: technologists take aim at legislative problems

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The turnout for and participation in the third Congressional Hackathon reveals a growing community and culture committed to improving the legislative process through technology, according to event attendees and organizers. “Each hackathon we’ve had has grown in attendance and it’s [including] a lot of the same people,” said Steve Dwyer, senior adviser to Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and one of the organizers of the hackathon, held November 30. “It’s really about the community that the hackathon has helped foster, the commu... Read More
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Small business fraud could mean big fine for government contractor

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WASHINGTON — A Tennessee contractor faces a $5 million fine for trying to steal $580,000 from both the government and a small business. Milton Cleve Collins has entered a plea deal following an indictment on one count of major fraud against the United States. Collins had supposedly attempted to defraud the U.S. government, specifically the General Services Administrati... Read More
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House votes to extend federal employee probationary period

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Thursday afternoon the House of Representatives passed a bill that would extend the probationary period for members of the senior executive service from one year to two years and require a probationary period of at least two years for most members of the civil service. The probationary periods allow federal managers the time to decide if an employee meets expectations for their position before they receive the protections of full-employee status. According to bill sponsor Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., training requirements for more com... Read More
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Former Trump adviser Flynn pleads guilty to lying to FBI

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, pleaded guilty Friday to lying to the FBI, becoming the first Trump White House official to face criminal charges and admit guilt so far in the wide-ranging election investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller. Flynn also agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s probe, which focuses on Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible coordination between Russia and Trump’s team in the campaign that sent the Republican businessman to... Read More
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The changing cybersecurity market [Live]

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About Aaron BoydAaron Boyd is an awarding-winning journalist currently serving as editor of Federal Times — a Washington, D.C. institution covering federal workforce and contracting for more than 50 years — and Fifth Domain — a news and information hub focused on cybersecurity and cyberwar from a civilian, military and international perspective. ... Read More
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Trump weighs plan to replace Tillerson with CIA’s Pompeo

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is discussing a plan to oust Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and replace him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo in a major shake-up of President Donald Trump’s national security team, administration officials said Thursday. The move would put Pompeo, a former congressman who has grown close to Trump during his tenure atop the CIA, in charge of U.S. diplomacy. Tillerson, the former Exxon Mobil CEO, has had a rough first year characterized by tensions with Trump in several foreign policy areas and o... Read More
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Are U.S. leaders dropping the ball on cybersecurity?

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The presumed Russian cyber campaigns designed to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election is just the beginning of a relatively new type of cyber-borne threat lawmakers and officials must contend with. To deal with it, U.S. leaders must establish new ways of boosting security – but the onus may largely fall on agencies and citizens, according to one congressman. “It was distressing to me when Attorney General [Jeff] sessions came into the Judiciary Committee the other day and he could not name the person in the Department... Read More
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White House: ‘We are not anticipating a shutdown’

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says it does not anticipate the government will be forced to shut down at midnight on Dec. 8. Government funding expires that day and an extension is needed to keep the government operating. President Donald Trump and Congress’ top Republican and Democratic leaders were to discuss spending Tuesday, but the Democrats — Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi — backed out after Trump criticized them on Twitter. ... Read More
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Number of Items Identified: 5
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1panelist0.7person, people, panelist
2people0.7
3person0.811

CyberCon 2017: Beyond Cybersecurity [Gallery]

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CyberCon 2017: Beyond Cybersecurity 1 of 12 ... Read More
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House to vote Thursday on bill extending federal employee probationary period

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Thursday afternoon the House of Representatives will vote on a bill that would extend the probationary period for members of the senior executive service from one year to two years and require a probationary period of at least two years for most members of the civil service. The probationary periods allow federal managers the time to decide if an employee meets expectations for their position before they receive the protections of full-employee status. According to bill sponsor Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., training requirements for mo... Read More
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FBI deviated from its policy on alerting hacking victims

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI deviated from its own policy to notify victims of computer hacking when it left U.S. officials and other Americans in the dark about Kremlin-aligned attempts to break into their personal Gmail accounts, The Associated Press has learned. FBI policy calls for notifying victims, whether individuals or groups, to help thwart both ongoin... Read More
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What Cyber Command learned from ISIS operations

