Secret Service beginning prep to welcome soccer fans from all over the world

In today's Federal Newscast, the Secret Service is warming up plans for one of the biggest sporting events in the world.

  • Many, but not all, employees at the Education Department will soon have higher in-the-office work requirements. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona announced a new return-to-office policy of five days per two-week pay period. Up until now, teleworking feds had to report on-site four days per pay period. The change applies to all non-bargaining unit employees, supervisors, managers and executives at Education. The new policy takes effect April 22. Bargaining unit employees at Education won't see any changes, at least until union negotiations are complete.
  • After getting new requirements to try to improve relationships with their unions, agencies now have more guidance and a deadline. The Office of Personnel Management is offering more details on how to create a better relationship between managers and federal employees. Some of the more formative parts of that relationship can come from the use of labor-management forums. They are meant to be an opportunity for managers and employees to discuss solutions to workplace challenges, OPM says. An executive order earlier this month called on agencies to recreate the forums, after they were previously revoked during the Trump administration. In collaboration with their unions, agencies now have a six-month deadline to submit an implementation plan to OPM. It'll have to detail how they plan to establish and use labor-management forums moving forward.
  • Federal employees have a right to be whistleblowers, even under their agencies’ non-disclosure policies. Co-chairman of the Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is asking all 74 federal inspectors general to ensure their agencies have these “anti-gag” policies in place. Grassley says federal employees, by law, have a right to report fraud, waste, and abuse, to Congress and oversight bodies without retaliation, even if cases where it would otherwise be illegal to disclose that information.
  • Postal unions and lawmakers rally behind a bipartisan bill that seeks harsher penalties for criminals who rob or attack letter carriers. The Protect Our Letter Carriers Act amends federal sentencing guidelines to treat the assault of a postal worker with the same severity as assaulting a police officer. It would also require the Justice Department to designate assistant U.S attorneys across the country to supervise the investigation and prosecution of postal crimes. More than 2,000 robberies and attempted robberies of letter carriers have happened since 2020. Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Penn.) is leading the bill, and expects it’ll pass later this year. “This is a no-brainer. I can’t imagine anybody being opposed to it."
  • The Office of Management and Budget is taking two new steps to strengthen the domestic manufacturing supply chain. First, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy and the Made in America Office issued a new memo letting agencies buy certain products using an enhanced price preference. OFPP says this benefit will help to better manage and mitigate supply chain risks for domestic products. Second, OMB issued a notice to industry from Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Health and Human Services (HHS) and Veterans Affairs (VA) forecasting their need to buy personal protective equipment or PPEs. The buying agencies also are seeking feedback on a PPE white paper and will hold meetings with industry in the coming months to discuss their plans.
  • Cara Abercrombie has officially assumed the role of assistant secretary of Defense for acquisition. In this role, she will be responsible for establishing policy and overseeing an acquisition system through which the Defense Department spends more than $500 billion every year. During her confirmation hearing, Abercrombie pledged to focus on increasing the speed of acquisition, reducing barriers for non-traditional suppliers and developing workforce. Prior to her appointment, she served as deputy assistant to the President and coordinator for defense policy and arms control on the National Security Council.
    (Abercrombie Sworn in as ASDA - Department of Defense)
  • The Army lays out five pillars to reform how it buys, develops and manages software. Army CIO Leo Garciga calls the new software policy signed out by Secretary Christine Wormuth part of how the service is moving into phase two of its digital transformation strategy. Garciga says similar to what the Army did for cloud services three years ago, it's doing the same thing for software. The policy details five focus areas ranging from changing the way the Army writes requirements to emphasizing flexible acquisition approaches to adopting a software sustainment model. Garciga says the Army Contracting Command in Aberdeen, Maryland will help lead this effort as the software digital center of excellence.
  • The Office of Strategic Capital has identified areas where it seeks to attract private capital. The office’s investment priorities, outlined in a recently released strategy, include quantum computing, autonomous systems, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and semiconductors. The office will work with the Small Business Administration to pair private capital with government-backed loans to increase investment in critical technology areas. The new strategy is part of the department-wide effort to bring in more private investment. The Pentagon is seeking $144 million for the Office of Strategic Capital in fiscal 2025.
  • Some Department of Homeland Security components are looking to ramp up hiring in 2025. Customs and Border Protection wants $210 million to hire 350 new Border Patrol agents and hundreds more support staff in fiscal 2025. The budget wishlist comes as Congress has yet to finalize a 2024 appropriations bill for CBP and other DHS components. The Transportation Security Administration also wants to add a couple thousand more airport screening officers and other employees in 2025. TSA says it’s responding to a record increase in air travel, with the agency projecting a 9.2% increase in passenger volume over the next two years.
  • The Secret Service is warming up plans for one of the biggest sporting events in the world. The agency’s $3 billion proposed budget for 2025 includes $16 million to support planning for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. The funds would be used to buy equipment and set up communications centers in the 11 U.S. cities where World Cup matches will take place. The Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security are typically involved in securing major national events ranging from presidential inaugurations to the Super Bowl.
    (DHS budget in brief - Department of Homeland Security)

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

Related Stories

    Getty Images/iStockphoto/Moussa81Whistleblower protection law and freedom of information legislation conceptual idea with metal whistle and wooden judge gavel on dark background

    Federal employee whistleblower complaints to OSC fall by nearly half over 5 years

    Read more

    USPS unions, top House Democrat back bill setting harsher sentences for robbing letter carriers

    Read more