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The Department of Veterans Affairs is wrapping up the strategic review of its massive electronic health record program. VA said it’s still committed to Cerner’s commercial solution. The department is reviewing other aspects of the project. VA Secretary Denis McDonough. “Frankly how we train and how we rack up requirements, and how we govern and manage this process need some work. Those are internal issues.” VA was supposed to deploy the EHR to a second site in Columbus, Ohio. McDonough said the timeline for that deployment is still unclear. (Federal News Network)
A bipartisan pair of House members said the Department of Veterans Affairs should pay more in tuition stipends to their clinicians. Reps. Julia Brownley (D-Calif.) and Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa) introduced new legislation that would increase how much VA can reimburse employees for educational expenses. Their bill would expand tuition reimbursement to all types of clinical employees at VA, not just board-certified doctors and dentists. Tuition stipends haven’t gone up in 30 years. Brownley and Miller-Meeks said their bill would help make VA a more competitive employer.
The Office of Personnel Management wants feedback from human resources practitioners about the skills they believe are necessary to succeed on the job. OPM will send surveys to HR employees across government. It’s part of an effort from OPM and the Chief Human Capital Officers Council to close skills gaps in federal HR. They created a new HR capabilities executive steering committee to lead the initiative. OPM will use the feedback to inform federal HR policy, develop training for employees and help agencies with workforce planning. Strategic human capital has been on the Government Accountability Office’s high risk for 20 years.
The IRS seeks authority to fast-track more hires as its builds up depleted workforce. IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig is looking to hire 5,000 tax enforcement personnel, but needs funding on par with the Biden administration’s request for a 10% budget increase. Rettig is also calling on Congress to expand the IRS’ direct hiring authority to onboard employees with in-demand skills more quickly. Rettig said the IRS has already developed a workforce plan to shore up the most significant staffing gaps, as soon as it gets funding from Congress. (Federal News Network)
The IRS’ procurement shop is looking to fill 80 vacancies nationwide. Most of the positions are for contract specialists that oversee all of the planning and administration of the agency’s contracting needs. The IRS procurement office also supports some Treasury Department functions and IT for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
The financial management shared services office takes another step toward moving into initial operating capability. The Treasury Department laid out its updated vision for its financial management shared services offerings. In a new request for information, Treasury’s Quality Service Management Office or QSMO detailed to industry its 11 core business areas ranging from budget execution to revenue management to general ledger management. Treasury also laid out the potential evaluation factors, customer metrics and pricing concepts in the RFI. The first set of financial management services should be in place by fourth quarter fiscal 2022. Responses to the RFI are due by July 3.
The Defense Department said it needs new sustainability standards and better stockpiles for critical materials used in its weapons. A new Pentagon report on supply chain risk said military supply chains are at serious risk of disruption and are rife with political intervention. The report said DoD will need at least $1 billion in the next five years to sustain its National Defense Stockpile operations.
The Air Force is defending some of the cuts it made to its budget in 2022. The Air Force is trying to alleviate some senators’ fears about getting rid of planes in their district. During a hearing yesterday, the Air Force’s top general said many of the systems the service wants to divest from will be replaced with more modern weapons. The Air Force is planning on saving $1.4 billion by getting rid of old A-10s, C-130s and other aircraft. It wants to take that money and invest it in future technologies like hypersonics, space and cyber. (Federal News Network)
The Defense Department is beginning the production of a private 5G network that will deploy in Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany in Georgia. DoD spent $90 million developing the smart warehouse prototype over the last year. When finished, 5G network will enhance operations of autonomous vehicles for inventory management and machine learning for inventory tracking. It’s the first demonstration to come out of DoD’s $500 million investment into 5G projects.
Companies manufacturing electronics may opt out of working with the Defense Department because of the cost of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification or CMMC program. A new survey by IPC, the global electronics manufacturing association, found 77% of the respondents said if they had to spend more than $100,000 to become level three CMMC certified, they would not participate. IPC also found 41% of the respondents said applying CMMC requirements to subcontractors would cause challenges in their supply chains.
The Energy Department is launching an initiative to increase the number of batteries that supply energy to federal facilities. The Federal Energy Management Program will look for opportunities for battery storage and provide technical assistance to get new energy storage projects underway. The efforts support the General Services Administration’s goal for reaching 100% renewable energy at federal sites by 2025.
The Postal Service is seeking a slower standard for its first-class package service, which is used for everything from small electronics to medicines. USPS estimates its proposed changes would downgrade delivery standards for more than 30% of first-class packages. The agency is seeking to move away from on-air transportation, and would instead deliver more of its packages through ground transportation.
More than 40,000 federal criminal investigators could be eligible to join this class action lawsuit. The suit alleges the investigators did not receive overtime pay for scheduled overtime hours. The hours accrued while they attended training at one of five Federal Law Enforcement Training Center locations. The suit said that while training, they routinely worked a sixth week day without time-and-a-half. The suit was filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims by McGillivary, Steel, Elkin. It already has 99 plaintiffs.