As Navy recruiters tread water, $100,000 bonuses land with a splash

Also in today's Federal Newscast, murdered Army Spc. Vanessa Guillen's family files a $35 million lawsuit, and GSA is offering some new help to agencies to impr...

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  • Two powerful House lawmakers are asking the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to undertake a damage assessment after the FBI’s removal of classified material from former President Donald Trump’s residence in Florida. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), the chairwoman of the Oversight and Reform Committee, and Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, sent a letter to the director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, requesting the National Counterintelligence Executive and the inspector general of the Intelligence Community evaluate actual or potential damage to national security. The lawmakers also requested a classified briefing on the assessment. (Federal News Network)
  • The family of a soldier who was murdered at Fort Hood, Texas, more than two years ago is moving forward with a lawsuit against the Army. The Army’s investigations have already found that Spc. Vanessa Guillen was sexually harassed and that leaders failed to protect her from violence. Her murder also helped spur reforms that moved some prosecutorial functions out of the military justice system. The wrongful death suit the family filed on Friday seeks $35 million in damages. (Federal News Network)
  • The IRS is getting a shot to rebuild its workforce after more than a decade of belt-tightening. The House passed the Inflation Reduction Act, which now heads to President Joe Biden’s desk. The $740 billion spending bill allows a broad swath of federal agencies to staff up over the next decade, but none will go through the kind of transformation the IRS will face. The bill gives the IRS $80 billion over the next 10 years, with more than half that money going toward its tax enforcement operations. The IRS expects the money will help it bring on the next generation of its workforce and make long-deferred investments in its IT that will improve taxpayer services. (Federal News Network)
  • The Postal Service is getting $3 billion from Congress to electrify its fleet. More than half of that money, from the Inflation Reduction Act, will go toward USPS developing the necessary charging infrastructure. The rest will help the agency buy more electric vehicles for its future fleet. USPS recently announced it would buy 25,000 electric vehicles as part of its Next-Generation Delivery Vehicle fleet, which is half its total order under its contract with vendor Oshkosh Defense.
  • Federal employees have a new way to help those affected by severe storms and flooding in Kentucky. The Office of Personnel Management established an emergency leave transfer program for Kentucky’s federal employees. Agency workers can now donate some of their unused annual leave to those impacted by the severe storms. OPM said those looking to either donate or receive unused paid leave should contact their own agency. Paid leave will first be transferred within the same agency, but it can also be transferred across agencies, if needed.
  • An interagency coalition aimed at stopping drug smugglers is leaning on recent Naval Academy graduates for innovative ideas. The Navy’s SCOUT program recently asked groups of graduates to team up and think of new ideas for interdicting drugs. The participants came up with ways to track fishing routes to detect suspicious activity and new sensors to monitor oceans.
  • With all the focus on identity management to improve cybersecurity, GSA is offering some new help to agencies. The General Services Administration’s new identity lifecycle management playbook aims to be a practical guide to help agencies shift their focus from managing employee access based on credentials to managing the lifecycle of identities. Agencies can use playbook’s four-step process to implement lifecycle management to ensure they have visibility into all digital identities they control. The playbook helps agencies to make sure only active employees have access to their data and networks. It also helps them develop processes to ensure agencies employ a least privileged policy and implement fine-grained access controls.
  • Reflecting a military-wide recruiting crisis, the Navy is now offering prospective sailors what can amount to more than $100,000 in incentives. The Navy pushed up its reenlistment bonus to $50,000 earlier this year. In addition, the service said it will pay $65,000 in student loans. A new release from the Navy said those incentives aren’t mutually exclusive. Sailors could cash-in on the monetary bonus, plus the student loan repayment if they sign on for the right positions. The military as a whole is having recruiting issues. The Navy is currently operating at about 1.5% below its authorized end strength. The service is revamping its Recruiting Command in hopes of bettering its outreach.
  • The Department of Homeland Security is looking for a few good hackers. DHS is accepting bids for a multiple-award contract to expand its bug bounty program. The program makes use of software researchers to probe for vulnerabilities in DHS IT systems. The department plans on making up to four awards worth a potential $43 million over five years. DHS used bug bounty hunters to identify instances of the open source Log4j vulnerability. The department wants to expand the program to host live, in-person hacking events and identify bugs in more critical systems.  (Federal News Network)
  • The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is aiming to grow its signature public-private initiative. CISA Director Jen Easterly said the Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative launched last August has been instrumental in responding to critical cyber incidents like the Log4j exploit. Entering the second year, Easterly wants to add more companies from across the private sector to the JCDC roster. She said the collaborative will also work to develop new cyber defense plans.

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