Air Force now requiring ‘private’ spaces for nursing moms

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  • In a nod to moms in the military, the Air Force is now requiring all nursing mothers be provided a “private, secure … and sanitary” location for breastfeeding or pumping. The order fills a gap the Air Force says comes from the grassroots level, and that women should not have to choose between serving and motherhood. Mothers will be given 15-30 minutes every three to four hours to use the rooms. (Air Force)
  • Coast Guard Base Miami Beach is hunkering down for Hurricane Dorian as it possibly heads towards Florida. Crews are storing boat parts and securing buildings. The Coast Guard has already relocated and staged its assets in strategic areas for storm avoidance and for more rapid response. (Department of Defense)
  • Several agencies are preparing to help state and local emergency teams respond to Dorian. The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it’s mobilizing staff to incident support bases at the Emergency Operations Center in Florida and Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama. Health and Human Services is also pre-positioning disaster medical assistance teams in southeast region. And the Army Corps of Engineers is mobilizing infrastructure assessment and debris management teams to Puerto Rico. Hurricane Dorian is expected to hit Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Florida and Georgia early next week. It could potentially become a Category 4 by the time it reaches land. (Federal Emergency Management Agency)
  • U.S. Space Command is officially up and running. Space Command became the Defense Department’s 11th combatant command during a White House ceremony Thursday. Defense officials said it’ll accelerate the development of DoD’s space capabilities. It will be led by Gen. John Raymond, who until now was the commander of Air Force Space Command. Congress still hasn’t authorized DoD to establish a separate Space Force, but it might do that as part of next year’s Defense authorization bill. (Federal News Network)
  • A new facility looks to ensure smoother air operations for Customs and Border Protection. The National Air Security Operations Center officially opened its new facility on Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota on Thursday. It’ll allow CBP to consolidate all of its manned and unmanned flying operations in the area under one facility. (Customs and Border Protection)
  • The General Services Administration and DoD made a big cloud computing award, but not one that’s been in the headlines. GSA and the Defense Department on Thursday awarded the 10-year, $7.6 billion dollar Defense Enterprise Office Solutions (DEOS) contract to a team led by CSRA. Under the DEOS program, the Pentagon will implement Microsoft Office 365 and associated capabilities including word processing and spreadsheets, email, collaboration, file sharing and storage. DoD said DEOS replaces legacy office applications with a standard cloud-based capability across all military services. Unlike the JEDI procurement, DEOS has been drama-free, though a post-award protest is still possible. (Federal News Network)
  • Administrative leave policies from the Office of Personnel Management are more than two years behind. Congress passed the Administrative Leave Act back in December 2016. The law was supposed to overhaul and create new categories of administrative leave. But agencies said the law as it’s written prevents federal employees who work overseas or in high-risk combat zones from taking paid time off for rest and recuperation or to observe foreign holidays. An amendment from Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) would create even more new categories to give employees paid time off for these reasons. The amendment cleared the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee last month. (Federal News Network)
  • House Veterans Affairs Ranking Member Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) wants his committee to quickly take up a bill aimed at preventing veterans suicide when Congress returns from August recess. The IMPROVE Well-Being for Veterans Act would expand grant funding to organizations that provide and coordinate suicide prevention services for veterans. It got an endorsement from the Department of Veterans Affairs and VA Secretary Robert Wilkie earlier this week. Roe’s plea for action comes days after committee Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif.) called for an agency-wide stand-down to help VA employees better understand how to identify veterans in crisis. (House Veterans Affairs Committee Minority)
  • The Pentagon’s suicide point person says multi-agency coordination has made a difference. Defense Suicide Prevention Office Director Karin Orvis, speaking at a joint Veterans Affairs-Defense Department conference, credited an executive order from the Trump administration. It directed the two departments, plus the Department of Homeland Security, to help ensure service members have a seamless transition to civilian life, including access to mental health services. Orvis cited the VA’s transition assistance program and the extension of Military OneSource for up to a year as initiatives useful in preventing suicide. (Department of Defense)

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