Defense Department's CIO has mandated new rules for buying cloud services. Military services and defense agencies have new marching orders to use the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability or JWCC vehicle. In a new memo, DoD CIO John Sherman said JWCC will be the vehicle of choice for all new cloud computing capabilities and services at the secret or top secret level. This includes cloud services on the tactical edge and for those outside the continental United States. Additionally, Sherman said Fourth Estate components will move current cloud capabilities and services on other contracts to JWCC at the expiration of their current period of performance.
Federal unions are urging Republican presidential candidate and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) to retract, what they view, as his harmful rhetoric about federal employees. At an event in New Hampshire this week, DeSantis, on the topic of federal bureaucracy, vowed to "start slitting throats" of federal employees on his first day as president. DeSantis and other conservative politicians have often called for the removal of feds who they say contribute to the so-called "deep state" in government. Both the American Federation of Government Employees and the National Treasury Employees Union have come forward in support of federal workers, saying no one should have to face death threats or other violent antigovernmental rhetoric, especially from a presidential candidate.
The Postal Service is laying the foundation for a majority-electric vehicle fleet in less than a decade, but advocates are pressing for more. USPS said its preferred plan is to purchase more than 106,000 new vehicles over the next six-to-eight years to replace aging vehicles still on the road. About 62% of those vehicles will be electric, a combination of custom-built Next-Generation Delivery Vehicles manufactured by Oshkosh Defense and commercial off-the-shelf vehicles. USPS expects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 4 million metric tons by 2030 and significantly reduce fuel costs. But advocates at a recent public hearing are calling on USPS to plan on fully electrifying its fleet.
Congress wants more information on what the future of work looks like at the Department of Homeland Security. The majority of DHS’ 260,000 employees can’t telework due to their frontline jobs. But the Senate Appropriations Committee wants a better understanding of how alternative work arrangements are being used across DHS components. The committee passed a homeland spending bill passed last week that would require DHS to deliver a report on teleworking. The lawmakers said they are evaluating how alternative work arrangements at DHS impact things like productivity, office space and other resource requirements.
One agency is taking a different approach to federal telework changes. The Government Publishing Office has reaffirmed its plan to maintain 100% telework and remote work options for its roughly 500 telework-eligible employees. GPO has also decided to reorganize its regional offices into seven different teams that are no longer tied to physical work locations. GPO, a small legislative branch agency that handles the government’s printing and publishing services, said the changes come on the heels of major success teleworking during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cybersecurity is seeping deeper into federal acquisition regulations. So much so that the Federal Acquisition Regulations Council is creating its own section, FAR Part 40, that will host all cybersecurity supply chain risk management requirements. The proposed change to create the new section to the FAR is expected out in the coming week. The council is also reviewing a dozen other proposed rules around cybersecurity. These include the final rule to implement the ability of the Federal Acquisition Supply Chain Council to exclude companies or products that pose a risk to federal agencies, as well as one to standardize cybersecurity requirements for unclassified systems.
( - Federal News Network)
The Census Bureau faces questions from Congress over the delayed release of some datasets from the 2020 Census. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) is asking the bureau why it pushed the public release of some data from May to September. Carper said this data details whether households own or rent their homes, and breaks the information down by racial and ethnic groups. Carper is also asking the bureau what steps it is taking to prevent similar delays from happening with the 2030 decennial count.
A new plan designed to increase the Pentagon's cyber security workforce, aims to create a culture change in the department and identify new sources for cyber workers. The cyber workforce currently has a 25% vacancy rate. DoD leaders said the new strategy should reduce that rate by half over the next two years. It will expand training and education programs and offer incentives and bonuses to boost recruiting and retention.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is developing plans to build a cloud-based data and analytics platform. In a request for information released this week, FEMA is asking for comments on its plan, for the FEMA Data Exchange platform, by Aug. 15. The new software will replace a legacy FEMA data system that was designed prior to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The agency plans to award a contract and begin developing the new platform in 2024.
Military families will now be able to use $5,000 in pre-tax income to care for dependents. Families can put the funds in a flex spending account to pay for care for children under the age of 13 or family members with disabilities. The money can be used for preschool and daycare, among other eligible dependent care expenses. The Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account was originally available only to DoD civilian employees, but has now expanded to those on active duty and to members of the active guard and reserve.