The Social Security Administration is creating a new Office of the CIO. The Office of Systems is becoming the Office of the Chief Information Officer at the Social Security Administration. Acting SSA Commissioner Kilolo Kijakazi said, in an email to staff obtained by Federal News Network, that the goal of the restructuring is to align IT strategy and vision with business goals and drive innovation. Current CIO Sean Brune will become the assistant deputy commissioner of operations and deputy CIO Patrick Newbold will become acting CIO until he leaves in January. SSA will put out a job announcement in the coming weeks to hire a permanent CIO.
(Acting Social Security Administration Commissioner Kilolo Kijakazi - Federal News Network)
Use of office space in the nation's capital is improving, at least at one agency. The Commerce Department has almost doubled its building occupancy at its headquarters office in D.C. After the department’s initial return-to-office in March of last year, headquarters occupancy increased from 24% to 42%, according to Commerce Department official Jeremy Pelter. “The department anticipates that this upward trend will continue,” Pelter said. That trend could be replicated at other federal headquarters as the White House continues pushing agencies to ramp up in-office work for their employees.
Postal Service police will once again patrol routes and protect letter carriers from robberies, if a bipartisan bill makes it through Congress. The Postal Police Reform Act would give Postal Police Officers jurisdiction beyond USPS facilities. USPS is seeing a surge in robberies of its employees and mail-theft cases. Postal Police Officers used to patrol delivery routes, but the agency issued a memo in 2020 limiting their jurisdiction to USPS property. Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) are leading the bill.
A federal watchdog is taking a closer look at the decision to relocate the FBI’s headquarters to Greenbelt, Maryland. The inspector general for the General Services Administration said he is looking into the site-selection process for the FBI’s new suburban headquarters. That is after FBI Director Chris Wray raised concerns about how GSA reached its decision. Virginia lawmakers, who requested the review, are calling on GSA to pause all relocation work until the IG completes his review. Maryland lawmakers said GSA selected Greenbelt as the best option for FBI employees and the public.
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is warning Congress about the impact a year-long continuing resolution would have on the Defense Department. Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. CQ Brown said that while DoD has never operated under a year-long CR, doing so, he has concluded, would be costly. For example, he said there would be a $5.8 billion shortfall in personnel funding, which would add to already existing recruitment challenges. Furthermore, DoD would not be able to enact several multi-year procurement contracts, including those to restock munitions. Additionally, investment delays would occur, like in modernization efforts to the nuclear triad. Finally, Gen. Brown warns that shipbuilding and ship maintenance would be impacted.
Lawmakers are continuing to call for defense contractor TransDigm to end price gouging and to provide pricing-and-cost transparency to the Defense Department. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.) sent letters to the DoD and TransDigm asking them to provide cost transparency and pricing data to ensure DoD is not being overcharged. The letters come after new reports that TransDigm has refused to provide this information. The lawmakers previously sent letters to Boeing and TransDigm in May about this same issue.
The Defense Department's new Replicator program is a key piece to the third phase of the Defense Innovation Unit's continued evolution. DIU will launch its version 3.0 strategy in the coming months around the concept of taking a capability and applying it to a strategic gap in DoD's arsenal. DIU will help inform the Replicator initiative around current gaps in capabilities or support infrastructure, as well as oversee the acquisition processes. Starting in December, DIU will post solicitations related to Replicator on its website, with the first one focused on capabilities related to uncrewed aerial systems not currently on contract.
The Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) is inching closer to filling the final spot on its three-member panel. Senators on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee heard testimony yesterday from Henry Kerner. He's President Biden's nominee for the MSPB position. If the Senate confirms him, Kerner would come in as the Republican member of the board, which decides federal employee appeals cases. The Senate committee also considered Hampton Dellinger, Biden's nominee to lead the Office of Special Counsel.