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U.S. Customs and Border Protection is creating a new position to help ease the administrative burden on Border Patrol agents. The Border Patrol Processing Coordinator will handle intake and processing of people apprehended at the border. The position is also responsible for transporting and monitoring detainees who require hospital treatment. Due to an influx of migrants, CBP said 40% of the Border Patrol agents on the Southwest border are currently conducting processing, transportation, care and hospital watch, feeding, and cleaning duties instead of front line law enforcement responsibilities. CBP plans to start the hiring process for the position by fiscal 2020. (Customs and Border Protection)
A report of an individual getting deep into President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort highlights continuing problems for the Secret Service. The Palm Beach Post reported the incident occurred last fall, when a college student walked into the resort to see how far he could get. The Government Accounting Office found the Secret Service has yet to meet security agent training goals suggested by a special review panel convened five years ago, after a White House fence-jumping incident. (Palm Beach Post)
Air Force Gen. Arnold Bunch was confirmed to take over Air Force Materiel Command. Bunch succeeds Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, who retired last year. The command has been led by acting commander Lt. Gen. Robert McMurray since then. Bunch currently serves as the military deputy for the office of the assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition.
Air Force Maj. Gen. Mary O’Brien is nominated as the Air Force deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and cyber effects operations. O’Brien will be the first person to hold the new position. It was created after the Air Force reorganized some of its leadership around intelligence and cyber. O’Brien currently leads the 25th Air Force. (Department of Defense)
Agencies and organizations can now find a series of cybersecurity guides and other resources created by the Defense Information Systems Agency at a new location. Cyber.mil is the new home for several tools for users to protect Defense Department systems and software. Previously, they were shared on the Information Assurance Support Environment portal, which the agency is no longer updating. (Defense Information Systems Agency)
The Pentagon’s largest union said an upcoming IT restructuring violates employees’ labor rights. In a complaint to the Federal Labor Relations Authority, the American Federation of Government Employees said DoD failed to engage in negotiations before moving ahead with the Fourth Estate Network Optimization Initiative. The plan calls for the Defense Information Systems Agency to absorb more than 1,000 employees from other Defense agencies starting on Oct. 1. AFGE said many of those employees could lose collective bargaining protections. (Federal News Network)
Senior officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs estimate 40% of the VA population is eligible to see a private sector provider under upcoming MISSION Act criteria. New eligibility criteria will kick in next week on June 6. VA said its new community care program under the MISSION Act will be ready by the deadline. VA officials said changes should be practically invisible to veterans. Most of the MISSION Act changes are back-end updates to VA IT systems. (Federal News Network)
Implementing the MISSION Act’s requirements for the VA caregivers program is a different story. The law requires VA to expand the caregivers program to veterans of all eras after the department had implemented a new IT system. It was supposed to be in place by October 2018 and certified by Congress by October this year. But VA missed the first deadline, and it’ll miss the second one. The department said it doesn’t have an exact deadline for implementation because it’s developing a new IT system in phases. This is VA’s fourth attempt to build an IT system that can support the caregivers program. (Federal News Network)
Bipartisan legislation looks to help VA build up infrastructure it does not own. Reps. Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.) and Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.) introduced the VA Community Infrastructure Act, which would allow VA to provide funding to state and local governments for infrastructure projects that support the department’s medical facilities. The lawmakers said many VA facilities are increasingly threatened by recurrent flooding as a result of sea level rise, and they require additional flood mitigation infrastructure. The problem is VA is currently not allowed to help with projects not on the agency’s property. (Rep. Joe Cunningham)
A bipartisan group of senators wants all executive branch employees to start flying coach. Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and John Kennedy (R-La.) introduced the Fly Smart Act, which would ban all federal employees, cabinet secretaries and other public servants from using taxpayer dollars to fly first or business class for work unless there are no other options. Agencies would have to approve any exceptions by a waiver. The bill comes after the Environmental Protection Agency inspector general recommended that agency recover over $100,000 in excessive travel expenses from its former Administrator Scott Pruitt. (Sen. Jeff Merkley)
Agencies are one step closer to purchasing artificial intelligence-as-a-service. Virginia-based consulting group LMI was awarded a first-of-its-kind Intelligent Automation and Artificial Intelligence solutions contract. It’s a multiple-award, indefinite delivery-indefinite quantity contract, to be run by the Department of Health and Human Services Program Support Center. The vehicle is available to agencies governmentwide with a ceiling of $49 million over the next five years. Through the contract vehicle, agencies will have access to AI tools and support services.
Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico will be the first states to see self-driving mail trucks. The U.S. Postal Service is in its second week of a two-week pilot with the company TuSimple. Reuters reported the trucks will travel through the three states with a driver still behind the wheel. The pilot consists of five round trips, totaling more than 2,000 miles. (Reuters)
The General Services Administration tapped Julie Dunne to serve as senior adviser to Administrator Emily Murphy. Dunne previously worked as the staff director for the House Oversight and Reform Committee’s subcommittee on government operations. She’s also held positions as associate general counsel at the Department of Homeland Security, and at the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security. (General Services Administration)