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FCW Insider: Aug. 16

The Department of Defense says it is getting closer to surviving a financial audit, after failing its first ever audit last year. Lauren C. Williams caught up with a handful of senior financial officials from the Pentagon and the military services at an accounting conference this week and found out what's going to be different this time around and how robotics process automation is easing the way.

An extended hiring freeze at the Department of State -- lasting 13 months after a governmentwide freeze was relaxed -- delayed key cybersecurity initiatives and placed highly classified information at risk, according to a watchdog report. Adam Mazmanian has more.

Surveillance authorities under Section 215 of the Patriot Act are set to expire. Privacy hawks on Capitol Hill including Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) are looking for a permanent rollback of the powers while the intelligence community is seeking renewal and restoration. Derek B. Johnson takes a look at how the debate will play out in the coming months.

In the era of big data, comprehensive CX programs are recommended for any enterprise to understand every aspect of customer interaction and perception, writes DMI's Allison Mataya in a FCW commentary. Though much has changed, Mataya says that old adage that "the customer is always right" endures.

Quick Hits

*** The American Federation of Government Employees is suing for an injunction against enforcement of guidance from the Office of Special Counsel that cautioned federal employees that advocating for the impeachment of President Donald Trump or the use or display of terms like "resist" and "resistance" in the workplace constitutes political speech under the Hatch Act.

"AFGE's members include federal employees whose speech has been prohibited or chilled by the Office of Special Counsel’s guidance relating to advocacy for or against impeachment and to use of the term “#Resist” and variations thereof," the complaint states. So far the Office of Special Counsel hasn't responded to the complaint.

*** The House Homeland Security Committee issued a subpoena to compel the testimony of James Watkins, the owner of the 8chan website that is linked to online extremism and violence. Watkins is a U.S. citizen living in the Philippines.

"At least three acts of deadly white supremacist extremist violence have been linked to 8chan in the last six months," said committee chairman and ranking member Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) in a joint statement. "We have questions on what is being done to counter this trend so we can be sure it is being properly addressed. Receiving testimony from Mr. Watkins is critical to our oversight on this matter."

*** The General Services Administration announced plans to retire the FedBizOpps government contracting website on Nov. 8. Procurement announcements and information will be hosted on beta.SAM.gov, the new home for the System of Award Management.

Posted on Aug 16, 2019 at 2:23 AM


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