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Agencies and contractors will see some stability in security clearance prices again next year. The Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency said the price for conducting background investigations won’t go up next year. DCSA said its continuous vetting capabilities are expanding. And it’s business model is getting more efficient in its first full year of operation. DCSA also plans to add 168 more staff members to replace the support functions OPM’s common services previously provided. (Department of Defense)
Automation at the FBI’s Biometric Identification and Analysis Unit has led to the bureau retraining hundreds of employees for other jobs. Since the bureau deployed its Next Generation Identification System in 2014, to automate most fingerprint matches, the unit reduced its headcount from as many as 500 employees to fewer than 100. Most of those employees have moved into work updating criminal histories tied to those fingerprint records. The bureau gets nearly 200,000 fingerprint submissions every day, and more than 90% of them are completed without any human intervention. (Federal News Network)
Faced with one of the most complex contract transitions ever, the Department of Health and Human Services is creating a central hub of expertise. HHS stood up the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions or EIS, Program Management Office. The office is charged with shepherding the network modernization and telecommunications initiative from contract development to full scale implementation. HHS released its request for service under EIS earlier this year. HHS said the PMO will ensure the agency takes advantage of bulk buying opportunities and eliminate redundancies and duplicate costs. (Department of Health and Human Services)
Agencies pushing for long-term IT modernization funding from Congress in 2021. Six agencies are asking Congress for a bigger IT modernization allowance. The departments of Commerce, Education, Labor, Agriculture and Treasury as well as the U.S. Agency for International Development submitted proposals as part of their budget requests to either create new or expand current working capital funds. These agencies want to bank money saved from other programs and spend it on IT modernization initiatives. So far, Congress has been hesitant to approve the banking of leftover money, only giving the Small Business Administration the authority in 2019. (Federal News Network)
Two years into its ongoing mission to transform federal financial management, the Treasury Department disbursed $66 billion in payments for the Defense Department last year. DoD is switching over to Treasury to disburse payments as part of its financial management modernization strategy. By the end of fiscal 2022, Treasury expects to make $483 billion in payments for DoD. (Department of the Treasury)
The Army is taking back the responsibility for handling its soldiers’ payroll. As of now, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service handles military pay for each of the services. That’s changing in 2021, according to the agency’s budget proposal. The Defense Military Pay Office, plus travel administrative functions will transfer to the Army next year. According to the budget documents, the Army currently pays DFAS $61 million per year to act as its payroll provider. The changes will also affect nearly 800 jobs — the budget documents don’t indicate whether all of those positions will transition to the Army. The transfer is part of the recently-concluded Defense-Wide Review, which aimed to eliminate some functions from Defense agencies and transfer others to the military services.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper has not used civilian employee collective bargaining authority he received in a White House executive order. At the end of January, President Donald Trump gave the Defense secretary discretion to carve intelligence, counterintelligence, investigative or national security employees out of collective bargaining, exceptions named in the law enabling negotiations. Esper’s plans are unknown. Union officials said they hope he never exercises the authority. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said she’d like to amend the law, and end the possibility of exemption. (Federal News Network)
It appears an Air Force pharmacy on Joint Base Andrews reissued bottles with the personal health information of previous patients. WAMU reported images on a base community Facebook page show a variety of re-issued medication bottles from the pharmacy. They displayed information from previous patients.
The Army Research Office may have a solution for tired soldiers in the field. ARO is studying a newly discovered system of the brain that acts as a big toilet flush for toxins when humans are asleep. The Army hopes by studying the glymphatic system that it might be able to prescreen which soldiers will be more suitable for all-night missions. Another possibility is creating drugs that will help soldiers stay more aware on less sleep. (Federal News Network)