President Trump launches task force to study Postal Service

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  • President Donald Trump set up a task force to study the U.S. Postal Service. A new executive order says USPS is “on an unsustainable path” and must be restructured to avoid a taxpayer buyout. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin will chair the board as it looks at how USPS prices its package delivery services. A report will be submitted in 120 days. The order comes after Trump claimed Amazon wasn’t paying its fair share for package delivery from USPS. (ABC News)
  • The Office of Personnel Management reminded federal employees of the resources their agencies have to help support victims of sexual assault and violence. OPM said agencies have already taken steps to make sure their employees feel safe at work. But they should do more to build on existing policies and programs. April is Sexual Assault Awareness month. Employees can contact their agencies’ employee assistance program coordinators for more information about the help that’s available to them. (Office of Personnel Management)
  • President Dona’d Trump’s decision to end labor-management partnerships at the Transportation Security Administration is having an effect. That’s according to American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox. He told Congress TSA has ended its national advisory council, diversity advisory council and quarterly labor-management meetings. AFGE also said the agency is hosting employee town halls at some airports. But TSA picked the attendees and most are managers and supervisors. (American Federation of Government Employees)
  • A Transportation Department bureau publicly rebuked a party to a high-profile accident investigation. The National Transportation Safety Board kicked out Tesla. The electric car company is no longer a party to the probe of a Tesla crash that killed the driver. The NTSB, in a release, said Tesla published investigation information before the board had a chance to vet and confirm it. Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt said he notified Tesla CEO Elon Musk by telephone. He called the incident unfortunate. (National Transportation Safety Board)
  • A new study by the Government Accountability Office painted a dire picture of the military’s pilot shortage. GAO’s analysis found the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps have only been able to fill about three-quarters of the pilot jobs Congress authorized as of last year, and that the gap between authorizations and actual staffing levels has grown dramatically over the past decade. The Air Force has the biggest gap, with only 73 percent of its pilot billets filled. But GAO cautioned those numbers might not be an accurate reflection of the shortage. That’s because none of the military services have revised their pilot requirements to reflect the use of unmanned aircraft and recent changes in warfighting strategies. (Government Accountability Office)
  • The Defense Department is pausing the delivery of any more F-35 fighter jets until it resolves a contract dispute with its main supplier. The reasons behind the suspension are still unclear. Reuters reports Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor, acknowledged the dispute, but said it’s factories have no plans to slow down their production of the new plane. (Reuters)
  • Former Defense Department IT executives sound alarm bells about the Pentagon’s mega-cloud computing contract. Two high-ranking former DoD technology leaders say the Pentagon’s plan to award a 10-year contract to a single cloud provider is loaded with problems. Stephen Bryen, a former director of the Defense Technology Security Administration, said DoD’s current approach leaves too many questions around cybersecurity and resilience unanswered. John Stenbit, the former assistant secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence, said DoD’s long-standing architecture engineering challenges makes this move to a single cloud provider worrisome. Bryen and Stenbit speaking at the Hudson Institute yesterday said this approach goes against industry best practices of having multiple cloud providers.
  • Top Democratic lawmakers request information on how the Defense Department came to its conclusion on the transgender ban. A letter signed by the ranking members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committee asked for information on who helped inform DoD on the decision. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis dismissed a RAND Corporation study supporting transgender people in the military when he made his recommendation to the president. (Federal News Radio)
  • National Guard officers whose promotions are delayed could get paid for that lost time. The idea has the support of Army Secretary Mark Esper. He said Guard officers are waiting too long for certification to get to the next rank. In some cases officers waited more than six months for recognition. (Federal News Radio)

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