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The Navy has laid out detailed processes for sailors who refuse COVID-19 vaccines. In the active duty force, officers and enlisted members who don’t get their shots in time to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 28 will be separated from the service with a general discharge. The deadline for reservists is a month later. Senior Navy personnel who are still unvaccinated have even less time. This week’s order gives commanders, executive officers and other leaders five days to get their first shot or be fired from their positions.
The Office of Personnel Management is launching another survey, this time with chief learning officers. OPM says it’s looking for more information on how agencies are training and developing their employees at any level. The surveys will inform a new learning and development policy agenda. OPM says it and the Chief Learning Officers Council are collaborating on that agenda. The survey launched late last month. Responses are due to OPM by Oct. 27.
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy is looking for feedback on how the federal government can improve equity in science and technology. OSTP is asking the public to submit their proposals to challenge.gov by November 19. OSTP is calling this effort the Time is Now STEM Equity Challenge, and builds off roundtable conversations the White House hosted this summer.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is still rectifying the mistakes from a 2020 workforce audit. ATF misclassified about 90 administrative positions as law enforcement jobs. The agency says not all of the employees who were improperly assigned to law enforcement positions received special premium pay. That special pay is typically reserved for criminal investigators who work overtime. The agency has asked those employees to stay on in their current jobs if they’re qualified, transfer to new jobs or retire. (Federal News Network)
The Navy and Marine Corps have a new mandate to start moving to shared IT services. A new memo signed by the Navy Department’s top IT and acquisition officials lays out a vision for the sea services to adopt enterprise IT “to the greatest extent possible.” The main goals are to cut back on duplicative IT systems and increase data sharing. A new forum led by the Navy’s chief technology officer has 60 days to draw up a roadmap for the next steps to reach those goals.
A new supply chain security framework is taking shape. The National Institute of Standards and Technology is asking for outside input after the White House directed the agency to come up with a new supply chain security framework for the information and communications technology sector. NIST says it wants to build off existing work in developing a potential ‘moonshot’ solution to persistent concerns about the security of global IT supply chains. The agency is specifically looking to address persistent concerns from companies about sharing sensitive supply chain security information with the government. NIST will release a request for information to get feedback that help guide its work. (Federal News Network)
The Space Force is teaming up with a venture capital firm to build ties with commercial industry and startup. The military branch signed a cooperative research and development agreement with Embedded Ventures, which focuses on space infrastructure. The agreement is the first of its kind for the Space Force. Embedded Ventures will work mostly with the service’s SpaceWERX division.
If you get your healthcare from the Defense Department, now might be your chance to get a COVID booster. The Military Health System says it is now offering a booster dose of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine at medical treatment facilities and Defense Department vaccination sites. Boosters are formally recommended for certain groups of people, like those over 65. Others who should get the booster include people with underlying medical conditions and those with increased exposure to COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the booster six months after completing the initial dosage.
The Department of Veterans Affairs is making patient care the central focus of its new artificial intelligence strategy. The VA is looking at AI tools for analytics and to assist in clinical decision-making, but the agency’s strategy is focused on ensuring AI tools are trustworthy and protect veteran information. The head of VA’s National AI Institute says the agency will train practitioners and end-users on AI ethics and legal standards.
Agencies have a new best-in-class contract to buy from. The Office of Management and Budget designated the Army Corps of Engineers’ Facilities Reduction Program as an acquisition vehicle that meets the cost reduction and spend under management goals. The FRP contract lets agencies more easily buy services to demolish excess federal property and fill the associated abatement needs. The Army Corps says through the FRP contract, cost avoidance rose to 30% in 2020 from 19% in 2018. The Facilities Reduction Program also aligns with the Biden administration’s priorities to support small businesses and around climate and sustainability.
The largest investigative unit in the Department of Homeland Security is ready to upgrade its case management system. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations unit wants to move off a five-year-old case management system it borrowed and modified from the Treasury Department. HSI agents worldwide use the current system to develop and document their criminal investigations, but ICE is seeking alternatives either in the cloud or through a commercial or custom developed set of applications. ICE issued a request for information to gather input for a future acquisition strategy. The agency is asking vendors to respond to a series of questions including current implementations, cost and timeframe to get the new system up and running. Responses to the RFI are due November 29.
A new government warning says hackers are threatening facilities that provide Americans with clean water. In a new joint alert, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency along with other federal partners, warn that malicious cyber actors are targeting the networks, systems and devices of water and wastewater facilities. CISA released both the tactics the hackers are using, as well as recommended mitigation techniques. The government says cyber attacks on critical infrastructure are increasing across multiple sectors.