Florida Air Force base severely damaged by Hurricane Michael

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  • Tyndall Air Force Base in the Florida panhandle is closed until further notice. Officials are describing the damage done by Hurricane Michael as “catastrophic.” Base officials reported Thursday evening that the flight line at Tyndall was “devastated” by the hurricane. Every building suffered severe damage including most of the housing; every home suffered severe roof damage and some had more serious structural failures. The base commander said he won’t recall its personnel back to Tyndall until he can ensure their safety. In the immediate term, that means getting basic utilities back up and running, clearing trees from roadways, and making sure buildings are structurally sound. (Associated Press)
  • Retirees in the Civil Service Retirement System will get a 2.8 percent cost of living adjustment in 2019. Retirees in the Federal Employees Retirement System will only get a 2 percent COLA next year, which is the system’s limit — even if the Social Security Administration sets it higher. The 2.8 percent COLA is the largest in seven years. (Federal News Network)
  • The Office of Personnel Management said it will soon sign off on two new direct-hire authorities, one for STEM positions, and one for cybersecurity and IT. It will also create an interagency group to begin developing a special occupational pay and classification system for economists positions. Acting OPM Director Margaret Weichert said these initiatives are the first of many more proposals to come. (Federal News Network)
  • The Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, or CIGIE, celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Inspector General Act. It hosted an event in the Carter Presidential Library to commemorate the date. Since the law’s enactment, the federal IG community has grown from 12 to 73 members. (General Services Administration)
  • Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue named a new permanent chief of the U.S. Forest Service. But Vicki Christiansen didn’t have to move far, as she’s been the acting Forest Service chief since March. She took over when the former chief, Tony Tooke, resigned over allegations of misconduct. Christiansen, who was sworn in yesterday, joined the U.S. Forest Service in 2010 after 30 years with Arizona and Washington state governments, also in land, forestry and fire management. (U.S. Department of Agriculture)
  • Suzanne White is the Defense Intelligence Agency’s newest deputy director. She’ll take over the position on Oct. 15. White served as DIA’s chief of staff since 2014, she replaces Melissa Drisko, who is retiring from service. Drisko worked in the federal government for 37 years. (Defense Intelligence Agency)
  • The Air Force is increasing the number of pilots it trains to 1,500 a year by 2022. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told Congress that the Air Force is still struggling with a pilot shortage. The Air Force is working on a number of options to keep pilots in the service, including offering bonuses. (Senate Armed Services Committee)
  • Four more judges were added to the Veteran Affairs Department’s Board of Veterans’ Appeals. VA Secretary Robert Wilkie hopes the increase in judges along with other procedural changes will help speed up the process for veterans. VA said the board issued more than 85,000 decisions in fiscal 2018, nearly 62 percent more than FY 2017. (Department of Veterans Affairs)
  • An international team from the U.S., Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom came up with a list of common cyber attack tools. Homeland Security Department cyber experts joined the team to determine the most common publicly available cyber attack tools, and how to mitigate them. The U.S. Computer Emergency Response Team (US-CERT) issued the report Thursday to aid the work of network defenders and systems administrators. The report also provides advice on limiting the effectiveness of these tools and detecting their use on a network. DHS said the public tools have been used to attack a wide range of sectors, including health, finance and government. DHS said their widespread availability presents a challenge for network defense and threat-actor attribution. (U.S. Computer Emergency Response Team)