Federal employees can now send portion of their pay to help Ukrainian refugees

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  • The Office of Personnel Management is giving all federal workers the option to contribute to humanitarian efforts in Ukraine. OPM has re-activated its online portal so employees can donate to the Combined Federal Campaign. The special solicitation will provide support to victims and refugees affected by the war, through food, medical attention, housing and other day-to-day needs. Donations are open until June 30. Employees can access the donation portal at CFCGiving.OPM.gov.
  • It’s a sad day for the federal inspector general community. Earl Devaney, the former chairman of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, has died. In this role, Devaney oversaw hundreds of billions of dollars in stimulus spending meant to help the country recover from the Great Recession. The board served as a blueprint for the present-day Pandemic Response Accountability Committee. Devaney served as an inspector general for the Interior Department, but held several other federal jobs, including Director of Criminal Enforcement at the Environmental Protection Agency. As a Secret Service agent in 1975, he dodged bullets fired by a woman who mistook him for President Gerald Ford.
  • Small disadvantaged businesses can give the General Services Administration a piece of their mind about the barriers standing in the way of success. In support of the Biden administration’s goal to increase contracts to small disadvantaged businesses by 50% by 2025, GSA is conducting listening sessions and collecting feedback from minority-owned contractors. This feedback will build on existing efforts to make it easier to get on the schedules program, and by establishing a supplier diversity plan that includes a strategy and criteria for regular on-ramping SDBs to GWACs and multi-agency contracts.
  • A key Homeland Security division looks to meet with contractors. The National Risk Management Center is hosting a virtual industry day on April 27. The NRMC is a division of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. At the industry day, the center plans on going over its National Critical Functions framework. The NRMC will also discuss plans for the National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center. CISA has issued warnings about preparing for cyber attacks on critical infrastructure due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
  • Industry groups look to influence a forthcoming executive order on identity technologies. They’re calling on President Joe Biden to direct a governmentwide approach to identity attribute validation services. In a letter to White House officials, the groups said there needs to be a uniform approach across agencies for making validation services available to both the public and private sector. They also want the National Institute of Standards and Technology to create a Digital Identity Framework of standards and best practices for agencies to follow. In March, the White House announced Biden would soon sign an executive order to prevent and detect identity theft involving public benefits.
  • The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency delivered on a key mandate in the 2021 cyber executive order. The Secure Cloud Business Applications (SCuBA) initiative aims to improve how agencies deal with the next SolarWinds type of attack. CISA released two draft guidance documents to help establish standard and secure configuration baselines. Vincent Sritapan, the Cyber QSMO Section Chief at CISA, says the effort is giving federal civilian agencies, “both security and visibility right necessary to identify and detect adversary activities in their cloud environments.” CISA is seeking comments on the technical reference architecture and the extensible visibility reference framework through mid-May. (Federal News Network)
  • The Agriculture Department will get guidance on how to advance equity in its workforce and services. Under its new action plan, the agency established a commission that will provide initial recommendations by the end of this year. Leading those efforts is a new acting lead for diversity and inclusion. The agency tapped Leslie Weldon as acting head of DEIA efforts. Weldon previously served as chief executive for the Work Environment and Performance, and as deputy chief in the National Forest System.
  • It’s hard to point to a spot on the globe that’s more susceptible to near-term climate change than the Arctic. But the Defense Department’s installations in and around that region aren’t doing much of anything to plan for it. That’s according to DoD’s inspector general. An IG review of six northern latitude bases found most of their leaders weren’t familiar with the tools and policies the department already has in place to make its installations more resilient to climate change. The IG said the bases are mainly focused on current weather and energy problems, partly because senior DoD leaders haven’t given them the resources to analyze threats related to climate change.
  • High-ranking lawmakers are calling on the Army to do more about the rash of service member suicides in Alaska. Legislators want to know what the Army is doing to address some of the medical and financial issues of service members in Alaska and the relation to mental health. Last year, the three bases in Alaska accounted for 11 service members suicides and six more are being investigated a potential suicides. The lawmakers’ concerns range from ensuring soldiers get the right about of sunlight and Vitamin D, to addressing the financial pressures on junior ranks. The members of Congress also want the Army to increase quality of life amenities on the bases.
  • The Air Force is seeing one of its airmen-inspired projects one step closer to realization. A tactical workstation for clinicians in austere environments is now officially a prototype. The project comes from the Air Force’s Spark Tank. That competition takes ideas from airmen around the world and puts them through a Shark Tank-like contest. The service said the station is getting overwhelmingly positive feedback from medical professionals.
  • The Postal Service is setting a slower delivery standard for small, lightweight packages. USPS said it will add an extra day or two onto the expected delivery window for its first-class package service, starting on May 1. These packages weigh less than a pound. Many carry small electronics or prescription drugs. USPS expects the new service standards will slow delivery for nearly a third of its first-class package service volume. (Federal News Network)

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