State Department moves to extricate itself from its pale, male and Yale image

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The State Department charts a path forward on diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility. State officially submitted its five-year DEIA Strategic Plan to the Office of Personnel Management yesterday. The plan includes a data working group to establish DEIA baselines and track future progress against them. State will launch a review of its hiring practices to identify...

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Best listening experience is on Chrome, Firefox or Safari. Subscribe to Federal Drive’s daily audio interviews on Apple Podcasts or PodcastOne.

  • The State Department charts a path forward on diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility. State officially submitted its five-year DEIA Strategic Plan to the Office of Personnel Management yesterday. The plan includes a data working group to establish DEIA baselines and track future progress against them. State will launch a review of its hiring practices to identify barriers to diversity and will make DEIA part of the performance criteria for all employees.
  • House Democrats push forward an attempt to block the potential return of Schedule F. In an 8-4 vote along party lines, the House Rules Committee advanced the Preventing a Patronage System Act to the full House. The legislation would block the White House from creating any new federal job classifications without Congressional approval. The committee also advanced the Whistleblower Protection Improvement Act, which would add measures to prevent retaliation against federal whistleblowers. (Federal News Network)
  • Nearly 4,500 federal workers elected to join the American Federation of Government Employees in August, marking the fifth month in a row the union’s membership increased. AFGE reported a net gain of 655 members in August, the highest in the last five months. The net gain accounts for feds who left AFGE due to retirement, changing jobs or simply leaving the union. AFGE said it’s been ramping up its organizing efforts, and advocating for better pay raises and job security for feds.
  • There’s been a setback in the Air Force’s multibillion dollar plan to privatize the management of its IT networks. Last month, the Air Force awarded a $5.7 billion agreement to CACI to start implementing the first stage of its Enterprise IT as a service concept. Three losing bidders have filed formal bid protests challenging the award. Accenture, SAIC and Peraton are contesting the decision before the Government Accountability Office. GAO’s procurement arbiters will spend the next three months deciding whether the initial award to CACI ran afoul of procurement rules.
  • The General Services Administration is making it easier for contractors to raise prices to combat inflation. GSA is removing the requirement for contracting officers to seek additional approvals when vendors request a price adjustment to deal with inflation. A new memo from GSA’s senior procurement executive and Office of Policy and Compliance in the Federal Acquisition Service establishes the ability of contracting officers to approve all requests for an economic price adjustment. GSA decided to issue a second inflation-related policy in six months after industry raised concerns that the price adjustments were taking too long. The new policy will remain in effect through March 2023.
  • The Defense Information Systems Agency has received the go-ahead to begin implementing its network upgrades in the Indo-Pacific region. That is because Verizon dropped its protest of DISA’s $1.5 billion contract to Lumen Technologies. DISA chose Lumen over three others in early August. The contract will provide end-to-end transmission services and capabilities to the Defense Information System Network in the Indo-Pacific Command’s area of responsibility to include Alaska to western India. Verizon submitted a protest on August 10, but withdrew it less than a month later.
  • The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has laid out a grand vision for its future. CISA’s new strategic plan released this week calls for cultivating a high-performing workforce and unifying the agency into “One CISA.” The plan also highlights CISA’s goals to lead national cyber defense efforts, strengthen the resilience of critical infrastructure, and improve operational collaboration with the private sector and other partners. It’s the first strategic plan CISA has released since it was established as a standalone agency in 2018.
  • There’s a new number two at the National Reconnaissance Office. Brig. Gen. Christopher Povak began serving as NRO deputy director last week. Povak will help oversee the spy agency’s strategic and tactical operations. He is also the NRO’s Space Force element commander, in charge of leading Air Force and Space Force personnel assigned to the agency. He was previously deputy director of the Space Warfighting Analysis Center.
  • The Department of Homeland security will update and improve its systems for keeping track of migrants entering the country illegally at the Southwest border. A recent DHS inspector general’s report concluded that Immigration and Customs Enforcement along with Customs and Border Protection failed to accurately document the data on migrants. DHS will respond to eight areas where the report said they needed to focus, including: improvements to IT efficiency, and enhancing communication and information sharing between different components and other federal agencies involved with immigration.
  • The Presidential Management Fellows Program is open to new applications and it has some changes. This year, the assessment process will have three parts: a behavioral assessment, a situational assessment and an interview. Also new this year are the competencies that applicants will be evaluated for. They include attention to detail, honesty, reasoning and supporting diversity. The program is designed to develop leadership talent and is a recruitment tool to attract advanced-degree holders. Applications close on September 27.

 

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