OIG and 18F Spar Over Security

The General Services Administration’s (GSA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) claimed in a new report issued today that 18F, the agency’s digital startup, “routinely disregarded and circumvented fundamental security policies and guidelines.” The OIG took issue with the outfit’s use of unapproved software, such as the social media tool Hootsuite. But 18F staffers were unconvinced by the charges. This, from Nextgov: “An 18F staffer who requested anonymity to discuss the report freely told Nextgov the inspector general had not uncovered any genuine security vulnerabilities in 18F systems or processes, only failures to strictly adhere to government procedures.”

Can the President Bring Competition to the F-35?

Ben Watson and Marcus Weisgerber of Defense One look at whether Boeing’s Super Hornet striker is comparable enough to Lockheed Martin’s F-35C striker to “steal” orders away from the latter. President Donald Trump had previously stated that he was interested in exploring whether the Super Hornet could compete with the F-35 to help drive costs down, and earlier this week it was reported that Boeing’s CEO was on the phone when the then-president-elect spoke with the director of the Air Force’s F-35 program. “With more than $300 billion on the line, it promises to be the biggest deal of Trump’s life—and a defining signal of American military power in the decades to come,” write the reporters.

Secretary of Defense Seeks to Streamline Acquisition Function

Secretary of Defense James Mattis issued two memos Friday to Deputy Secretary Bob Work aimed at streamlining the Pentagon’s business functions. In the first memo, Mattis asked for a plan to centralize some of the processes that are now handled individually by the military branches. And in a second memo, he asked Work to develop a plan to replace the existing position of undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics with two new positions: undersecretary of Defense for research and engineering and undersecretary of Defense for acquisition and support. That request follows legislative language in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act.

Strange Case of Alleged Corruption in New Mexico

Television station KRQE reports on allege impropriety in an Arizona state agency called the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR). The agency awarded the husband of a supervisor a contract to do veteran outreach, though he continued to receive funds even after not meeting the contract’s requirements. A DVR attorney was allegedly “sent home on paid leave” after she refused to continue signing for the contracts.

What’s Ahead for Federal Telecommunications?

Writing on the General Services Administration’s (GSA) tech blog, Amando E. Gavino, Jr., director of the Office of Telecommunications Services, writes that making awards for the new Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) telecom contract is his organization’s top priority for 2017. The post looks back at his office’s efforts in 2016, and also highlights other priorities for this year, including standardizing wireless service plans to increase savings, and the launch of a new launch a new Commercial Satellite Custom Commercial SATCOM Solutions (CS3) contract.

Contractor Pleads Guilty to Kickback Charges

George Grassie, the owner of a construction company who worked on projects at two military bases, has admitted to paying bribes and kickbacks to an individual employed by the U.S. Army Contracting Command in New Jersey. Grassie paid just under $400,000 to obtain and retain subcontracts for work at the bases. He also paid kickbacks to a prime contractor.

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