Some Coast Guard annual mission performance goals are "virtually impossible" to meet given the service's declining budget, a high-ranking Coast Guard official told a House panel. The metrics for those goals--which measure program performance, such as the interdiction rate of drugs or migrants--were "made on an assumption that you were funded at a higher level," said Vice Adm. John Currier. He testified before a Dec. 11 hearing of the House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee on the Coast Guard and maritime transportation.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius extolled an improved healthcare.gov website, citing a "relentless" effort to have it function smoothly for users before a Wednesday House panel.
For the first time, the Homeland Security Department has achieved a clean audit opinion on all its financial statements, the department announced Dec. 12.
The nomination of Alejandro Mayorkas for deputy secretary of the Homeland Security Department advanced to the full Senate after a party-line vote Dec. 11 in the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. The committee's Republicans all voted "present" and had boycotted the confirmation hearing held in July for Mayorkas, currently the head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
The Energy Department had a number of early warning signs that personnel-related systems were at risk, but failed to correct cyber vulnerabilities that led to a major breach of its Management Information System--allowing access to the DOE Employee Data Repository database, finds a Dec. 6 office of inspector general report.
The use of reverse auctions by agencies is on the rise, but the Government Accountability office is concerned that many agencies simply aren't aware of the fees they're paying to use auction tools, said Michelle Mackin, GAO's director of acquisition and sourcing management.
The legal justification for intelligence community storage of bulk telephone metadata rests heavily on a 1979 court case, a Justice Department official acknowledged to a Senate panel Wednesday--a case that one Supreme Court justice has said may require revisiting in light of technological developments. The case in question is Smith v. Maryland, in which the court majority held that records of dialed telephone numbers don't have Fourth Amendment protection.
The Veterans Affairs Department disability backlog the of about 400,000 benefits claims will continue to drop in 2014 and should be eliminated in 2015, a VA official told the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Wednesday. But to meet that goal, the VA will need adequate funding in the fiscal 2014 for IT programs and to help pay about 20 hours of overtime per month for employees that process claims, VA Undersecretary for Benefits Allison Hickey said.
Old courthouses that could be used as federal offices stand in disrepair even as the General Services Administration pitches Congress for new courthouses, a recently released Nov. 7 Government Accountability office report shows. Renovations for old courthouses frequently aren't included in GSA proposals for the new courthouses that replace them, even though most need renovations to continue being used, GAO says.
The need to test complex software will push the Federal Communications Commission's incentive auction back to mid-2015, said Gary Epstein, the chair of the commission's Incentive Auction Task Force.