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FCW Insider: July 15

The Department of Defense prevailed in a lawsuit seeking to block its $10 billion, 10-year Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud contract. Amazon Web Services and Microsoft are finalists for the award. DOD is expected to make a choice by the end of August. Oracle sued DOD alleging the requirements were tilted in favor of AWS, in part because several highly placed DOD employees with ties to Amazon worked on the procurement. Adam Mazmanian has the story.

A House panel grilled energy regulators about the presence of Huawei and ZTE gear in power providers' operations. Officials from the Department of Energy are planning policy directives in the coming months to address the issue of potentially compromised gear in critical infrastructure. Mark Rockwell has more.

Senate lawmakers told Gen. Mark Milley that they were growing impatient with the number of "acting" officials in high office at the Department of Defense. Milley, currently Army Chief of Staff, was nominated to serve as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Lauren C. Williams reports.

House Democrats rallied to pass the 2020 defense authorization bill without any Republican support, building contention over topline spending and other high-profile issues in the coming conference with the Senate version of the defense legislation. Get more from Lauren.

Quick Hits

*** The Trump administration is probing whether the recent Supreme Court decision in Janus vs. AFSCME, which sets a "right to work" policy for public sector employees, has implications for unionized federal employees. The case is complex, but in its essence under the ruling, public sector employees who benefit from unionized contacts but aren't members of the union don't have to pay agency fees to the union underwrite political activity they don't support.

The Office of Personnel Management is asserting, via a Federal Register post from the Federal Labor Relations Authority, that the Janus decision has consequences for existing law on the collection of union dues, specifically with the ability of unionized employees to revoke their assignment of dues.

Federal employee unions were swift to condemn OPM's reading of the decision.

"The Trump administration’s request for the Federal Labor Relations Authority to overturn decades of precedent is part of an all-out assault on federal employees' collective bargaining rights," said J. David Cox Sr., national president of the American Federation of Government Employees. "They are throwing out our contracts, enforcing illegal executive orders, and now trying to make it harder for workers to join and stay in the union. Their ultimate goal is to destroy federal sector unions, and we will do everything in our ability to prevent that from happening."

*** The National Defense Authorization Act passed the House on Friday with two amendments designed to promote greater joint oversight of the electronic health records modernization programs at the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. The amendments outline the authority to be delegated to a joint DOD-VA board being established to help oversee the projects and sets deadlines and milestones for achieving interoperability between DOD and VA systems. Both agencies are in different points in efforts to deploy new systems based on the commercial Cerner Millennium electronic health record.

Posted on Jul 15, 2019 at 2:04 AM


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