DoD wants soldiers discharged under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ to come forward

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

  • The Defense Department wants those who were given dishonorable discharges under the former “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy to come forward to have their records changed. The encouragement came in the form of an open letter from DoD on the fifth anniversary of the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Since then, military policy has allowed people who were discharged solely because they were gay to request a retroactive change to their records, upgrading them to an honorable discharge, but less then 8 percent of the affected veterans have actually done so. The Pentagon said it can’t guarantee corrections will be made in any individual case, but said “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was a vestige of the past and planned to treat it that way. (Department of Defense)
  • The Air Force is considering restructuring itself. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said it was creating three task forces to look at squadron revitalization, joint training and information sharing that would each last for four years. Goldfein said squadrons may need a mixture of military and civilian participants to operate in the 21st century. (Federal News Radio)
  • Changes are being made to the Commerce Department’s administrative leave policy, after a whistleblower told the Office of Special Counsel about the department’s delays on proposed adverse actions for some employees. New guidance calls for staff to review and justify administrative leave. One employee was on administrative leave for more than two years while awaiting a decision, but disagreements among Commerce staff delayed it. OSC was forced to intervene. (Office of Special Counsel)
  • There are signs of hope for the Homeland Security Department. Though it still ranks last, DHS reversed a six-year trend of dropping scores on the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. Overall employee engagement went up three points to 56 percent in 2016. Employee engagement governmentwide went up 1 percentage point from 64 percent to 65 percent. The Office of Personnel Management released the initial results of this year’s FEVS with agency by agency scores on UnlockTalent.gov for the second year in a row. (Federal News Radio)
  • The General Services Administration’s acquisition gateway hit a major milestone, with 10,000 federal contracting officers and program managers now using the acquisition gateway. Just about two years after GSA launched the portal, the number of feds taking advantage of the acquisition tools, templates and best practices has steadily increased. The gateway also now has 19 hallways that are aligned with the 10 common non-defense spending categories governmentwide. That’s up from three hallways back in October 2014. GSA is planning several new tools, including improved project tracking and the ability to share projects with others. (General Services Administration)
  • One of the General Services Administration’s organizations might lose money, but its customers like it. GSA’s 18-F group earned high marks in a survey conducted by the Government Accountability Office. Twenty-three of 26 agencies using 18-F’s software development services were satisfied with the work, most highly so. But 18-F will spend $15 million more than it takes in this year. Auditors recommended GSA tighten up 18-F’s performance measures so they’re more outcome oriented. (Government Accountability Office)
  • House Democrats urged members of the Judiciary Committee to reject a renewed effort to impeach Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen. Thirty-two Democrats told Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Mass.) and Ranking Member John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) there was no evidence to support claims that Koskinen obstructed an investigation into the agency’s treatment of conservative political action groups. Koskinen testifies today. (House Democrats)
  • Recruitment, retention and budgets are the biggest challenges facing federal inspectors general. That’s according to a study by the Association of Government Accountants. IGs surveyed said their job descriptions were often outdated and hiring took too long. IGs support legislation to give them access to more information during investigations. (Association of Government Accountants)

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