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On-time mail delivery still hasn’t fully recovered from operational changes made nearly two months ago by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. That’s according to a recent report from the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s Ranking Member Gary Peters (D-Mich.). On-time delivery has shown some recovery this month, but data shows it’s still bellow standards that predate DeJoy’s tenure in office. The Postal Service has reduced late and extra trips between mail processing centers and post offices.
Top leaders in the Air Force said regular telework is here to stay for airmen and civilians. The Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force said the service is seeing more productivity in some areas after adopting telework during the coronavirus outbreak. The military branch also thinks it will be able to save some money on office space. The Air Force still does not have a reliable way for employees to work on classified networks remotely and is working to improve that capability. (Federal News Network)
A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduce a bill to revamp the way sexual assault and harassment are handled in the military. It would take decisions on sexual assault and harassment issues outside of the chain of command, and establish a process for troops to make claims of negligence and seek damages against the Defense Department in the case of assault or harassment. The bill comes after a soldier who was being harassed was found dead outside Ft. Hood, Texas.
The Department Veterans Affairs wants to overhaul the legacy IT systems it uses to administer the GI bill. VA said the plan is to buy and configure three commercial off-the-shelf platforms. And it wants Congress to reprogram $250-million in CARES Act funding to get the project started. VA employees currently use 23 systems to process education and housing benefits. Employees have to toggle between multiple systems and take screenshots to keep it all straight. VA said the project would take two-to-three years if Congress agrees to the reprogramming request. (Federal News Network)
The FBI is launching a new strategy for countering cyber threats. FBI Director Chris Wray said its focus is making it harder and more painful for hackers to operate, and building stronger partnerships between government and industry. Through its National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force, the FBI has invited senior agency leaders to take the lead on certain missions focused of particular threats. The task force counts more than 30 intelligence and law enforcement agencies as members. (Federal News Network)
Turnover on the board overseeing the DoD’s cybersecurity maturity model continues. The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification Advisory Board’s rough month continues. Ty Schieber, the chairman of the CMMC-AB, and Mark Berman, the chairman of the communications committee, are leaving the board unexpectedly. Karlton Johnson, the AB’s vice chairman, will be the new head of the board. Schieber and Berman have been under pressure for the last week since details of a partnership concept leaked out that some called a “pay for play” because it seemed to want to charge as much as $500,000 dollars as a way to promote certain companies over others. Scheiber and Berman become the third and fourth original board members to leave in the last six weeks. (Federal News Network)
The Department of Homeland Security made its first award under the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions or EIS contract to begin its network modernization journey. DHS picked MetTel under a 13-year contract that could be worth up to $9 million for nationwide managed security services and internet access services. DHS plans on making a total of 13 awards under the EIS program to modernize headquarters and component networks.
The IRS has selected customer support operations for its Tax Exempt and Government Entities division as the first program that will move to its enterprise case management system. The migration will begin this fall … and will be completed before the end of the year. The new case management system will allow case workers to more easily research case records and process requests more quickly. The agency’s new Enterprise Digitalization and Case Management Office will carry out this work.
Contractors have less than a month to set up a new process to log into the General Services Administration’s e-Buy platform. Starting on Oct. 10, GSA will require vendors to use a two-step, multi-factor authentication process using GSA Federal Acquisition Service ID services. FAS ID is a secure, centralized identity management system that lets contractors access many GSA applications with one email and password. GSA already requires the use of FAS ID on four other platforms and will integrate it with the eOffer and eMod applications on the schedules by next spring.
After a year long review, the General Services Administration awards contracts to modernize a function central to nearly federal agency. Deloitte Consulting and Esper Incorporated receive a nearly $10 million contract to redo workflow for federal rule-making. Esper is an Austin, Texas, company specializing in regulatory workflow software. GSA seeks to field a product that will let agencies use artificial intelligence and machine to speed up regulatory reviews and evaluation of comments … and support the administration’s 2017 executive order on regulatory reform.
The president’s nominee to lead the Office of Personnel Management faces opposition from two large employee groups. The National Treasury Employees Union is urging senators to vote no in confirming John Gibbs. NTEU said Gibbs lacks experience in federal personnel management to succeed as OPM director. The Senior Executives Association said Gibbs’ past statements about the merit system are deeply troubling. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee didn’t vote on Gibbs’ nomination as initially planned. Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said some members had more questions for the nominee — and the vote is postponed.
The nominees to replace three long-serving members on the Thrift Savings Plan board are another step closer to confirmation. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee advanced John Barger, Christopher Burnham and Frank Dunlevy to the Senate for a full confirmation vote. The committee easily advanced Dunlevy and Burnham. Barger’s nomination has gotten some pushback from senators based on his role on the Postal Board of Governors.
A union representing 50,000 employees at the Social Security Administration wants to bargain over the payroll tax deferral. The American Federation of Government Employees is demanding to bargain over the president’s policy. The union argues the president’s payroll tax deferral represents a change in conditions of employment. And that the Social Security Administration is supposed to give the union formal notice and a chance to bargain over those changes. AFGE wants SSA to cease and desist implementation of the president’s payroll tax deferral policy. The agency though can ignore AFGE’s demand.