House proposal would require federal employees receive Internet of Things cyber training

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  • Federal employees will receive mandatory Internet of Things (IOT) cybersecurity training under a new bill introduced by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.). The bill would task the Office of Management and Budget with developing a curriculum to build awareness about IOT-related cyber threats. In September, Khanna introduced a bill, to codify the Department of Homeland Security’s Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation, or CDM program. (Rep. Ro Khanna)
  • NASA’s inspector general is warning about inconsistencies in the agency’s approach to security. In a new report, the IG said the agency leaves decisions about how to protect its facilities and staff up to individual NASA centers – and those decisions tend to be driven by budgets as much as actual security risks. NASA decided to centralize the management of those security functions just two months ago, but the IG said it’s too early to tell how much the new structure will help. (NASA Office of Inspector General)
  • The General Service Administration’s Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) has reported increases in revenue and customer satisfaction. It says the money to modernize its acquisition systems is higher than ever before. GSA Administrator Emily Murphy said FAS brought in more than $68 billion in revenue last year, which is 23% higher than in 2017. Murphy said because of that increase, the acquisition services fund is at record levels, giving GSA as much as $150 million to invest in new acquisition systems.
  • Two more agencies have received IT modernization loans. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Agriculture Department (USDA) received a combined $12 million from the Technology Modernization Fund to accelerate ongoing IT projects. The EEOC received $4 million to help modernize its case management system. USDA received its third award under TMF, $8 million to move the Agricultural Marketing Service’s Specialty Crops Program off an approach that relies on triplicate carbon paper. The TMF Board also updated the progress of the seven other programs that received loans over the last two years. (Federal News Network)
  • The Census Bureau has now obtained all the addresses it needs to send forms for the 2020 population count. The bureau wrapped up its in-field canvassing operation, which sent 32,000 workers across the country to verify more than 50 million addresses. The bureau already had the majority of the address canvassing work done, by leveraging others agencies’ administrative records, and by using government geospatial data. (U.S. Census Bureau)
  • The Air Force said it is pressing forward with a major overhaul of its promotion system for military officers. Air Force officials said the changes are meant to reflect that fact that different communities of officers progress through their careers in different ways. The changes announced Monday mean the officer corps will be broken down into six separate “developmental groupings.” Officers will compete for promotion within their own career category, instead of competing against all their peers across the entire service. Officials said it’s the most significant change to officer promotion categories since the Air Force was first created in 1947. (Air Force)
  • Two Defense Logistics Agency employees have been disciplined for violating the Hatch Act. In a settlement agreement with the Office of Special Counsel, one of the workers admitted to sending partisan political emails and seeking campaign donations while at work. He has been suspended for 90 days without pay. The second employee agreed to a 30-day suspension for including the words “Vote Republican” in a PowerPoint presentation. OSC said both workers admitted they’d received extensive training on the Hatch Act. (Office of Special Counsel)
  • President Trump has announced Deputy Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette will be his nominee to replace Energy Secretary Rick Perry when he steps down. Brouillette was an assistant energy secretary under President George W. Bush and a Louisiana state energy regulator. He also worked for the United Services Automobile Association and the Ford corporation. (Associated Press)
  • A new toolkit has been developed to help supervisors better understand their agency’s Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey results. The toolkit explains how managers can review, share, and take action based on the survey results. The Office of Personnel Management said the goal is to empower supervisors to develop their own strategies to improve employee engagement within their own work unit. Improving employee engagement was one of several goals on the President’s Management Agenda. (Chief Human Capital Officers Council)
  • The Merit Systems Protection Board reported it has a backlog of over 2,300 pending petitions for review. The backlog has been building every month since MSPB lost a quorum back in January 2017. While all three of the president’s nominees for the board have cleared committee, the Senate hasn’t voted to confirm any of them. The board has been without a single member since the term for acting MSPB Chairman Mark Robbins expired back in March. (Federal News Network)
  • MSPB says Congress and OPM could do more to help agencies develop and pay for assessment tools to evaluate job candidate qualifications. OPM has created assessments for over 100 federal occupations through its USA Hire Program, but noted agencies must pay OPM a fee for them.  MSPB said those are often too expensive for agencies. MSPB did praise much of OPM’s recent hiring guidance for agencies. (Federal News Network)

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