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The Pentagon said it plans to issue guidance within the next few days on exactly how it’ll mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for military members. DoD had already planned to make the shots mandatory by mid-September. But yesterday’s FDA announcement that the Pfizer vaccine is now fully-approved means the mandate will happen sooner than that. DoD said it has enough vaccine in its inventory to inoculate personnel who haven’t yet gotten their COVID shots. (Federal News Network)
The military has restarted its deployments of medical personnel to help local hospitals who’ve been overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients. That mission was thought to be finished earlier this year, but the Delta variant has changed things. Four 20-person teams of doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists have been sent to hospitals in Mississippi and Louisiana over the past week.
A panel designed to resolve collective bargaining gridlock is getting a fresh start. President Biden will name a full new slate of members to the Federal Service Impasses Panel. Martin Malin will be the panel’s new chairman. Malin served as a panel member during all eight years of the Obama administration. Other members have experience working with federal unions and teaching or practicing employment law. The two largest federal employee unions praised Biden’s selections to the impasses panel. Unions said the panel under the previous administration was under-qualified and biased. (Federal News Network)
The Department of Homeland Security needs to have a better grasp of the skills and capabilities of its deployable FEMA workforce. That’s one of the hundreds of recommendations DHS still has open from the Government Accountability Office. GAO recommended DHS develop a clearer plan for its headquarters consolidation, and communicate that plan to Congress. The department closed a dozen recommendations and made progress on others in the last year. As an example, DHS gave guidance to subcomponents earlier this year on planning and improving employee engagement.
The Postal Service is gearing up to fill a significant number of vacant supervisor positions ahead of its holiday operations. USPS is looking to fill about 900 supervisor positions, in fields that include customer service, its distribution transportation operations and maintenance operations. The National Association of Postal Supervisors said these are positions USPS left unfilled as part of a management-level hiring and promotion freeze it lifted in May. Non-bargaining and bargaining unit employees can apply for these jobs, including those affected by an ongoing Reduction in Force. (Federal News Network)
USPS saw a more than 30% decrease in passport applications last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Its inspector general said that resulted in a more than $100 million decline in revenue. USPS suspended walk-in appointments for part of 2020, but the IG said the agency should take steps to improve its online process to book appointments. The IG found one customer used the same email address to book more than 600 passport appointments online.
A new report finds that less than 2% of agencies have been fully compliant in implementing the 21st Century IDEA Act. The law requires agencies to transition from paper to web-based forms, but the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) found that agencies have missed a number of deadlines and aren’t providing details on the progress they are making. The Office of Management and Budget was tasked with issuing guidance on implementation but has yet to do so.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency used the first meeting of the Joint Cybersecurity Defense Collaborative yesterday to outline its early focus areas. Jen Easterly, the director of CISA and head of the collaborative, said early areas of focus include guarding against ransomware attacks and working to address cloud security risks. CISA created the JCDC in July and is teaming with 14 vendor partners, including five new ones, to develop the national cyber defense plans. This strategy will outline activities to prevent and reduce the impacts of cyber intrusions on critical infrastructure.
The Labor Department is getting out of the business of creating databases. For too long, agencies have created new databases to meet new legislative or policy requirements. At the Labor Department, that fit-for-purpose approach to data and mission initiatives is no longer en vogue. Labor Chief Information Officer Gundeep Ahluwalia said through a new risk-based approach, the agency is integrating data from across mission areas to better learn from it and use it to serve citizens. Ahluwalia said his office is working with Labor Chief Data Officer Scott Gibbons to bring an enterprise approach to managing data that includes more rigorous governance and open APIs.