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FCW Insider: Dec. 10

The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act is set to emerge from conference committee with a provision that includes 12 weeks of paid parental leave for civilian federal employees to care for a new child. There are multiple hurdles before parental leave becomes law, but supporters are hopeful it will pass. Lia Russell reports.

President Donald Trump steered the $10-billion cloud computing contract known as JEDI away from frontrunner Amazon Web Services out of political animus against Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, according to the details of a lawsuit. Adam Mazmanian has the story.

Lawmakers are still talking about finalizing appropriations bills with the current stopgap funding measure set to expire Dec. 21. While leaders of both parties say they'll avoid a shutdown, a third FY2020 continuing resolution could be in the cards as members wrangle over funding levels. Adam has more.

The intelligence community's privacy czar said bad data from telecoms irrevocably tainted the contact-chaining process that was at the heart of the National Security Agency's Call Detail Records program. Derek B. Johnson explains.

The Defense Department detailed two more draft plans for proposed 5G testbeds at military bases around the country. Mark Rockwell takes a look.

Quick Hits

*** A group of Democratic senators asked Social Security Administration Commissioner Andrew Saul to restore telework benefits for agency employees. In a Dec. 9 letter led by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), lawmakers said they did not believe that new management prerogatives in the recently inked union contract justify "management's unilateral decision to rescind telework entirely for the 12,000 affected employees." The senators added, "we are concerned that SSA is not providing sufficient time for workers to alter their arrangements to account for this policy change."

*** Regulations.gov, the governmentwide repository for pending regulations and comments, was down for several hours on Dec. 9 because of an expired site certificate. Bloomberg reported that the security certificate, which allows user computers to verify websites, expired on Dec. 8. The Federal Trade Commission announced it was extending the comment deadline on proposed revisions to an online privacy rule by two days because of the outage.

*** The Defense Department isn't convinced that a unified health command with authority over all medical forces across the armed services makes sense right now, according to Thomas McCaffery, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs. The Defense Health Agency, established in 2013 as a support agency, is still in the midst of a consolidation that includes taking over management of medical facilities while also managing the rollout of the $5.3 billion MHS Genesis electronic health record.

At a Dec. 5 hearing of the House Armed Services Committee, McCaffery said there is "unanimity within the department [that] we don't believe this is the time for us to go down that path" given the current pace of change. "Our feeling is it is better to see how does DHA function with their new responsibilities before we were…to talk about you know, would you convert that or change [DHA] into an even larger…command across the Department."

McCaffery said the idea of a unified health command, which Congress asked the Pentagon to explore, is "worthwhile" to examine, "but we want to revisit that in probably the next three to four years once we have some more stability in the system."

Posted by FCW Staff on Dec 10, 2019 at 2:37 AM


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