Pentagon looks to address supply chain issues exposed by pandemic

In today's Federal Newscast, the Pentagon is launching a two-year effort to fix supply chain problems.

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  • Federal employees impacted by Hurricane Ida now have access to an emergency leave transfer program. Federal employees can donate unused annual leave to their colleagues affected by the storm in Louisiana, Mississippi, New York and New Jersey. Impacted employees must apply through their agencies to receive donated leave. It’s up to each agency to figure out who needs additional leave and who has leave to donate. The Office of Personnel Management said it will help coordinate the transfer of leave among federal agencies.
  • More details are trickling out from the Biden administration about its vaccine and testing policy for federal employees. Agencies shouldn’t ask employees to show proof of their vaccination status. That’s the latest from the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force. The administration said there’s no post-vaccination time limit, perhaps to put to rest questions about booster shots for now. Agencies will store the information collected from employee vaccine attestation forms. But federal contractors have different procedures. On-site contractors must complete the form and keep it with them inside federal buildings. (Federal News Network)
  • The White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy names Philip Duffy as the climate science advisor to its first-ever Climate and Environment Division. Duffy comes to OSTP after serving as the president and executive director of the Woodwell Climate Research Center. He previously served as a research scientist at the Lawrence Livermore National Lab, a senior policy analyst at OSTP, and as a senior adviser in the U.S. Global Change Research Program.
  • The General Services Administration is showing agencies how their buildings can cut utility costs while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions. GSA is rolling out a guide for agencies to adopt grid-interactive efficient building technologies. These measures allow buildings to consume electricity from the grid at optimal times, like when the utility provider’s rates are at their lowest point. GSA said agencies can implement these technologies at low or no cost, and has developed the guide for agency building managers in mind.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic exposed serious supply chain shortfalls for the Defense Department, so the Pentagon is launching a two-year effort to fix these problems. A new departmentwide supply chain resiliency working group will try to address systemic barriers currently limiting supply chain visibility. The group also will conduct resiliency assessments and develop mitigation actions. The Office of Industrial Policy will lead the effort and issue its initial report late next summer. The working group is in response to Congressional and White House mandates to conduct supply chain resiliency reviews.
  • Insider threat awareness month kicked off last week with officials stressing the importance of workplace culture. While Chinese espionage and violent extremism are still at the top of the list of insider concerns, officials overseeing insider threat programs are pushing messages about workplace culture and mental health this month. They said good leadership and good management is proven to lead to better workplace outcomes and can also reduce the risk of employees turning into insider threats. Top officials also want national security agencies and contractors to ensure employees can seek help for their mental health concerns without being flagged as a potential security risk. (Federal News Network)
  • The Pentagon’s sage advisory boards are about to get a reset. Since January, all Defense Department advisory committee activities have been on hold while officials conducted a “zero-based review” to evaluate their missions. The review is now complete, and the Pentagon said 16 advisory committees can resume operations, including the Defense Business Board, the Defense Science Board, and the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services. DoD is still considering recommendations for several committees that were not named in the restart.
  • Another windfall is coming to IT modernization efforts if House lawmakers get their way. The Federal Citizen Services Fund is in line for its biggest increase in appropriations since it was established in 2008. The House Oversight and Reform Committee quietly passed a reconciliation provision for the fiscal 2022 budget resolution that adds $2 billion to the FCSF. The General Services Administration, which runs the FCSF, never received more than $60 million from Congress. In addition to the FCSF windfall, House lawmakers approved another $1 billion for the Technology Modernization Fund and $350 million for the IT Oversight and Reform Fund at the Office of Management and Budget.

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