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FCW Insider: Oct. 23

Defense Secretary Mark Esper has recused himself from an ongoing review of the Pentagon's planned $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure procurement because his son worked for one of the program's early bidders. Lauren C. Williams has more on the latest twists and turns of the JEDI saga.

The Senate is moving ahead on a package of funding bills with bipartisan support, but spending levels for homeland security and defense continue to dog lawmakers, with a shutdown still a possibility. Adam Mazmanian reports.

A Government Accountability Office report highlighted security threats to public employees on federal lands. A House hearing dug into the report on Tuesday and found that extremist views on public land control put federal employees at several agencies at risk, and government officials have played a part in heightening the tension. Lia Russell has more.

The Second Chance Act aims to help lower barriers for otherwise eligible federal employment applicants with criminal records. Officials and lawmakers are looking to see how the law will work in real life. Lia explains.

Quick Hits

*** The Merit Systems Protection Board lauded efforts by the Office of Personnel Management to incorporate the opinions of subject matter experts into federal hiring processes in a recent policy document and noted that "culture change" is needed at agencies to make sure that expert voices are heard as candidates are considered for highly skilled roles. MSPB also wants agencies to develop better requirements for federal jobs beyond time in grade and other metrics that don't communicate to applicants the skills needed to successfully perform a particular job.

*** Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) wants every federal employee to have cybersecurity training. His new bill would update federal law governing agency information security to include a requirement that agency heads ensure that feds "have been trained in cyber security and the risks related to internet-connected devices."

*** A bill requiring agencies to improve the energy efficiency of data centers would have a minimal effect on direct spending, according to a Congressional Budget Office review. The Energy Efficient Government Technology Act passed overwhelmingly in the House of Representatives in early September, and a related bill was reported out of committee in the Senate.

The bill also nudges the government to explore best practices for energy savings performance contracts as applied to data centers. Such contracts are often utilized in government for climate control systems and involve a vendor taking on some of the up-front costs of installing new equipment, with the buyer paying on the back end out of realized energy savings. According to CBO, such third-party financing deals are scored as mandatory spending and not as discretionary outlays.

Posted by FCW Staff on Oct 23, 2019 at 2:10 AM


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