Cybersecurity company Forcepoint is selling its global governments and critical infrastructure business to TPG for $2.5 billion. TPG, a global alternative asset management firm, will establish G2CI as an independent entity. Forcepoint Government Business provides cybersecurity services around data and networks to Defense, the intelligence community and civilian agencies. Forcepoint Federal won about $44 million in direct awards in 2022. Its biggest customers include the departments of Defense, Justice and Treasury. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Customs and Border Protection has laid-out its agency-wide IT plans. CBP is moving to consolidate its enterprise IT network and put cloud computing at the center of it all. CBP’s new five-year IT strategy released this month sketches out a plan to converge data and voice networks and treat networking as a utility. The agency is eyeing a multi-cloud strategy, along with plans to eliminate mainframe as a service and establish an Enterprise Cloud Services Team. The strategy also calls out the usual federal IT priorities like data management, cybersecurity and business process improvements.

The Department of Veterans Affairs will be the first agency to implement a long-awaited pay raise for IT and cybersecurity employees. The VA will implement a Special Salary Rate (SSR) for its IT workforce later this month. The SSR will significantly raise the base salaries of more than 7,000 Office of Information and Technology personnel. VA led a coalition of agencies last year to implement the SSR governmentwide. That broader rollout has stalled, but VA is using new authorities in the toxic-exposure PACT Act to set those higher pay rates. Kurt DelBene, VA’s assistant secretary for IT, said the SSR is part of a larger IT modernization plan. “That’s a ripe time when we need to actually marry it with dollars for our employees’ salaries,” DelBene said.

Unions and agencies might have an easier time meeting deadlines from the Federal Labor Relations Authority. The authority, which oversees labor-management relations for agencies, will now let involved parties in a case request digital copies of decisions, notices and orders from the three-member FLRA board. Until today, FLRA did not recognize email transmissions as official forms of case documents. The authority said the new digital options will speed up the process and cut costs and hours spent from FLRA staff. FLRA’s interim final rule takes effect today, and the authority is accepting public comments on the rule until August 10.

(Interim final rule on electronic filing system – Federal Labor Relations Authority)

The General Services Administration is turning up its protections to better mitigate supply chain risks. GSA has removed 1,600 products from GSA Advantage and the schedules contract and canceled two vendor schedules for having prohibited software or hardware from China or Russia. GSA outlined these and other changes it is making in response to a new inspector general report highlighting potential supply chain oversight shortfalls in the schedules program. Auditors said GSA didn’t do enough to protect agencies from buying prohibited telecommunications or other technology products. Among the other changes GSA said it made includes the use of pre-award assessments using third-party tools and improving its RoboMod tool to streamline the removal of prohibited products.

The NIH IT Acquisition and Assessment Center (NITAAC) said it will take corrective action and reevaluate all proposals under its CIO-SP4 procurement. NITAAC’s decision comes after it lost 98 protests before the Government Accountability Office late last month. Additionally, NITAAC will extend the CIO-SP3 contract an additional six months to April 29, 2024. This latest extension will push CIO-SP3 nearly two years past its original end date. NITAAC faced 119 protests after making initial awards in April. Since NITAAC kicked of the CIO-SP4 procurement in May 2021, it has faced 350 total protests, winning a majority of the cases.

(CIO-SP4 updates – NITAAC)

Virginia’s two senators want the Defense Department to answer questions about why more hasn’t been done to reform privatized military housing. The senators sent a letter to Brendan Owens, the assistant secretary of Defense for installations, with a list of questions about specific areas of reform. A Government Accountability Office report in April concluded that DoD needed better oversight of housing conditions and better training for staff who conduct dispute resolution. Although DoD has a Tenant Bill of Rights to protect military members, the housing management at three bases has yet to agree to follow it.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence is in the process of hiring someone to lead the intelligence community’s zero trust cybersecurity initiative. A recent job posting shows the intelligence community’s chief information officer is now reviewing applications for the zero trust position. The person hired for the job would lead development of the intelligence community’s zero trust activities and roadmaps. The White House issued a government-wide zero trust strategy last January, and in the fall, the Defense Department issued its zero trust plan to all military components.

A House amendment to the fiscal 2024 National Defense Authorization Act would provide more accountability for military financial advisers. The amendment comes after Army financial adviser Caz Craffy allegedly swindled Gold Star families out of insurance money they received when family members died while on active duty. The proposal, sponsored by Rep. Mickie Sherrill (D-N.J.), would require military financial counselors to report conflicts of interests related to trading they conduct outside their official duties. The Securities and Exchange Commission filed charges against Craffy on Friday for defrauding military families.

The U.S. Agency for International Development is struggling with performance management and workplace culture in its Bureau for Global Health, according to the Government Accountability Office. GAO also said there is a gap between mission and workforce, since much of the bureau’s staff members are contractors who can’t oversee contracts themselves. To add to the challenges, the USAID arm hasn’t documented lessons learned from addressing the pandemic, nor has it dealt with negative behaviors, like bullying in the workplace. GAO said USAID should create a system to hold staff more accountable and better measure staff performance overall.

The Postal Service is consolidating some of its old package delivery options into a new product. The agency is rolling out USPS Ground Advantage, a new service for packages that weigh less than 25 pounds. USPS will deliver Ground Advantage packages within two-to-five business days across the continental U.S. As part of the Ground Advantage rollout, USPS is retiring three of its old services: USPS Retail Ground, USPS Parcel Select Ground, and USPS First-Class Package Service.