Forest Service still facing sexual misconduct problem

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  • The U.S. Forest Service is still struggling to manage sexual misconduct challenges at the agency. The Agriculture Department’s inspector general said the Forest Service isn’t quickly acting on sexual misconduct and assault allegations and is not identifying applicants who have a history of sexual harassment. Three House committee chairmen said they want a special briefing from the IG and the Forest Service on the recent findings. They’re asking the IG to review USDA’s process for handling sexual assault and misconduct allegations. (U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General)
  • The State Department’s outreach and recruiting efforts appear to have resulted in a more diverse career workforce. Its new five-year workforce plan showed that in fiscal 2017, nearly 42 percent of its new hires were female and 10 percent were Hispanic. The report said the agency’s Office of Recruitment, Examination and Employment continues to find a diverse pool of candidates through its fellowships and internships. (Department of State)
  • Federal first responders could get some retirement security if they get injured on the job. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) have introduced the Fair RETIRE Act. The bill lets federal firefighters, law enforcement officers, and other first responders who get injured at work, stay in their existing retirement system if they take another job in the civil service. Law enforcement officers are currently supposed to retire at age 57 if they serve 20 years. The bill would also let injured federal responders take a refund from accelerated retirement contributions, if they leave service before they’re eligible to access their annuities. (Rep. Gerry Connolly)
  • Members of the House Energy and Commerce committee want to know what’s going on with the strange amount of recalls of blood pressure and heart medications. Fifteen recalls have been issued for three particular medications. Inspections by the Food and Drug Administration revealed the drugs contained small amounts of know carcinogens due to problems at two foreign factories. The lawmakers want to know the extent of the FDA’s oversight of foreign made pharmaceuticals. The letter to the agency said 40 percent of medicines used by US consumers were made overseas. (House Energy and Commerce Committee)
  • The Air Force wants to give its service members more power to challenge their landlords over substandard housing conditions. Service leaders told Reuters they’re pushing Congress to enact a military tenant’s bill of rights. It would let airmen withhold rent or end their leases with on-base housing operators in cases of serious health or safety problems. (Reuters)
  • The Defense Department is considering getting out of the business of moving service members belongings. Transportation Command mulled responses to an information request issued late last year. Contracting out the management of companies that move household goods for the 400,000 annual permanent changes of station could be one option. A contract would be in place for the 2021 moving season, and Military.com reported the move followed two years in which 10 percent of military families had delays and damaged goods with Transcom managing the movers. (Military.com)
  • The Navy is turning to other transaction agreements for the next phase of its network modernization effort. The service will solicit three separate OTA prototypes next week in pursuit of a concept it calls “modern service delivery.” The goal is to let its personnel access Navy IT systems from wherever they are. Officials are looking for new solutions for identity management, networking as a service, and systems that will let the Navy enforce its security policies in the commercial cloud. The solicitations will be managed through an OTA consortium the Navy set up last year called the Information Warfare Research Project. (Federal News Network)
  • A new initiative from the General Services Administration looks to give vendors more info about why they lost a contract. The In-Depth Feedback through Open Reporting Methods or INFORM pilot is part of a growing movement across government to provide enhanced debriefings. Through INFORM, GSA aims to give industry more insight to help them improve the quality of their future submissions. GSA will use the INFORM approach over the next nine months on 50 acquisitions ranging in size, cost and acquisition approach. (Federal News Network)
  • How many researchers are working on artificial intelligence in the U.S.? Kelvin Droegemeier, the new director of the  said there’s no clear headcount. He’s pitching a review of the country’s research and development every four years as part of the Trump administration’s scientific agenda. (Federal News Network)
  • The chief information officer shuffle continues across four agencies. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the U.S. International Trade Commission hired new chief information officers, while the Millennium Challenge Corporation and the Institute of Library and Museum Services are hiring new senior IT executives. USPTO brought on Henry “Jamie” Holcombe as its new CIO to replace John Owens, who left in November 2017. USITC stuck with an internal candidate and hired Keith Vaughn to replace Kirit Amin who left in January 2018. Vaughn has been with the agency since 2011 as its chief data architect.

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