The Homeland Security Department Is Starting Shutdown Prep

With just one week until the agency would be forced to shut down, the Homeland Security Department has begun preparing for an appropriations lapse.

The department is taking “prudent steps” to update its 2013 shutdown guidance, a DHS official told Government Executive. If Congress fails to reach a funding agreement by Feb. 27, the agency would officially shut down.

Practically speaking, because so many DHS functions are fee funded or entail “performing emergency work involving the safety of human life or the protection of property,” most of the department’s employees would still report to work even if Congress fails to pass an 11th hour funding measure next week. DHS does not have to reach back far to map out exactly what that situation would look like, including who would be furloughed and who would have to work temporarily without pay, as the entire government shutdown for two weeks in 2013.

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8 Ways a Shutdown Would Damage Homeland Security

The Homeland Security Department will shut down Friday at midnight without congressional intervention, though many lawmakers think it is not that big of a deal.

Some in Congress have correctly noted about 86 percent of DHS employees still reported to work during the 2013 government shutdown. This has led some Republicans to speculate a DHS shutdown would “not be the end of the world.”

The agency itself, however, has a vastly different view.

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Message from GSA Acting Administrator

Today, I had the honor of walking into work for the first time as the Acting Administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration. I joined GSA almost a year ago as Deputy Administrator, and since that day, I have been consistently impressed by the public servants at GSA. Their work ethic and dedication provides the outstanding support our partners throughout the government need to give the American people the services they expect and deserve.

Our agency has made great strides over the last few years and there are still a number of opportunities to improve even more. This year, we will continue to build on our success and continue to explore paths that pushes our government forward, further providing the support and services our federal partners need in the 21st century.

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Pentagon Narrows Down List of Contenders for Multibillion-Dollar Health Records Contract

The Defense Department has narrowed down the contenders competing for its massive Healthcare Management System Modernization contract, potentially worth up to $11 billion over a decade.

According to a Feb. 19 presolicitation notice, DOD’s procurement team has established a “competitive range” for the DHMSM contract, leaving only bids from three teams remaining.

DHMSM Procurement Contracting Officer Matt Hudson confirmed to Nextgov the Pentagon has set a range that eliminates some teams; however, he could not confirm which “due to the sensitive nature of the acquisition process.”

However, multiple sources with knowledge of the competitive range confirm that three bidding teams — Computer Sciences Corp., partnered with HP and EHR developer Allscripts; Leidos and Accenture Federal; and IBM and Epic Systems — fall within the competitive range.

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Air Force cancels suspension of FedBid

The Air Force has lifted its suspension of reverse auction vendor FedBid after more than three weeks.

The Air Force and FedBid announced today that they had reached an administrative agreement to end both the suspension and debarment proceedings as long as the company continues to “maintain the business honesty and integrity required of a government contractor and that the company operates in strict compliance with all applicable laws, regulations and terms of its governance contracts and subcontracts.”

Joe Jordan, FedBid CEO, said in a statement his company demonstrated that it took the allegations seriously and took actions to remediate any concerns.

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Oshkosh Defense Debuts M-ATV Tactical Ambulance at IDEX 2015

OSHKOSH, Wis. (Feb. 22, 2015) — Oshkosh Defense, LLC, an Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE: OSK) company, today introduced its MRAP All-Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) Extended Wheel Base Medical (EXM) variant at the International Defense Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) 2015, taking place Feb. 22-26 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Oshkosh designed the M-ATV EXM to provide off-road mobility and MRAP-level protection to military medics on ambulatory missions in high-threat environments.

“There is no mission more important than keeping troops safe, including the medics and their patients on the battlefield,” said U.S. Army Major General (Retired) John Urias, executive vice president of Oshkosh Corporation and president of Oshkosh Defense. “An increasing number of troops and medics are suffering injuries – often life threatening – while trying to deliver care and evacuate the injured in commercial-based ambulances. The Oshkosh    M-ATV EXM combines best-in-class off-road mobility with a life-saving crew protection system for urgent medical care in landscapes that are too rugged for other ambulances.”

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Oshkosh Defense, EOS, and Orbital ATK Demonstrate Live Fire Capabilities

OSHKOSH, Wis. (Feb. 18, 2015) — Oshkosh Defense, LLC, an Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE: OSK) company, recently collaborated with EOS and Orbital ATK for a live fire demonstration at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama. The Oshkosh® MRAP All-Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) Standard Base (SXB) was outfitted with an EOS R-400 fire control system integrated with Orbital ATK’s M230LF 30mm lightweight automatic chain gun to demonstrate the viability and lethal effectiveness of a medium caliber weapon system equipped M-ATV.

The combat-proven Oshkosh M-ATV is designed to accommodate a wide variety of weapon systems. Its exceptional off-road mobility and integrated protection provide capabilities for the most challenging operations. This live fire demonstration showcased improved accuracy in mobile engagements and integrated improved lethality on the M-ATV using a multi-role, multi-target automatic gun combined with a 3-axis stabilized Remote Weapon Station (RWS). Advanced performance data was captured from both the vehicle and the weapon system during the demonstration that included weapon and ammunition data, range and ambient environment, and vehicle attitude and dynamics.

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Privacy guidelines issued for government drones

Federal agencies use unmanned aerial systems to conduct border surveillance, track wildfires, and for other purposes like law enforcement and research. As part of an evolving federal policy, President Barack Obama on Feb. 15 announced a set of principles intended to integrate privacy and civil liberties protections into the way the government uses drones.

The presidential memorandum extends Privacy Act protections to government drone use, specifying that drones can collect information or use information collected by drones only for authorized purposes, and that personally identifiable information collected by drones must be deleted within 180 days, unless otherwise required by law or regulation.

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DARPA’s New Search Engine Puts Google in the Dust

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s foray into fighting hackers and other malcontents on the Web can be summed up in a single probing question.

“How can I make the unseen seen?” Dan Kaufman, the director of DARPA’s information innovation office director, said last week in a feature on “60 Minutes.”

The answer, Kaufman said, is Memex. Developed by DARPA, this search engine on steroids dives deep into the realm of the “Dark Web” and spits out a data-driven map detailing all of the patterns it’s unearthed.

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