National Guard members can unionize if and when they’re called up by governors

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  • National Guard members on state duty can now unionize, thanks to a new Justice Department agreement. A 1978 law forbids military personnel on federal duty from unionizing, but labor unions in Connecticut filed a lawsuit against the DOJ and Attorney General Merrick Garland seeking the right to collective bargaining for National Guard members on duty ordered by the governor. DOJ settled the case on Tuesday. (Federal News Network)
  • Among the General Services Administration’s workforce, 92.6% of employees agree that leaders are clear about office reentry plans. That’s compared with 74% governmentwide in the third round of pulse survey results. Deputy Administrator Katy Kale told Federal News Network she’s focused on frequent communication, transparency and honesty with employees about reentry. Along with pulse survey data, GSA uses other avenues like its emerging leadership program, and virtual coffee chats between leaders and employees, to get even more feedback. (Federal News Network)
  • The Office of Personnel Management wants employees to know, there is help if they struggle with mental health. OPM is calling on agency managers to create a work environment free from mental health stigmas. Taking time off is not limited to just physical needs, employees can use sick leave for mental health as well. Mental health services are available to all employees and their families. Director Kiran Ahuja reminds employees where they can find support. “Agency Employee Assistance Programs, or EAPs, provide access to short term behavioral health services. Additionally, all FEHB plans offer comprehensive outpatient and in-patient mental health benefits.”
  • Sailors are going through a turbulent time with mental health. Officials said there are a variety of factors hindering progress. The Navy said it is taking five to six weeks for sailors to get mental health assistance unless they are in suicidal situations. The service told lawmakers yesterday that the issue is partly due to the lack of mental health professionals in the Navy. The service is currently investigating a rash of suicides aboard the USS George Washington. There were three suicides on the ship in April alone. The Navy said it needs senior noncommissioned officers to be more hands-on with mental health to help lower ranks. (Federal News Network)
  • The Defense Department is asking Congress for expanded authority to allow officers to opt out of promotion boards. Currently, most officers have two opportunities to promote to the next rank within a certain time limit or they must leave the military. The authority would allow the military services to allow officers to defer promotion even if they didn’t meet the criteria to promote on their first try.
  • The Agriculture Department’s chief information officer wants to hire people with strong data skills, cybersecurity skillsets and who can “talk” to non-IT people. Agriculture CIO Gary Washington said it’s important to have people who can clearly communicate their needs, and on the flip side, make others feel like their needs are important. He said during an ACT-IAC web event Wednesday that if USDA wants to move forward on its President’s Management Agenda goals on customer experience, the department has to work with vendors who can help do that. (Federal News Network)
  • It’s time to look again at the security and privacy of internet of things devices. To that end, the National Institute of Standards and Technology is looking for feedback to update its 2019 publication, “Considerations for Managing IoT Cybersecurity and Privacy Risks” or NISTIR 8228. NIST said there has been a lot of expansion on what IoT devices encompass and new research and threats over the last three years. Some of that feedback will come on June 22 when the NIST Cybersecurity for IoT Program hosts an event to discuss the IoT landscape and the team’s next steps.
  • New cyber vulnerabilities forced the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to release a rare emergency directive. Agencies have until Monday to mitigate vulnerabilities in five products from VMWare that permit attackers to have deep access without the need to authenticate themselves. CISA issued a new emergency directive yesterday saying the vulnerabilities in VMware products ranging from its Workspace ONE Access to its Identity Manager to its Cloud Foundation, put federal networks and systems at immediate risk. VMware called the vulnerability critical in a posting on its website, giving it a score of 9.8 out of 10. Agencies must report its mitigation efforts in the Cyberscope tool that CISA runs by May 24. (Federal News Network)
  • Democratic senators are asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate a company that provides identity verification services to federal agencies. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Oreg.) is leading Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Alex Padilla (D-Cali.) in asking the FTC to investigate the vendor The senators say made misleading statements about the facial recognition technology it offered to customers, including the IRS. The IRS earlier this year scrapped plans to require users to use facial recognition technology to verify their identities online. counts at least 10 federal agencies and 30 states as its customers.
  • A new report from Government Accountability Office says that of the 30 federal programs intended to build climate resilience in Native American villages, most are hard for those residents to access. Programs that require participants to share costs with the government can be out of reach for small villages. GAO said having interagency and intergovernmental coordination could lead to more strategically targeted federal investments. The report has recommendations for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Defense Department, FEMA, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
  • The Postal Service outlined plans to close and consolidate facilities across its delivery network. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said USPS will consolidate network operations into Sort and Delivery Centers, with enough space and mail processing equipment to operate more efficiently than what its current infrastructure can provide. As part of this plan, DeJoy said USPS will close annexes around the country that increased costs and hamper efficiency. DeJoy said the overhaul of its delivery network will streamline how USPS delivers mail and packages in a way that will reduce costs and improve revenue. (Federal News Network)
  • The Air Force’s Kessel Run project has always been based on the idea that DoD IT projects can get done a lot faster. A new acquisition strategy hopes to bolster that idea. Officials said the main idea is bring 21 different programs under a single DevSecOps framework. From there, they’ll embrace DoD’s new software acquisition pathway with five new programs of record.
  • The Army Materiel Command is moving to a unified network where tactical and strategic communications, data networking and operations are in one network. This change comes amid a push to approach technology contracts as a service rather than making and maintaining everything in-house. Daniel Bradford, chief information officer for Army Materiel Command, said the Army can’t compete with industry for the necessary talent. Bradford said the unified network will have to be interoperable with other branches and with mission partners and allies.

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