As 2022 NDAA is on its way to becoming law, here are some details on what’s in it

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  • The Senate passed the 2022 defense authorization bill all but securing that it will make it into law. The House has already passed the legislation. The bill authorizes nearly $770 billion for the military. The massive bill gives service members a 2.7% pay increase, revamps how sexual assaults are prosecuted in the military and increases funds for cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.
  • As part of 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress passes its first State Department authorization bill in decades. It’s the first State Department re-authorization bill to pass since 2003. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Jim Risch (R-Idaho) said the department faces an array of management and operations issues, including diplomatic security, recruitment, public diplomacy and information security.
  • The White House’s Office of the National Cyber Director gets a boost in the defense authorization bill. This year’s NDAA would let National Cyber Director Chris Inglis accept detailees from other agencies. The office would not have to reimburse those agencies for it, either. The new organization is just getting off the ground after it was authorized in last year’s defense bill. Inglis said he wants the office to grow to about 75 staff by fall of 2022.
  • Service members may see a larger than usual boost in their housing benefits. The Defense Department is raising its basic allowance for housing by an average of 5.1% in 2022. That’s a hefty increase compared to the last two years, which came in at just under three percent. Part of the reason for the bigger increase may be because of higher housing prices. Average sales prices went up more than thirteen percent in the last year. The Pentagon provides basic allowance for housing to help service members pay for rent and mortgages. The payments depend on grade, locality and dependents. (Federal News Network)
  • The Army looks to make it easier for soldiers to work from their own phones. It’s expanding a “bring-your-own-device” pilot program after successful testing earlier this year. The project started as a pilot with the National Guard this past fall. Army officials said the technology has proven secure, and they plan to expand its use to more Guard and reserve units next year. The Army wants to eventually extend the policy to users across the active force, too. (Federal News Network)
  • Now until December 28, the Federal Mobility Group is accepting comments on its International Travel Guidance for Government Mobile Devices. As international travel ticks up, federal cyber experts want to remind employees to secure their devices abroad and not take unnecessary risks. Bring your own chargers and do not accept them from anyone you do not trust, and even fi you’re working on a VPN connection still be sure to understand the risks to your device. CISA’s Quality Service Management Office is preparing to offer two new mobile cybersecurity shared services. (Federal News Network)
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs is one step closer to getting a permanent chief information officer. The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee advanced Kurt DelBene’s nomination for the VA CIO job. DelBene was a senior executive at Microsoft. He also spent time on the Obama administration’s SWAT team trying to fix Healthcare dot gov. VA has had more acting CIOs than permanent ones over the last decade. The tenure for the average VA CIO is just 10 months.
  • Senators want more transparency from the Department of Veterans Affairs about its massive electronic health record modernization program. The top Democrat and Republican on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee have new legislation designed to give Congress regular updates about the cost and schedule for the electronic health record. Congress is looking for an end to the string of poor audit reports on VA’s EHR. Auditors found VA previously underreported costs for the project by as much as $5 billion.
  • An investigation of the reassignments of two executive directors in the Veterans Benefits Administration found nothing improper about the allowances paid to them. But VA’s guidance for approving relocation allowances is inconsistent. VA’s Inspector General said the agency’s Office of Human Resources had confused the guidance between allowances — used to lessen the economic burden of relocating to new duty locations — and incentives, which are cash bonus payments to help attract candidates. The OIG also found deficiencies in the written forms submitted by VBA to approve relocation allowances for the two executives.
  • For the first time ever, the National Nuclear Security Administration is moving into a new, modern facility without the hassle of design and lease or building a new facility. NNSA is using the “option to purchase” approach to take over the LeMond Carbon Facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee for its Y-12 development. It will replace a originally built in the 1940s. The LeMond Carbon Facility will provide new space for the essential work of tackling production modernization and allow for the development of new technologies to meet future requirements and support the global security mission. The option to purchase approach lets NNSA put a hold on a facility while performing the necessary due diligence for purchase, thus speeding up their ability to take advantage of modern facilities.
  • Another big decision about the future of cloud computing at DoD. The Defense Information Systems Agency will not renew the contract for the milCloud 2.0 platform. Federal News Network has confirmed DISA told House and Senate armed services committee members that it is not picking up the option on the contract with GDIT to continue the cloud computing platform. GDIT’s current option under the contract expires in late May. DISA said it determined that while on-premise cloud services remain critical, milCloud 2.0 is not in the best interests of the government moving forward. MilCloud 2.0 hosts more than 4,500 workloads from more than 89 defense partners, meaning the services and agencies have six months to move these applications and data to new cloud instances.
  • The Biden administration set targets to improve the equity of federal investments in climate change mitigation. Now the House Oversight and Reform Committee is asking the Government Accountability Office to track agencies’ progress making those targets. Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) asked GAO to review the impact of the administration’s Justice40 Initiative. It mandates that at least 40% of federal investments in climate and clean energy go to disadvantaged communities. Maloney asked GAO to pull a list of the Justice40 programs that benefit disadvantaged communities the most, and study how agencies conduct their equity assessments.
  • The Biden administration is also creating an interagency task force to stem of flow of illegal drugs coming into the country. President Joe Biden signed an executive order to stand up a U.S. Council on Transnational Organized Crime that will coordinate governmentwide efforts to counter crime organizations engaged in drug trafficking. Its members include the departments of Justice, Homeland Security, Treasury, and Defense, as well as the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Biden also signed another executive order to strengthen the federal government’s ability to issue sanctions in an effort to stop traffickers and their accomplices.

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