Monday federal headlines – April 25, 2016

Temporary and seasonal employees could have more opportunities to apply for permanent federal jobs.

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

  • Temporary and seasonal employees could have more opportunities to apply for permanent federal jobs. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee passed an amendment clarifying what permanent jobs they can apply for. The Office of Personnel Management earlier said temporary employees could only apply for full time within their own agencies. The federal union that represents employees at land management agencies and the bill’s original sponsor, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), said OPM’s guidance went against the original intent of the bill. (House Oversight and Government Reform Committee)
  • The Justice Department this week is highlighting efforts to improve the criminal justice system, specifically to offer more opportunities for people finishing prison terms. DoJ called it the first National Reentry Week. The effort dovetails with a congressional push for legislation that would make it easier for people with criminal records to apply for federal jobs. (Justice Department)
  • The Defense Department’s Christine Wormuth will step down as Undersecretary of Defense Policy in June. Wormuth served at the National Security Council and many other roles across DoD. Defense Secretary Ash Carter praised Wormuth in a press release where he thanked her for her counsel during her more than seven years serving under the Obama administration. Carter announced Wormouth’s principal deputy, Brian McKeon, will take her place as the acting undersecretary. (Defense Department)
  • The General Services Administration said requests for proposals for two big governmentwide vehicles will come out in late June. Alliant 2 and Alliant 2 Small Business contracting officer John Cavadias told contractors to cool their heels in the meantime. Until officials are done reviewing their solicitations, they won’t give out more information. Cavadias said GSA has already issued seven requests for information. But he said even after the RFPs come out, industry will have another chance to weigh in at a pre-proposal conference. (GSA)
  • NASA wants to send a satellite to the red planet. It has solicited ideas for a solar-powered Mars orbiter capable of deep space photo imaging and telecommunication. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory plans on awarding multiple $400,000 study subcontracts so the Mars Exploration Program can update its aging technological infrastructure. The agency plans on sending the satellite in the early 2020’s. (NASA)
  • The cost to keep your agency’s website online is about to go up. The General Services Administration is planning almost a $300 increase for agencies to run their top-level domain, such as GSA said it has not increased the annual price for website maintenance since 2003, when it was $125. The new price wouldn’t go into effect until Jan. 1, 2017. GSA solicited feedback last year on how much of an increase would make sense given increased security and operational requirements over the last 13 years. (GPO)
  • The EPA might be beating up on Volkswagen, but other federal officials are boosting German industry. Germany’s giant industrial trade show, Hannover Messe, opens today. For the first time, the United States is the partner country. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker spoke at an economic forum there. She’s among what Commerce said is the largest-ever delegation to the fair. Pritker emphasized the importance of the digitally driven manufacturing economy, and of governments assuring free flow of information while protecting privacy.
  • The draft may be getting its own honorable discharge soon. Military Times reports the House Armed Services Committee is looking for alternatives to the selective service program as part of its review of the Defense authorization bill next week. This comes after months of debate about whether women will be included in the draft now that they are eligible for combat positions. The committee said it plans on reviewing the cost and operation of the draft, which hasn’t been used since 1973. (Military Times)
  • Bomb-sniffing drones could be soon be the newest way to protect troops from improved explosives and save lives. The Wisconsin Journal reports researchers at the University of Wisconsin Madison developed drone technology that detects signatures in explosives and nuclear devices using neutrons. The technology could help military convoys detect roadside bombs. The technology can also locate people trapped in buildings following an explosion or in natural disasters. (Wisconsin Journal)

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