FCW Insider: Dec. 12

Today's top news and analysis from FCW's reporters and editors.

The federal government generally looks like a less enjoyable place to work than it did a year ago, and a dearth of effective leadership is a primary culprit, according to the annual Best Places to Work report. Chase Gunter has the story.

According to an internal watchdog, the IRS botched a Linux migration project designed to lower licensing costs and reduce the tax agency's reliance on proprietary IT. An inspector general report blamed poor IT governance and a lack of training on open source processes. Derek B. Johnson reports.

An Oval Office photo op devolved into public squabble as President Donald Trump and top Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer argued on camera about the proposed border wall and pending appropriations bills. Adam Mazmanian writes that the spectacle makes a government shutdown when the current continuing resolution expires on Dec. 21 seem more probable.

The Office of Management and Budget is making sure all agencies develop plans to protect their most sensitive, most valuable cybersecurity assets, and designate an agency-level office or team to secure them. Get more from Chase.

Customs and Border Patrol managed to obligate about $15 million on a $300 million contract for a human resources system that yielded just two new hires in 10 months. Now CBP is taking a second look at the contract, in part at the urging the DHS Office of Inspector General. Mark Rockwell has more.

Quick Hits

*** The complaint in Oracle's lawsuit against the Department of Defense over the $10 billion JEDI cloud procurement was unsealed with some redactions. After losing a pre-award protest with the Government Accountability Office, Oracle took its objections over the single-award Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure to the Court of Federal Claims. As Nick Wakeman reports in Washington Technology, the complaint provides a detailed look into charges that certain aspects of the solicitation, including the structure of the award, are in violation of procurement law. Additionally, the complaint names two former defense officials connected to the JEDI procurement as having conflicts of interest.

*** For the first time in the history of the biannual FITARA grading, no agency's overall score declined from the previous scorecard — 11 agencies improved, 13 stayed flat, and no agency received a failing grade. 

The Departments of Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Labor, State, Veterans Affairs, NASA, as well as the Social Security Administration and U.S. Agency for International Development all improved by a full letter grade. Even the Department of Defense, after being grilled on Capitol Hill in May, improved a full letter grade, but still received only a D-plus.

The areas in which agencies did best were agency CIO authorities, where 17 received an A-range grade, and software licensing, where 18 received As. The assessment where agencies most struggled was the status of agencies' working capital funds, as enabled by the Modernizing Government Technology Act. 

One area agencies where backslid was whether they have a permanent CIO — 20 agencies did in May, compared to 18 this time. 

Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) will chair a hearing of the IT Subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on the FITARA scorecard today. 

*** Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) will serve as ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee in the 116th Congress. Peters replaces outgoing Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill, who lost a reelection bid. Peters isn't new to HSGAC, a key committee for conducting oversight of the Department of Homeland Security as well as the federal workforce, IT and general government operations. Peters is currently ranking member on the Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency subcommittee of HSGAC.

NEXT STORY: FCW Insider: Dec. 11

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