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The Air Force and the Army had issues rolling out the vaccine for troops overseas. Service members and their dependents living overseas had to wait longer to get their coronavirus shot than their peers in U.S.-based installations. A report for the Defense Department Inspector General said providing shots on bases were particularly important since they were less available in civilian facilities overseas. The report said the installations also had trouble identifying DoD employees and contactors eligible for the shot since they didn’t regularly come into the base for medical attention.
The Office of Personnel Management, the General Services Administration and the Defense Department are at the tip of the spear to position the federal government as a model actor to empower employee unions. A new report from the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment outlines 70 recommendations to reinforce unions as a way to strengthen the federal workforce. The task force said OPM should remove barriers that may impede unions’ ability to organize federal workers. GSA should make it easier for union organizers to talk with employees, including contractors, on federal property about potential benefits of organizing. (Federal News Network)
President Joe Biden’s top science adviser Eric Lander resigned Monday, hours after the White House confirmed that an internal investigation found credible evidence that he mistreated his staff. This marks the first Cabinet-level departure of the Biden administration. An internal review last year, prompted by a workplace complaint, found evidence that Lander, the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and science adviser to Biden, bullied staffers and treated them disrespectfully. (Federal News Network)
Agencies are being told to use their 2023 budget request to fix workforce challenges. From climate change to diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility, to interns, the Office of Management and Budget is telling agencies what the administration’s policy priorities are for next year. Federal News Network obtained the annual budget “passback” guidance which outlined instructions as agencies finalize their 2023 budget requests. On the DEIA initiatives, OMB told agencies to use money to hire the expertise needed to implement their Equity Action Plans. Additionally, OMB is asking agencies to ensure their human resources and hiring managers have the necessary tools and capabilities to bring on the talent they need. (Federal News Network)
Congress plans to buy more time to avoid a government shutdown. The top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee said Congress needs more time to negotiate a comprehensive spending bill for the rest of the fiscal year. Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro said lawmakers are close to a deal on a comprehensive spending package for fiscal 2022, but they plans to pass a continuing resolution this week that would last until March 11. Congress needs to act before the current CR expires on Feb. 18 to avoid a government shutdown. (Federal News Network)
The former Pentagon official who helped build the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program said she’s resigning in protest. Katie Arrington’s security clearance has been suspended since last May, when the government accused her of disclosing top secret information. Since then, she’s been on paid administrative leave. Then, DoD eliminated her position altogether when the CMMC program was transferred to the DoD CIO’s office last week. In her resignation letter yesterday, Arrington claimed the security clearance allegations were politically influenced. (Federal News Network)
One of the nation’s largest veterans groups is calling on the Defense Department to fix barracks at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Recent social media posts show unhygienic living conditions, lack of hot water and broken A/C units. The American Legion said the Pentagon needs to investigate the claims and provide temporary housing to troops.
Move over, Olympics, the Cyber Games are here. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is sponsoring the first-ever U.S. Cyber Team to compete in the U.S. Cyber Games at this summer’s inaugural International Cybersecurity Challenge in Athens, Greece. CISA Director Jen Easterly said the competitions provide a safe and legal venue to practice offensive and defensive cyber techniques. The goal of the challenge is to cultivate young talent, and raise awareness about cybersecurity education and skills.
The IRS has thrown in the towel on use of facial recognition for taxpayers. Facing criticism from the left and right, the IRS has given up on use of a vendor called ID.me. The intended purpose was to let people create an log into their IRS.gov accounts using a web cam. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden had called on the IRS to abandon the plan early yesterday. Privacy and civil rights groups had objected to the ID.me plan because how much information people would have to submit to the company. The IRS said it will use a new account authentication system without facial recognition.
The National Counterterrorism Center wants to send push notifications to first responders. The NCTC said its new mobile app will help first responders get real-time terrorism alerts. It’s currently available on the Apple store, and will soon be on Google Play. The application is available to military and federal law enforcement. The NCTC said state, local, tribal and territorial government partners are next. On the same day the application was released, the Department of Homeland Security released a new terrorism bulletin warning of a heightened threat environment. (Federal News Network)
Despite the economic hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic, the departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development said fewer people lived in homeless shelters between 2020 and 2021. HUD’s annual Homeless Assessment Report estimates more than 326,000 lived in homeless shelters in 2021. That’s an 8% decrease from the year prior. But that doesn’t give a complete picture of the state of homelessness. Just over 200 communities conducted a complete or partial count of homeless individuals not living in shelters, but many were unable to complete the count because of the pandemic.