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FCW Insider: Feb. 28

Got that sneaking suspicion you're being inundated with agile BS? Steve Kelman shares some helpful advice for separating the buzzwords from actual best practices.

Tech modernization not only makes agencies run better, it also helps with getting top IT talent -- at least according to the CIO at the General Services Administration. Mark Rockwell explains.

Staffing challenges at the Department of Homeland Security are exacerbated by legacy IT systems. But the agency's key components saw less attrition from the recent 35-day shutdown than they thought they might get. Chase Gunter reports.

State election officials are supposed to be relying on updated voluntary federal security standards when purchasing new voting machines, but there's a good chance those specs won't be ready for states to employ them ahead of the 2020 vote. Derek B. Johnson has the story.

Quick Hits

*** The White House is looking to rein in federal agencies from going rogue when it comes to dropping budget materials, delivering congressional testimony, rolling out program plans and doing media outreach. A Feb. 26 memo from Russell Vought, acting director at the Office of Management and Budget, reminds agency heads of existing protocols for clearing documents with top officials. Vought's memo makes clear the direction comes from Mick Mulvaney, formerly OMB director and acting White House chief of staff.

The memo outlines various circulars and authorities that require agencies to give OMB a chance to approve budget materials, draft legislation and testimony before their release. "Following these clearance processes is absolutely critical to ensuring that agency actions are consistent with the President's policies and programs," Vought says.

*** Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, is getting impatient with Department of Veterans Affairs leadership over the release of documents relevant to Takano's probe of outside influence on the agency. In a Feb. 25 letter to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie, the chairman complained that the agency hadn't produced material or notified staff in advance that a deadline would be missed. Takano said the missed Feb. 22 deadline reflected "a lack of good faith," and added that, "the Department has stonewalled Congress long enough regarding this matter and others." Takano set a new deadline of March 8 for the requested material.

Posted on Feb 28, 2019 at 1:06 AM


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