Tighter quarters could be coming to your agency

In today's Federal Newscast, 24 agencies plan to consolidate their office space in the coming years according to the Government Accountability Office.

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  • Most agencies are planning to get smaller. The Government Accountability Office reports 24 agencies plan to consolidate their office space in coming years. USDA plans to consolidate five agencies into two office buildings. 17 agencies claim they reduced office space in 2016, but only nine of those actually met or exceeded their goals. GAO first put underused federal real estate on its high-risk list in 2003. (Government Accountability Office)
  • The Senate confirmed Jeff Pon and Michael Rigas to be director and deputy director of the Office of Personnel Management. OPM hasn’t had a permanent director in over two years, and hasn’t had a deputy director in at least five. Pon and Rigas will be in charge of implementing OPM’s new strategic plan, and the President’s Management Agenda. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Homeland Security department picked the next leader of the U.S. Coast Guard. The President nominated Vice Adm. Karl Schultz to be the next Coast Guard commandant. Schultz is currently the commander of the Coast Guard’s Atlantic area. He’s set to replace Adm. Paul Zukunft, who will retire from the service this summer. (Adm. Paul Zukunft Twitter)
  • DHS said its new personnel system for cybersecurity employees is almost ready for primetime. Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is finalizing regulations for it. DHS Chief Human Capital Officer Angela Bailey said she’s briefing OPM on the system next week. It’s designed to help DHS better recruit, hire, pay and retain top cyber professionals. The new system is expected to differ widely from the General Schedule. (Federal News Radio)
  • One congressman calls on the White House to be more transparent about cyber vulnerabilities. More than two months after releasing a policy to better govern the interagency Vulnerabilities Equities Process, Congressman Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) asked the White House for more details. The California Democrat wrote a letter to Rob Joyce, the White House’s cybersecurity coordinator, asking if the administration plans on submitting an annual report to Congress. The report would provide metrics about the vulnerabilities equities process and its outcomes. The VEP attempts to balance whether to disclose computer vulnerabilities to the vendor or keep them secret to be used for national security purposes. (Rep. Ted Lieu)
  • President Trump intends to nominate Dennis Kirk as the third and final member to the Merit Systems Protection Board. Kirk previously served as special counsel for the Department of the Army. MSPB would have a full quorum if the Senate confirms Kirk, something it’s been without for more than a year. (White House)
  • Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said  he’s reorganizing the VA Central Office, and VA networks across the country. The latest inspector general report on VA’s systematic failures to address problems at the Washington DC VA Medical Center is prompting broader changes. Shulkin said a reorg plan for the central office is due May 1. He’s also convening a team to reorganize the Veterans Integrated Services Networks, or VISNS by July 1. Shulkin said the same systematic failures at the DC VA are happening at the agency’s facilities across the country. (Federal News Radio)
  • Very few Marines will have to leave the service under the Defense Department’s new nondeployable policy. Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Glenn Walters said the number of Marines that are nondeployable is less than a half of a percent. The new policy will require the military to lay off troops who have been medically nondeployable for a year or more.
  • The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program doesn’t cover the cost of a cheap meal. That’s according to an analysis by the Urban Institute. Researcher Elaine Waxman looked at whether the maximum SNAP benefit would cover food costs for those with zero income. The verdict: No. Waxman said the average low-income meal costs $2.36. The SNAP maximum benefit per meal is $1.86. The program cost $64 billion last year. (Urban Institute)
  • FOIA.gov users can now submit a Freedom of Information Act request to any agency through the site’s National FOIA Portal. The Justice Department’s Office of Information Policy will spend $1.8 million standing up and maintaining the portal. 17 agencies have agreed to help fund the site after this year. The federal government got over 800,000 FOIA requests in fiscal 2017, nearly a 50 percent increase from 2010. (Federal News Radio)

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