Amid rising tensions with Iran, Army insists no plans for draft

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  • The Army reiterates, despite rising tensions with Iran, there are no plans to initiate a draft. The Army’s recruiting command said it’s heard reports from across the country of people receiving text messages saying they’ve been selected for the draft. There’s no clear indication of the motive or who’s sending them, but the Army is putting out the word via social media and other venues that the messages are clearly bogus. The U.S. military has not conscripted citizens into military service since 1973, and it would take an act of Congress to change that.
  • A group of Democratic senators introduced a bill to correct problems with the new Federal Employee Paid Leave Act. Several thousand employees at the Federal Aviation Administration Transportation Security Agency, as well as Washington, D.C. courts and public defender’s services are not covered by the paid leave bill signed into law at the end of 2019. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) introduced the Federal Employee Parental Leave Technical Correction Act. It ensures those employees have access to 12 weeks of paid parental leave.
  • Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner wants agencies to get moving on a planned security clearance overhaul. Warner wrote to Office of Personnel Management Director Dale Cabaniss and acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, asking they immediately issue guidance needed to implement a series of security clearance reforms. The initiative is called Trusted Workforce 2.0. Warner said agencies should build off recent bipartisan endorsement of the Trump administration’s plans to overhaul the outdated clearance system. (Federal News Network)
  • Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) is the new chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee. Senators confirmed him Tuesday as the new chairman, and he replaces Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) as committee leader. Isakson left his seat as senator at the end of 2019 due to quickly advancing health issues. The Senate VA Committee has steered several big veterans legislative policy changes over the past two years.
  • The Senate has approved U.S. Treasurer Jovita Carranza to serve as the next permanent head of the Small Business Administration. She’ll take over for former Administrator Linda McMahon, who stepped down from the job last April. Carranza served as SBA’s deputy administrator for more than three years, under the George W. Bush administration. Prior to serving in government, she spent more than 20 years working for UPS, and served as president of the company’s Latin America and Caribbean operations.
  • Defense Department workers might see some changes on bases in response to the threat from Iran. The Pentagon is staying tight lipped on what it’s doing to prepare. However, Center for Strategic and International Studies senior advisor Mark Cancian said DoD employees might expect longer lines to get on bases as vehicle searches get more intense. Cancian said troops will likely see a refresher in cyber training and will be put on increased patrols around base perimeters. During the Gulf War, in some cases, it took hours to get on bases because of the searches. (Federal News Network)
  • The Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center unveiled its 2020 strategy to provide logistics to the Indo-Pacific region. The fleet provides logistics solutions throughout the Asian and Pacific region to generate readiness. The strategy introduces new priorities to guide fleet personnel. Those include strength through family, generating warfighter readiness and staying agile, relevant and ready. (Navy)
  • The Pentagon’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center is looking for help making sense of its data. The JAIC’s Infrastructure and Platforms Division seeks an architect to lead the development of data analytics, algorithms, and modeling for technical processes. Qualified applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in engineering or computer science.
  • A week into 2020, the Census Bureau is revving up efforts to hire enumerators. The jobs are temporary and part-time, but the Census Bureau needs a half million census takers for this year’s decennial count. Pay varies by location. In Henrico County, Virginia, enumerators earn $21 per hour, and in San Mateo, California, up to $30 per hour. The bureau posted an interactive map showing where the most jobs are available. It needs people in 50 states buthomeland secuit’s reached the quota for Puerto Rico. (Census Bureau)
  • Efforts for agencies to share common services are facing an uphill struggle. New data on Performance.gov shows several initiatives faced delays in 2019, including the consolidation of government-owned vehicles and the centralization of citizen and business payments to Treasury. The cross-agency goal leaders, the General Services Administration and the Office of Management and Budget, say the fleet consolidation effort is behind schedule because several agencies haven’t responded to the study findings and recommendations.
  • The Department of Homeland Security chose chose four vendors to take on its IT modernization challenge. DHS put a key piece in place to accelerate its IT modernization efforts. The agency recently awarded its Architecture, Development and Platform Technical Services or ADaPTS, blanket purchase agreement. Four vendors, Blackstone, Booz Allen Hamilton, Sevatec and Techflow, won a spot on the five-year, $265 million contract. Under the vehicle, DHS will buy services ranging from implementing and managing enterprise cloud shared services to modernizing and migrating applications to infrastructure. (Sevatec)
  • Federal employees in the National Capital Region have until the end of the week to make their last donations for the year to the Combined Federal Campaign. The CFC will close Jan. 12. The region so far raised more than $27 million and donated over 56,000 volunteer hours to the campaign this year. The National Capital Region has a goal of raising $34 million to the 2019 CFC. (Combined Federal Campaign)

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