The Army is adjusting its tattoo policies, in the hopes of attracting more recruits

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The House is poised to pass a bill requiring the Office of Management and Budget to begin preparing for post-quantum cryptography. This means IT that is secure against decryption attempts using a quantum computer or classical computer. The Quantum Computing Cybersecurity Preparedness Act, sponsored by...

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  • The House is poised to pass a bill requiring the Office of Management and Budget to begin preparing for post-quantum cryptography. This means IT that is secure against decryption attempts using a quantum computer or classical computer. The Quantum Computing Cybersecurity Preparedness Act, sponsored by Congressmen Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Nancy Mace (R-S.C.), is expected to come to the floor for a vote as early as Tuesday. Among the provisions in the bill, OMB would have to require each agency to establish and maintain an inventory of each cryptographic system in use. Additionally, the National Institute of Standards and Technology would have to issue post-quantum cryptography standards.
  • A Republican senator seeks to prevent the Biden administration from offering sick leave to federal employees seeking abortions. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is demanding the federal government not provide sick leave to federal employees who travel to get abortions, saying it would violate the Hyde Amendment. The legislative provision bars federal funds from being used to pay for abortions under most circumstances. The Office of Personnel Management issued guidance following the Supreme Court’s ruling, clarifying the federal workforce can take paid sick leave for travel to obtain reproductive health care. Rubio notes the OPM’s guidance makes no mention of “abortion” or “any other abortion-related language,” but said the intention of the memo is clear. (Federal News Network)
  • The Department of Health and Human Services is teaming up with the White House Gender Policy Council to establish a new task force to protect access to reproductive health. The task force is part of President Biden’s executive order responding to the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe vs. Wade. The task force will also work with the attorney general to provide assistance to states affording legal protection to out-of-state patients and providers who offer reproductive healthcare.
  • Agencies are making progress on customer experience goals under the President’s Management Agenda. Interagency teams have conducted assessments for all 35 agencies and programs considered High Impact Service Providers. These assessments found 23 HISPs already collect customer feedback data, and that the rest of these are expected to start collecting these metrics. All HISPs have met with the Office of Management and Budget to identify priority areas of improvement for the fiscal 2024 budget process. (Federal News Network)
  • The State Department is remaining the bureau that oversees its technology. The Bureau of Information Resources Management or IRM is out. The Bureau of Diplomatic Technology is in at the State Department. Keith Jones, the recently departed CIO at State, says all that is left is for a few signatures to make this name change official. Jones says the Bureau of Diplomatic Technology aims to create more cohesiveness across the entire department around technology. The bureau will be led by the CIO, but also include three other directorates around business solutions delivery, cyber operations and business management and planning. (Federal News Network)
  • Officials are trying to address the stigma around security clearance holders seeking mental healthcare. A new working group is considering updates to psychological and emotional health questions on security clearance forms. Officials are considering the updates under the Trusted Workforce 2.0 reform initiative. But it’s also part of a long-running effort to assure defense and intelligence employees that seeking out mental healthcare won’t affect their clearance status. Officials point out that less than 1% of security clearance denials or revocations are solely due to psychological factors. In fact, they say seeking out mental healthcare can be considered as a positive factor in the clearance process. (Federal News Network)
  • The Army has relaxed their policies on tattoos in an effort to recruit more people. Soldiers may now have tattoos on their hands, the back of their ears and the back of their necks. There are still regulations however. For example, soldiers can only have one tattoo on each hand and they can not exceed one inch in length. Similar restrictions apply to neck and ear tattoos. The last time the Army changed their tattoo policy was in 2015, which removed the limits on the number of tattoos soldiers could have on their arms and legs.
  • The National Guard is continuing its push for a new space component. Since the creation of the Space Force, there has been considerable debate over whether there should be a Space National Guard. Now space units within the Air National Guard say they are in an untenable posture by relying on the Air Force for training and standards when the service no longer handles space missions. The National Guard estimates it would cost about a quarter of a million dollars for the initial setup of a space component. There are currently 14 National Guard space units in seven states. (Federal News Network)
  • The Navy is relieving Commander Seth Rumler as commander of Submarine Group Seven. The Navy says it is removing him from the positions due to a lack of confidence. Commander Michael McGuire will take his place. Rumler is just the newest in a slew of firings. More than a dozen leaders have been relieved of their duties in the last three months. The Navy has not given a resource behind the rash of firings.
  • A defense contractor agreed to settle a lawsuit over claims that it lied about complying with federal cybersecurity requirements. Aerojet Rocketdyne agreed to pay $9 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act. A company whistleblower will receive $2.61 million as part of the recovery. The case is an important bellwether for federal efforts to hold contractors accountable to meeting cyber standards. Last fall, the Department of Justice announced a cyber-civil fraud initiative aimed at pursuing federal contractors who knowingly misrepresent their cyber practices.

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