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An Oregon man was sentenced to three and a half years in prison for taking millions of dollars in kickbacks on Defense contracts. Federal prosecutors said Brodie Thompson worked for an Arlington, Virginia-based Defense contractor when he offered to start steering subcontracts to another company — for a price. Authorities said he collected $4 million from the subcontractor over a period of three years, and also instructed them on how to inflate their invoices to cover the costs of those kickbacks. The company was hired to run athletic camps, clinics and other events for wounded warriors.
Roughly 13% of senior executives take on position reassignments during most years. The Government Accountability Office found nearly 23% of those reassignments involved geographic relocations. Agencies generally reassign retirement-eligible executives at lower rates, but reassignments did tick up slightly with that population between 2016 and 2018. Agencies with newly appointed leaders are supposed to observe a 120-day moratorium before reassigning senior executives. GAO said five agencies made 41 reassignments during those moratoriums during a recent two-year period, including the Interior and Energy Departments.
The FedRAMP cloud security program has seen extreme growth over the last two years. There are now more than 200 cloud services authorized by the Federal Risk Authorization Management Program. That number doubled since the end of fiscal 2018, when there was only 100. The FedRAMP program office says it took six years to reach the first 100 cloud service authorizations. Additionally, agencies have reused the security authorizations more than 1,900 times. Of the 203 cloud authorizations, software-as-a-service is the most popular type of product, receiving approval with 187 authorizations overall.
Seven projects are in line to receive $22 million to develop digital solutions to problems brought on by the COVID pandemic. The National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering at NIH selected these seven projects to receive at least one round of funding from nearly 200 different ideas. The awardees range from a health-measurement platform, to a contact tracing and verifiable health-status-reporting application, to software that would identify COVID-19 and differentiate it from the flu.
More than 200 children of federal employees have received scholarships from the Federal Employees Education and Assistance Fund. FEEA’s annual college scholarships give recipients between $1,000 and $5,000. Recipients also include some federal grandchildren and a few federal employees themselves. Finalists were chosen from more than 2,300 applicants. The parents work in 92 departments and agencies. The finalists come from every state plus Puerto Rico, Germany, Jordan and Turkey. Several federal unions, associations and health care providers support FEEA scholarships.
The Air Force is improving its policy for nursing mothers who return to work. The new policy increases flexibility for lactation breaks and mandates access to a refrigerator for storing human milk. The changes are effective immediately. The Air Force, along with the rest of the military, is seeing issues with retaining women, especially in mid-career.
Some leaders in Big Tech said the government needs to do a better job of bringing in smart people if it wants to stay ahead in Artificial Intelligence. The former leader of Google and its parent company, along with other tech giants, told Congress that the government and military must do better in bringing scientists into the fold. Members of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence said embracing scientifically minded immigrants and giving the weird corners of America access to data will help bring AI leaders to the government and keep them in the U.S. The members said the government needs to bolster its technological infrastructure to keep people innovating and keep the United States ahead of adversaries in AI advances. (Federal News Network)
The Army said a soldier at Fort Hood has been taken into custody after making death threats against the leadership at the Texas base. Authoritiecs are not releasing details on the soldier’s identity or how the threats were made. The threats were apparently connected to what officials say were false reports on social media about an active shooter on the base. (Federal News Network)
House Democrats want the Government Accountability Office to weigh in on the Social Security Administration’s customer service during the pandemic. Members of the House Ways and Means Committee said they support SSA’s decision to close field and local offices to most in-person visitors, but they’re concerned decisions are making it difficult for vulnerable populations to reach the agency. They’re looking for a GAO review of SSA services throughout the pandemic.
A federal court judge has blocked the Postal Service from moving forward with operational changes that have led to delays in mail delivery. Fourteen states filed the lawsuit against the agency for a policy under Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to reduce late and extra trips between mail processing facilities and post offices. The judge’s written order also requires the Postal Service to treat all election mail as first-class mail. In a call with state election officials, DeJoy said the Postal Service is capable of delivering all election mail on-time.
The Census Bureau’s IT infrastructure for the 2020 count has performed better than officials expected. About 66% of households self-responded to the count, and of those, the vast majority responded online. The bureau has also been able to flag outliers in data coming from enumerators’ smartphones, like if an enumerator gathered responses at the wrong address. The bureau wraps up field operations at the end of the month and has until the end of the year to submit apportionment data. (Federal News Network)