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The Postal Service is working with the FBI to provide fingerprinting services at more than 100 post offices across the country. Before this partnership, the FBI had up to a 14-week turnaround time to process fingerprints for its Identity History Summary Check. But local post offices have processed these fingerprints in less than a day. People go through the fingerprinting program if they apply for a visa, adopt a child, or apply for jobs working with children. USPS officials said the agency is also looking to expand its fingerprint services to other federal agencies.
The Data Coalition is rolling out 10 recommendations to the Biden and Trump campaigns that would improve the federal government’s data infrastructure. The group is asking the next administration to invest further resources in the Federal Data Strategy, and stand up a National Secure Data Service that would spearhead data-sharing capabilities between agencies. The coalition also recommends the next administration strengthen and diversify the federal data workforce by establishing an occupational series for data science jobs.
A new executive order could impact tens of thousands of career federal positions, if not more. Former federal executives and good government groups said employees in budget, congressional affairs and communications positions may be subject to the executive order. The EO lets agency heads reclassify career positions with policy-making or advocating duties under a new system in the excepted service. The new system is called Schedule F. The order gives agencies until Jan. 19 — the day before Inauguration Day — to make a preliminary list of positions that should move to the new schedule. (Federal News Network)
The Thrift Savings Plan chose a new contractor to serve as the second of two fund managers for the F, C, S and I funds. The TSP chose State Street Global Advisors Trust Company to manage the four funds. The contract is for two years with four additional two-year options. BlackRock serves as the primary fund manager and has a longstanding history with the TSP. BlackRock won the award earlier this year for another contract term. (Federal News Network)
The Space Force officially stands up its Space Operations Command. That organization will be in charge of combat assets for the military branch. Those include radar, satellites and other systems. Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting, the leader of the command, said his priorities include preparing a combat ready, cybersecure Space Force. His other priorities include providing tech savvy military power in the space domain and partnering with other parts of the Space Force, government and industry.
The Pentagon’s budget is as big as it’s been in almost a decade. But spending on research and development is still lagging behind. A new analysis by the Center for Strategic and International Studies finds contractors have been getting a bigger share of the budget pie as the Defense budget has grown over the last few years. But more spending on products and services appears to have squeezed out R&D contracts. R&D bore the brunt of the sequestration cuts in DoD’s budget over the last decade, and that category of spending still hasn’t recovered. (Federal News Network)
A duo of senators wants to help the National Guard with cybersecurity missions. Sens. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H,) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) introduced a bill this week that will support the National Guard as it helps state and local governments improve their cybersecurity infrastructure. Right now, the Guard is legally limited in how it can assist localities. The bill makes clear that the Guard can be called up to improve cyber defenses. The National Guard has been active in many cyber missions over the years including protecting election networks and strengthening critical infrastructure cybersecurity.
Another annual government event is going virtual this year, the Energy Department’s Sixth CyberForce Competition. The competition gives college students a chance to go head-to-head in a realistic cybersecurity defense exercise. This year’s challenge scenario involves a wind energy company in charge of over 20,000 megawatts of electricity generation that has been experiencing abnormal network activity. Argonne National Laboratory manages Cyberforce, which takes place Nov. 14. Competitors, rather than teams, will represent their respective academic institutions in this year.
The Postal Service, as expected, is handling a historic volume of election mail. It’s already handled 523 million pieces of election mail, and that figure will continue to climb in the final days leading up the election. That’s a 162% increase compared to levels from the 2016 general election. USPS officials expect that election mail will make up less than 2% of all the mail the agency delivers between mid-September and Election Day. If every American voted by mail this year, that volume would still be less than what the Postal Service delivers in a single day.
The Labor Department has reached an agreement with federal contractor Newport News Shipbuilding to resolve allegations of systematic hiring discrimination. NNS will pay $3.5 million in backpay and interest to 4,428 African-American applicants that were denied positions and will provide job opportunities to 141 of those impacted individuals. The contractor will monitor and report on their hiring practices for five years to ensure nondiscriminatory selection practices.