Two agencies point the finger when it comes to keeping track of tech spending | #firefox | #chrome | #microsoftedge

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A bill requiring federal agencies to come up with a plan to recycle their electric vehicle batteries moves ahead in Congress. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approves the Strategic EV Management Act. The bill requires the General Services Administration and the Office…

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  • A bill requiring federal agencies to come up with a plan to recycle their electric vehicle batteries moves ahead in Congress. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approves the Strategic EV Management Act. The bill requires the General Services Administration and the Office of Management and Budget to come up with a plan for how to recycle old EV batteries, and well as maximize their longevity. The bill’s authors, Senators Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), say 95% of the critical materials in EV batteries can be recycled.
  • A bill advancing in the Senate would ensure Congress gets timely information about cyber threats. The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee passed the Intragovernmental Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act on Wednesday. It would require the Department of Homeland Security to set up a cyber threat sharing arrangements with both the House and Senate. Lawmakers say cyber defenders in Congress often face lengthy delays in getting information about cyber threats from the executive branch.
  • The Office of Personnel Management names a slate of senior leaders to key positions. Out of several new political appointees, OPM names David Padrino as the agency’s first chief transformation officer. As CTO, Padrino will work to implement OPM’s strategic plan, the President’s Management Agenda and other priorities for Director Kiran Ahuja. Padrino previously served as Colorado’s first chief performance officer. OPM also names Dr. Janice Underwood as the agency’s director for diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility. In that role, she will focus on recruiting a more diverse federal workforce. Underwood most recently served as Virginia’s chief diversity officer.
  • President Joe Biden’s permanent pick to run the Veterans Health Administration runs into procedural hurdles. Shereef Elnahal would be the first permanent appointee to lead VHA in more than six years if confirmed. But Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) blocked plans for the Senate to confirm his nomination through unanimous consent. Instead, Scott says he wants a recorded vote on Elnahal’s confirmation. VHA hasn’t had a permanent leader since January 2016 when David Shulkin left the post to become the VA secretary under the Trump administration.
  • Stalled Senate confirmations won’t stop the Department of Veterans Affairs from consolidating its real estate. VA Secretary Denis McDonough tells reporters he’s concerned the Asset and Infrastructure Review (AIR) Commission won’t have enough time to review the agency’s plan to close some medical facilities and build others. The commission doesn’t have any Senate confirmed members. But McDonough says the agency still has to do something about its outdated medical centers. “If the commissioners are not confirmed, then we’ll continue to work this.” The 2018 MISSION Act still requires the VA to conduct four-year reviews of its real-estate needs in each of its health care markets. The American Federation of American Employees is calling on senators not to advance of the commission’s nominees. (Federal News Network)
  • A bill requiring regular updates on agencies’ performance goals makes it one step further. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approves the Federal Performance Accountability Act. The bill tasks the Office of Management and Budget with tracking how much progress agencies are making under their strategic plans. The bill also requires agencies to post more data tracking their progress on Performance.gov. The bill, if passed, would be the first update to the Government Performance and Results Act in more than 10 years. Committee Chairman Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) introduced the bill.
  • GAO, OMB butt heads over cost estimating for projects winning extra funding for IT modernization. The Government Accountability Office wants the Office of Management and Budget to be more explicit in its guidance to agencies for estimating the costs of projects winning money from the Technology Modernization Fund. GAO told House lawmakers yesterday that most of the projects awarded before September 2021 lacked reliable cost estimates. The TMF Program management office says in every kickoff email and package that they send to agencies with new TMF investments they point directly to GAO’s 12 step guide to cost estimation. GAO says more detailed guidance would help ensure the program’s accuracy and success.
  • The use of a “market basket” to determine the price of office supplies, hardware and industrial supplies is coming under scrutiny. The Government Accountability Office sustained a protest by Office Depot on the solicitation requirements developed by GSA for a new blanket purchase agreement. GAO found GSA’s use of a “market basket” did not represent the likely purchases of office supplies and over relied on data about hardware and industrial items. Through this new BPA, GSA is attempting to consolidate the purchase of hardware and industrial supply items, and office supply items for eight Army and Air Force locations across the country.
  • The National Reconnaissance Office awards billions to commercial satellite firms. The NRO awarded major satellite imagery contracts to BlackSky, Maxar and Planet this week. The Electo-Optical Commercial Layer contracts are worth billions of dollars over the next decade. Maxar was previously the sole prime contractor for commercial imaging at NRO. But the growth of the commercial space industry has seen firms like BlackSky and Planet win more contracts from the NRO and other spy agencies.
  • Technology is only as good as the people who use it, says workforce leader Pam Coleman at the Office of Management and Budget. To recruit top talent to federal tech jobs, OMB is honing in on the subject matter expert qualification assessments — or “SME-QA” program. The pilot emphasizes using internal job experts to define and select the best qualified candidates to hire. Coleman says she’s also working with agencies to develop teams and action plans aiming to recruit more early-career employees.
  • Maj. Gen. Stacey Hawkins is appointed as commander of Air Force Materiel Command, the Air Force Sustainment Center, and Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma. In the position, Hawkins will the research, development, testing and acquisition of the service’s weapons systems. Hawkins is currently the director of Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection at Air Combat Command.
  • Balfour Beatty Communities is once again under scrutiny for the way it’s maintaining military housing. Now the Army is getting involved. The Army says it’s opening a probe into recent reports of neglected mold and asbestos issues in military houses owned and operated by Balfour Beatty Communities. The investigation comes after a Senate report found the company was allegedly ignoring repair orders in the last couple years. Balfour pleaded guilty to defrauding the government last year after falsifying work orders between 2013 and 2019. Two Senators are now asking the other military services if they will launch investigations. (Federal News Network)




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