The size of the next federal pay raise is up in the air

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Federal employees are one step closer to a 4.6% pay raise. A fiscal 2023 draft spending bill does not include a provision on the pay raise for federal workers. That means House appropriators are aligning with the White House’s 4.6% proposal from earlier this year....


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  • Federal employees are one step closer to a 4.6% pay raise. A fiscal 2023 draft spending bill does not include a provision on the pay raise for federal workers. That means House appropriators are aligning with the White House’s 4.6% proposal from earlier this year. But the exact number for a federal pay raise is still in the air. Some Democrats are pushing for a 5.1% percent boost, but Republicans are concerned about overspending. The Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government advanced the draft spending bill to the full House Appropriations committee.
  • The Air Force will soon launch a cost-free program that will lend maternity uniforms to pregnant airmen and guardians. Maternity uniforms are costly, as service members need to buy different sizes throughout a pregnancy. The pilot program will take place on 10 bases in the U.S. and Japan.
  • The first cohort of a new artificial intelligence research fellowship at the National Institutes of Health begins in September. NIH’s AIM AHEAD is a research consortium of institutions dedicated to fostering diversity in data science. AIM AHEAD’s program will provide fellowships to early stage researchers from communities typically under-represented in AI and machine learning. Fellows will be given access to data, infrastructure, training and mentorship. They will also receive financial support for research involving AI and health disparities.
  • GSA has finally settled on a new name for its new services multiple award contract. First it was BIC MAC. Then it was the services MAC. Now, finally, the General Services Administration is going with OASIS Plus as the name for the follow-on to the popular OASIS services contract vehicle. GSA also will split the contract into six separate pools, five for small businesses and one that will be unrestricted. In addition, GSA plans to keep the solicitation open after initial awards so new companies can apply to get on and small firms that grow can apply to move to the unrestricted version. GSA expects to release the draft RFP in early fiscal 2023 and the final RFP for OASIS plus in second quarter of 2023.
  • Defense Department contracting officers and other acquisition personnel are getting some just-in-time training to deal with inflation as it hits a 40-year high. The Defense Acquisition University is offering a new course to better explain the economic price adjustment, or EPA clause. The online course will help acquisition workers understand when to adjust prices contractors charge, based on inflation and contract type. It also will help them negotiate future contracts to better apply the EPA clause.
  • The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is working on one very specific pathway through the transition from prototype to full-scale production. The Embedded Entrepreneurship Initiative focuses on commercialization. It helps innovative companies develop convincing business cases in order to secure early investment. Otherwise, companies can be forced to turn to foreign investors, which can create complicated situations involving intellectual property and security concerns. Ensuring innovative companies are financially viable helps protect DARPA’s investments.
  • The Senate Armed Services Committee wants to authorize more money for the Defense Department and nuclear maintenance next year to offset inflation. The 2023 Senate Defense authorization bill proposes $857 billion for the Pentagon and parts of the Energy Department. That number is $45 billion more than what the Biden administration requested. The Senate Armed Services Committee said the funds are needed to hedge against inflation, which has creeped up to around 8%. The bill provides a 4.6% pay increase for service members and Defense Department civilian employees. The legislation also increases investments in artificial intelligence and authorizes the closure of the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility in Hawaii.
  • The Defense Information Systems Agency’s $11 billion contract award for the Defense Enclave Services program survived a protest. The Government Accountability Office denied GDIT’s complaint of DISA’s award to Leidos from March. GAO found DISA’s best-value trade off was reasonable, and there were no problems with its technical and past performance evaluations. GDIT declined to comment on GAO’s decision. Under the DES program, DISA wants to consolidate and modernize networks and technology that support the Fourth Estate.
  • The push for evidence-based decision making at federal agencies means data-driven studies are scrutinized more and more. Long-term studies are vulnerable to environmental changes, technology barriers and cooperation. All of these have an outcome on the data, which is why Teri Caswell at the National Telecommunication and Information Administration said all parties need to agree on how trustworthy the data is. She also said she takes an iterative approach to sharing results with stakeholders earlier and not just waiting until the study is completed. (Federal News Network)
  • The Technology Modernization Fund is making a big investment in better customer experience throughout government. The TMF will award $100 million to projects that reduce wait times for public-facing federal services and reduce other barriers to access. TMF Chairwoman and Federal Chief Information Officer Clare Martorana gave an overview of projects that could receive funding. “It can be something as simple as making sure that a website is mobile-optimized, available and written in plain language and accessible,” Martorana said. She added that the TMF board will give funding “priority” to the 35 agencies and program offices designated as High-Impact Service Providers (HISPs). (Federal News Network)
  • Agency leaders are critical to improving federal employees’ trust in public institutions. That’s according to new research from the Partnership for Public Service. The Partnership said to improve trust, the Office of Personnel Management should reexamine and update the standards for feds to join the Senior Executive Service. Rita Sampson, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s lead on equal employment, added that federal managers can increase employees’ trust by investing in resources to advance diversity. The Partnership’s findings are based on a survey of 500 federal employees.
  • A whistleblower office at the Department of Veterans Affairs once again faces the possibility of a significant restructuring, only a few years into its existence. Members of the House Veterans Affairs Committee’s subcommittee on oversight and investigations are revisiting legislation that would eliminate the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection’s statutory authority to investigate whistleblower retaliation complaints. A discussion draft of the bill, if passed, would cease all of OAWP’s ongoing investigations of whistleblower retaliation. Instead, the Office of Special Counsel would take on the workload. (Federal News Network)
  • Agencies got some key guidance for securing their cloud computing architecture. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency published the Trusted Internet Connections 3.0 “cloud use case” this week. The guidance helps agencies think through how to adopt secure cloud services. TIC 3.0 was conceived to help smooth agencies’ transition to the cloud, removing previous roadblocks like TIC access points. CISA is accepting comments on the draft document through July 22.  (Federal News Network)
  • The Department of Homeland Security said cybersecurity is a cornerstone of its updated space policy. The document, signed in April and just released this week, is the first update to DHS’s space policy in more than a decade. It highlights the growing commercial space industry and the critical role space systems play in homeland security missions. And the policy said DHS will take a leading role in advocating for cybersecurity principles across all phases of a space systems lifecycle, from design through operation.
  • The Department of Labor’s new data strategy has arrived. Labor said through the strategy it will improve how it organizes, manages and shares data, while also encouraging greater use of the collected information in agency operations. The strategy is built on five goals, including the data should be open by default, should fit a purpose and should be comprehensible.

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