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The Pentagon is trying a new approach to recruit top-notch IT talent. The Defense Digital Service thinks the current recruiting process is too passive — posting vacancies on the USAJobs website and waiting for applicants. So as part of a new pilot program, it’s just awarded contracts to five companies to actively recruit technical talent from the private sector. DDS said the Civilian Hiring as a Service program will target communities the government usually overlooks. (FedBizOpps)
A blue-ribbon panel organized by the Transportation Security Administration said the agency’s front line officers are woefully underpaid. The panel said TSA should implement targeted pay raises to TSA officers, rather than moving workers to the General Schedule. TSA Administrator David Pekoske said his agency is reviewing its human capital resources and pay and promotion policies. The panel said low pay is the biggest driver of TSA’s high turnover. (Federal News Network)
The Army, Air Force and National Guard want Congress to consolidate the process of putting officers into a rank. The procedure, called scrolling, requires a nomination from the president and confirmation from the Senate for officers to be promoted or to move between components. The services hope that consolidating the process will make it easier for troops to go to the reserve or guard and then back again. (Federal News Network)
The Air Force’s Autonomy Research Collaboration Network, or ARCNet, is officially up and running. The portal facilitates collaborative research and development related to autonomous technologies for the Air Force Research Laboratory. Membership is open to academia, large and small businesses and startups. The Air Force hopes the portal will increase communication between potential research partners. (Air Force)
Federal agencies could spend more than $1 billion on artificial intelligence technologies by the end of fiscal 2019, according to the Professional Services Council. Executive VP Alan Chvotkin said contract obligations and AI-related investments grew by nearly 75% between fiscal 2016 and 2018 for a total of $700 million. (Federal News Network)
Another member of Congress wants the Thrift Savings Plan to divest from certain companies. Congressman Jim Banks (R-Ind.) introduced a bill which prevents TSP funds from being invested in Chinese and Russian companies. He’s mainly worried about TSP’s international or I fund. Banks said TSP changed its I fund index back in November 2017. The change allowed TSP resources to be invested in companies based in China and Russia. Banks said the legislation would have no impact on TSP’s service fees or returns for its participants. (Rep. Jim Banks)
All four senators from Maryland and Virginia want to make sure the Metro rail system continues to receive much needed federal help. They’ve introduced new legislation to renew the federal funding commitment to Metro, while strengthening Congress’ oversight of the system as well. Over the last decade, Congress has allocated $150 million annually to Metro for capital expenses, with Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia each providing $50 million in matching funds. The funding is due to expire this year, though, unless it’s renewed.
It’s going to be a busy summer for the Department of Homeland Security’s signature federal cybersecurity program. DHS will award a new contract in the coming week and release a new solicitation in the next month or two as part of its plans for the continuous diagnostics and mitigation or CDM program. The new contract will be for an upgrade to the governmentwide dashboard that collects cyber data from agency dashboards. Kevin Cox, the CDM program manager, calls it the first step toward creating a dashboard ecosystem. As for the RFP, Cox said DHS wants to expand the cyber shared services for small and micro agencies.
These federal employees make sure the gears of government don’t grind. Eight new individuals or teams won the latest round of Gears of Government Awards, for delivering exceptional outcomes for their missions, in customer services and in accountable stewardship. Submissions, from agencies and executive councils, are judged yearly by a team from the executive office of the president. The latest awards went to Veterans Affairs, National Nuclear Security Administration, NASA, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Transportation and Agriculture. (Performance.gov)
New reskilling guidance and resources are out from the Office of Personnel Management. OPM said the reskilling toolkit and workforce reshaping playbook are designed to help agency leaders prepare their employees for work of the future. OPM suggested agencies should first conduct a top-to-bottom review of their workforces, and consider whether restructuring, resizing, reskilling or hiring and recruiting new talent makes most sense for their own mission activities. (Federal News Network)
New federal acquisition regulations remain on a snails pace to completion. Since November, the Federal Acquisition Regulations Council has not published any final rules and still has 35 regulations in the proposed rule stage, plus another 14 in the final rule stage. OMB’s semi-annual regulatory agenda showed little progress over the last six months. In November, the FAR Council had 36 proposed rules and nine final rules in process. (Office of Management and Budget)
The government offloaded some of its Washington, D.C., real estate. The General Services Administration finished the sale of land near the Energy Department’s headquarters the National Mall to the tune of $4.1 million. It was the second sale called for in the Federal Assets Sale and Transfer Act of 2016. (General Services Administration)