More time given for security clearance modernization ideas

In today's Federal Newscast, more time has been given for companies to come up with new ideas for the security clearance process.

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  • Vendors will get more time to submit their ideas for modernizing the personnel vetting system. The Defense Security Service is giving industry until mid-March to describe how the Pentagon could automate parts of the security clearance process, use new methods and sources to collect information on clearance applicants and holders, and add more continuous vetting capabilities. DSS will work with the Defense Information Systems Agency to build a new end-to-end personnel vetting IT system. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence also recently announced plans to update multiple facets of the security clearance process. (FedBizOpps)
  • Federal employees are jumping at the chance to become cyber experts. More than 1,500 employees applied for the Federal Cybersecurity Reskilling Academy. Federal CIO Suzette Kent said half of the employees are GS-5 to GS-11s. Applicants are currently completing assessments and the inaugural class begins April 15. (Federal News Network)
  • Nominations are open for the 2019 Presidential Rank Awards Program. The Office of Personnel Management will accept names through March 29. Distinguished rank awards go out to no more than one percent of the Senior Executive Service population. Meritorious rank awards go to no more than five percent. Acting OPM Director Margaret Weichert said she’s looking for exceptional career executives who have contributed to advancing the President’s Management Agenda, and provide excellent customer service. (Chief Human Capital Officers Council)
  • President Donald Trump plans to nominate Ann Fisher, a Postal Regulatory Commission staffer, to serve on the agency’s board of commissioners. Prior to working at the PRC, Fischer was a staffer for the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. She played a major role in shaping the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act. If confirmed, Fisher would take over for one of two commissioners whose terms have already expired. (White House)
  • The Pentagon will start small with its plan for a Space Force. A legislative proposal the Trump administration sent to Capitol Hill estimated the new service would have about 15,000 uniformed personnel, making it the smallest of the armed services – less than half the size of the Coast Guard. It would have a headquarters staff of about 200 people. The administration’s current plans called for the Space Force to be a service within the Department of the Air Force by next year, and eventually spin it off into a separate department with its own secretary. (Federal News Network)
  • A renewable energy power supply that can detect dangerous chemicals was the winner of this year’s Air Force Spark Tank. The Spark Tank gives airmen a chance to show off ideas to improve the service. This year’s winner provides uninterrupted chemical agent detection while running continuously with little maintenance. Though there is only one winner, the Air Force had made plans to move ahead with other creative ideas from this year’s competition as well. (Air Force)
  • The Defense Department’s $10 billion cloud procurement — the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) — will face a new kind of scrutiny. The FBI and DoD’s inspector general have launched a preliminary investigation into JEDI. Federal News Network learned that the FBI and IG interviewed at least one person seeking information on a variety of JEDI and DoD acquisition related topics. A source told Federal News Network that their discussion centered on times and dates of meetings, the Cloud Executive Steering Group and its role in drafting the solicitation for JEDI. The DoD IG and the FBI did not confirm or deny investigations. (Federal News Network)
  • The Census Bureau’s Opportunity Project will soon launch in 14-week “sprints” focused on improving the workforce and the 2020 census count. Working with the Office of Management and Budget, the project will also launch a challenge on focused on those two goals. The Opportunity Project connects agencies with partners in industry, academia and local communities to solve specific problems. (Federal News Network)
  • A pair of Senators introduced a bill to advance blockchain technology. Sens. Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) want to establish a governmentwide working group, acting along with private industry, to gain a deeper understanding of blockchain. The task of establishing an agreed-to definition would fall to the Commerce Department. The encrypted online ledger technology has already gained a small foothold in federal operations. A companion House bill was introduced by Reps. Doris Matsui (Calif.) and Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.). (Sen. Todd Young)
  • Worried about the Trump administration possibly stepping into the crisis in Venezuela, Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) introduced a resolution to prohibit U.S. military operations in the country without congressional approval. It would prevent the White House from using authorized funds to intervene militarily within Venezuela unless Congress gives the OK. Merkley called previous attempts to step into affairs in Latin America a failed strategy, and wants to make sure the same mistakes are not repeated. (Sen. Jeff Merkley)

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