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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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NIST Demos Experimental Atomic Clock

The National Institute of Standards and Technology tested a miniature atomic clock designed to tick at optical frequencies. The experimental clock consists of rubidium atoms placed in a vapor cell and two frequency combs that function to link the ticks to low microwave frequencies, NIST said Friday.

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AFRL Launches ARCNet, Autonomy R&D portal

The Air Force Research Laboratory unveiled an electronic system working to accommodate collaborative research and development initiatives for autonomous platforms. The Autonomy Research Collaboration Network is designed to rapidly carry out technology transition processes to further autonomous studies through the use of communication and speed functions, the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base said Friday

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VA Incorporating Customer Experience Principles Into CFR’s Core Values Section

The Department of Veterans Affairs is set to add a set of customer experience principles to the core values and characteristics section of its Code of Federal Regulations, Nextgov reported Friday. “Maintaining a sustained organizational commitment to, and institutionalized focus on, the voice of the customer is a critical component of modernizing VA to meet the needs and expectations of veterans, their families, caregivers and survivors,” according to the final rule scheduled for publication on Federal Register Monday.

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James Stewart: DoD Employs New Recruiting Approaches

James Stewart, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, said the Department of Defense is working to grow its military force with new methods. DoD is using social media to advertise recruitment and applying artificial intelligence to build analysis-based engagement plans, according to an article published Friday on the department's website.

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Marine Corps Partners With Industry on Logistics Modernization Efforts

Adam Drake, CEO and chief data officer of data consultancy firm Atazzo, is working on modernizing U.S. Marine Corps logistics operations as part of his role as a 2019 Presidential Innovation Fellow, GCN reported Friday. Drake is collaborating with the service branch’s deputy commandant for installations and logistics on “a series of projects” to support the Marine Corps and Department of Defense in all logistics-related matters.

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DOI Uses HHS-Made Platform to Manage Financial Assistance Programs

The Department of Health and Human Services is helping the Department of Interior boost the accountability and transparency of the latter's financial assistance programs. DOI said Friday it will use HHS' GrantSolutions platform to better oversee the use of DOI-awarded grants totaling $6 billion annually.

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Gov’t, Industry Reps Discuss Emerging GPS Threats at Satellite 2019

Government and private sector leaders cited hacking and spoofing as potential threats to the nation’s GPS systems during the 2019 Satellite conference in Washington, D.C., C4ISRnet reported Saturday. James Miller, executive director of the National Space-Based positioning, navigation and timing advisory board, said during a panel discussion that while jamming is a pervasive threat in 2019, spoofing is a more complicated form of hacking that can manipulate and misguide GPS platforms. 

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GSA to Help OPM Modernize IT Through Centers of Excellence Program; Emily Murphy Quoted

The General Services Administration has partnered with the Office of Personnel Management to help OPM update its information technology systems and address structural issues through the Centers of Excellence program. GSA said Monday it will provide technical and consulting assistance in support of OPM’s IT and future modernization initiatives through a discovery sprint.

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