Air Force moving pilots back to US to reduce burden on families

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  • The Air Force has started to move some of its pilots back to the U.S. as part of an effort to reduce the strain on those service members and their families. Gen. David Goldfein, the Air Force chief of staff, says 140 positions have been reallocated from Kuwait to stateside bases over the past year. He said the Air Force has also boosted the number of pilots it trains by about 70 per year. But the service still faces a shortfall of nearly 2,000 pilots, partly because of stiff competition from civilian airlines.
  • After a request from a local congressman, the Social Security Administration’s Office of Inspector General said it would be reviewing the agency’s decision to close its field office in Arlington, Virginia. Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) made the request at the beginning of the month. The IG said it would identify and evaluate SSA’s reasons for the office closure, review its plans to mitigate the effects on those who use the office, and also find out if SSA followed its own policies in notifying the public about the closure. (Rep. Don Beyer)
  • The Office of Personnel Management received good marks, as its inspector general audited the USA Staffing System, which is in the process of being upgraded. The IG found the system compliant with the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s requirements. The system does include some unsupported software and lacks certain security patches, but OPM said those only apply to the legacy system rather than the upgrade, and will be phased out. (Office of Personnel Management)
  • New guidance coming from the Office of Management and Budget will push the Treasury Department further behind in protecting its most critical data. OMB expects to issue new cybersecurity policy in the coming weeks around how agencies identify and protect high-value assets. But for the Treasury Department and its largest bureau, the Internal Revenue Service, that policy may be a bigger lift than for most. The Treasury IG for Tax Administration found the department and the IRS are continuing to struggle with the initial 2015 directive. Auditors found Treasury has failed to issue formal guidance to the bureaus on how to identify and protect high value assets. The IRS, meanwhile, doesn’t have a complete inventory and hasn’t reduced the number of privileged users specific to HVAs. (Department of the Treasury)
  • Three agencies now can hire experts to help with the opioid epidemic more easily. The Office of Personnel Management granted the departments of Homeland Security, Health and Human Services and State direct hire authority to better respond to the outbreak and spread of the opioid crisis. OPM said this would make it easier to bring on expertise to help fulfill the multi-agency response detailed in President Donald Trump’s October memo declaring the opioid crisis a national health emergency. (Office of Personnel Management)
  • The Thrift Retirement Investment Board picked Blackrock Institutional Trust Company to continue to manage the Thrift Savings Plan’s Fixed Income or F fund. The contract is for one year, with four one-year options. Blackrock has already been managing the F fund, as well as the C, S, and I funds. The F fund had about $27 billion in assets as of April. The Retirement Thrift Investment Board announced its plans to renew its asset management contract for the F fund last November. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Air Force has a new method for documenting and trackiong both spot and annual inspections. The new inspection module combines all safety assessments and evaluations into one single documentation method to make the process more user-friendly. The roll out comes as the Air Force is dealing with a handful of aircraft accidents. (Air Force)
  • Maj. Gen. Lori Reynolds was nominated to serve as the Marine Corps deputy commandant for information. The position was established in 2017 and is currently held by Lt. Gen. Daniel O’Donohue. Reynolds currently serves as the head of the Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command.
  • NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine filled out some key management positions. He named Steve Jurczyk as associate administrator, the agency’s highest-ranking civil servant position. Jurczyk has been acting in that position since March 10. Deputy Associate Administrator Krista Paquin will retire at the end of May. Melanie Saundershas will fill the role until a permanent deputy is named. (NASA)