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To help agencies get the products and services they need faster as the pandemic continues, the General Services Administration is waving three key requirements for new and existing companies to earn a spot on the schedules contract. GSA says by reducing the requirements, start-up vendors and other companies can be available to agencies more immediately. The three requirements GSA is waving are: A minimum of two years of corporate experience; One relevant project experience per special item number; and the submission of annual financial statements for the previous two years.
Civilian agencies are the big winners in President Biden’s 2022 budget request. Civilian agencies are the big winners in President Biden’s 2022 budget request. The Biden administration is proposing $769 billion, in spending for civilian agencies next year. That’s a 16% boost over 2021 levels. The administration says its request is an attempt to reinvest and rebuild capacity in agencies like the Education, Agriculture and Commerce Departments after a decade of budget caps. The Department of Veterans Affairs would see an 8-percent spending boost. The budget for the Department of Homeland Security would stay flat. (Federal News Network)
The State Department sees a world of good in the 2022 budget request from the Biden administration. State officials say the requested double-digit increase, for State and the U.S. Agency for International Development, would help with a panoply of issues. Dealing with biological threats and pandemics, climate change, stemming the tide of immigration from central America, building up the national security workforce, even restoring America ‘s moral leadership. Together State and USAID would get about $58.4 billion.
The Office of Personnel Management is relaunching an initiative to solicit federal employee feedback about the skills they need to perform on the job. OPM will send a survey to roughly 350,000 federal employees and supervisors. OPM says it will use the data to update new competency models for about 350 occupations. Those models will later inform hiring, training, performance management and other workforce policies. The survey will open starting April 26 and will close three weeks later.
The Biden administration’s 2022 budget request raises the bar for federal contracts going to small, disadvantaged businesses. The spending plan gives the Small Business Administration a $852 million budget in fiscal 2022. That’s a 9.4% increase from current levels. The increase would staff up SBA’s government contracting programs to reach the Biden administration’s goal of awarding 15% of federal contracts to Small Disadvantaged Businesses by 2025. SBA’s latest Small Business Procurement Scorecard shows more than 10% of federal contract spending went to Small Disadvantaged Businesses in fiscal 2019. That far exceeds a 5% goal. (Federal News Network)
Another huge increase for the Technology Modernization Fund may be on tap for 2022. After receiving a billion dollars through the American Rescue Plan, the Biden administration wants to add another $500 million to the Technology Modernization Fund’s coffers. In his fiscal 2022 discretionary budget released Friday, President Joe Biden is seeking even more money to modernize legacy technology systems. In the addition to the $500 million, the administration is requesting a $750 million reserve fund for technology modernization. It’s unclear how that reserve fund will work. Biden has called technology modernization an urgent national security issue.
The Commerce Department, one of the biggest winners in the Biden administration’s 2022 budget, would double down on supply chain security for IT and emerging technology like 5G. The plan gives NIST $150 million to fund two new Manufacturing Innovation Institutes, aimed at making the U.S. a global leader in the design and manufacture of semiconductors. It would also give the National Telecommunications and Information Administration $39 million for advanced communications research. (Federal News Network)
The Biden administration’s plan to spend $753 billion on defense in 2022 is drawing flak from the left and right. The defense budget for 2022 gives the military a small bump in funds compared to this year to account for inflation. Conservatives in Congress say that increase is not enough to counter China and may impact military readiness. Progressives in the Democratic Party are also throwing up warning signs. Representative Ro Khanna says he fears the budget will include funding for expensive weapons the Pentagon will never use. He offered that the United States should focus more money on things like extreme weather and pandemic response. (Federal News Network)
The Pentagon is developing ways to better weed extremists and to protect service members leaving the military from groups trying to bring them into their ranks. The Pentagon will improve its training on hate groups and insider threats. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin also ordered the service secretaries to update the questionnaires they use to gather information on new recruits. The Defense Department acknowledged that there is a small number of service members who belong to hate groups. (Associated Press)