CBO: DoD will need $735B by 2033 to cover cost of plans

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  • The Defense Department’s near-term plans will begin to balloon in cost in 2023. A new Congressional Budget Office report said DoD will need a base budget of $735 billion by 2033 to cover the costs. CBO said items like military pay and growth of operations and maintenance costs, the Army’s modernization goals and the Navy’s planned fleet expansion are the main reasons. Eighty percent of the budget would go purely toward compensation and operations and maintenance. (Congressional Budget Office)
  • A 1.9 percent federal pay raise looks like it will be part of the funding package designed to avoid another government shutdown, a House Democratic aide told Federal News Network. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said he’s hopeful too. It’s unclear though if the raise would be retroactive to Jan. 1 or not. Pay has been frozen at 2018 levels for civilian employees since President Donald Trump finalized his plans for a pay freeze in 2019. (Federal News Network)
  • House Democrats are reviewing why it’s taking so long for federal employees to get full back payments after the recent partial government shutdown. House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) want more details from the Office of Management and Budget and Office of Personnel Management. Employees at a variety of agencies said they’ve found mistakes in back paychecks. (Federal News Network)
  • Agency human capital reviews with OPM will begin in April. They want agencies to nominate someone to serve as a liaison with OPM leadership by the end of the month. Agencies are supposed to sit down with OPM every year to share best practices and organizational challenges and resolve hiring, recruiting, reskilling and employee engagement questions. (Chief Human Capital Office)
  • Federal Aviation Administration labor groups warned House lawmakers that another shutdown would further harm the agency’s ability to recruit and retain a highly skilled staff. It’s a big problem since Paul Rinaldi, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, said 20 percent of the workforce is retirement eligible. Classes resumed last week at the FAA’s training academy in Oklahoma City. But the academy will suspend operations again if Congress and Trump fail to stop another shutdown Friday at midnight. (Federal News Network)
  • In another shutdown-induced delay occurs, NASA scientists will spend a little longer in a very cold place. It’s the polar ice measuring campaign known as Operation IceBridge. It was supposed to start March 4. Now NASA has delayed it until April 1. But Arctic Today reported the eight-week project may be extended by three weeks to mostly make up for the lost month from the government shutdown. NASA uses a sensor-equipped Orion P-3 airplane and satellite data to measure changes in the thickness of the polar ice cap. (Arctic Today)
  • Democratic leaders in the House and Senate have called on the Government Accountability Office to study the 35-day partial government shutdown’s impact on the Small Business Administration. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) have asked GAO to review SBA’s communication with its lending partners before, during and after the shutdown. The lawmakers have also requested GAO look at the shutdown’s impact on small businesses that rely on government contracts. (Senate Small Business Committee)
  • House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif.) reintroduced legislation to restore official time for Title 38- employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs. The bill would help reverse a decision from VA Secretary Robert Wilkie last year, which banned official time for employees in certain medical professions. The VA Employee Fairness Act has support from 27 congressmen and five senators. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) introduced the Senate companion bill. (Rep. Mark Takano)
  • Military service members and their families across the country are dealing with mold and other issues in privatized housing. More than half of military families responding to a new study by the Military Family Advisory Network said they had a negative or very negative experience with privatized military housing. The study identified issues with 35 different management companies and detailed problems such as black mold, lead paint, faulty wiring and poor water conditions. Military families also reported illnesses with lifelong implications due to poor housing conditions. The report comes on the heels of a Reuters investigation that found more than 1,000 children living in military housing had high levels of lead in their blood. The Senate Armed Services Committee is currently investigating the poor housing conditions. (Military Family Advisory Network)
  • Former Air Force intelligence specialist Monica Elfriede Witt was charged with spying for Iran. The Justice Department said Witt had been with the Air Force from 1997 to 2008, during which she had high-level security clearance. She’s accused of targeting her former fellow agents and giving up the code name of a classified mission. She remains at large in Iran. (Department of Justice)
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Brock Long will leave the agency next month. Bloomberg News reported his deputy, Peter Gaynor, will serve as acting administrator. Since taking over the agency in June 2017, Long has overseen the federal government’s response to several disasters from hurricanes that struck the southeastern United States and Puerto Rico to wildfires in California. (FEMA)
  • After more than two years, a new leader for federal procurement emerges. The Office of Federal Procurement Policy is a step closer to having a full-time, Senate-confirmed administrator. Trump announced Feb. 13 his intent to nominate Michael Wooten to lead the OFPP. Wooten is the senior adviser for acquisitions at the Education Department’s Federal Student Aid office. If confirmed by the Senate, Wooten would replace Anne Rung, who resigned as OFPP administrator in October 2016. Wooten brings a mix of federal, state and local experiences to the position. He served as deputy chief procurement officer for the District of Columbia government from 2016 to 2017, and spent 10 years as a deputy department chairman and full professor of Contract Management at the Defense Acquisition University. (Federal News Network)
  • Two of Trump’s nominees to serve on the Merit Systems Protection Board cleared the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. His third nominee withdrew from consideration. Committee Chair Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said he won’t bring the two nominees to the Senate floor for a vote until the White House names a third nominee. The Senate has until Feb. 28 to appoint new members. The term for the current and lone board member Mark Robbins expires on that day. (Federal News Network)
  • More than a dozen technology experts are coming to 11 agencies to work on a variety of projects over the next year. The General Services Administration named the sixth class of Presidential Innovation Fellows. They’ll work on 14 different projects ranging from incubating and regulating artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms at the Food and Drug Administration to supporting digital transformation and modernization for the Marine Corps. (General Services Administration)

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