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James Murray Appointed Secret Service Director

James Murray, assistant director of the office of protective operations at the U.S. Secret Service, was named director of the federal law enforcement agency. The move will take effect in May. He will succeed Randolph “Tex” Alles, a retired Marine Corps major general who took the helm of the agency in April 2017, the Secret Service said in a statement released Monday.

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VA To Boost Contracting with Service-Disabled and Veteran-Owned Small Businesses

The Department of Veterans Affairs plans to boost contractual partnerships with veteran-owned and service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses. The VA said Monday it aims to provide 17 percent of its contracts to businesses owned by veterans while 15 percent will be allocated to service-disabled veteran-owned businesses in a move to reinforce its contracting goals by five percent.

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NASA Funding Two Additional Space Habitat Research Institutes

NASA will allocate up to $15 million for each of the two new Space Technology Research Institutes to aid studies for sustaining human presence on the Moon and Mars, the agency said on Tuesday. The university-led and multidisciplinary “smart habitat” institutes will support other NASA research initiatives and receive funding from the Space Technology Mission Directorate over a five-year period. 

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U.S. Navy Successfully Completes Developmental Testing of ‘Q-20C Towed Minehunting Sonar

The U.S. Navy concluded developmental tests for a towed sonar designed to track mines underwater. The AN/AQS-20C sonar system detects and categorizes close-tethered, bottom, moored and volume moored mines through the use of electro-optic and acoustic sensory functions, Naval Sea Systems Command said Monday.

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Air Force Lists Six Potential Bases for US Space Command

A U.S. Air Force memorandum named four Colorado bases and two Alabama and California locations as the potential candidates for the U.S. Space Command’s new headquarters, CNN reported Saturday. According to the memo obtained by CNN, the recently established combatant command may be housed at Buckley Air Force Base, Cheyenne Mountain AFB, Peterson AFB or Schriever AFB in Colorado. Other potential locations include Vanderberg AFB in California and the U.S. Army’s Redstone Arsenal in Alabama. 

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IRS Accelerating Contracting Compliance Process With New Automation Tool

The Internal Revenue Service plans to launch by the end of June an automation tool designed to help contracting officers reduce the time spent on a vendor compliance procedure from hours to minutes, Nextgov reported Monday. The IRS started a pilot test of a bot that works to help contracting officers speed up a compliance process - contractor responsibility determination - that screens vendors for red flags such as business prohibitions and past bankruptcies.

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