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 new app from the Government Accountability Office lays out the agency’s recommendation to transition officials and Congress.
A new mobile app from the Government Accountability Office aims to give transition officials easy access to the agency’s priority recommendations for improving government operations. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro said the app lays out ways for President-elect Donald Trump and Congress to fix agency-specific problems and potentially save money. (Government Accountability Office)
Today marks the start of Open Season for Federal Benefits. Federal employees have until Dec. 12 to enroll or change their health care coverage under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. The Office of Personnel Management announced rates under the FEHB program will rise by 4.4 percent back in September. (Office of Personnel Management)
Members of the House Small Business Committee have criticized the Office of Management and Budget for its implementation of category management. In a letter, Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) and Ranking Democrat Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) said the policy hurts small businesses and locks out entrepreneurs. They want OMB to stop progression on the implementing the idea and re-open the comment period. (House Small Business Committee)
A big retirement in the federal IT community. Lisa Schlosser, the federal deputy chief information officer, is retiring from government at the end of November. Sources confirmed to Federal News Radio that Schlosser decided to leave now after completing a successful detail at the Office of Personnel Management to work on cybersecurity. Schlosser spent more than 30 years in government. Along with being the deputy federal CIO, she served as CIO at HUD and chief information security officer at the Transportation Department. Schlosser also recently retired as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves. (Federal News Radio)
Agencies hired more veterans in 2015 than during the past five years. The Office of Personnel Management said agencies hired 6,000 more veterans last year compared to 2014. New veteran hires made up 32.5 percent of the federal workforce. Retention remains an issue for veteran hires. Nearly every agency had lower retention rates for veterans than non-veterans. (Federal News Radio)
The Veterans Benefits Administration has updated its process and added more overtime hours to cut the disability claims backlog to about 70,000-80,000 claims. But putting more attention on the disability claims backlog means the appeals backlog is suffering. The National Academy for Public Administration said unprocessed appeals claims nearly doubled over the past two years. NAPA suggested VBA consider new metrics to define the backlog. (National Academy for Public Administration)
The Army has launched its own “Bug Bounty” — challenging white-hat hackers to find vulnerabilities in its systems. The program is a takeoff on the “Hack the Pentagon” project DoD launched as a pilot program earlier this year, but Army secretary Eric Fanning said it’s different in at least two key ways: It’ll focus on dynamically-changing, mission-critical IT systems, and the Army has gotten legal permission to let uniformed service members and federal civilians participate and earn bounties. The Army’s not yet disclosing the systems it plans to test with the crowdsourced approach, but Fanning said they’ll involve recruiting websites and personnel databases. (HackerOne)
The National Military Family Association has called on President-elect Donald Trump to provide stability for service members and their families. The organization has called for an end to sequestration in a letter to the incoming president. It also said military members should not have to face closed commissaries, furloughed medical clinics and jeopardized health benefits. The association has not received a response from the presidential transition team. (National Military Family Association)
Lots of individuals are trying to wrap up business before the Obama administration comes to an end. Even felons. Chelsea Manning, who pleaded guilty in a court-martial of sending thousands of secret military documents to Wikileaks before her gender change, has petitioned the office of the pardon attorney to commute her 35-year sentence to time served. The New York Times reports Manning is not asking for a pardon, saying she takes responsibility for what she did. (New York Times)