Former Trump aide in trouble for not turning over government emails on private account

Also in today's Federal Newscast, the Biden Administration Office of Personnel Management gets its first second-in-command. And the Navy has a new top intellige...

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  • The Justice Department is suing Peter Navarro, the former White House trade policy director, claiming he did government business on a private email account and never turned records over to the National Archives and Records Administration. If true, that would violate the Presidential Records Act. DOJ claimed both NARA and its own attorneys have tried to negotiate with Navarro. The government said he’s refused to do so unless he’s guaranteed immunity from prosecution over anything those records reveal.
  • The Office of Personnel Management is getting a second-in-command. President Joe Biden nominated Rob Shriver to be the OPM deputy director. Shriver is a political appointee already, having been the associate director for employee services for the past 18 months. If confirmed by the Senate, he would be the first OPM deputy director since January 2021, when Michael Rigas left the role. (Federal News Network)
  • Three agencies have received new money to accelerate customer experience improvements. The Technology Modernization Fund Board and Office of Management and Budget delivered their first installment of money as part of their commitment to spend $100 million to improve citizen services. The TMF Board and OMB announced yesterday they were awarding $26.8 million to three agencies to address legacy systems that serve the public. AmeriCorps received a loan of  $14 million. The Labor Department won $7.2 million and USAID will receive $5.6 million to accelerate different modernization efforts. The TMF Board has now made 29 awards worth more than $500 million. (Federal News Network)
  • For the fourth year in a row, the General Services Administration IT won the 5-star EPEAT Purchaser Award. The award is for excellence in sustainable procurement of IT products and services. The Global Electronics Council gives the award annually to recognize organizations that purchase and sell environmentally friendly electronic products. GSA recycles its equipment by donating it to schools and other institutions or by repurposing it.
  • The nominee to serve as the State Department’s top cyber ambassador is laying out his priorities. Nathaniel Fick is the Biden administration’s pick to be the first ever ambassador-at-large for Cyberspace and Digital Policy. Fick told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that his first priority is building more expertise in cyber and digital technologies at the State Department. “I can imagine a future where any candidate to be a chief of mission is expected to have an understanding of these issues, because they’re a substrate that cuts across every aspect of our foreign policy,” Fick said. Fick is a retired Marine Corps officer and technology executive. If confirmed, he would head up the State Department’s new Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Diplomacy, just established in April.
  • The Air Force is trying to amp up its artificial intelligence and data network with a new conference. The First ever Data and AI Forum will bring together top Defense technology officials with industry and academia. The summit will be held in Massachusetts at the end of August. The Defense Department and military services are putting increased resources into data and AI in order to improve weapons systems.
  • TRICARE beneficiaries got a reprieve from telehealth copays during the pandemic, but that’s about to change. The Defense Health Agency said it will no longer subsidize telehealth appointment copays now that threats from COVID-19 are easing. The rule will not go into effect until the agency informs providers of the change. Currently there is no timeline for that process. DHA said appointments made by telephone will still be copay-free. DHA decided not to reinstitute those charges after public comments from the American Medical Association and other health institutions. The Defense Department will recoup nearly $5 million a month by reinstating telehealth copays. (Federal News Network)
  • The Navy has a new top intelligence officer. Rear Adm. Mike Studeman assumed command of the Office of Naval Intelligence and directorship of the National Maritime Intelligence-Integration Office on Aug. 1. He took over for Rear Adm. Curt Copley, who had led the command since June 2021. Studeman was previously director for Intelligence at the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.
  • The Labor Department has a new leader for diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility initiatives. The agency named Alaysia Black Hackett as its chief diversity and equity officer. Hackett is the first person to hold the position for DOL. The agency created the role after the White House tasked all agencies with naming a chief diversity officer, as part of an executive order to advance DEIA in the federal workforce.
  • Federal first responders who are disabled are one step closer to securing equal retirement benefits. In a unanimous vote, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee passed the First Responder Fair RETIRE Act. The legislation would let disabled federal first responders, like firefighters and law enforcement officers, continue receiving the same retirement benefits as all first responders in the government. The House unanimously passed partner legislation last month, and the bill now moves to the full Senate for consideration.
  • The Department of Veterans Affair’s programs for identifying employees on its networks face some serious problems, according to a new report by the department’s inspector general. The IG said the governance process for identity, credentialing and access management or ICAM is spread across different offices that don’t agree on how to implement ICAM. The review found the lack of cooperation means VA is likely restricting some data from employees who truly need it, and leaving other sensitive data open to workers that don’t.
  • The American Federation of Government Employees and the Veterans Healthcare Policy Institute are calling on leaders in Congress and the Department of Veterans Affairs to fully fund, staff and expand VA resources. The demand comes after AFGE published a survey of 2,300 VA employees and veterans. Some 50% of respondents reported that budget shortages closed VA beds, units and programs. Respondents also indicated that 88% of their facility needs more clinical frontline staff. According to the Partnership for Public Service, the VA had the highest attrition rate at 7.1%. That’s a 6.4% increase from last year, and 1% higher than the governmentwide average. Despite the agency’s challenges, VA was ranked fifth among the “Best Places to Work in the Federal Government” in an annual report produced by the Partnership for Public Service and Boston Consulting Group. (Federal News Network)

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