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A bipartisan group of House and Senate members want to make it easier for federal law enforcement officers to retire if they’re injured on the job. Federal law enforcement officers by law must retire by age 57. They’re entitled to their annuities at an earlier age than most other federal employees. And they pay more of their salaries into their retirement pensions on an accelerated schedule. The Fair RETIRE Act would allow injured officers to stay in the same retirement system if they take another job within the civil service. The bill would also refund those accelerated annuity payments to injured officers who must leave before they’re eligible for their pensions.
Three House committee chairmen want another expansion of paid leave programs for federal employees. A new bill would give federal employees up to 12 weeks of paid leave to care for a sick family member or themselves. The chairmen of the House oversight, appropriations and armed services committees introduced the Comprehensive Paid Leave for Federal Employees Act. The leave applies to all federal employees, including Postal Service workers. It’s a follow-on to the bill Congress passed into law back in 2019 that gave federal employees paid parental leave for the first time. (Federal News Network)
An overwhelming majority of the employees the Bureau of Land Management had asked to relocate out of Washington, D.C. have retired or found new jobs. The Interior Department says 41 employees moved to new locations. But 287 employees retired or left BLM since July. The size of the BLM workforce is down 25% since the summer. 100 positions are currently vacant. The bureau wanted to move 328 employees to Grand Junction, Colorado, or one of several other western states last summer.
The Small Business Administration would get refreshed priorities under a bill from Senate Democrats. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) re-introduced a bill he tried to get passed in 2019. It would establish an Office of Emerging Market in SBA’s Office of Capital Access. The goals would be to ensure that the agency’s loan programs are easily accessible to what Cardin calls vulnerable small businesses, including those owned by women, minorities and veterans. And those he called underserved and underbanked. Hawaii’s Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Illinois’ Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) co-sponsor.
The Trump administration finalized some rules that haven’t yet gone into effect. Now 19 Republican senators are telling the Biden administration not to delay getting them over the finish line. Major rules under the Congressional Review Act don’t go into effect at least 60 days after they’re published in the Federal Register. The Biden administration issued a temporary freeze of new regulations, giving it time to review the regulations the Trump administration advanced during its final days in office.
The Census Bureau now expects it’ll have apportionment data from the 2020 population ready by April 30. The bureau in a statement said the timeline remains fluid, as it is subject to change as it continues with data processing. The bureau by law was supposed to have this data ready by December 31, but ran into field operation delays with the COVID-19 pandemic. The Trump administration had proposed, but then dropped the idea of a four-month extension that former bureau directors endorsed.
The military is going to be thinking a lot more about climate change. President Joe Biden and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin are including climate considerations as an essential element of national security. That means the Defense Department will be taking into account the effects of climate disasters on bases, how melting ice caps will change strategic goals and assessing the demands on humanitarian assistance. DoD has acknowledged climate change will have a dramatic effect on security since 2010, but this is the first time it is a top-tier priority.
The Pentagon is centralizing space acquisition, but still has bugs to work out. The Air Force announced it is reorganizing the top space procurement office into three directorates. They include acquisition, architecture and policy. The Pentagon still needs to land on what position will be the space acquisition executive with authorities for buying space systems. It doesn’t need to designate the position until 2022. The Air Force is compiling a study on whether that position should be in the Air Force, Space Force or somewhere else. (Federal News Network)
For the first time, the Pentagon is raising the possibility that it might walk away from its contested, multibillion dollar JEDI Cloud contract. In a new briefing paper to members of Congress, DoD says JEDI’s future would be brought into question if a federal court makes an unfavorable ruling in the next few weeks. As an interim step in an ongoing bid protest lawsuit, the Court of Federal Claims is expected to decide whether Amazon can depose witnesses to prove its claims that the JEDI award to Microsoft was tainted by improper political influence. DoD and Microsoft have asked the court to dismiss that part of the lawsuit. If the court declines to do so, the department says it might reassess its cloud strategy to avoid a protracted litigation process.
Federal IT services contractor Peraton is buying competitor Perspecta for a $7 billion cash deal. Peraton, which is owned by private investment firm Veritas Capital, will expand its capabilities to include mission services, digital transformation and enterprise operations. Perspecta won more than $2.5 billion in federal contracts in fiscal 2019. Peraton won $576 million in contracts that same fiscal year.
Agencies using a chat bot or other robotics process automation tools now have a three-step process to determine if that software needs a digital identity. GSA’s Office of Governmentwide Policy issued a digital worker identity playbook outlining seven factors CIOs should consider when applying RPA tools. The playbook helps agencies determine the potential for adverse impact or risk, the requirements to create and govern an identity based on this risk, and what accountability and auditing measures to track. GSA created the playbook as part of the implementation of OMB’s May 2020 identity access and credentialing management memo.