Exactly when new federal employees first get health care coverage may soon change, but just slightly. After becoming eligible for health benefits, new federal employees have 60 days to decide whether they want to enroll in the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program. But after they make that decision, they have to wait until the next pay period for the coverage to take effect. Now the Office of Personnel Management is proposing to give new feds health benefits a little sooner, by moving up coverage to the pay period in which they first become eligible. The goal is to remove any unintended gaps in coverage. OPM is accepting public comments on its proposal until April 1.
The Office of Management and Budget wants to bring the power of AI to privacy impact assessments. With existing privacy risks escalating and new privacy risks emerging, OMB is asking for help to redesign and apply artificial intelligence to privacy impact assessments (PIAs). In a new request for information, OMB, along with the Justice Department, the National Economic Council and the Office of Science and Technology Policy are seeking feedback on how analytical tools and notices to the public would assist agencies in identifying, addressing and mitigating these privacy risks. OMB has not issued major new guidance on PIAs since 2003. Comments on the RFI's 11 questions are due by April 1.
An ex-CIA officer has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for the biggest leak in the agency’s history. Joshua Adam Shulte, 35, was sentenced last week for crimes including espionage, computer hacking, contempt of court, making false statements to the FBI, and child pornography. Shulte was a software developer in the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence. He was accused of sharing classified information about CIA hacking operations to Wikileaks, leading to the so-called “Vault 7” leaks in 2017.
After disappointing results in the first governmentwide Section 508 assessment, the General Services Administration is looking ahead to accessibility improvements. GSA and the U.S. Access Board are refining questions for the 2024 government-wide Section 508 assessment survey. Last year’s first-of-its-kind assessment showed the majority of federal agencies are struggling to meet digital accessibility requirements. But under a new White House memo, agencies are required to make digital accessibility an operational imperative. And GSA has been tasked with working on a range of accessibility initiatives, including new Section 508 training for agency staff.
It ended two months ago, but lawmakers continue to express concern about Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s (R-Ala.) 10-month blockade of military nominations. Reps. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) and Robert Garcia (D-Calif.) are asking the Government Accountability Office to assess the extent of damage done to national security by Tuberville's hold on military promotions. In a letter to Comptroller General Gene Dodaro, lawmakers want GAO to review how the senator's actions affected military families, as well as the overall impact the hold had on DoD readiness. They are also requesting more information about the processes used by the Defense Department when military promotions are stalled for prolonged periods of time.
Right now, there are nearly 117,000 so-called TSP millionaires. It is an all-time record for the Thrift Savings Plan, with accounts totaling more than $1 million. The latest numbers show a 52% increase since this time last year. By comparison, in the early months of 2023, there were just about 77,000 TSP millionaires. TSP millionaires climbed relatively steadily throughout the last year. The TSP board mainly credits the increase to stock-market performance.
(TSP millionaires report - Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board)
President Joe Biden will send his fiscal 2025 budget request to Congress on March 11. The Office of Management and Budget confirmed the request will come four days after the State of the Union Address. At the same time, Congress and the White House must still finalize the 2024 budget. The current continuing resolution expires on March 1 for some federal agencies and on March 8 for others. Senate lawmakers marked some progress recently by agreeing to spending allocations for each bill in 2024.
(Biden to send 2025 request to Congress on March 11 - OMB)
The Pentagon's ground station system, needed to control its global positioning satellite (GPS) constellation, is facing another delay. The Defense Department's latest operational test-and-evaluation annual report said its troubled Generation Operational Control System is facing a delay of 16 months from the date set in last year's annual report. The Space Force now plans to operationally accept the system in July 2025. Ongoing development delays are impacting navigation warfare functions and the fielding of operationally acceptable M-code capable receivers. The report said these continued delays affect the Pentagon's ability to conduct successful operations due to the lack of access to modernized GPS position, navigation and timing information.