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Defense Department employees now have a new communications tool to use. The Defense Information Systems Agency approved Zoom for Government at impact level four. That means it can be used for sensitive, but unclassified information. The highest level is five. The approval included all functions of Zoom for Government like the chat function, phone and breakout meetings.
The Environmental Protection Agency adopted a hybrid workplace model in its office reentry plans set for May. The EPA and the American Federation of Government Employees agreed to an eight-week phased reentry into the office. But that agreement envisioned a hybrid work environment where employees still either worked remotely or routinely teleworked. The agreement stated that no AFGE bargaining unit employee would be required to physically return to the office prior to May second. Employees looking to apply for telework or remote work should submit their initial applications no later than 21 days prior to their expected reentry date. (Federal News Network)
The U.S. Agency for International Development wants to expand its pulse surveys to include complementary workforce and some contractors. Seven thousand additional USAID employees would be able to give feedback on how to strengthen the workforce. The agency requested emergency approval from the Office of Management and Budget to get this additional feedback. The request would supplement pulse surveys distributed under the President’s Management Agenda to get direct responses from federal workers. The response rate rose 1.6% in the most recent pulse survey.
The IRS is expanding its Pilot IRS framework with new technology verticals. The Enterprise Digitalization and Case Management Office plans to add at least two more technology areas to its Pilot IRS initiative. The EDCMO said it’s considering three areas. The first is the application of artificial intelligence, machine learning, or robotic process automation in human resources processes. The second potential focus area is process and technology to improve high-manual touch processes that have limited visibility before they are completed. The third area is focused on cryptocurrency and digital assets. The EDCMO said it will finalize its 2022 plans by April 30 and then issue RFIs or other procurement notices.
House lawmakers are pressing the Federal Aviation Administration for more details on what it’s doing to ensure the safety of the air transportation system as commercial companies roll out 5G wireless services. A bipartisan group of 29 lawmakers asked for updates every other month on efforts to work with the telecommunications companies and other agencies to ensure the safe rollout of 5G. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee leaders said they expect the FAA to continue to be the voice of aviation safety, and to work collaboratively with the public and private sectors to maintain aviation safety while providing for the continued deployment of broadband.
The Space Force wants to expand its awareness to the moon and beyond and it’s asked industry for help. The Air Force Research Laboratory reached out to businesses for its Cislunar Highway Patrol System. The spacecraft will help the Space Force identify and track artificial objects at lunar distances and beyond. Most sensors are currently focused at distances around the earth. The craft will look for things like debris, rocket bodies and previously untracked objects. The research lab gave businesses until the beginning of April to submit their ideas.
The White House urged companies to adopt key security standards in the face of potential Russian cyber intrusions. Many of the measures were laid out in last year’s cybersecurity executive order. The EO required software purchased by agencies to meet minimum security standards. The White House also encouraged critical infrastructure operators and other companies to ensure they have stringent security in place. Officials said they have intelligence suggesting Russia is preparing cyber attacks in retaliation for sanctions.
The Labor Department will change its process for remediating issues of hiring discrimination among contractors. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs proposed ways to allow for more flexibility to resolve these cases. OFCCP Director Jenny Yang said the revisions would remove rigid standards from the original 2020 rule, which imposed requirements early in the process that delayed the resolution of findings. Labor’s goal is to streamline resources and more efficiently resolve discrimination cases by giving contractors early notice on the agency’s points of concern.
The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency was cleared to move forward with a major data center contract. NGA can move forward with its user-facing and data center services contract now that one of the losing bidders has withdrawn its protest with the Government Accountability Office. NGA awarded the potential 10-year, $4.5 billion contract to General Dynamics Information Technology in December. GDIT said the work involved providing hybrid cloud and IT services. The contract also included IT support services at NGA’s new campus in St. Louis.
UPS agreed to a more than $5 million settlement, over claims it reported incorrect delivery times for international mail to the Postal Service. USPS hired UPS to pick up and deliver mail both domestically and overseas, but the Justice Department claims UPS violated the False Claims Act when it allegedly submitted scans that falsely reported delivery times. The contract specified penalties for mail delivered late or to the wrong location.