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FCW Insider: Sept. 25

Federal employee unions heard from leaders and members of Congress including Speaker Nancy Pelosi as they rallied in opposition to proposed changes to federal workforce rules. Lia Russell reports from Capitol Hill.

The Department of Homeland Security's information security practices have gone from good to better, according to a new inspector general audit. Derek B. Johnson has more.

The U.S. government has flagged concerns about Huawei's China state ownership as a threat to the emerging 5G infrastructure. A group of former DHS officials are looking to tap the brakes on Huawei's 5G dominance and push open standards for 5G gear. Mark Rockwell explains.

The U.S. Digital Service takes the temperature of acquisition culture as part of its digital transformation model. Lia looks at how USDS is rethinking acquisition with the end user in mind.

Quick Hits

*** The United States and 26 other nations released a statement underscoring their joint commitment to an international framework for state behavior in cyberspace. The countries backed high-level principles for a framework that "supports the international rules-based order, affirms the applicability of international law to state-on-state behavior, adherence to voluntary norms of responsible state behavior in peacetime, and the development and implementation of practical confidence building measures to help reduce the risk of conflict stemming from cyber incidents."

*** The Army expects to release its modernization strategy as early as October. Lt. Gen. Eric Wesley, the deputy commanding general for Army Futures Command, said during a Brookings Institution event Sept. 24 that senior leaders were finishing up the strategy, which is slated to release its modernization strategy in October and no later than the end of the year. The Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference starts Oct. 14 -- a likely venue for a modernization strategy announcement. In 2017, the Army announced it was standing up Army Futures Command to head modernization efforts.

*** Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), the House Armed Services Committee’s ranking member, urged the Department of Defense in a Sept. 24 news release to produce a status report on how it will find a way to slash the Fourth Estate’s costs by 25%.

The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act mandates the DOD chief management officer submit cost savings for fiscal 2020 by Jan. 1, 2020. Justification that such cuts would "create inefficiencies" is due Oct. 1, according to the legislation. Defense Secretary Mark Esper recently signaled that a cost-cutting Fourth Estate review was underway. Thornberry said the Oct. 1 deadline was meant to give DOD enough time to warn Congress of "potential unintended consequences" of such a review but expressed some doubts in the organization’s ability to execute.

"As I have said before, I am not confident that the Pentagon's initial reform plan is sufficient to find 25% cost savings across these operations," he said. "If they miss the deadline, I will assume that they are on track to achieve the required savings by the end of this year."

***A bipartisan group of lawmakers on the House Energy and Commerce Committee introduced new legislation that would restrict the use of federal funds to purchase communications equipment or services that pose a national security risk. The bill tasks the Federal Communications Commission with publishing a list of equipment or service providers that could constitute a national security risk and creating subsidy programs for alternative equipment. It would also establish a program to help small communications providers rip out prohibited telecom gear.

Posted on Sep 25, 2019 at 2:07 AM


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