AFGE head urges Trump reconsider federal job cuts

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

  • American Federation of Government Employees President J. David Cox urged President-elect Donald Trump to reconsider his plans to cut federal jobs. Cox wrote an open letter to Trump published in the Huffington Post, saying 85-percent of the federal workforce lives outside the Washington metro area and that half are veterans. (Huffington Post)
  • The Office of Personnel Management requested comments on a rule to allow the sharing of competitive certificates for hiring between departments or agencies.  Currently, those with hiring authority can only share certificates within his or her agency.  Agencies would have a bigger pool of candidates to select from, since applicants could be considered for multiple openings. (Federal Register)
  • More than 50 appointees from the Obama administration will stick around after President-elect Donald Trump is inaugurated today. Sean Spicer, the incoming White House press secretary, said the transition team decided it was important to maintain leadership in certain critical positions. The group includes  Bob Work, the current deputy Defense Secretary; Chuck Rosenberg, the administrator of the Drug Enforcement Agency; and Nick Rasmussen, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Internal Revenue Service would get larger if Steve Mnuchin becomes Treasury Secretary. In his confirmation hearing, the banker and investor said he would support an expansion of the IRS workforce. Mnuchin cited a nearly 30 percent drop in the agency’s headcount. He may not have realized it, but Mnuchin’s view aligns with that of the IRS’ biggest employee bargaining group. The National Treasury Employees Union has long argued the IRS would yield more revenue with more people.
  • Donald Trump’s choice to head the Energy Department said he regrets earlier suggestions about abolishing the agency.  He now insists it performs a vital function.  Perry told the Senate Energy committee he would be a passionate advocate for the department.  Perry pledged to eliminate the agency back in 2011 while running for president. (Federal News Radio)
  • More members of the House Oversight Committee want to attend a talk between their chairman and the head of the Office of Government Ethics. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) scheduled a closed door meeting on Monday with OGE Director Walter Shaub and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.). Cummings asked that all committee members attend, while Shaub requested a public meeting. (Federal News Radio)
  • The General Services Administration is going to more strictly enforce website security standards. All new federal government websites will have no choice but to use security features included in new web browsers. GSA said browsers will strictly enforce the HTTPS protocol for these new sites and subdomains. Users will not be able to click through certificate warnings to get to the web services. GSA said this new requirement would not impact current websites nor those domains that are renewed. OMB mandated agencies move to HTTPS by Dec. 31. As of Jan. 11, 70 percent of sites complied. (GSA)
  • The Air Force is experimenting with new forms of cyber deception to protect its networks. The service is trying to feed hackers false documents and information when they breach a network, in hope of diverting them. The Air Force awarded a $750,000 grant to bring the technology out of the prototype phase. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has ordered Amtrak to rehire and pay nearly $1 million in back wages and damages to a whistleblower who was fired after raising safety concerns about a contractor. OSHA called retaliation against an employee for reporting safety concerns created a climate of fear and silence that could impact the health and well-being of Amtrak employees and customers. (OSHA)
  • The Army said late Thursday that it had awarded a $580 million contract to Sig Sauer to outfit the military with that company’s P320 handgun, replacing the 9mm Beretta pistol U.S. military personnel have used since the mid-1980s. Fielding is set to begin later this year. In some quarters, the troubled acquisition has become emblematic of everything that’s wrong with the Pentagon procurement process. The Army’s initial requirements document consumed more than 360 pages, and Gen. Mark Milley, the Army chief of staff, promised Congress a few months ago that he would speed the process up.