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FCW Insider: March 17

As agencies activate their coronavirus response, many are looking to offer telework flexibilities for all employees regardless of previous eligibility. But feds are still getting confusing guidance in the absence of central authority. Lia Russell reports.

The Defense Department's networks have been overtaxed since expanding telework to minimize coronavirus at defense agencies. Lauren C. Williams explains what steps tech officials are taking to relieve the stress.

House Democrats are asking President Donald Trump to invoke emergency contracting authority in a 1950 law to help the government obtain needed medical equipment in the coronavirus response. Mark Rockwell has more.

Steve Kelman reports on the internally driven innovation taking place in the Air Force's BESPIN program.

It's unclear whether emergency measures to stem coronavirus' spread will affect the Pentagon's roll out of its unified cybersecurity standard, but mitigation efforts will likely rely on teleconferencing for training. Lauren takes a look.

Quick Hits

*** The Defense Department tapped William Lietzau to be the director of the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency. Lietzau replaces Charles Phalen, who was the acting director for the agency since July 2019 and helped transfer the National Background Investigations Bureau from OPM to DOD in October. Lietzau has an extensive DOD career and was most recently the director for the office for personnel vetting transformation, which oversaw NBIB's shift. Lietzau was also the point for detainee policy under the Obama administration, resigning from that post in 2013.

*** The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received three new nominations on March 16 that would allow the agency to continue operating at full capacity if confirmed before July 2020.

The nominees are Jocelyn Samuels, Keith Sonderling and Andrea Lucas. An EEOC spokesperson told FCW in January that Victoria Lipnic, a current EEOC Commissioner, would not seek reelection once her term expires in July 2020, leaving a potential third vacancy.

*** Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar acknowledged that agency networks and websites were under attack in the past 24 hours, but said that attackers didn't make it inside.

"We had no degradation of the functioning of our networks. We had no limitation of our capacity for people to telework. We've taken very strong defensive actions," Azar said at a Monday White House briefing. "The source of this enhanced activity remains under investigation, so I wouldn't want to speculate on the source of it. But there was no data breach or no degradation in terms of our ability to function and serve our important mission here."

Posted on Mar 17, 2020 at 2:08 AM


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