The Postal Service’s crackdown on mail theft is not leading to many arrests. Earlier this year, USPS’s law enforcement division, the Postal Inspection Service, sent a surge of postal inspectors to investigate mail theft hotspots Oakland and Chicago. But they only made a total of three arrests between May and June and recovered about 270 pieces of stolen mail. Criminals are targeting the mail to steal checks. The USPS inspector general’s office said the agency still does not have a mail theft strategy in place. USPS officials said they will have one ready by September 2024. The IG’s office finds only 37% of postal inspectors worked on mail theft cases last year.
The Defense Department has provided initial insight into its first awards under the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability (JWCC) vehicle. The Defense Information Systems Agency made two awards to Amazon Web Services and two to Microsoft for cloud services under the JWCC vehicle. DISA issued justifications for sole source contracts to AWS for a joint DoD/intelligence community edge cloud pilot and for a public key infrastructure initiative in the secret cloud. Microsoft received sole source task orders for enterprise messaging and an enterprise email security gateway pilot. DISA did not list the value of any of the task orders. DISA has made more than 17 awards under JWCC so far.
Veterans with disabilities are getting some new support from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA is awarding nearly $16 million in grants to support veterans in adaptive sports. That includes competitive and recreational leagues in sports such as archery, cycling, skiing and rock climbing. The VA said adaptive sports are a key part of rehabilitation for disabled veterans. The awards will support more than 13,000 veterans and service members with disabilities. The money is going to 91 national, regional and community programs.
The National Security Agency is exploring more flexible work arrangements, as unclassified work is becoming more common at the highly secretive NSA. Agency officials think that jobs in areas like contracting, recruiting and even software development in some cases can be done on unclassified networks. And that opens up the potential to have more telework and hybrid work at the NSA. The agency is trying to become more flexible as it seeks to recruit thousands of new employees in the coming years.
Agencies have a lot to handle with skills-based goals in federal hiring. But they now have a helping hand. The Office of Personnel Management is offering several resources to try to help agencies focus on job applicants’ skills rather than their education. And now OPM has even more plans on the way. “Soon, I’m very pleased to announce mobile assessments delivered via our USA Hire mobile assessment platform,” said Jason Parman, OPM’s deputy associate director for HR solutions. Once the initiative launches, Parman said applicants will be able to fill out job assessments more seamlessly. OPM also recently updated a list of governmentwide skills-based competencies that agencies can incorporate in recruitment.
The Navy will have its Neptune Cloud Management Office up and running by early fiscal 2024, as it continues to ramp up its cloud transformation. The office will perform cloud management for the Navy and join other Defense Department cloud-management offices. The Navy’s Neptune will manage the Navy’s whole cloud portfolio. It will serve as the place for cloud service acquisition and delivery, while supporting cloud lifecycle needs. For example, the office will revamp the Navy’s cloud portal, update the available cloud services directory and offer a guidebook.
The Office of Management and Budget is in search of someone with digital skills to oversee and help agencies implement the most recent Biden administration directive. OMB is hiring a new lead for its digital experience portfolio and team in the Office of the Federal CIO. In this GS-15 position, the team lead will provide advice and consult with other policy leaders on digital services. The person will also manage and troubleshoot governmentwide initiatives needed for improved digital experience. Applications for the position are due by October 16.
Federal cyber specialists have a new Top 10 List for what not to do when it comes to protecting your network. An advisory from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the National Security Agency said using a default software configuration is one of the most common security mistakes. So is improperly separating user and administrator privileges, insufficient internal network monitoring, and poor patch management. And unsurprisingly, weak multi-factor authentication also makes the list of the most common cybersecurity problems.
Changes are coming to the 8(a) business development program starting Nov. 6. These changes will clarify the program’s requirements. For example, it will merge the 8(a) business development mentor-protégé program and the all small mentor-protégé program to reduce confusion and redundancy. It will remove the requirement that 8(a) participants seeking a contract as a joint venture submit a joint venture agreement to the Small Business Administration. The SBA initially made these changes in Fall 2020 and the Federal Acquisition Regulation Council finalized these changes yesterday.