Trump finds nominee for No. 2 DoD personnel official

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  • President Donald Trump plans to nominate David Patterson as the Pentagon’s number-two personnel official. Patterson was a deputy Defense Department comptroller during the George W. Bush administration. The position of deputy undersecretary for personnel and readiness has been vacant since 2015. DoD has also been without a Senate-confirmed undersecretary for personnel and readiness for the past year and a half.
  • A mostly sunny report from the IRS includes dark clouds when it comes to the workforce. In what they call a progress update, IRS officials estimate 31% of the agency’s workforce — nearly 20,000 people — will retire within five years. They sid that will cause a significant risk of a large knowledge and experience gap. To help avoid it, the IRS canceled its policy of exception-only hiring, and said it’s been trying to recruit people of all ages. (IRS)
  • Outgoing Postmaster General Megan Brennan will postpone her retirement planned for the end of the month, as the Postal Service continues its search for her successor. The USPS Board of Governors hired a management consulting firm to help find candidates, but a USPS spokesman told Federal News Network there’s no set date for the board to name a new postmaster general. Brennan has worked for more than 30 years at the Postal Service, and has served as postmaster general for the past five years. (Federal News Network)
  • Defense Secretary Chief of Staff Eric Chewning will step down from his position at the end of January. Chewning is leaving for a job in the private sector. He joined the Defense Department in 2017 as deputy assistant defense secretary for industrial policy. Chewning will be replaced by Jen Stewart, who is minority staff director of the House Armed Services Committee. Stewart currently serves as the minority staff director of the House Armed Services Committee. Stewart’s position will be filled by Dan Sennott, who is the Republican staff lead for the House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee.
  • The Congressional Budget Office estimated it will cost $380 billion to maintain the current size of the naval aviation fleet for the next 30 years. CBO projected it will cost an average of $12 billion a year from 2020 to 2050 to replace the aircraft in the current fleet. The most costly aircraft in the fleet are fighter jets and Marine Corps combat rotocraft. Together those systems make up 80% of the costs over the next 30 years. (Congressional Budget Office)
  • A new analysis shows the Pentagon is denying more requests under the Freedom of Information Act. The report by the watchdog group Project on Government Oversight also suggests DoD is denying more FOIA requests in cases where they may not be legally justified. Data from 2018 show 269 of those denials were overturned when the requesters appealed them. That’s 70% more successful appeals than the year before. DoD is also redacting more of the documents it releases under FOIA: 60% of its responses were at least partially blacked-out. (Project On Government Oversight)
  • The president will submit his fiscal 2021 budget request to Congress a week late, but earlier than any other time over the last four years. The Office of Management and Budget confirmed the White House will send its spending wish list on Feb. 10. Traditionally, the president submits a request to Congress on the first Monday in February. This year, Monday, Feb. 10 is the second Monday of the month. Congress agreed and Trump signed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 on topline spending numbers for 2020 and 2021 of more than $1.3 trillion.
  • The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has proposed 10 principles agencies must meet when drafting new regulations on artificial intelligence. These principles include building public trust in AI, and increasing AI transparency. The public will have 60 days to comment on OSTP’s draft version of the document before the White House issues a final memorandum to federal agencies. Officials said the final version of these principles will serve as the Trump administration’s first binding policy on AI. (Federal News Network)
  • DHS is giving agencies and contractors some timely cybersecurity advice. With tensions rising between Iran and the U.S., the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency outlines five things organizations can do now to protect themselves from possible cyber attacks. In a newly released insights document, CISA said agencies and contractors should confirm online backups of critical documents and applications. These organizations also should prepare for a rapid response by reviewing threat intelligence and exercising preparedness plans. CISA also details Iran’s threat profile and capabilities both in cyberspace and on the ground. (Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency)

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