NewsBrief: November 18, 2022

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: November 18, 2022

Fifth year of DoD financial audits shows little progress toward clean opinion

(Federal News Network) The Defense Department closed out its fifth year of full-scale financial audits with a failing grade — a result that’s not surprising in and of itself, considering that officials have previously predicted that getting a clean opinion would take a decade or more from the time the audits started. Perhaps more surprising was how little measurable progress DoD made in fiscal year 2022. By one important metric, it actually took a significant step backward. Read More

Here’s what the contracting community thinks of the new proposed rule on climate reporting

(FCW) The Biden administration is looking to make covered federal contractors disclose their climate emissions, in a move that is in keeping with its broader environmental agenda but could place some heavy financial and administrative burdens on contractors, according to experts. The Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council published a proposed rule in the Federal Register on Monday in support of executive orders on climate-related financial risks and federal sustainability, which the administration said covers about 85% of the emissions associated with the federal supply chain. In addition to addressing greenhouse gas emissions, this proposal will “protect the federal government’s supply chains from climate-related financial risks,” the White House said. Read More

The Senate Intelligence Authorization Bill Gives Hints to 2023’s Security Clearance Policy Priorities

(Government Executive) The executive branch has the authority to lay out security clearance policies and procedures, but that doesn’t mean the legislative branch doesn’t have any say in how the government issues clearance eligibility and maintains a qualified workforce. In fact, if the executive branch is the head, Congress is the eyes, looking forward and making sure the government’s security program stays on its feet. Read More

Department of Energy chief data officer leaves for private sector

(FedScoop) Energy Department Chief Data Officer Emery Csulak has left government to take up a private sector role. He joined Boston Government Services earlier this month as chief information security officer and director of cybersecurity compliance, according to his LinkedIn. Csulak departs after more than a decade in federal tech leadership roles. Before becoming permanent chief data officer at the Energy Department in April, he was deputy CIO for cybersecurity and CISO at the department. Read More

A Federal Employee Group is Again Urging OPM to Ban All Use of Salary History in the Federal Hiring Process

(Government Executive) An association of employees at the Justice Department on Tuesday renewed calls to the Office of Personnel Management to ban federal agencies’ use of salary histories when setting pay for new federal workers during the hiring process, citing their role in perpetuating gender and ethnic pay disparities. Earlier this year, the Biden administration announced that OPM had begun work crafting new regulations to “address” the use of job applicants’ salary histories when setting the pay of new hires at federal agencies. Although there appeared to be consensus within the administration that the use of salary history to set a new employee’s pay perpetuates historic gender and race-based pay disparities, officials stopped short of saying they would ban the practice altogether. Read More

Multi-lab Survey Led By Sandia Finds Cybersecurity Flaws in EV Charging

(Executive Gov) A team of researchers led by Sandia National Laboratories found various vulnerabilities in electric vehicle charging that could be exploited by hackers and other cyber threats. Sandia said Tuesday that it collaborated with national laboratories including Argonne, Idaho, Pacific Northwest and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to conduct the four-year survey. Security flaws in EV charging ranged from simple credit card hacking during payments to possible interference in grid operations, according to the survey. It showed that not all EV chargers are equipped with firewalls to protect users’ private information and reflected that some of them were easy to corrupt with malicious firmware updates. Read More

A low-cost robot ready for any obstacle

(ScienceDaily) Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science and the University of California, Berkeley, have designed a robotic system that enables a low-cost and relatively small legged robot to climb and descend stairs nearly its height; traverse rocky, slippery, uneven, steep and varied terrain; walk across gaps; scale rocks and curbs; and even operate in the dark. “Empowering small robots to climb stairs and handle a variety of environments is crucial to developing robots that will be useful in people’s homes as well as search-and-rescue operations,” said Deepak Pathak, an assistant professor in the Robotics Institute. “This system creates a robust and adaptable robot that could perform many everyday tasks.” Read More

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