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The Navy is ramping up its adoption of a new pay and hiring system for cyber employees. The Navy’s Fleet Cyber Command started wide-scale implementation of the Cyber Excepted Service this month. Officials say they expect to convert all of their civilian cyber positions to the new system by August 18th. Existing employees have the option to either make the change or stay in the traditional competitive service. Congress created CES three years ago to give DoD more flexibility in hiring people with cyber skills and set more competitive salaries. (Navy)
Gearing up for hurricane season, the National Guard is tweaking some of its methods. It’s tightening some of its internal processes to respond quicker and more effectively. The Guard also has a new playbook to help staff during a crisis. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting four to eight hurricanes this season. (Federal News Network)
The Marine Corps is the newest branch to give military spouses up to $500 to cover the cost of professional credentials and licensing fees after a permanent change of station. The Air Force released a similar plan earlier this year. The policy aims to reduce military spouse unemployment, which may be as high as 25%. (Marines)
The National Federation of Federal Employees is developing a legal strategy to challenge the Trump administration’s proposed transfer and closure of nine Civilian Conservation Corps centers. Union President Randy Erwin says the union isn’t addressing potential reductions in force or forced retirements at this time. The union says there have been no further developments since Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Labor Secretary Alex Acosta proposed the transfer and closure of nine Job Corps centers last week. NFFE is encouraging its members to urge their lawmakers to oppose the proposal.
The Thrift Savings Plan is adding several additional features within the next year. New withdrawal options will be available to participants starting September 15. The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board is also adding a new spillover capacity, to help TSP participants better manage catch-up contributions without hitting the election deferral limit. TSP participants will also see targeted emails and notifications in the mail to help them save more money and take full advantage of the Federal Employee Retirement System. (Federal News Network)
TSP will also make two-factor authentication mandatory for its online account holders later this year. The TSP rolled out tougher security measures to online accounts back in April which were voluntary. Almost 145,000 participants have opted in. But the TSP says the tighter security measures will be mandatory by December. (Federal News Network)
The National Institute of Standards and Technology is giving the public more time to offer feedback on ways to make AI more trustworthy. NIST has extended the comment deadline to June 10th for its request for information on its guidance for AI standards. It originally set the deadline for today. President Donald Trump gave NIST the job of coming up with technical standards for AI tools in an executive order signed in February. (Federal News Network)
The Department of Health and Human Services has awarded a new artificial intelligence contract through its new contract vehicle. General Dynamics Information Technology will provide AI technology to HHS through its Program Support Center contract. Through this contract, GDIT becomes pre-qualified to compete on task orders to help HHS utilize advanced technologies for their modernization efforts. GDIT says the contract will help HHS leverage new technology make its workforce more efficient. The multiple award, IDIQ contract is worth $49 million over a five-years. (General Dynamics Information Technology)
A former employee at the CIA’s Office of Inspector General, is suing the Homeland Security Department to expedite a Freedom of Information Act request filed with the DHS IG office. The DHS watchdog office had looked into complaints that acting CIA IG Christopher Sharpley retaliated against his employees for reporting wrongdoing in the IG’s office. Sharpley had served as acting CIA IG since 2015, but withdrew his nomination for the permanent IG job last July.
A planned NASA mission to another moon is running into trouble, four years before its scheduled launch. The moon is Europa. It orbits Jupiter. At two billion dollars, NASA has received twice as much money from Congress as it asked for to send two probes to Europa, which scientists theorize has a life-supporting ocean. But the NASA inspector general says understaffing, an ambitious development schedule and poor cost planning threaten both the initial 2023 launch and a subsequent 2025 launch. (NASA Office of Inspector General)