Navy revamps pregnancy policy

In today's Federal Newscast: The SEC has figured out how its official X account was hacked. The Technology Modernization Fund program management office has new...

  • New details have emerged on how somebody hacked into the Securities and Exchange Commission's official X account earlier this month. In an update on Monday, the SEC said it was the apparent victim of a “SIM swap” attack. That is when a person’s phone number is switched to another device without authorization. The hackers used that technique to gain control of an SEC cell phone number and reset the password on the agency’s X account before making multiple posts on January 9. Law enforcement is investigating how the attackers got the cell phone carrier to change the SIM for the SEC phone number.
  • The Technology Modernization Fund program management office has new temporary leadership. The General Services Administration has named Larry Bafundo as the TMF program management office's deputy executive director and acting executive director. He comes to GSA from the Labor Department, where he was the director of IT modernization strategy. GSA said it plans to name a permanent executive TMF PMO director in the future. Bafundo replaces Jessie Posilkin, who took over as the acting executive director when Raylene Yung left in October. Posilkin will continue to work with the TMF PMO as its customer experience portfolio director.
    (GSA - Federal News Network)
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs is making medical appointments available to keep up with demand. The Veterans Health Administration is running “access sprints” to maximize appointment availability. The sprints target three areas of care: cardiology, mental health and gastroenterology. VHA is offering night and weekend clinics and increasing the number of veterans each VA provider sees each day. Under Secretary for Health Shereef Elnahal said all of this is possible because of record hiring it saw last year. “We now have the end-strength to be able to increase productivity across the system, and provide more care out of the direct care system," Elnahal said.
  • Another agency has launched a neurodiversity program. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is getting started on a 15-month neurodiverse workforce initiative. It formally began in October. CISA will hire neurodivergent interns and place them on select cybersecurity teams at the agency. The initiative will include training for the interns, as well as managers and supervisors. CISA also plans to develop a neurodiversity employment playbook that can be used by other agencies.
  • The Navy is revamping its pregnancy policy. Sailors who become pregnant during their sea duty will now be able to get reassigned to shore duty where they can get medical care while still working. Sailors will be able to be on shore duty for 24 months, allowing the opportunity to keep their careers on track. Under the old policy, sailors were mainly relocated to positions close to their duty stations.
  • The Veterans Affairs Department is now scanning all websites for compliance with Section 508, which requires federal agencies to ensure that their information and communication technology is accessible to people with disabilities. In a new report, VA told its inspector general that it had full capability to scan all sites as of October to ensure they meet accessibility requirements. VA's CIO told auditors that 93% of its websites now meet 508 standards. The IG found that while VA made progress in ensuring its websites were 508 compliant, the agency was still struggling to validate and update the accessibility compliance of its IT systems more generally. VA said over the next two years, it will take steps to improve training, guidance and oversight of its 508 compliance activities.
  • The Army is upgrading its Integrated Personnel and Pay System, also known as IPPS-A. The Army Contracting Command is looking to industry to develop Army Military Payroll solutions using the Oracle PeopleSoft platform. The integration of new capabilities will heavily rely on agile and DevSecOps methodologies. The chosen contractors will be expected to provide personnel and supervision to develop and deliver the IPPS-A payroll solutions. The contract ceiling is set at $370 million, and Army Military Payroll proposals are due by February 20.
  • The Postal Service is laying the groundwork for what will be the largest electric vehicle fleet in the country. USPS unveiled its first electric vehicle charging stations in Atlanta. The agency is gradually replacing its aging fleet with a mix of new electric and gas-powered delivery trucks. USPS expects electric vehicles to make up at least 62% of its new fleet. The agency is spending about $10 billion on new vehicles, thanks in part to Congress giving the agency $3 billion in the Inflation Reduction Act, to buy more electric vehicles and charging stations than it could otherwise afford.

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