Navy enacting new measures to improve recruitment

In today's Federal Newscast, the Navy is taking measures to keep more sailors in uniform as it continues to have issues with recruitment.

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  • The Justice Department is blocking the merger of two federal contractors because it threatens imminent competition for a government contract to provide operational modeling and simulation services to the National Security Agency. Justice says Booz Allen Hamilton’s move to buy Everwatch, an IT services company, would violate federal anti-trust law. U.S. Attorneys claim Booz Allen and EverWatch competed head-to-head to provide these operational modeling and simulation services. But just before NSA issued the solicitation, Booz Allen decided to buy its only rival, potentially creating a monopoly.
  • Delta Air Lines agreed to a more than $10 million settlement over claims it falsified international mail delivery times in a contract with the Postal Service. The Justice Department says the USPS contract to Delta included delivering U.S. mail to soldiers overseas, as well as delivering mail to and from Defense and State Department posts. The settlement resolves claims that Delta falsely reported the times it delivered this mail. The USPS contract specifies penalties for mail that was delivered late or to the wrong location.
  • GSA removed the “stop sign” in front of the POLARIS small business contract vehicle. Small businesses sharpen your pencils, the POLARIS GWAC is back in play. After pausing the solicitation for this mega small business IT services contract in April, the General Services Administration released the updated contract terms and conditions yesterday. One of the major changes is requiring the small business of a mentor protégé team to provide at least one example of relevant experience. GSA also limits the mentor to three examples of relevant experience. The previous solicitation placed no limits on what the mentor could provide. GSA says bids now are due Aug. 10.
  • The General Services Administration is looking to reach 100 million users on by the end of the year. GSA would more than double the number of users if it meets its year-end goal. GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan says in a recent interview that has about 40 million users right now across 27 agencies. “This digital identity area is one that is in in serious need of attention by the government.” Carnahan said about 60,000 veterans currently use for VA services online. GSA is also in talks with the IRS as it plans its own rollout of (Federal News Network)
  • The Coast Guard is taking steps to increase access to on-base child care for families. A new report from the Government Accountability Office finds the service will build four new child development centers and increase funding for off-base childcare subsidies. Compared to the rest of the DoD, the Coast Guard operates proportionally fewer on-base childcare centers. The Coast Guard serves 82% of children through community-based providers while the DoD serves 77% of children in on-base development centers. Therefore, most eligible Coast Guard families rely on subsidies to pay for childcare in the community. As of March, Coast Guard child development centers had 361 children on waitlists.
  • The Defense Department says it is working to ensure abortion care for service members, but it is hamstrung in some situations. Federal law only allows abortions at military treatment facilities in instances of medical harm, rape or incest. That care won’t change for service members even if they live in states where abortion is banned. However, troops seeking an abortion that doesn’t fit into those categories may not get much support from the Pentagon. Per federal law, Defense Department is unable to reimburse service members who may have to travel hundreds of miles for care. Pregnant service members must also request leave from their commanding officers to take time off and travel to get a procedure. (Federal News Network)
  • The Navy is taking measures to keep more sailors in uniform as it continues to have issues with recruitment. The service is changing its policy to allow sailors to serve longer by delaying separation or retirement. The Navy says the goal of the policy is to keep the service fully manned and operationally ready. The Navy recently announced it would increase recruitment bonuses to lure in more sailors.
  • Lawmakers continue pushing the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board for answers to some major technical issues in the Thrift Savings Plan. D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton spoke with the board’s executive director, who agreed to give her weekly updates on FRTIB’s progress. That comes after the board rolled out a new TSP platform, causing many frustrations for participants, and difficulties reaching TSP’s customer service line. Norton says she may hold a hearing if the board doesn’t make improvements more quickly.
  • The agency in charge of the Thrift Savings Plan has a new leader. President Joe Biden appointed Mike Gerber as chairman of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board. The Senate confirmed Gerber as a member of FRTIB in early June, for two terms lasting through September 2026. He will take over for Acting Chairman David Jones, who has held the position since July 2020. Gerber will work with the other recently Senate-confirmed board members, including Dana Bilyeu, Leona Bridges and Stacie Olivares, to manage the Thrift Savings Plan.
  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s mobile app just got its biggest update in a decade. The application now allows people to customize what they see in the app based on their preferences and location. A new section gives users information about federal disaster declarations in their area, and provides answers to common questions about the assistance application process. FEMA says the update is important as the country enters peak hurricane and wildfire season.
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services may be turning a corner on the technology front. USCIS is nearing an “inflection point” when it comes to its digital strategy. That’s the verdict from the USCIS’s ombudsman’s annual report. The agency has digitized more high-volume immigration forms, and it now has a plan for all forms to be submitted and processed digitally by the end of fiscal 2026. The Homeland Security Inspector General has found USCIS’s current backlog can be traced back, in part, to the agency’s failure to fully digitize before the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Ahead of the Freedom of Information Act’s 56th anniversary on Monday, public access to legislative documents could expand, if Congress agreed with the FOIA advisory committee’s new recommendation. The suggestion, in the Office of Government Information Services annual report, asks Congress to expand certain aspects of FOIA to include the legislative branch. Possible information includes procedures governing public requests for records. This is the only recommendation made by the advisory committee halfway through their two-year term. The committee sent the recommendation to the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

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