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A Pentagon review found the Air Force missed multiple opportunities that could have prevented last year’s mass shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas. The DoD Inspector General’s findings should be released today. According to an early copy obtained by Bloomberg News, there were six separate times when Devin Kelley’s fingerprints and criminal background should have been sent to the FBI, but never were. Those steps would have prevented him from buying the firearms he used to kill 26 people. The former airman was court martialed in 2012 on domestic assault charges. (Bloomberg News)
A new artificial intelligence team with the Air Force will look to usher in emerging technologies to airmen. It’s made up of workers at Air Force headquarters, Air Force Research lab and other entities in the service. The plan is to use AI to develop its workforce, create better training and make its IT infrastructure more efficient.
The Navy said it’s just wrapped up the latest round of testing on a proposed overhaul to its performance evaluation system. The test included using new IT systems evaluators to grade sailors on a nine-point scale across various objective standards tied to their specific duties. One of the goals is to give more weight to merit than to seniority or tenure. (Navy)
The Coast Guard is realigning its strategy to face near-peer competitors like China and Russia, focus more on cyber defense and assert itself in the emerging arctic regions. In its new strategy for 2018 to 2022, the Coast Guard plans to maximize its readiness and address complex maritime issues. It will also challenge its workforce to embrace innovation and rethink long-standing processes. (Coast Guard)
A new approach is coming to determine when a business is considered small under a size standard. The Senate joined the House in passing the Small Business Runway Extension Act. The bill will require the government determine if a business is small based on the average annual receipts of the last five years. The current method only looks at the last three. The House passed the legislation in September. The bill now goes to President Donald Trump for his signature. (Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee)
After a fight, the Senate confirmed a director for a controversial agency. The confirmation of Kathy Kraninger to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau means acting director Mick Mulvaney can concentrate fully on his day job running the Office of Management and Budget. The Senate voted on party lines to confirm Kraninger by one vote. Her critics said Kraninger —who has had jobs at OMB, Transportation and Homeland Security — lacked banking and financial experience. Earlier, Kraninger was a Peace Corps volunteer in Ukraine. (Congress.gov)
The National Science Foundation is rethinking the way agencies retrain federal employees for the jobs of the future. Its Career Compass Challenge will search for ideas on how to build a culture of continuous reskilling through emerging technology. NSF will award $5,000 to as many as five winning ideas. In a second round of awards, it’ll give $75,000 to one finalist for building a prototype of one of the winning ideas. (Federal News Network)
Veterans preference eligibility is expanding to fathers of certain permanently disabled or deceased veterans applying for a federal job. The previous law only gave that preference to mothers. This final rule from the Office of Personnel Management, implemented an amendment in the Gold Star Fathers Act. OPM said it hasn’t found any systemic issues or abuse with veterans preference or hiring practices. (Federal Register)
The Veterans Affairs Department will expand its telehealth program by launching new partnerships with Walmart and Philips. Philips will install video screens and other virtual medical devices at 10 American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts across the country. Walmart will also add this technology to some stores. The department will also partner with T-Mobile. T-Mobile will host VA Video Connect apps on all service devices for free. VA said the goal is to make it easier for veterans to see a doctor without driving dozens of miles to the closest VA facility. (Federal News Network)
Agencies are getting more time to move to the new telecommunications contract and modernize their networks. Having heard from industry and agency customers, the General Services Administration finally realized that the May 2020 deadline for the government to move to the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions or EIS contract was not possible. GSA announced yesterday it was giving agencies up to three more years to move to EIS from the Networx telecommunications contract. GSA did give agencies two new deadlines. By March 31, agencies must release their EIS solicitations. And by September 30, they must award the task orders. (General Services Administration)