The Space Development Agency lands upon a new, permanent home

In today's Federal Newscast: The Space Development Agency has landed upon a new, permanent home. It looks like GSA will be keep contractors busy this winter. An...

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  • DoD’s Space Development Agency or SDA is now officially part of the U.S. Space Force. DoD created the agency three years ago. SDA has lived within the Pentagon’s research and engineering directorate since then, and has been busy creating constellations of small satellites to improve military communications and track missile threats, using a spiral development acquisition process. SDA will now be one of three acquisition organizations within the Space Force. The change was directed by Congress in last year’s Defense authorization bill.
  • GSA is planning a busy winter for contractors. The draft request for proposals for two major procurements from the General Services Administration are expected out in the next six months. GSA will release the draft solicitation for its Alliant 3 governmentwide acquisition contract in the first quarter of fiscal 2023. It then will release the draft RFP for its new cloud blanket purchase agreement, called Ascend, in the second quarter of this year. GSA said industry input on both of these drafts is crucial to getting them right. Additionally, GSA will be awarding the Polaris small business GWAC and continue work on the OASIS-Plus multiple award contract this winter.
  • The inspector general community recognized some of its top performers for a busy year of oversight and investigations. The Council of the IGs on Integrity and Efficiency or CIGIE awarded 87 honors to agency IG offices for excellence in auditing, investigations,  IT and more. Top awards went to the investigative team at the Justice Department IG’s office for looking into allegations of sexual abuse by former USA Gymnastics physician Larry Nassar. The Labor Department’s offices of investigations and audits were also recognized for rooting out the fraud in the Unemployment Insurance Program during the COVID–19 pandemic.
  • The IRS is awarding  bonuses  to employees tackling the tax return backlog. Temporarily reassigned “surge team” employees are being asked to stay on through the end of 2022. But these frontline workers are getting a $1,000 bonus for their efforts. The IRS announced its first “surge team” of 1,200 employees in February. IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said IRS surge teams helped the agency reduce the number of tax returns in need of adjustment from over five million at the start of the year to 2.3 million as of August. Most of the bonuses went out to eligible employees in September, but a few remaining awards will be distributed to eligible employees later this year.  (Federal News Network)
  • The Office of Personnel Management is warning enrollees in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program that they might be leaving valuable savings on the table. OPM is urging FEHB participants to take advantage of the upcoming open season, and look at potential alternatives to their health care plan choices. Just 2.5% of enrollees changed their health coverage last year, and less than 1% switched insurance carriers during open season. Participants can make changes to their health benefit options during the upcoming open season, which runs from November 14 to December 12.
  • The federal Chief Financial Officer community is mourning the loss of Sam Mok, who passed away after a short battle with cancer at the age of 77. Mok was the first CFO for the Treasury Department, appointed by President George H.W. Bush. He later served as the CFO for the Labor Department, appointed by President George W. Bush. Mok served as the president of the Association of Government Accountants and first joined federal service in the Army and as a Senior Foreign Service officer in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs for the State Department.
  • The National Archives and Records Administration is looking for ideas on how it can better serve the public. NARA’s draft customer research agenda is asking how the records agency can improve the quality and accessibility of its services. NARA admited that some of its services may not be as easy, efficient, and equitable as they could be. The agency is asking questions about customer service preferences and how it could better connect with the people it serves. NARA plans to finalize its first-ever customer research agenda by the end of fiscal 2024 and then update the document annually.
  • Reducing how long it takes to hire a federal job applicant, or process a retirement claim, are two top priorities for the deputy director nominee at the Office of Personnel Management. Rob Shriver, the White House’s pick for OPM’s second-in-command, tells senators he would also focus on implementing the new military spouse hiring authority, and consider the future of telework for the federal workforce. If the Senate confirms him, Shriver would be the first person to hold the deputy director position in nearly two years. (Federal News Network)
  • It’s not called a uniform, but the Navy has a new….uniform. It’s called a 2POC, and the Navy will start issuing it to sailors this year. The fire retardant, two-piece uniform is called “organizational clothing” because it is issued free of charge to sailors. The 2POC will be navy blue for rates E-6 and below, while E-7 and above and officers will wear it in khaki. It is meant to be the primary at-sea uniform, but Navy personnel can also wear it off the ship, on and off base.

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