Darwin McDaniel

Army to Award Contracts for Future Simulator, VR Training Systems

The U.S. Army will award contracts to support the testing and development of a new set of simulators and virtual reality-based training systems this summer, Army Times reported Monday. Service officials aim to bring advanced simulators to four to five installations over the next two years and to begin fielding the training systems at all major Army facilities in mid-2020s.

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Navy Acquisition Lead Details Plans to Accelerate Modernization

The U.S. Navy’s top acquisition official wants to speed up the acquisition process, lower costs, new talent and industry partnerships to support the service’s modernization efforts, Defense News reported Monday. James Geurts, assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition, is fixing the service’s slow acquisition system.

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Report: Poor Contract Handling Leads EPA to Pay ‘Unallowable’ Fees

A new watchdog report shows the Environmental Protection Agency overpaid contractors in a $100 million information technology contract due to poor contract management controls. The audit issued Monday by EPA’s office of inspector general reviewed 11 of 64 invoices released between March 2018 and February 2019 through a single task order under the contract with SRA International. The IG said it received a complaint about EPA’s invoices and payments. 

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Air Force Working on New Guidelines to Expand Personnel Promotions

The U.S. Air Force plans to implement a new promotion system to enable space, nuclear missiles and cybersecurity personnel to take on higher positions across the service, Space News reported Thursday. The promotion system will designate officers in the categories of air operations and special warfare, nuclear and missile operations, space operations, information warfare, combat support and force modernization. To date, only Air Force lawyers, chaplains and medical professional can compete for promotions within their categories. 

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House Issues $74B FY20 Funding Bill for Commerce, DOJ, NASA

The House Appropriations Committee released the draft funding bill for NASA and the departments of Commerce and Justice for fiscal year 2020, which would support the initiatives to combat crimes, create jobs, improve U.S. infrastructure and to fight climate change. The Commerce, Justice and Science funding bill issued Thursday would provide $73.9 billion to the agencies, nearly $10 billion higher than the FY19 budget.

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VA Boosts Efforts to Implement Forever GI Bill

The Department of Veterans Affairs said that it's on track to meet the new deadline to implement the Forever GI Bill to expand education benefits for veterans, service members and their families, Federal News Network reported Wednesday. Initially, VA intended to begin processing education as well as housing benefits under the law in August. However, the agency adjusted the schedule to Dec. 1, 2019 to secure contracting support and resources.

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GAO: Agencies Awarded Hundreds of Contracts to Companies with Tax Issues

The Government Accountability Office found that some agencies have “inappropriately” awarded more than 1,800 contracts to companies with unreported tax debts. GAO said Wednesday that the Army, Navy and the departments of Energy, Health and Human Services and Veterans Affairs made potential violations of federal regulations between 2015 and 2016 when they worked with contractors with delinquent debts and penalties for noncompliance with tax laws. 

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Pentagon Announces Plan for NSA, CYBERCOM Shared Operations

The Department of Defense said the department hasn't assessed the proposed separation of the U.S. Cyber Command and the National Security Agency, which shares leadership, infrastructure and talent, Fifth Domain reported Wednesday. “No decision has been made on whether to terminate the dual-hat leadership arrangement,” said Pentagon spokeswoman Elissa Smith. “The department will address whether to terminate this dual-hat leadership arrangement at a later date.”

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Americans Remain Satisfied With Postal Service

The U.S. Postal Service took the top spot in a new poll by analytics and advisory firm Gallup that ranked the federal agencies based on the satisfaction of Americans. USPS received the highest rating, with 74 percent of respondents saying the agency is doing an "excellent" or "good" job, Gallup said Monday. The agency also ranked first place in 2014, 2017 and 2018. 

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Hanscom AFB Teams Build New Tools to Improve F-35 Maintenance

Software developers from Hanscom Air Force Base in Massachusetts traveled to Nellis AFB in Nevada to introduce new apps to help airmen speed up maintenance of the service’s new F-35 Lightning II aircraft. Maintainers at Nellis AFB explored the new Autonomous Logistics Information System that tracks scheduled and unscheduled maintenance issues on specific aircraft and an entire fleet, the Air Force said Tuesday

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