Interior Dept. officials cite progress in eliminating workforce harassment

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  • The Interior Department says it’s making progress in ongoing efforts to reduce instances of harassment at the agency. Eighteen percent of employees say they experienced some form of harassment. That’s compared to 35% of the Interior workforce in a 2017 survey. Interior says 94% of the workforce knows where to report harassment now, compared to 62% two years ago. The department says it’ll hold 70 sessions on bystander intervention training next month in various sites across the country. (House Natural Resources Committee)
  • Some agencies are starting to share this year’s Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey results. Employee engagement at the Treasury Department for example, sits at 69% in 2019. Seventy-nine percent of Treasury employees were satisfied with their immediate supervisors, compared to 58% for senior leaders. Treasury also noted a 5% bump in satisfaction with the department’s ability to recruit new talent with the right skills. The governmentwide engagement results are expected later this week. (Treasury Department)
  • With the next presidential election still 12 months away, the General Services Administration is preparing for a possible transition in the White House. GSA launched its presidential transition website explaining important details a new administration would need to know about ethics, records management and the Plum Book. The site also includes a timeline that highlights key dates around when the campaign should name agency transition leads and when agencies must finalize briefing books for a new administration. (General Services Administration)
  • If you want to do business with the FAA, don’t bother going to the FedBizOpps web site. Starting Friday, the Federal Aviation Administration will no longer post contracting opportunities at FedBizOpps. Contractors will have to go instead to the FAA’s own solicitations page. The agency says contractors must still register on the General Services Administration’s System for Award Management. GSA is moving FedBizOpps functions to a new, beta version of that system, but the FAA says it won’t list its own buying plans there. (Federal Aviation Administration)
  • A national security panel on artificial intelligence has warned of a brain drain, if the Trump administration cuts funding for research and development. The panel, chaired by former Google and Alphabet CEO Eric Schmidt, urged Congress not to act on a White House proposal to cut federal R&D funding by 5%, and basic research funding by 10% in fiscal 2020. The AI panel will release a final report with its recommendations for Congress sometime next year. (Federal News Network)
  • The Army National Guard plans to create the force’s fifth battalion, and will place it in Indiana. The new battalion will have four subordinate units consisting of a cybersecurity company, a cyber warfare company and two cyber protection teams. The battalion will conduct cyberspace operations, network vulnerability assessments and support federal entities like the Federal Emergency Management Agency. (Army National Guard)
  • Forget those four-letter word cloud efforts that DoD is waiting for, there’s an eight-letter one that is picking up steam. The military services don’t have to wait for JEDI or DEOS to move to the cloud. MilCloud 2.0 is growing every month. The Defense Information Systems Agency says the Army Materiel Command just finished moving more than 100 applications to the cloud instance. The Defense Contract Management Agency moved 29 applications in less than 90 days. And DISA moved 28 of its own apps to MilCloud 2.0 earlier this year. DISA officials say the classified version of MilCloud 2 should be ready to start accepting applications no later than January.
  • The Pentagon has made its decision on the long-awaited JEDI Cloud contract. But Oracle isn’t giving up its legal fight. In a brief to a federal appeals court, the software giant says a lower court was wrong to let the JEDI contract go forward. The Court of Federal Claims ruled DoD violated federal procurement laws by making JEDI a winner-take-all contract, but that Oracle wasn’t harmed by the decision. Oracle says that’s wrong, and that the lower court made numerous legal and factual errors. The company says the process was also tainted by conflicts of interest involving Amazon, even though DoD awarded the contract to Microsoft last month. (Federal News Network)
  • The Postal Service has asked a federal appeals court to rehear a case that challenged its largest price hike on postage stamps. The District of Columbia’s Court ruled in September, that the Postal Regulatory Commission failed to justify raising the price of a first-class stamp from 50 to 55 cents. But the Postal Service, in its petition for the court to rehear the case, said the court was wrong to conclude the PRC has final say over postal rates, and not its Board of Governors. (Federal News Network)
  • The Public Health Service might be able to start filling its reserve ranks soon. Bipartisan bills in the House and Senate intend to fix an issue that kept the Health and Human Services Department from paying Public Health Service reservists. The bill was voted out of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in the Senate at the end of October. The Public Health Service says it needs a ready reserve corps to backfill positions during emergency deployments. (Federal News Network)

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