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Agencies will have some flexibility to decide which civil service jobs could become political ones under the president’s new executive order. The Office of Personnel Management is out with preliminary guidance on the president’s recent order. The EO described some broad categories of policy-making positions that may move to the new Schedule F. But OPM said agencies could include other positions based on additional characteristics. OPM ultimately has the final say on what positions to reclassify in the excepted service. Agencies have until mid-January to review those positions.
Veterans Affairs said it’s marking a milestone with the initial go-live of its new electronic health record. VA began the rollout of the new EHR at its first site over the weekend. Roughly 96% of users in Spokane, Washington trained on the new system before the initial go-live. Congress said it’s optimistic the initial roll-out will be a success. But it’s unsure what the initial rollout portends for the rest of VA’s electronic health record modernization. (Federal News Network)
The Labor Department joined the administration’s efforts to weed out what the White House considers over-the-top diversity and inclusion training. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs issued a request for information about training that involves race or sex stereotyping or scapegoating. An executive action last month seeks to bar such training from federal agencies and contractors and subs. OFCCP said the intent is to prevent contractor employees from being treated differently on the basis of protected characteristics. Comments are due December 1.
The Navy has identified two servicewomen who died when the military aircraft they were flying crashed in a residential neighborhood in Alabama Friday evening. Officials said Coast Guard Ensign Morgan Garrett and Navy Lieutenant Rhiannon Ross were on a routine training flight when their plane crashed in Foley, Alabama. The Navy said the incident is under investigation, and no one on the ground was hurt. (Federal News Network)
Enlisted soldiers will have more choices in where they work starting next month. The Army will implement a ranking system for enlisted soldiers on November 11. That system will allow soldiers in the E-6 to E-8 ranks to give the Army their top five choices for what assignments they’d like to work. The system is already available for officers. The service hopes the system will allow soldiers to match with assignments that best align with the knowledge and attributes. The program is part of a larger push to bring the Army out of an industrialized talent management system and into the 21st century. (Department of Defense)
U.S. forces in Japan need a way to let service members travel without spending two weeks of their leave in quarantine because of coronavirus. The challenge is particularly timely as the holiday season is coming up, according to Chief Master Sergeant Rick Winegardner during a Facebook Live session. DoD and the Japanese government require all U.S. service members, civilian employees, contractors and family members who enter Japan for the first time or from traveling abroad to spend at least 14 days in quarantine to stem the virus’ spread. (Stars and Stripes)
The Air Force’s Spectrum Management Office is realigning under the Air Force Headquarters Staff. The office joined the Cyberspace Operations and Warfighter Communications Directorate under the Air Force’s intelligence and surveillance deputy. The Air Force said the move is vital in a larger plan to support the synchronization of information warfare functions. Air and Space Force weapons systems depend on the electromagnetic spectrum to connect warfighters across domains.
The Trump administration will give agencies another wave of guidance on open data requirements early next year. Officials with the Office of Management and Budget said that’s when they’ll release Phase Two guidance for the Foundations for Evidence-Based Decision-making Act. OMB officials said they’re also working on Phase Three guidance focused on data access for statistical agencies. OMB released Phase Four guidance in March, which set standards for agency program evaluation.
Members of Congress are still seeing mail delays across the country. The Postal Service delivered more than 85% of first-class mail on-time from October 10th through October 16. But a report from Sen. Gary Peters (R-Mich.), ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, shows mail service remains slower in 10 regions across the country. Those include the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore metro areas, the Philadelphia metro area, and Detroit. Those areas saw less than 80% of first-class mail arrive on time.
The Agriculture Department is investing an additional $3.1 billion to build or improve rural electric infrastructure as part of its Electric Loan Program. The agency has invested a record level in electric infrastructure totaling $6.3 billion in fiscal 2020, up from $5.8 billion in 2019 and $3.7 billion in 2018. The funding comes as part of the Trump administration’s effort to develop areas where poverty rates have been high for decades in 25 states.