NIST Cyber Advisers Anxious Over Auditing Agencies

Members of an advisory board for the government’s cyber standards agency are skeptical about a House bill that would expand that agency’s mission to auditing cybersecurity across the federal government.

That bill, the NIST Cybersecurity Framework Assessment and Auditing Act, would task the National Institute of Standards and Technology with verifying agencies have proper cyber protections in place and reporting on laggards.

Continue reading:

GSA Swears in Acquisition Chief as Predecessor Emerges as Whistleblower

Former Defense Department acquisition official and private-industry veteran Alan Thomas was sworn in Monday as commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Service, just two weeks after incumbent Tom Sharpe abruptly resigned.

Sharpe’s resignation followed acting General Services Administration chief Tim Horne’s announcement that the agency’s newly stood-up Technology Transformation Service would move into the Federal Acquisition Service as part of President Trump’s efforts to streamline information technology acquisition.

Continue reading:

DoD seeks input on streamlining DFARS

The Defense Department has targeted existing procurement rules in response to President Donald Trump’s executive order to evaluate existing regulations and recommend their repeal, replacement or modification. DoD is asking for comment specifically on how the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) might be streamlined. The DFARS contains requirements of law, DoD-wide policies, deviations from FAR requirements, as well as policies and procedures that have a significant effect on the public. (Federal Register)

DOL Withdraws Obama-Era Interpretations On Independent Contractors and Joint Employment

On June 7, 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced that it was withdrawing two informal guidances, namely a 2015 administrator interpretation on independent contractors and a 2016 administrator interpretation on joint employment, effective immediately. The DOL’s short announcement states that the removal of the administrator interpretations does not change the legal responsibilities of employers under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA), and that the DOL “will continue to fully and fairly enforce all laws within its jurisdiction.” Here’s an attempt to read between the lines and determine the DOL’s position on these two issues.

Withdrawal of Independent Contractor Interpretation

When we wrote about the July 15, 2015 independent contractor interpretation here, we noted that then-Wage and Hour Division Administrator David Weil stressed that most workers meet the criteria to be deemed employees under the FLSA, and therefore, should not be treated as independent contractors. Although noting that multiple factors are used to determine independent contractor status, former administrator Weil stated that the DOL would focus primarily on whether the worker runs his or her own independent business or if instead, the worker is economically dependent on the employer.

Continue reading:

‘A punch to the gut’ is how some described the news of GSA’s most recent merger

The decision by the General Services Administration to merge the Technology Transformation Service into the Federal Acquisition Service shocked much of the federal community.

From those observers who have been following GSA for decades, to the employees, to even some in the White House, the news on June 7 was truly unexpected.

In case you weren’t paying attention last week, GSA announced its experiment with a third service was ending, TTS would now be a part of FAS and the commissioner would be a political position instead of a career one. GSA launched TTS in May 2016, meaning the third service lasted a little over a year.

Continue reading:

What’s it like inside Mattis’ Pentagon

If you want to sell something to the Defense Department, make sure it can help kill someone.

That’s what Acting Defense Undersecretary for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology James MacStravic says the Pentagon is prioritizing under the new administration.

MacStravic shed some light on the inner workings of the Pentagon’s acquisition office since President Donald Trump took office. The Pentagon has been fairly quiet, mainly because it’s almost completely devoid of any political appointees.

Continue reading: