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The Government Publishing Office is taking on a massive project to digitize every federal document in its National Collection of U.S. Government Public Information. The collection includes more than a million records, on everything from presidential papers, to documents on the Watergate hearings and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. GPO will digitize the documents and make them accessible on GovInfo.gov.
The Pentagon said it will open up vaccine eligibility to all of its health care beneficiaries within the next two weeks. Under the current timeline, all servicemembers, family members and retirees covered by the Defense Department’s TRICARE system will be eligible for COVID-19 shots by April 19. But Defense officials said there may not be enough shots for everyone who wants one until the middle of next month. That’s partly because of recent problems with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. DoD had been counting on that vaccine for a big chunk of its overseas population, since it only requires one dose and not as much refrigeration. But the company announced last week it would have to discard millions of doses because of quality control problems. (Federal News Network)
The Air Force has a new person in charge of science in the service. Victoria Coleman is the new chief scientific advisor to the Air Force secretary and military leaders of the Air and Space Forces. She will provide assessments on research and technologies. Coleman previously worked at the University of California, Berkley, leading policy on microelectronics and efforts to develop tools to fight digital authoritarianism.
The Defense Department saw a rise in service member suicides in the active duty and reserves. For the fourth year in a row, active duty suicide rates have increased. In 2020, 377 active duty service members took their own lives. That’s an increase from 348 in 2019. The reserve components had 194 service members who committed suicide, that’s an increase of about 40 from 2019. Some top military officials think the coronavirus pandemic had a factor in the rise in suicides. Air Force Chief of Staff General C.Q. Brown said COVID added stress to service members. The Defense Department is currently targeting at-risk service members and is developing prevention initiatives to support military families. (Federal News Network)
A public-facing website geared toward the evaluation community is in the works, according to the Office of Management and Budget’s team lead on evidence policy. OMB’s Diana Epstein said the website is coming soon, and will serve as a one-stop shop for the Biden administration’s guidance on federal program evaluation. Many of these resources already live on the OMB MAX website, but are only accessible to federal employees.
The Office of Management and Budget is pulling its approval to sell one of a dozen high-value underutilized federal properties. Acting OMB Director Shalanda Young told the Public Building Reform Board and the General Services Administration to stop plans to sell the Federal Archives and Records Center in Seattle. The National Archives facility holds treaties and tribal documents from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, as well as documents on the internment of Japanese-Americans in World War II. If sold, NARA planned to ship its records to other agency facilities in Southern California and Missouri. (Federal News Network)
Health Net is paying $97 million back to the Department of Veterans Affairs for duplicate and overstated claims. The Justice Department and VA inspector general investigated and resolved the settlement. HealthNet was one of VA’s third party administrators that reimbursed private providers and billed VA as part of its community care program. A second VA third-party administrator agreed to repay nearly $180 million to the department late last year for similar claims.
The Justice Department’s security operations center is now considered a center of excellence. The Homeland Security Department says Justice’s SOC exceeded 35 of 40 evaluation areas to become the first non-DHS certified Cybersecurity Service Provider CoE. The October 2020 executive order required that any security operations center used by DHS pass a formal assessment for certification or use the services of a certified provider. Personnel from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Transportation Security Administration directorates conducted the assessment that analyzed vulnerability management, malware protection, continuous monitoring, threat intelligence analytics and detection, and response to threats.
Federal agencies are struggling to find qualified talent through public job postings. Agencies mostly rely on job candidates to self-certify their skills when applying to a position in the federal government. But agencies use those assessments to make a job offer just half of the time. The Office of Personnel Management and U.S. Digital Service have a dashboard that shows which agencies are what hiring tools. Some agencies are using other assessments to vet the skills and abilities of job candidates. But those assessments have mixed results too. (Federal News Network)
One of the intelligence community’s CIOs is leaving later this year. Jack Gumtow, the CIO of the Defense Intelligence Agency, is retiring at the end of August. Gumtow is leaving federal service after 34 years, including the last almost three years as the DIA’s lead technology executive. He has been with the Defense Intelligence Agency for almost nine years. He also worked for Naval Intelligence for 14 years before coming to DIA in 2012. Gumtow says he plans to continue working in the private sector when he leaves government.
New leadership changes at the IRS: Douglas O’Donnell has been tapped as the new IRS Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement, and Sunita Lough is coming back to serve as the IRS Commissioner of the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division. The agency said these moves are part of a larger effort to continue work on the Taxpayer First Act, which includes work to reimagine the agency’s tax administration and to improve taxpayer service and enforcement.