New social media guidance to help feds comply with the Hatch Act

In today's Federal Newscast, the Office of Special Counsel updates its its guidance regarding when federal employees' use of social media violates the Hatch Act...

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  • Federal employees get new social media guidance from the Office of Special Counsel. Special Counsel Henry Kerner updated current guidance to show how social media and the Hatch Act intersect. It gives employees real-life examples, and advises them against posting or tweeting partisan material. (Office of Special Counsel)
  • The Office of the Director of National Intelligence is launching a “Trusted Workforce 2.0” initiative in the coming weeks. The goal is to gather all stakeholders from government and industry into a room to find new ways to completely change the governmentwide security clearance process. The Defense Department said it supports the ODNI’s initiative. But other members of industry and the Government Accountability Office say leadership from the Trump administration needs to be present and active in solving these challenges. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Homeland Security Department is one step closer to its first reauthorization in its 15-year history. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee passed the DHS Reauthorization Act with a 10-to-1 vote. The bill includes reorganizing the National Protection and Programs Directorate, into one designated cybersecurity agency within DHS. (Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee)
  • It’s a big buzzword these days, but artificial intelligence doesn’t have a lot of buy-in yet from the federal government. Congressman Will Hurd (R-Texas), the chairman of a House IT Subcommittee wants to change that. He said he thinks AI could play a bigger role in carrying out government services. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, a leader in AI technology, told Hurd’s subcommittee it’s working on making AI tools more trustworthy. (Federal News Radio)
  • DoD issues much-anticipated information about its move to the commercial cloud. The Defense Department outlined its initial thinking about how it wants to move to commercial cloud services. DoD released a draft request for proposals yesterday seeking industry feedback on its JEDI Cloud program. The Pentagon is seeking comments its statement of objectives, evaluation criteria and cybersecurity strategy. More than 500 people attended an industry day Tuesday seeking information on DoD’s plans, and many left with more questions than answers. Industry has until March 21 to provide feedback. DoD plans to release the final RFP in May with an award scheduled for September. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Defense Department is making a new push toward shared services. John Gibson, the department’s brand new chief management officer told Congress yesterday he’s stood up nine teams of subject matter experts whose jobs will be to look for “immediate wins,” combining functions DoD components currently perform separately into shared services. He said contracting for professional services is a particular focus area, and that DoD is currently relying on the recommendations of a 2015 Defense Business Board Study that claimed the department could save $125 billion over five years by running itself more like a business. (Federal News Radio)
  • Top military acquisition officials tell Congress about the acquisition reforms made over the past three years. The Army, Air Force and Navy’s acquisition chiefs said they are working well under the reforms implemented by past defense authorization acts. They did say there are some tweaks needed though and hope those will be addressed in 2019. (Federal News Radio)
  • Military families may have an easier time paying for education. Representative Jim Banks (R-Ind.) introduced a bill establishing a military savings account for them. The bill allows a small portion of funding from the federal impact aid program to follow students in military families in a tax free account. Opening the account would be optional. (Rep. Jim Banks)
  • More troubling news for leaders at the Veterans Affairs Department. A new report from the agency’s inspector general said failed leadership was one of the main problems that lead to major patient safety issues at the DC VA Medical Center. Secretary David Shulkin, who was serving as VA undersecretary of health when the problems occurred, promised wide-scale change across the VA. (Federal News Radio)
  • First-class mail has always been a major source of revenue for the Postal Service, but now that first-class mail volumes are falling faster than USPS expected, its inspector general told the agency to take another look at its business model. The IG found online communication and social media to have played a role in declining mail volumes. In January, USPS raised the price of a postage stamp to 50 cents. (U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General)
  • A paralegal specialist with the FBI’s San Diego division pleads guilty to stealing nearly 160 thousand dollars. Lynn Morris admits to using her knowledge of FBI procedures to take money out of an account owned by the division’s Asset Forfeiture Unit, and placed it into her own checking account. (Department of Justice)

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