Air Force experiments with pot leniency in recruitment

In today's Federal Newscast: Infrastructure plans move forward, as the federal government hires thousands of Americans. The Social Security Administration could...

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  • The Air Force wants to give potential airmen a second chance if they test positive for marijuana use on their initial physical screening. A new pilot program will allow candidates for enlistment who test positive to apply for a waiver, and if it is granted, they can retake the THC screening 90 days later. The waiver considers several factors including skills aptitude, high school diploma, and no major past moral violations. Drug use is prohibited throughout the U.S. military.
  • The General Services Administration now knows just how many agencies need more time to move to the next generation telecommunications contract, Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions. Signing memorandums of understanding with GSA to take an extra year to move to the EIS program were 82 agencies. Of those 82, 20 are CFO Act agencies, 11 were large or medium agencies and 51 were small or micro. GSA said that leaves 34 agencies, which must fully transition to EIS by May 31, 2023. For those agencies which didn’t sign an MOU, GSA said it will update its Networks Authorized User List by November, telling vendors which agency must disconnect from Networx in the next six months.
  • The Biden administration is putting its infrastructure plans into action. The White House said federal agencies have hired more than 2,500 engineers, environmental analysts and technology specialists to implement the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act. The administration said more federal hiring is in the works.
  • The final number for the cost-of-living adjustment for 2023 is 8.7%. But not all federal retirees will see that much in their checks. Retirees in the Federal Employee Retirement System will receive a slightly lower COLA of 7.7%, while those in the Civil Service Retirement System will get the full amount. Earlier this year, lawmakers in both the House and Senate introduced the Equal COLA Act, which would give FERS retirees the full COLA. But the legislation has so far not moved forward. (Federal News Network)
  • The Social Security Administration is falling short in planning for the potential retirement wave heading its way over the next five years. The SSA inspector general found the agency has limited or no succession plan for most of its positions beyond the highest management levels. Auditors said about 24,000 out of SSA’s 60,000 employees will be eligible to retire by 2027. The IG makes five recommendations to improve its human capital planning, including fully integrating human-capital management strategies in its planning documents and developing strategies that specifically describe how SSA will acquire the future workforce needed to successfully fulfill its mission.
  • The Biden administration’s cyber regulatory plan is coming into focus. The Environmental Protection Agency will soon begin regulating the cybersecurity of water systems. The Federal Communications Commission is set to issue a new rule setting cyber standards for emergency communications systems. And the Department of Health and Human Services is setting cyber rules for hospitals. White House Deputy National Security Adviser Anne Neuberger said the administration wants to instill confidence in critical U.S. systems. “A key way to deter adversaries in cyberspace is to know we have confidence in the level of security, that we’ve locked our digital doors and put on our digital alarm system,” Neuberger said. (Federal News Network)
  • A government cybersecurity consumer labeling effort is moving forward. The White House will bring together public and private sector experts to discuss the development of such labels so consumers can easily identify secure tech to bring into their homes, like routers and home cameras.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs is extending survivor benefits to LGBTQ veterans’ spouses who were unable to be married until the 2015 Supreme Court decision protecting same-sex marriage. Due to some states’ bans on same-sex marriage, some LGBTQ veterans were unable to wed until the high court’s decision. The VA requires a marriage of eight years or longer for a spouse to receive a higher rate of benefits.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs is now keeping new rollouts of its Electronic Health Record on hold until next summer. The new EHR from Oracle-Cerner will go live at more VA medical facilities starting in June 2023. The VA previously expected this would resume in January. VA said additional EHR problems emerged during its review of the system and will need more time to address them before go-lives can resume. The VA is also sending letters to every veteran who may have been impacted by problems with the EHR, which is currently running at five VA locations across the U.S. The VA expects the EHR will go live at an additional 25 sites in fiscal 2023.  (Federal News Network)
  •  OPM Director Kiran Ahuja and VA Secretary Denis McDonough will serve as the OPM Director Kiran Ahuja and VA Secretary Denis McDonough will serve as the The Office of Personnel Management and the Department of Veterans Affairs are encouraging feds to donate to the Combined Federal Campaign. Each week the campaign will focus on a different cause for fundraising, including disaster relief, ending hunger and promoting mental health. two CFC chairpersons. Last year’s CFC raised over $80 million.

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