News in Brief

FirstNet shuffles execs, USIS forfeits $30M, DOD eyes Ashley Madison and more

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FirstNet names new execs, board

The First Responder Network Authority added two new members to its board of directors and renewed the terms of two more.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker and Kevin McInnis, CEO North East Mobile Health Services, reupped for another term on the board of FirstNet, the Commerce Department component that is charged with building a nationwide, interoperable public safety network in the LTE band. Joining the board are New York-based venture capitalist Edward Horowitz and telecommunications industry veteran Neil Cox, currently CEO of Repio Inc.

The appointments cap off a busy week for FirstNet. The agency appointed Michael Poth to serve in the newly created CEO post. Poth has a background in law enforcement, and also served in leadership positions at Hewlett Packard and Northrop Grumman. Acting Executive Director TJ Kennedy was tapped to serve as the agency's new president.

Additionally, the board approved a $126 million budget for fiscal year 2016, for acquisition, spectrum relocation, and consultation. FirstNet is in the process of finalizing a request for proposals for its network, which involves combining existing mobile broadband and backhaul assets, and building new infrastructure. The effort is funded out of recent and upcoming spectrum sales by the Federal Communications Commission -- to the tune of about $7 billion.

USIS reaches $30M settlement with Justice Department

U.S. Investigations Services, the contractor that once conducted the bulk of background checks for the Office of Personnel Management, has reached a settlement with the Justice Department regarding False Claims Act allegations. Washington Technology reports that USIS and its parent company, Altegrity, "are giving up their right to collect payments that they claim are owed the company" by OPM.

USIS conducted the background checks on Edward Snowden, and on Aaron Alexis, the contractor who killed 13 people at the Navy Yard in 2013. (The False Claims Act allegations included charges the company was passing on incomplete background investigations to the government that USIS knew were not complete.) When the firm's networks were breached in 2014, OPM terminated its contract.

USMC networking project recognized

The Marine Corps' acquisition command this week recognized a handful of Marines for their work on acquisition projects. Among the honorees was Maj. Keith Kovats, for his work on a $140-million program known as Networking On The Move, a program that develops command and control capabilities via satellite communications and terrestrial data links.

Carter: DOD investigating Ashley Madison registrants

The military services are investigating reports that a large number of .mil addresses were registered on a website for adulterers that was hacked, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said.

This week, hackers who breached the Ashley Madison site dumped 35 GB of data onto the dark web. Of the personal accounts exposed, more than 15,000 used a .gov or .mil email address, according to one report. Ashley Madison did not verify email addresses, so users could use bogus addresses to sign up, according to several news reports.

"Of course it's an issue because conduct is very important and we expect good conduct on the part of our people," Carter said Aug. 20 at a Pentagon press briefing.

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