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Child care centers in buildings run by the General Services Administration have significant security vulnerabilities, according the agency’s inspector general. The IG office found that all 11 of the child care centers it audited failed to meet minimum federal security standards, and recommended the Public Buildings Service upgrade the security of those facilities. PBS officials told the IG’s office that large-scale security upgrades would affect the long-term solvency of the fund it uses for buildings repairs. (General Services Administration Office of Inspector General)
The Defense Department put out official guidance on the coronavirus outbreak to reduce the threat of the illness in the military. The guidance advises DoD personnel who returned from travel to China in the last 14 days and feel sick to seek medical help immediately and to call ahead to tell them about the recent travel. The guidance reminds personnel to wash their hands thoroughly and to cough or sneeze into sleeves and not hands. The World Health Organization declared coronavirus a global emergency last week. (Department of Defense)
Amid growing concerns about the spread of coronavirus, the Defense Department says it’s agreed to make four military bases available to quarantine travelers arriving from overseas. In a statement this weekend, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said DoD was offering up facilities at four bases to house up to 1,000 people. They’re located at Fort Carson, Colorado, Lackland Air Force base in Texas, and Travis Air Force Base and Miramar Marine Corps Air Station in California. Although DoD is providing the space, the Department of Health and Human Services would be in charge of transporting and caring for any travelers who need to be quarantined. (Federal News Network)
The Defense Health Agency stood up its first four healthcare markets in the National Capital Region, Jacksonville, Florida, the Mississippi coast and central North Carolina. The markets will share patients, staff, budgets and other functions to optimize the delivery and coordination of health services. DHA will eventually establish 21 markets where DoD has large concentrations of facilities and patients. DHA says the markets will allow hospitals and clinics to be more effective by eliminating duplicative processes and streamlining management functions. (Defense Health Agency)
The Defense Department has tapped the Defense Logistics Agency to help improve the readiness of the troubled F-35. DLA officials say they’ll start transferring spare parts from Lockheed Martin and Pratt-and-Whitney. The parts, which the government already owns, will go into DLA’s own regional warehouses. Last year the F-35 joint program office tapped DLA for storage and management support of the plane’s spare parts kits in the U.S. and Canada, so parts will be closer to the planes that need them. Now DLA says it’s ready to roll. (Defense Logistics Agency)
Defense and Justice Department lawyers have asked a judge to let the Pentagon get to work on the multi-billion dollar JEDI Cloud contract. Documents filed Friday ask the Court of Federal Claims to reject Amazon Web Services’ request for a preliminary injunction. Both sides are asking the court for a decision by Feb. 13. DoD plans to award the first major JEDI task order to Microsoft the next day if the court doesn’t block it before then.
Lt. Gen. John Shanahan, the leader of the Defense Department’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center will retire this summer. He’s been overseeing JAIC since December 2018. JAIC spokesman Lt. Commander Arlo Abrahamson says the search is ongoing for a replacement. Shanahan’s departure comes as DoD is increasing its interest in AI. JAIC has a budget of $183 million for 2020. The center will also double its civilian workforce of 70 by 2021. The Pentagon says it may start using AI in military operations as early as this year. (Federal News Network)
GSA has released the second major piece to its effort to consolidate its schedule contracts. GSA issued the mass modification for current schedule holders. The solicitation streamlines terms and conditions, includes new categories and special item numbers and attempts to make it easier for vendors to provide products and services. GSA says contractors should begin the process to modify and consolidate their current schedule contracts as soon as possible so they meet the July 31 deadline to sign the mass modification. (General Services Administration)
The Federal Data Strategy will impact all federal employees, not just data wonks. That’s the message set by the first meeting of the governmentwide Chief Data Officers Council. It’s the first of 20 goals the strategy has laid for agencies to meet before the end of this year. In a few months, agencies must also complete an assessment of their workforce’s data literacy and data skills under the strategy. But the plan also sets a 10-year roadmap on long-term goals like the government’s ethical use data of public data. (Federal News Network)
Two more experts have joined the federal salary council. President Donald Trump appointed Former Millennium Challenge Corporation director of human resources Doug Fehrer and Robert Creighton from the Fraternal Order of Police to the body that reviews the pay of federal employees as compared to private sector. The council includes three experts in labor relations and pay policy and six representatives of Federal labor unions and other employee organizations. (White House)
Administrative judges at the Merit Systems Protection Board decided over 5,100 cases in 2019. That’s about 300 fewer than the previous year. The board doesn’t have a quorum, but administrative judges at MSPB field and regional offices are still deciding cases. MSPB told Congress nearly half of its judges, and over a third of its employees are eligible to retire in the next two years. Retirement eligibility, the lack of quorum and a recent Supreme Court decision questioning the constitutionality of its administrative judges are the biggest challenges for the MSPB in 2020. (Merit Systems Protection Board)
The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board has again awarded its life annuity contract to Met Life Insurance Company. Thrift Savings Plan participants are allowed to use all or a portion of their proceeds from the TSP to buy a single life or joint life annuity policy. Met Life has the new contract for three years with the option to renew twice for one additional year each. Met Life has held this contract since at least 2014. (Federal News Network)