The Federal Headlines is a daily compilation of the stories you hear discussed on Federal Drive with Tom Temin.
In today’s Top Federal Headlines, a retired Navy captain pleads guilty to bribery charges, taking the count to 11 Navy officials caught up in the Glenn Defense Marine Asia case.
Retired Navy Capt. Michael Brooks is the latest government official to plead guilty to bribery charges connected with foreign defense contractor Glenn Defense Marine Asia. Brooks admitted to providing former GDMA CEO Leonard Francis with sensitive documents, ship schedules, and diplomatic clearances for the company’s vessels in exchange for gifts. Eleven current or former Navy officials have been charged in connection with the GDMA corruption case. (Department of Justice)
Federal managers will soon see a lot of new tools to help them better recruit and hire new talent. The Office of Personnel Management will soon launch Cyber Careers.gov. It’s designed to reach federal managers, job seekers, and academic institutions and students about potential cyber opportunities in government. OPM said the site will likely launch in December or January. The team behind USAJobs.gov is also getting ready to launch the next iteration of updates to the site. Better search functions and data analytics for agencies will be ready in February 2017. (Federal News Radio)
At least 44 percent of federal employees were eligible to telework in 2015. That’s according to a new report from OPM about the federal telework program. Eligibility and participation rates were up in 2015 over previous years. The full report will be out later this week. OPM is also in the middle of automating agencies’ reporting on the telework program.
Another shared service is coming in 2017. Agencies will soon have access to a new contract writing system in the cloud. The General Services Administration will make a commercial application available through its Common Acquisition Platform. GSA is scheduled to launch the cloud-based contract writing system from Distributed Solutions in the third quarter of fiscal 2017. The new shared service is expected to reduce costs, and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the contract writing process. It also can be integrated with financial Federal Shared Service Providers. GSA says agencies can use the service throughout the entire acquisition process from solicitation research to contract close out. (General Services Administration)
The Homeland Security Department earns a clean audit opinion for the fourth year in a row. Acting Deputy Secretary Russell Deyo said the feat reflects the success of the Unity of Effort Initiative. Deyo said DHS remains committed to maintaining effective controls over its financial reporting and credits Chief Financial Officer Chip Fulghum for a job well done. (Department of Homeland Security)
The outgoing patent office chief has summarized what she calls eight years of tremendous progress. Patent and Trademark director Michelle Lee, speaking at a conference, reviewed several initiatives. She said patent application backlogs are down and patent quality improved. She said USPTO has a higher profile as adviser to the president on intellectual property. Lee added that through the America Invents Act, Congress has given the agency the money and fee-setting authority it needs.
The Defense Department is creating a permanent home for the Strategic Capabilities Office. The rapid acquisition shop develops key capabilities for DoD’s third offset strategy. The move may be a way to entrench some of Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s acquisition initiatives in the Pentagon before the next administration takes over.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter has urged NATO to engage with the Trump administration and stay committed to the values the organization stands for. Carter said members face many collective threats. During the presidential campaign, Trump called into question the United States’ membership in NATO.
Congress wants the Pentagon to come up with a plan to eliminate taxpayer subsidies for its worldwide chain of grocery stores. The Defense Commissary Agency runs on a federal budget of about $1.4 billion per year in order to sell groceries to service members and retirees at their actual cost. In a report to Congress, DoD said it can’t make the commissaries “budget neutral,” but hopes to cut their costs by $2 billion over five years. But the Government Accountability Office said that figure is completely arbitrary. Auditors added that DoD hasn’t explained why commissaries can’t reach budget neutrality, and still hasn’t provided any specific cost estimates or tradeoffs it would implement to cut their expenditures.