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The Navy is moving ships and aircraft out of the path of Hurricane Ian. The Navy is keeping bases in the southeastern U.S. up and running, but some of them may shut down non-essential operations by Wednesday, as the storm approaches the mainland. The Navy said the U.S.S. Little Rock will move from its Jacksonville, Florida base at about noon today, while several other ships are expected to follow it to safer waters by the end of the day.
Federal employees can now donate unused paid leave to their colleagues in Mississippi. The Office of Personnel Management established an emergency leave transfer program for federal employees adversely affected by the Mississippi water crisis. Feds with leftover paid leave can donate extra time off to the workers, regardless of whether they are at the same agency or a different one. OPM has authorized agency heads to determine the time period and which employees are eligible for the program. Those who are interested in either donating or receiving time off should contact their agency for details.
Norman “Mike” Causey, long-time Federal News Network host and columnist and a fixture in the Washington, D.C. news scene for more than half a century, died Monday. He was 82 years old. Causey started his career as a messenger for the Washington Post in 1957 and ended up writing his Federal Daily column for 40 years. Since joining Federal News Network in the early 2000s, Causey wrote and broadcast about matters crucial to the federal workforce. He is survived by daughters Libby Causey-Hicks and Jocelyn Causey, and son Michael Causey. (Federal News Network)
New ideas emerge to make oversight of federal IT more impactful. Seven major changes would make the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act scorecard more valuable to drive change. A group of former federal technology leaders outlined how the scorecard could evolve in a new white paper published by ACT-IAC. The experts say the evolution of the scorecard should include measuring the adoption of cloud services instead of data center closures and measuring the use of agile or DevSecOps instead of incremental development. Additionally the former federal CIOs and other executives said adding an IT workforce category would make sense given the challenge of recruiting, retaining and training employees. (Federal News Network)
Agencies are raising the red flag about cyber threats to machinery and other critical systems. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, along with the National Security Agency, issued a new cybersecurity advisory for industrial control systems. CISA and NSA said new IT-enabled accesses make operational technology a ripe target for hackers. The advisory comes as CISA prepares to issue new cybersecurity performance goals for critical infrastructure control systems as soon as next month.
Leonard Francis, the former Navy contractor known as “Fat Leonard,” has requested asylum in Venezuela. Sources tell the Associated Press he made the request some time in the past week, after he was caught in the South American country while on his way to Russia. Francis escaped U.S. custody earlier this month, when authorities said he cut off his monitoring bracelet and fled from house arrest in San Diego. (Federal News Network)
The Department of Veterans Affairs is looking at large-scale hiring as it brings more patients into its health care network. VA Secretary Denis McDonough said the agency needs to hire 45,000 nurses over the next three years to keep up with attrition and growing demand for veteran care. McDonough said this July was the first month the VA hired more nurses than the number of nurses it lost to retirement this year. To address its workforce challenges, the VA is looking to expand the number of health care workers it trains during their schooling in the hopes that they will consider a career with the agency. (Federal News Network)
The National Federation of Federal Employees is pushing to make a temporary pay bump for federal firefighters permanent. The union has concerns about firefighter recruitment and retention, and wants the Agriculture Department to make changes to their working conditions and pay. The union called on USDA to establish better career ladders, correct shortfalls of overtime payments, and boost compensation for firefighters working above their pay grade as a result of staffing shortages.
Auditors have found gaps in cybersecurity practices across the nation’s nuclear labs and production sites. The National Nuclear Security Administration has a limited ability to respond to emerging cyber threats due to inconsistent cybersecurity practices across its traditional IT environments, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office. GAO also found that NNSA’s plans for securing operational technology are falling behind as well. The audit recommended that NNSA direct its site contractors to update their cybersecurity programs and also urged the agency to identify the funding it needs to better secure operational systems.
Time is running out on Chuck Rettig’s five-year term as IRS commissioner, but the Biden administration has yet to nominate a permanent successor. Rettig’s term expires on November 12 and a new commissioner requires Senate confirmation. The Professional Managers Association, which represents IRS managers, is urging President Joe Biden to pick a nominee with management experience to oversee the $80 billion allocation the agency received in the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act.