New location for BLM headquarters announced

In today's Federal Newscast, the Bureau of Land Management is setting up new headquarters out west.

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  • A new location for the Bureau of Land Management’s national headquarters has been chosen. BLM will be relocating to Grand Junction, Colorado from Washington D.C. Senator Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) made the announcement. He says the move will put BLM decision-makers closer to the people most affected by them.
  • New guidance from the Office of Personnel Management and Office of Management and Budget aims to remind agencies that not all employees deserve a top performance rating. OMB and OPM want agencies to develop workforce fund plans to submit as part of the 2021 budget passback, and use the funds more strategically to reward employees. The plans should project how much agencies expect to spend on employee performance awards and bonuses. The administration says agencies should more strategically use these funds to reward employees who have made extraordinary contributions or have in-demand skills. (Environmental Protection Agency)
  • Budget cuts have forced the Environmental Protection Agency to shrink its total workforce by 2,500 employees over the last decade. But the EPA’s inspector general office says the agency still doesn’t know how many employees it should have to carry out its mission. EPA hasn’t run an agency-wide workload analysis since 1987, despite more than a dozen IG reports urging the agency to conduct annual reviews. EPA offices have spent nearly $3 million on six different workforce studies since 2005, but the IG office says those offices haven’t followed through on the recommendations of those piecemeal studies.
  • The National Treasury Employees Union is urging Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to reconsider his approach to telework. NTEU surveyed 1,600 HHS bargaining unit employees. Five out of six say further limits to telework would have an impact on their decision to retire or leave the agency. A recent Federal Service Impasses Panel’s decision opened up the door to allow HHS management to determine their own policies on telework without involving the union. One HHS office already limited telework to one day a week.
  • The 2019 Combined Federal Campaign will kick off September 9. Federal employees who want to donate this year can continue to make paper pledges if they don’t have access to the donation website. But the campaign is not accepting cash donations. The campaign runs through January 12, 2020. Acting Director Margaret Weichert says the Office of Personnel Management will continue make improvements to the donation website based on feedback from local leaders and donors. Newly hired employees can make donations at any time. (Chief Human Capital Officers Council)
  • Another attempt is being made to secure free lifetime credit monitoring for victims of the 2015 cyber breaches at the Office of Personnel Management. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) and Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) have reintroduced the RECOVER Act. The bill would ensure victims of the OPM cyber breaches get free identity protection coverage for the rest of their lives. These two have introduced similar legislation in previous years. They also authored the original legislation that guarantees free identity theft protection for victims through 2026. (Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton)
  • A new digital modernization strategy from the Defense Department focuses on four main priorities. Cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, cloud and command, along with control and communications. It also sets the goals of finding the right talent for a digital workforce and updating DoD’s cybersecurity posture. (Department of Defense)
  • DoD is shifting $34 million to accelerate the development of 5G technology. The funds will pay for 5G dual-use military and civilian technologies. The program will let industry and academic partners collaborate with DoD to regularly experiment, test and evaluate capabilities and to develop ways to share spectrum. DoD is asking for $436 million for the program in 2020. (Department of Defense)
  • The Pentagon has a new acting secretary of Defense— at least for the next several days. Navy Secretary Richard Spencer took the temporary role of acting Defense secretary yesterday. Under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, Mark Esper had to step aside from the job while the Senate considers his nomination to become permanent secretary. Esper’s confirmation hearing is happening on Capitol Hill today. In the meantime, the president is moving to fill the number-three position at DoD: he announced his intent to nominate Lisa Hershman as Chief Management Officer yesterday evening.
  • The General Services Administration has tapped the Public Buildings Service’s LaFondra Lynch to serve as the agency’s next deputy chief of staff. Lynch will help Administrator Emily Murphy and Chief of Staff Robert Borden roll out some of GSA’s strategic initiatives. Prior to her time at PBS, Lynch held several jobs in the Justice Department including public information officer, and appropriations liaison for DOJ’s Executive Office for Immigration Review. (General Services Administration)
  • The force behind the maturation of cloud security across the government is leaving. Matt Goodrich, who spent seven years moving the FedRAMP cloud security program from its infant stage to its adolescence, is moving to the private sector. Goodrich announced on LinkedIn that his last day at GSA would be July 26. He is taking a position in the private sector, but declined to name the company or what role he will be taking on. Goodrich started in government as a Presidential Management Fellow. He spent the last seven years at GSA where he helped improve FedRAMP to have 144 cloud services authorized from more than 100 providers.
  • Applications are open to train the next generation of CXO leaders. The CXO Fellowship program wants mid-level federal employees, usually GS 9 to 13s, to take part in a year-long training initiative. Candidates can come from acquisition, finance, human capital or IT.They’ll meet with leaders in the federal management community and learn about government operations through educational seminars. Applications are due August 9. (Chief Financial Officers Council)
  • If you missed it the first time around, the Smithsonian unveiled an important relic of the Apollo moon landing. It’s been cleaned and refurbished. Today the National Air and Space Museum will return astronaut Neil Armstrong’s space suit to display. It’s been out of sight for the last 13 years, while the Smithsonian obtained crowd-funding to pay for restoration. Until the museum completes a new exhibit of the moon landing, the suit will appear near the 1903 Wright brothers flyer. Vice President Mike Pence will preside.

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