Monday federal headlines – February 15, 2016

The Federal Headlines is a daily compilation of the stories you hear discussed on the Federal Drive.

The Defense Department is working on new training programs to teach senior officers and troops about the Pentagon’s new blended retirement system. The military retirement system will go into effect in 2018. New service members would automatically enroll in the Thrift Savings Plan. Troops would also get a bonus for continuing to serve halfway through their careers.  Military...

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The Federal Headlines is a daily compilation of the stories you hear discussed on the Federal Drive.

  • The Defense Department is working on new training programs to teach senior officers and troops about the Pentagon’s new blended retirement system. The military retirement system will go into effect in 2018. New service members would automatically enroll in the Thrift Savings Plan. Troops would also get a bonus for continuing to serve halfway through their careers.  Military members with at least 20 years of service or more would get a retirement annuity similar to the one already in place. (Defense Department)
  • The Food and Drug Administration is planning on hiring a chief technology officer and a chief data officer. Todd Simpson, the FDA chief information officer, said the additional expertise is part of his tactical IT strategic plan. He said the FDA has 138 milestones aimed at improving the agency’s technology infrastructure and systems. Simpson said the FDA needs an IT road map to reduce the number of redundant systems and applications. He said by creating a systems catalog, mission areas can meet future IT needs in a more cohesive way.
  • Federal employees at the National Wildlife Service refuge in Oregon will wait a few more weeks before they go back to work. GovExec reports the FBI and local law enforcement are still treating the area as an active crime scene after they arrested the remaining militia members who occupied the refuge.  Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe said he’s not tolerating any threats to his employees. (GovExec)
  • The Air Force reassigned one of its top acquisition officials because he didn’t tell the service about a financial interest he had in defense contractor Northrop Grumman. Rich Lombardi was reassigned to duties outside of the service’s acquisition portfolio. Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said she’s submitted the issue to the Defense Department’s inspector general. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Defense Department wants feedback on a rule that would raise the barrier for independent research and development funds. The rule would require companies to detail the nature and value of research projects before government funds them. It’s part of an industry day DoD will hold March 3. Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall laid out a plan for more uniform IR&D rules in his Better Buying Power 3.0 reforms back in April. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Veterans Affairs Department is working with Congress on a proposal that would strip rights from senior agency executives to appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board if they face disciplinary action. VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson brought up the idea himself in a meeting with House and Senate VA committees. The proposal itself would re-classify VA’s SES as Title 38 employees. That means they’d lose the appeal rights they have now as Title 5 employees. A congressional staff member said the goal is to package the VA proposal in with other veterans legislation and get it passed this year. (Federal News Radio)
  • A 5.3 percent pay raise could come to federal employees in fiscal 2017 if a bill from Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) passes. Connolly plans to introduce a new version of the Federal Adjustment of Income Rates Act later this month. It’s well over the 1.6 percent raise President Obama proposed in his 2017 budget request. (Federal News Radio)