Warnings have begun about ramifications of government shutdown

In today's Federal Newscast: The alarm bells are ringing almost everywhere about the negative impacts of a government shutdown. The Labor Department's spending ...

  • With the government’s budget still undecided, federal organizations are ringing alarm bells. The groups are warning of major negative impacts that federal employees would face under a possible government shutdown. The Federal Managers Association and the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association are among many groups urging Congress to pass legislation to avoid a shutdown. The organizations say feds being furloughed is just the tip of the iceberg for the problems a shutdown can cause. Services to the public would also be delayed or canceled. Although a continuing resolution is congressional leaders’ goal for the end of the month, the organizations say even that stop gap measure is a major challenge. Under a continuing resolution, agencies have to work under the previous year’s budget and can't plan ahead.
    (Shutdown Letter - NARFE)
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs is getting a new second-in-command. Tanya Bradsher will be the first woman, and the first woman of color, to serve as the VA’s deputy secretary. Before her Senate confirmation, Bradsher served as VA chief of staff. Her priorities in the new job include getting the VA’s rollout of a new electronic health record back on track and reaching out to veterans who are transitioning out of active-duty military service. Bradsher is an Army combat veteran, with more than 20 years of service. Prior to joining the VA, Bradsher held jobs in Congress, at the White House, the Defense Health Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.
  • The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is leaning into efforts to secure widely used software code. CISA will partner more closely with open-source software communities under an Open Source Security Roadmap released this week. The agency plans to identify the prevalence of open-source software in the federal government and develop tools for how agencies can reduce the risk of open-source code. CISA also said it will advance the use of Software Bills of Material (SBOMs), within open-source software supply chains.
  • Since 2016, the money the Labor Department has spent on new technology has more than doubled. In fiscal 2022, Labor spent about 25% of its $967 million IT budget on development, modernization and enhancement (DME) efforts. That is up from just 10% six years ago. Labor's goal is to increase its DME spending to 40%. Labor CIO Gundeep Ahluwalia said the agency is undergoing a significant digital transformation by modernizing services, training employees to use the new technologies and eliminating technical debt.
  • Senior executives, managers and supervisors at the Education Department are some of the latest to get return-to-office requirements. They will soon be expected to report to work at least four days per two-week pay period. Similar to many other agencies, the changes will take effect this fall. For Education’s bargaining-unit employees, the department said it will first complete union negotiations before making any changes.
  • State Department employees are preparing to come back to the office about three or four days a week. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said department leaders will continue to allow telework based on an employee's position and circumstances. A department spokesperson said employees will get more details in the coming weeks on when they should start returning to the office more often. The department’s public-facing employees, like passport specialists, have been back in the office since mid-2020.
  • The Army will see a 20% increase in recruiting compared to last year, but it still represents a number that falls short of the Army's goal. Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Randy George told soldiers at the Fort Moore Maneuver Warfighter Conference that the Army improved its recruiting force, but it still needs to do better. Last year, the Army fell short of its recruiting goals by 15,000 thousand new soldiers. Its goal for this year is 65,000 new recruits.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency's new standard for fulfilling Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests is focused on expediting its responses when there is a pressing community need. EPA said Phase 2 of its FOIA modernization effort updates and modernizes its processes, waives certain fees and promotes transparency and accountability. The final rule also attempts to remove barriers by raising the threshold for when requesters will be charged fees, as well as making other changes to bring EPA’s fee rates and other regulatory provisions into compliance with the FOIA Statute, governmentwide policy and case law. EPA said this rule is part of a broader FOIA modernization effort in which it has eliminated its backlog of FOIA appeals and reduced its average appeal response time from 257 days in 2019 to 14 days in 2022. That's a 95% reduction.
  • The top U.S. counterintelligence office is in line to get a new leader. The Senate on Tuesday voted to confirm Michael Casey as director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC). Casey most recently served as staff director for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. He previously served as a professional staff member on the House Armed Services Committee for more than nine years. The NCSC has been without a permanent director since January 2021.
    (Senate floor vote - U.S. Senate updates )
  • A new unclassified summary of the 2023 cyber strategy was rolled out by the Pentagon on Tuesday. It focuses on expanding the cyber workforce and building the capabilities of allies and partners. The summary builds on lessons learned from Russia's invasion of Ukraine and seeks to maintain an edge over China. The plan will look for ways to hire more cyber workers including incentives, longer duty tours, and using more reserve forces. It will also work with the defense industrial base to help companies improve their cybersecurity.

Copyright © 2024 Federal News Network. All rights reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

Related Stories

    AP/Charles DharapakVA, IT, data

    Senate confirms VA deputy secretary focused on EHR rollout, outreach to new vets

    Read more
    (Getty Images/iStockphoto/Rawpixel Ltd)silhouettes of workers in an office

    Updated 3/13 with Education Dept: A running list of agencies’ return-to-office plans

    Read more