Teleworking FAA begins its descent toward the in-office tarmac

In today's Federal Newscast: The Partnership for Public Service announces its 2023 People’s Choice Award winner. The electric vehicle commitment of federal ag...

  • The Federal Aviation Administration is the latest domino to fall in a long line of return-to-office announcements. Starting this fall, employees at FAA will have to come into the office at least three days per week. Agency leadership made the announcement Thursday in an all-staff email. There will also be a weekly "core day" for agency employees — all staff will be expected to be in the office each Wednesday. The announcement comes after the Biden administration told agencies to start ramping up in-person work at federal headquarters offices. The change at FAA will take effect October 9.
    (Return-to-office announcement - FAA email)
  • The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency continues to evolve one of its marquee cybersecurity programs. CISA’s Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation program (CDM) played a central role in helping agencies react to recent cyber exploits. The program is now able to track emerging vulnerabilities on agency networks in near real-time in many cases. The CDM program is shifting to other priorities in the year ahead, including tracking potential adversarial activities on federal networks and helping agencies solidify their identity management programs.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs is ramping up independent oversight of its major acquisitions. The VA released a draft request for proposals (RFP) for independent verification and validation (IV&V) of its major acquisition programs. That includes its rollout of a new Electronic Health Record, its Financial Management and Business Transformation, and its supply-chain modernization efforts. The VA issued the draft RFP after top Democrats on the House VA Committee led a bill requiring similar independent oversight of its major programs VA Chief Acquisition Officer Michael Parrish said that the VA expects to initiate the contract for outside review of its major acquisitions by the end of the year. “This will enable true independent and agnostic oversight,” Parrish said.
  • Federal agencies are getting serious about purchasing electric and zero-emission vehicles. The Government Accountability Office reports that agencies are on track to buy nearly 9,500 zero-emission vehicles and install 8,500 charging stations. That's a big step up from 2020, when agencies bought only 200 electric vehicles. But that falls short of the approximately 30,000 electric vehicles agencies would need to buy annually to meet the Biden administration’s zero-emission goals for the federal fleet. Agencies told GAO that a lack of available vehicle models makes it hard to switch to electric. They also said the costs of charging equipment remains prohibitively high.
  • The Senate wants to know what's going on with DoD’s Defense Travel System (DTS). A provision in that chamber’s version of the 2024 defense authorization bill would put a hold on travel funding for senior officials in DoD’s personnel and readiness organization until they deliver a plan to modernize DTS. For several years, the Pentagon has been planning to replace the system with a new one, called MyTravel. But DoD backed out of that plan last month, with very little explanation. The House Oversight Committee plans to hold a hearing on the same topic next week.
  • There's new leadership at one of the government’s biggest IT vendors. Candice Ling is now in charge of the Microsoft division that does business with the federal government. She replaces Rick Wagner, who left the company earlier this month. Ling has been with the company since 2020, and worked before that at CGI Federal. Microsoft said Wagner left the company to pursue new opportunities.
  • The Justice Department is supercharging one of its key cybersecurity divisions. DoJ announced it is merging the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team into its Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section. The agency said the move creates a single office that consolidates the criminal division’s expertise in all aspects of fighting cybercrime. The shift comes as DoJ continues to focus on ransomware criminal gangs and tracking their activities through cryptocurrency payments.
  • The results are in for the Partnership for Public Service’s 2023 People’s Choice Award. A team at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is taking the gold this year. Megan Meacham, Allison Hutchings and Sarah O’Donnell won the award for creating a new HRSA program: The Rural Communities Opioid Response Program. The effort provides funding for opioid use prevention and recovery options for victims nationwide. With 75,000 total votes cast, the three-person team earned 7,000 votes in the final round, beating the runner-up by more than 1,200 votes. The People’s Choice Award is part of the Partnership’s Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals, also known as "the Sammies."
    (2023 People’s Choice Award winners - Partnership for Public Service)

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