The Federal Aviation Administration could have a tough time meeting its deadline for the Next Generation Air Transportation program, or NextGen – a 20-year, $40 billion initiative designed to modernize a decades-old U.S. aviation system by using satellite-based, digital technologies to make air travel safe, reliable, convenient and more predictable – according to the Transportation Department's inspector general.
The Postal Service didn't notify some 800,000 USPS employees immediately when it was believed their personally identifiable information was compromised because it did not want to jeoprodize the investigation and alert the perpetrators, said a USPS officia Nov. 19 before a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee. In fact, the investigation is still very much underway, said Randy Miskanic, vice president of secure digital solutions at USPS.
Although the Homeland Security Department pledged three years ago to steadily reduce backlogged Freedom of Information Act requests, the number has risen even higher, congressional investigators said.
The IG's report listed a number of challenges across the Homeland Security Department over the last year through investigations and audits, but it didn't contain any recommendations.
The Postal Service lacks a clear definition for what mail services it is required to provide, a Nov. 17 USPS inspector general report says. "The current universal service obligation is assumed to be a hodgepodge of various legal requirements and regulations that, in most cases, provide only broad guidance," the report (pdf) says.
Patent and Trademark officials were at odds with the agency's inspector general findings about the level of telework attendance abuse at a Nov. 18 joint congressional hearing. While the agency contended that it has the problem under control, Commerce Department Inspector General Todd Zinser said the agency's internal investigation understated the problem, at a joint House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and House Judiciary Committee hearing.
As cyber threats, attacks and espionage escalate against the United States, the Justice Department needs to make sure it's properly addressing these issues in a coordinated manner and sharing critical information with industry, among other measures, the inspector general said.
While the security of the Agriculture Department's IT systems continues to improve, they're still vulnerable due to "longstanding weaknesses." The inspector general evaluated the department's overall security program as part of the Federal Information Security Management Act, or FISMA, which establishes baseline security standards for all agencies.
The Veterans Health Administration didn't properly assess each Veterans Affairs Department medical center to see if they were prepared to implement methodology for how to properly staff their nursing units, a recently released Oct. 16 Government Accountability Office report says. That means VHA doesn't know if each medical center has the nurse staffing that is adequate to meet veterans' "growing and increasingly complex health care needs," GAO says.
It's sometimes unclear whether corrective response to information technology vulnerabilities identified by the Veterans Affairs Department have been effective because the department has done little follow-up on its mitigation techniques, says the Government Accountability Office.