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The Education Department didn’t need to look far to find its new chief information officer. Luis Lopez, who has been with the Education department since 2017, is the agency’s new CIO. He replaces Jason Gray, who moved to the U.S. Agency for International Development in August to be its CIO. Lopez joined Education five years ago as the chief of operational services for the enterprise technology services division. In that role, he led all IT service delivery and customer service for the department. Before coming to Education, Lopez worked at the Defense Health Agency and for the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. (Education stay in-house for its new CIO – Federal News Network)
The State Department is out with its solicitation for one of the most anticipated IT services contracts of the year. State released the final request for proposals late on Friday for Evolve, a six-and-a-half year multiple-award contract with a $10 billion ceiling. State is asking vendors to provide services across five functional categories, including cloud and data centers, application development, and end-user support services. Responses to the RFP are due by January 18.
Space Force has joined Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida as the newest member of the combatant command. The guardians will take responsibility for satellite communications, missile warnings and other duties for monitoring space in the CENTCOM region. The area of responsibility covered by the command includes over four million square miles of Northeast Africa, the Middle East, and Central and South Asia. Space Force recently joined the Indo-Pacific Command in Hawaii, and will join U.S. Forces Korea before the end of the year.
An IRS watchdog has documented investigations into the agency’s workforce. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration received more than 1,200 complaints or allegations made against IRS employees in the latter half of fiscal 2022. Of those investigations, 26 ended with the IRS firing an employee. Another 21 cases resulted in the suspension or reduction-in-grade of an IRS employee, and 51 employees received a formal warning. Another 89 employees retired or left the agency prior to the end of the watchdog investigation. TIGTA said its closed investigations also resulted in the IRS taking administrative action against 400 contractor employees.
Federal employees are becoming less satisfied with their pay. Pay satisfaction dropped from 61% to 56% between 2021 and 2022. That is according to the results of the latest Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. It is the steepest decline of any measurement under the global satisfaction index this year. The Office of Personnel Management said the drop in pay satisfaction was likely because of increased costs of living this year, without a corresponding pay increase for most employees. (Agencies’ tranistion to hybrid work shows through in 2022 FEVS results – Federal News Network)
A new Defense Department office aims to fund long-term technology innovation. The Office of Strategic Capital (OSC) will offer a government partnership to tech companies to get extra funding or loans for projects that have defense applications. The OSC plans to focus on policy, acquisition and research to increase the amount of capital available. The program is designed to fill the gap for funding to get new technologies fully developed, and also help the U.S. companies compete with foreign counterparts that get financial support from their governments to develop technology.
An advocacy group is making a final push on Congress to repeal Social Security’s evil twins. Both the Windfall Elimination Provision and the Government Pension Offset would be repealed under the Social Security Fairness Act. Advocates of the bill, like the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association say WEP and GPO unfairly reduce or eliminate Social Security benefits for federal retirees. Some version of the Social Security Fairness Act has been introduced each year for decades. But this is the first time the legislation has made it onto the House calendar to be considered for a floor vote.
Cyber leaders are exploring new security measures for both feds and their customers. The federal chief information security officer council is reviewing multifactor authentication tools and policies across agencies. The goal is to give feds and citizens more flexibility in how they can securely access data and services. “I think one thing we’re seeing coming out of the council is this strong urge to say, ‘Citizens, we are going to make the highest security options available to you. So you choose how much security you want when you’re interacting with the federal government,’” said Steven Hernandez, CISO at the Education Department and co-chairman of the CISO Council. (CISO council considers new authentication mechanisms for feds, citizens – Federal News Network)
The Department of Homeland Security’s Cyber Safety Review Board will take a close look at the activities of a notorious hacking group. The board announced its second-ever review will examine cyber attacks associated with Lapsus$. The group is connected to hacks affecting some of the world’s largest companies and multiple critical sectors like health care and government facilities. The review board will analyze Lapsus$ tactics and offer recommendations to help organizations protect themselves.
The Department of Homeland Security is creating AI champions across its components, as part of its upcoming “black belt” program. DHS Chief Technology Officer David Larrimore said the agency is identifying AI experts in areas that include fraud, biometrics and statistical modeling. Larrimore said several DHS components are making huge strides in data sharing, especially in immigration operations. “Because of that data sharing, we have actually been able to process and help hundreds of thousands of people,” Larrimore said. (DHS looking at ‘black belt’ program to create AI champions across components – Federal News Network)