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Just when you thought you had heard the last of DoD’s controversial JEDI cloud contract, there’s another twist. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is asking DoD and its inspector general to look into their processes to improve how they identify conflicts of interests around contracts. Grassley released new documents showing possible conflicts of interest that the DoD and auditors overlooked while reviewing the JEDI program. Grassley wants to know how DoD and the IG will review and improve their internal processes to better capture the true sources of income from the sale of businesses connected to government employees before performing a conflicts of interest review.
Some 600 teachers in military overseas schools have reached a tentative contract agreement with the DoD Education Activity (DODEA). If ratified, it would be the teachers’ first new contract in 28 years. As reported on the Federal Drive last week, negotiations were at an impasse until members of the House Armed Services Committee urged DODEA to get on with it. Both sides still must vote on the agreement. The teachers, members of the Overseas Federation of Teachers, work at DODEA schools in Italy, Spain, Bahrain and Turkey.
A leading Senator on privacy issues said members of the Federal Trade Commission need access to more classified info to do their jobs. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said the FTC should be more involved in efforts to counter the theft of Americans’ data by foreign governments, like China. In a letter to FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, Wyden urged the FTC to request the highest level of security clearance for its commissioners and senior staff. He also pushed the intelligence community to share more classified information with the FTC about datasets being targeted by foreign governments. Wyden said the regulator needs that info to hold companies accountable for protecting U.S. consumer data.
Two highly anticipated governmentwide acquisition contracts notch closer to reality. Both are under development by the General Services Administration. A draft request for proposals for Alliant 3, an information technology services vehicle, is out for comment. Contracting officials said yesterday, during the ACT-IAC annual Hershey conference, they’ll announce the date for the final RFP in February, with the RFP actually coming out in May. Planners of GSA’s Oasis Plus, for professional services other than IT, said two draft RFPs will issue next month, with a final RFP by March 30.
The Navy needs to fill about 9,000 at-sea billets in more than a dozen different ratings, and it will increase incentives to sailors who take them. Under the new Detailing Marketplace Assignment Policy, sailors who take assignments categorized as sea intensive will be eligible for incentive pay, advancements and priority in picking future shore duty. The announcement comes from the Navy Personnel Command, which designates 16 rates as sea intensive billets. Gapped billets have increased steadily since 2016. The Navy is also offering an advance to position program where E-4 sailors can fill E-5 positions at sea and apply to be promoted while in the position.
VA sees a surge in job applicants as it stands up new pay and bonus authorities. Human capital officials for the Veterans Health Administration and Veterans Benefits Administration tell reporters they’re seeing an increase in job applicants since President Joe Biden signed the PACT Act into law. The legislation allows VA to offer recruitment, retention and relocation incentives worth up to 50% of an employee’s salary. VA Secretary Denis McDonough said the PACT Act gives the VA the recruiting and retention tools it needs to build up its workforce. “We need aggressively to hire the people who will deliver the benefits and world-class health care that vets have earned and deserve,” McDonough said. (Federal News Network)
After high staff attrition, the Agriculture Department takes some positive steps for its workforce. USDA has added over 5,000 feds agency-wide since last October, an overall increase of 6.3%. Staff attrition hit the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture particularly hard, after the two facilities relocated. “There’s been a significant amount of work in making sure that we can bring on and retain new hires,” said USDA Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh. “Because when you lose that number of people, there’s so much that’s lost — the institutional knowledge, the ability to offer services.” (Federal News Network)
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency taps a new leader for one of its flagship programs. Matt House is the new program manager for Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation at CISA. The CDM program provides agencies with a suite of cybersecurity tools and services. House is a cyber and IT specialist who comes to CISA after more than two decades in industry, most recently at Microsoft. Richard Grabowski will stay on as House’s deputy after serving as acting program manager for the past year.
Thrift Savings Plan participants may see continued improvements after initial issues with the TSP system update. The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board said calls to its help center have fallen by 40% over the last month. During that time, investments in the new TSP mutual fund window also increased by 10%. The improvements come after several months of hours-long hold times for TSP participants, following the board’s rocky transition to a new recordkeeper, which transferred millions of TSP accounts to a new system.
There is a new deputy federal chief information officer, and it may not surprise you who it is. Six months after taking on the role on an acting basis, Drew Myklegard is permanent. The Office of Management and Budget confirmed it will remove Myklegard’s acting title yesterday. He replaces Maria Roat, who retired March after almost two years in the position. Myklegard took over as acting federal deputy CIO in April. He came to OMB in late 2021 as the new associate deputy federal CIO, a new position in the office, after spending the previous eight years at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Myklegard becomes the sixth person to hold the title and role of deputy federal CIO, joining Tim Young, Lisa Schlosser, Mike Howell, Margie Graves and Roat. (Federal News Network)
A top pandemic watchdog is stepping down at the end of the year. Pandemic Response Accountability Committee Executive Director Robert Westbrooks is retiring by December 31st. Westbrooks has led the PRAC since April 2020, and after serving for five years as the inspector general for the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. Deputy Inspector General at NASA George Scott will become PRAC’s interim executive director once Westbrooks retires. Scott will stay on until the committee names a new permanent executive director.
Ash Carter, one of the longest-serving senior Defense officials of the Obama administration, died this week at the age of 68. His family said he suffered a heart attack Monday evening. Carter served as Secretary of Defense from 2015 to 2017, and before that, as deputy secretary and as the Pentagon’s top procurement official. Former colleagues said he’ll be remembered for fighting to reform DoD’s acquisition system, strengthening its ties with innovative companies, and opening military positions to women and transgender service members. (Federal News Network)