Air Force pilot retention continues to drop despite bigger bonuses

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  • Bigger bonuses have not been enough to solve the Air Force’s pilot retention problem. Air Force Times reported that new numbers show only 45 percent of pilots took retention bonuses and extended their service in fiscal 2018. Only a one percent increase compared to the year before. The Air Force currently offers up to $420,000 to each pilot who agrees to stay in uniform for 12 years or more. (Air Force Times)
  • Customs and Border Protection issued Accenture a partial stop work order to pause its nearly $300 million contract to hire more border patrol agents. The order came just before the  Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general released a scathing report on the CBP contract. The IG said Accenture fell well short of the contract’s goal to hire 7,500 CBP officers, border patrol agents and others. Accenture and CBP didn’t immediately return requests for comment. (Federal News Network)
  • One of the bidders for DoD’s $10 billion cloud computing contract said the Pentagon is violating procurement laws in at least seven different ways. Oracle sued the Defense Department last Friday. The Court of Federal Claims unsealed a redacted version of its complaint yesterday. It alleges the Government Accountability Office was wrong when it decided an earlier version of its protest in favor of the Defense Department. The tech firm said federal law explicitly forbids it from the single-award approach it’s using for JEDI. It said DoD can’t bypass those requirements by citing national security concerns. (Federal News Network)
  • The Senior Executives Association shared 10 considerations for the Trump administration’s civil service modernization efforts. SEA gathered a group of its members and representatives from the Heritage Society, Hoover Institution, Partnership for Public Service, National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association and others, to find consensual starting points for the administration on civil service reform. The considerations will come out later this week as part of the Presidential Rank Awards and leadership summit in Washington. (Federal News Network)
  • The Government Accountability Office called on the Census Bureau to make some workforce tweaks in the run-up to peak operations for the 2020 count. GAO said field test supervisors in Providence, Rhode Island were not able to give front-line coaching to enumerators during operations this spring. Census also lacks standards for mid-operation staff training when rolling out new procedures. (Government Accountability Office)
  • Stricter deadlines for processing security clearances and reducing the current investigative backlog could be in the Pentagon’s future. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) introduced the Modernizing the Trusted Workforce for the 21st Century Act, to set specific timelines for the Defense Department to begin processing all governmentwide security clearances under existing goals set in law. It also asks the intelligence community to explore the possibility of creating a portable security clearance for trusted contractors. Some of the bill’s provisions were part of the Intelligence Authorization Act. Warner had said he would introduce a separate bill with those security clearance provisions if the Senate can’t pass the intel bill before the year ends. (Sen. Mark Warner)
  • New cybersecurity legislation for internet-of-things will be introduced this week. Rep. Robin Kelly’s (D-Ill.) bill would require basic cybersecurity standards for IoT devices purchased by the government. Kelly said she has been working on the bill for more than a year, receiving feedback from industry and other experts. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) has introduced a similar bill in the upper chamber. (Rep. Robin Kelly)
  • Agencies have new rules for how they are to protect their most sensitive, important data. The Office of Management and Budget is expanding the definition of a high value asset, applying the new requirements to all CFO Act and non-CFO Act agencies, and requiring departments to apply systems security engineering principles to these critical data. These are a few of the major changes OMB detailed in a Dec. 10 memo. The administration will also expand the  Department of Homeland Security’s oversight authority to help agencies protect these data assets. The memo replaced two others OMB issued in 2016 and 2017. (White House)
  • A new privacy framework is in the works at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. It will aim to help prioritize the best ways to identify, assess, manage and communicate privacy risks. A request for information asked for input around 26 different topics which will go into creating the framework. Comments are due Dec. 31. Similar to the development of the cybersecurity framework in 2014, NIST expects the privacy document to be a roadmap to help organizations mature their privacy efforts. (Federal Register)
  • A quantum computer may be years off, but it’s now time to develop new encryption systems. That’s the conclusion of a National Academies of Science panel of academic and corporate researchers. The panel said a quantum computer capable of breaking current public key cryptology is a least 10 years away, because of the science and engineering required. Still, the panel said, given how long new standards take to get established, work on quantum-resistant encryption algorithms should start now. (National Academies of Science)

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