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The Small Business Administration named its third chief information officer in two years. After four years of stability in the CIO’s role, SBA is back to the shuffle. Since Maria Roat left in 2020 to become the federal deputy CIO, SBA is on its third technology leader. Stephen Kucharski assumed the acting title earlier this summer. Kucharski replaced Luis Campudoni, who had been acting since January when he took over for Keith Bluestein. Campudoni returned to his former deputy CIO role. Kucharski is no stranger to SBA, having worked there for 23 years. He comes to the acting CIO role after leading the systems delivery of SBA’s Office of Capital Access programs.
The Air Force is increasing privacy for pregnant airmen at the unit level. The service will mask the condition of airmen to remove barriers and minimize stigma from other service members. Previously, pregnancy was the only medical condition that was identified in personnel systems available at the unit level. The Air Force said masking pregnancy gives airmen time to process the situation and tell peers the news at their own pace.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology is offering first responders security tips and best practices when using body cameras, Bluetooth headsets and other vital sensors. In new security guidance, NIST tested commercial devices to gain an understanding of the current security posture of these devices. Researchers also developed a gap analysis to identify any missing features or capabilities within the public safety mobile and wearable devices. One of the big problems researchers found with the mobile devices was security is not automatically enabled requiring users to enable those features themselves.
Nearly 50% of the veterans who were loaned iPads through the Veterans Health Administration’s video connect program aren’t actually using the devices to go to virtual appointments. The inspector general’s audit found VHA distributed devices to about 41,000 patients during the first three quarters of fiscal 2021. VHA’s data also showed more than 3,100 patients had multiple devices. The IG made 10 recommendations to improve the program including developing a mechanism to alert clinics that a patient can be scheduled for a virtual appointment. They also suggested adding procedures to prevent and retrieve duplicate devices. (Federal News Network)
The Air Force is launching a new pilot program aimed at helping survivors of sexual assault. The Air Force’s Integrated Response Co-location program will band sexual assault response services together for easier access to airmen. The service is putting together assault response coordinators, response victim advocates, domestic abuse victim advocates, victim counsels and religious support teams so airmen can easily navigate resources. The pilot is being rolled out at seven installations including Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas and Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The pilot is part of a series of reforms aimed at increasing awareness and healing around assault.
The Pentagon is requiring that all mobile service providers in the Defense Department capture and save data on government mobile devices. The move comes in response to reports that DoD did not retain messages sent during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The Pentagon is putting its chief information officer in charge of ensuring the data is captured and retained. (Federal News Network)
Concerns over the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s return-to-office plans are getting more attention. The Federal Labor Relations Authority issued a complaint against EEOC over office reentry policies. That’s after the American Federation of Government Employees filed multiple unfair labor practice complaints against the commission. The union said EEOC returned employees to the office before completing negotiations. The agency has until Aug. 22 to respond to FLRA’s complaint, which the commission said it’s in the process of reviewing. (Federal News Network)
An employee advocacy group is calling on the White House, Office of Personnel Management and the Office of Management and Budget to do more for feds seeking abortion services. In addition to advocating for administrative leave to obtain abortions, the “Department of Justice Gender Equality Network” or DOJ GEN, wants federal leaders to let employees opt out of travel or relocation to states that ban abortions. DOJ GEN also called on the White House, OPM and OMB to make a policy ensuring abortion-related activities are not considered during background investigations.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes the single largest investment of water infrastructure ever in the federal government. More than $50 billion is going to EPA water programs. The agency wants to help states use the State Revolving Funds program to pay for their water and wastewater improvement projects, so it’s launching pilot programs to give targeted technical assistance. EPA especially wants to make sure disadvantaged and rural communities understand all their federal funding options. But the agency still needs to hire about 300 more people for all the work on its plate. (Federal News Network)
The head of the National Reconnaissance Office is touting the agency’s expanding work with commercial satellite firms. The NRO is turning into a service provider of sorts for the rest of the intelligence community when it comes to commercial satellite imaging, according to NRO Director Chris Scolese. He said the agency wants to continue to expand its commercial partnerships. The NRO is already testing out satellite radar capabilities, and will announce a new area focus for commercial purchases this fall. (Federal News Network)
The Air Force has filed criminal charges against an airman in connection with an April explosion that injured U.S. troops on base in Syria. Tech. Sgt. David Dezwaan Jr. is charged with dereliction of duty, destroying military property, reckless endangerment and aggravated assault in the blast that injured four service members. Initially the military said the injuries were caused by artillery or another form of indirect fire. But the Pentagon later said the attack was carried out by the “deliberate placement of explosive charges” at an ammunition holding area and shower facility on the base. (Federal News Network)
English majors in government take note: Lawmakers want to see more public policy written in plain language. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved the Clear and Concise Content Act this week. The bipartisan legislation would expand the type of information agencies must publish in plain writing. The bill’s proponents said convoluted technical terms and jargon often make it difficult for the average citizen to navigate federal programs and services.