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The Army is increasing its maximum reenlistment bonus to nearly $81,000 starting at the beginning of September. The new bonuses are aimed at encouraging soldiers to sign up for longer enlistments. Only critically-needed career fields are eligible for the maximum bonus. The Army is currently having trouble filling some infantry positions.
A month after saying he wanted Eugene Scalia to be the next Secretary of Labor, President Donald Trump said he plans to nominate the labor, employment and regulatory lawyer and son of former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia for the agency’s top spot. Eugene Scalia worked in the government before as a speech writer for the secretary of Education in the 1990s, and a special assistant to the attorney general. This will be Scalia’s second tour at the Labor Department. In 2001 he served as the solicitor of labor, the department’s principal legal officer with responsibility of a broad range of regulatory and enforcement matters. Scalia would replace Alex Acosta, who resigned in July due to scrutiny over his involvement in a plea deal for Jeffrey Epstein in 2007. (White House)
Former employees of the Agriculture Department’s Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture are being asked to consider returning to their agencies to work part-time. USDA said rehiring them as reemployed annuitants is part of its strategy to pick up the work that will be left behind when current employees leave the agency over the upcoming relocation to Kansas City. One ERS retiree told Federal News Network that re-employed annuitants would work for the agency for 20 hours a week, with the option to telework in 2020. (Federal News Network)
The Marine Corps discovered a civilian job classification it has no trouble filling. Nearly 400 applicants flocked to a posting for 40 openings at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina. The Fleet Readiness Center East needed apprentices for its aircraft maintenance work. Center officials hired the first class of apprentices this month. They’ll receive training in several trades, machinist, sheet metal-working, air frame maintenance, and fixing parts. Plus, they’ll get the benefits of federal employment. After four years, apprentices become certified mechanics.
A possible new way for the Air Force to manage its Space Enterprise Consortium. The conglomeration of businesses works with the service to enter into other transaction agreements to quickly prototype technologies. The Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center is re-competing the contract to manage it because of concerns about the security of companies’ information. The Air Force wants a manager that will promote cybersecurity within consortium members. (FedBizOpps)
The Department of Homeland Security is putting the pieces in place to get help finding cyber vulnerabilities. The SECURE Act gave DHS the ability to get help from third party experts to find and plug cybersecurity holes. Under the law, DHS is setting up a vulnerability disclosure program. As part of that effort, the DHS chief information security officer wants to know how long it will take for individuals or organizations to provide this information. DHS is seeking comment on that and other questions including how accurate the agency’s estimation of three hours per respondent to submit this information is and how DHS can minimize the burden on cyber experts in collecting this information. (Federal Register)
Agencies may finally be able to leave the 1990s when it comes to issuing task and delivery orders. The Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council is proposing to change the rule that requires task or delivery orders be issued by fax or electronic commerce only if authorized in the contract schedule. Procurement regulations say Postal Service mail is the only way task or delivery orders are considered formally “issued.” The proposed rule would no longer require a separate authorization in the contract to use electronic commerce or fax to issue task or delivery orders. The rule also identifies when a task or delivery order is considered “issued” when using such methods. Comments on the proposed rule are due by Oct. 22. (Federal Register)
The General Services Administration issued a sole source justification for IBM to continue support of the Office of Personnel Management’s mainframe hardware. GSA said OPM’s existing mainframes are old, expensive to maintain, and the challenges are unique to IBM. OPM’s mainframe supports two of the agency’s key systems: One for background investigations, and the other for retirement service applications. GSA is supporting OPM’s IT modernization efforts through its Center of Excellence initiative. (FedBizOpps)
The Department of Veterans Affairs’ inspector general said he’s investigating allegations of potential wrongdoing in connection with several patient deaths in West Virginia. In a brief statement yesterday, inspector general Michael Missal said his office is working with other law enforcement agencies to investigate multiple deaths at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg. He didn’t elaborate, but the news comes after local media reported a patient’s death had been ruled a homicide, caused by an improper insulin injection. An attorney for one of the patients said VA believes as many as 10 patients may have died in a similar fashion. (Department of Veterans Affairs)
The Defense Department issued its first an annual suicide report. DoD Suicide Prevention Office Director Karin Orvis said the first report will provide suicide counts and rates for service members and their families for 2018. She said transparent and timely data will help DoD keep an eye on trends within the community. In 2018, 321 active duty military members took their lives. (Department of Defense)
A 2017 decision from the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board to move the Thrift Savings Plan’s I fund to a different index is earning bipartisan criticism. Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) are urging the TSP agency to reconsider its plans to change the international fund index. The senators said they’re considered TSP participants will be investing in companies that support the Chinese government and its interests. They questioned whether the FRTIB had fully considered the national security, ethical and financial implications the move would have on American interests. (Sen. Marco Rubio)