Air Force grounds over 100 C-130s due to cracks in wing joints

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  • More than 100 C-130 planes are being temporarily removed from service after atypical cracks were discovered on the lower center wing joint. According to Air Force’s Air Mobility command, the 123 planes taken out of service amounts to about a quarter of the total C-130 force. The planes will undergo an eight-hour inspection and fixed if needed. The joints will be replaced if cracks are found. Planes without cracks will be immediately returned to service. (Air Force)
  • A hiring freeze is in place at the Social Security Administration’s headquarters and regional components. New SSA Commissioner Andrew Saul said the goal is to focus agency resources on SSA’s public-facing offices. SSA field offices, customer service centers, and other processing offices are exempt from the freeze. SSA components can also request further exemptions. The agency didn’t say when the hiring freeze would end. It went into effect July 31. (Federal News Network)
  • Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) wants to extend whistleblower protections down to the acquisition and grantee chains. The Indiana Republican introduced the Whistleblower Act of 2019 that would make slight, but significant changes to the law. The bill would give subcontractors and subgrantees protection in the U.S. code for reporting fraud, waste or abuse.
  • The Agriculture Department said it’s continuing to push forward with the relocation of two of its research bureaus to Kansas City. Scott Hutchins, USDA deputy under secretary for Research, Education, and Economics, told employees, the recent inspector general report calling the relocation illegal does not change the agency’s plans. He said employees shouldn’t be concerned about violating the Antideficiency Act when submitting requests for relocation reimbursements. USDA said nine new employees have joined the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture in Kansas City since July 22. The first relocating employees began work in Kansas City this week. (Federal News Network)
  • A new era for the Postal Regulatory Commission has begun. Former PRC Director of Public Affairs Ann Fisher and former Senate staffer Ashley Poling started their tenure as PRC commissioners after their recent Senate confirmation. Both will play a role in the agency’s 10-year review of the Postal Service’s rate-setting system. President Donald Trump nominated both Fisher and Poling for terms that end in 2024. (Postal Regulatory Commission)
  • Sue Gordon is leaving the intelligence community after 30 years of service. Gordon has been the deputy director of National Intelligence for the past two years, and by law, would have become the acting director when Dan Coats makes his previously-announced departure later this month. Her resignation does not appear to have been voluntary, as it came on the same day the president announced that Joseph Maguire, the head of the National Counterterrorism Center, would take the acting DNI role instead. Trump has not said whether he’ll nominate Maguire to take the position permanently. (Federal News Network)
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs awarded another contract to another region of the agency’s new Community Care Network. Tri-West Healthcare Alliance will be the third-party administrator for Region 4 of VA’s Community Care Network. Region 4 covers parts of the Midwest and the West. Awards for regions 5 and 6 are expected later this year. The community care network is the standard contract vehicle VA uses to pay private-sector health care providers. VA said it’ll award contracts for regions 5 and 6 later this year. OPTUM Public Sector Solutions won the contract award for regions 1-3 late last year. (Department of Veterans Affairs)
  • With the Government Accountability Office leasing more than half of its field offices it’s looking to build a database to keep track of that leased office space. GAO asked industry for quotes on a searchable database that lists the buildings’ addresses and owners, and whether the buildings are held by American or foreign entities. GAO will accept quotes through Sept. 6. (FedBizOpps)
  • The Office of Management and Budget, and GSA are turning to an existing contract to satisfy a cross-agency priority goal. Instead of developing a new contract to help agencies implement Technology Business Management standards, OMB and GSA are turning to the IT schedule. OMB and GSA announced their plan to direct agencies to Schedule 70 to procure TBM tools and services. Additionally, GSA released a new request for information asking for updated information from TBM tool vendors. Through the RFI, GSA wants vendors to identify the TBM tool they offer, whether they have a cloud security certification under FedRAMP and whether they are a small or large business. Responses to the RFI are due Aug. 23.

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