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When Ash Carter, then the secretary of defense, tasked Cyber Command to turn its skill set against the Islamic State group, it was billed as the young command’s first true test. Since then, Cyber Command leaders learned how to better employ cyber capabilities, Brig. Gen. Timothy Haugh, director of intelligence at Cyber Command, said during a panel at CyberCon hosted by Federal Times in Arlington, Va., Nov. 28. Chief among those les... Read More
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Pentagon watchdog: DoD remains vulnerable to insider threats

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WASHINGTON — Four years after the high-profile leaks by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, the Pentagon’s efforts to defend against insider threats remain insufficient, according to a report by the Defense Department’s Office of Inspector General. The ability of employees or government contractors to steal and disseminate troves of classi... Read More
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Judge sides with Trump’s pick to take over consumer agency

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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump scored a victory Tuesday when a federal judge refused to block the president’s choice to temporarily run the nation’s top consumer financial watchdog and, for the moment, ended a two-way battle for leadership of the agency. Judge Timothy Kelly declined to stop the Republican president from putting Mick Mulvaney in place as the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In doing so, Kelly ruled against Leandra English, the bureau’s deputy director, who had requested an e... Read More
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A digital migraine? How the Americas can step up cybersecurity strategies

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WASHINGTON — Making a cybersecurity policy for just one nation is difficult. Developing a joint agreement between two nations on digital issues represents a raging headache. Finding common ground about 33 nations? That’s essentially impossible. And yet, according to Brig. Gen. S.M. Lacroix, a Canadian officer serving as director general of the Secretariat of the Inter-American Defense Board, some sort of unified cybersecurity agreement among the countries in the Americas needs to be reached in the future. ... Read More
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4 traits government agencies are looking for in cyber workers

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Courage. Creativity. Agility. Resilience. Those are the characteristics that a panel of federal and industry representatives said they value in hiring cyber workers during the CyberCon 2017 conference held Nov. 28. Finding and training workers versed in cybersecurity has long been sticking point for federal agencies. According to an April 2017 report from the Government Accountability Office, the federal government needs to hire ... Read More
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Judge rules in favor of Trump over fate of consumer watchdog

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WASHINGTON — A federal judge ruled in favor of President Trump on Tuesday in his effort to appoint an acting head of the nation’s top financial watchdog agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In a ruling from the bench, Judge Timothy Kelly declined to stop on an emergency basis the president from putting in place Mick Mulvaney, currently the White House’s budget director, as the acting director of the CFPB. In doing so, Kelly ruled against Leandra English, the CFPB’s deputy director, who had requested an emergen... Read More
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4 traits government agencies are looking for in cyberworkers

In Business, Education, Government, Security by Federal TimesLeave a Comment

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Courage. Creativity. Agility. Resilience. Those are the characteristics that a panel of federal and industry representatives said they value in hiring cyberworkers during the CyberCon 2017 conference held Nov. 28. Finding and training workers versed in cybersecurity has long been sticking point for federal agencies. According to an April 2017 report from the Government Accountability Office, the federal government needs to hire ... Read More
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Despite growing interest in cyber, nations have many competing priorities

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Sometimes military priorities can run afoul of creating stable global norms, especially in cyberspace. However, as one Canadian general asserted, collectively ensuring a better cybersecurity ecosystem is mutually beneficial to all. Addressing CyberCon 2017 — hosted by Federal Times Nov. 28 in Arlington, Virginia — Brig. Gen. S.M. Lacroix, director general of the Secretariat of the Inter-American Defense Board, noted that collectively ensuring a better cybersecurity ecosystem abroad, and in his case the Americas, makes the U.S.... Read More
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3 ways Congress can help boost cybersecurity

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In the wake of multiple high-profile security breaches that have impacted huge swaths of the American public, lawmakers are still trying to figure out how to legislate cybersecurity. While meaningful legislation may not be in the immediate future, at least one congressman believes there are ways lawmakers can improve cybersecurity, particularly in the civilian federal government. The first: Institute a serious stress test for t... Read More
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CFC givers have many military-friendly options. One expert suggests playing the long game

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The reasons donors choose charities to receive their contributions are as numerous as the donors themselves. It could be as simple as a service member or veteran seeking to support the military community, a donor who lost a loved one to disease helping others dealing with the same illness, or an animal lover finding a pet-friendly cause. Donors should “take a look at those traditional charities that have been here for the long haul that really do provide programs that recognize military service, recognize veterans’ service,... Read More