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Defense contractors who work with small businesses could be getting paid sooner. Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) introduced a bill requiring DoD agencies to pay small prime contractors within 15 days of receiving an invoice. Current law requires the agency to pay within 30 days. The bill would also apply to large prime contractors working with small subcontractors. The senators attached the bill as an amendment to the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act. (Sen. Mike Enzi)
Military service members may see the biggest pay raise in nearly a decade. The Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee recommended a 2.6 percent increase in military pay for 2019. The House defense authorization bill reflected the same increase. The White House 2019 budget also supports a 2.6 percent increase.
A bill requiring the National Background Investigation Bureau to report on its security clearance backlog is now law. President Trump signed the Securely Expediting Clearances Through Reporting Transparency or SECRET Act. The NBIB’s report must also include recommendations to reduce the backlog. The law will also require the Office of Personnel Management to report on the costs of both the NBIB’s and Defense Department’s background investigation capabilities, compared to the cost of a single governmentwide organization. (Congress.gov)
After just 13 days on the job, the Defense Department’s new chief information officer is making plans to change the technology culture of the Pentagon. Dana Deasy told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee the department is reviewing the number of people with the title of CIO in the Fourth Estate. As of now, there are 35. Deasy also said DoD will complete its first software license inventory by December. His long term goal is to make sure DoD is doing things for the right reasons that will drive the right behaviors to get to better outcomes.
The IRS is working to revamp its taxpayer services, and has developed a roadmap to get there. The agency released a five-year strategic plan to overhaul its IT systems and workforce. Acting IRS commissioner David Kautter said the plan will help provide better service to taxpayers. Over a dozen bills aimed at IRS reform were introduced in Congress last month. (Internal Revenue Service)
The Senate passes new legislation to overhaul current community care programs at the Veterans Affairs Department. The VA MISSION Act cleared the Senate with a 92-to-5 vote. The bill will now head to the president’s desk for his signature. The MISSION Act authorizes $5.2 billion to continue the Veterans Choice Program for a year until VA can implement the new law. It will also consolidate VA’s seven different community care programs into one. (Federal News Radio)
The National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association said Office of Personnel Management Director Jeff Pon mischaracterized some of the benefits federal annuitants receive in retirement. NARFE is concerned about statements Pon made last week during a House Oversight and Government Reform hearing. Pon argued federal retirees shouldn’t receive cost of living adjustments, and said he didn’t know of any system that gave annuitants a COLA. NARFE reminded Pon of 66 million people who rely on Social Security and other benefits. Those benefits are adjusted with an annual cost-of-living adjustment. NARFE said Pon’s recent statements and the agency’s proposals to change the current retirement system are alarming the organization’s members. (National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association)
The Office of Federal Procurement Policy and the U.S. Digital Services are shifting their digital services training program from pilot mode to fully operational. And OFPP is giving agencies a hard deadline of 2022 to train and start buying technology using these approaches. OFPP and USDS unveiled the new core-plus certification in Contracting for Digital Service yesterday. OFPP and USDS developed the Digital IT Acquisition Professional program with a vendor and tested it and refined it over the last three years. So far, 54 contracting professionals have graduated from the DITAP program.
The Office of Personnel Management wants input from agencies as it considers issuing a direct hire authority for science, technology, engineering, math and cybersecurity positions. OPM said it will send agencies a survey to learn more about their hiring needs, and gauge whether organizations need a new direct hire authority. OPM is also reviewing governmentwide data on these positions. OPM Director Jeff Pon described his interest in using direct hire authority for broad categories of positions. (Chief Human Capital Officers Council)
The president’s nominee to be Office of Management and Budget federal controller sails through his nomination hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Frederick Nutt said he plans to elevate real property management issues, and focus on dealing with improper payments. He said the Trump administration didn’t publish a governmentwide improper payments total last year. The administration instead wants to focus on payment rates within each government program. Nutt previously held management positions at the Environmental Protection Agency and Millennium Challenge Corporation. (Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee)