Army commanders fail to adequately address all forms of harassment, DoD IG says

The review also uncovers a leadership failure to do historical comparisons to identify year-to-year trends in harassment.

  • The Defense Department’s Office of Inspector General finds that Army brigade commanders cannot easily address harassment of soldiers within their units. The office’s review of the Army’s tools to respond to harassment of soldiers also found that commanders failed to do historical comparisons to identify year-to-year trends. The Office of Inspector General wants the Army to identify any barriers that soldiers experience when filing harassment complaints, including sexual harassment, bullying and hazing.
  • The Army is considering merging three of its mega IT services contracts, as the Army Contracting Command kicks off planning for its Enterprise for Sourcing Services contract (ACCESS). As part of its request for information released earlier this month, the command said it will replace the current Responsive Strategic Sourcing for Services (RS3) multiple-award contract and is considering combining ACCESS with the IT Enterprise Solutions 4 services vehicle (ITES-4S). The Army is seeking feedback on 11 questions, including whether the merger of ACCESS and ITES-4S makes sense and whether ACCESS should include more professional services than its predecessor, RS3. Responses to the RFI are due by May 3.
  • Data shows agencies’ headquarters stood “nearly empty” for most of 2023. That is coming from the Public Buildings Reform Board, an independent agency focused on selling valuable, but underutilized government buildings. In a recent analysis of commercial cell phone data, the board found that federal headquarters buildings operated, on average, at 12% of their estimated capacity, between January and September 2023. Dan Mathews is a member of the board and said it would be a win-win for agencies and taxpayers to sell federal buildings the government doesn’t need. “Basically having an empty federal building that no one’s going to doesn’t do anything for the local economy," Mathews said.
  • Months after federal employees began working in the office more often, many are questioning the motivations behind that shift. More than half of respondents to a Federal News Network survey said their agency leadership has not clearly explained the rationale behind returning to the office. More than 80% of respondents said they think the in-office push is either politically motivated, or a response to concerns in Congress. And as a result, return-to-office changes are worsening many employees’ views of senior agency officials, and their agencies overall. Almost half — 47% of survey respondents — said they now feel more negatively about agency leadership after the higher in-person requirements were implemented. Fewer than 5% feel more positively after the changes.
  • The new director of the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA) is taking a hard look at a key IT program. The National Background Investigation Services program (NBIS) is facing cost, schedule and performance challenges. New DCSA Director David Cattler said the agency is reviewing the NBIS effort. “We’re looking at it very, very closely, and diligently, and we’re going to manage it with proper accountability and oversight,” Cattler said. Cattler took over as director of DCSA last month. He said the NBIS program is critical to the agency’s plans for streamlining security clearances and background investigations.
  • The Defense Information Systems Agency reached a new milestone, as it added over 100,000 users to its classified cloud environment. More than 300,000 Defense Department employees can now take advantage of the full suite of Microsoft capabilities with DoD 365-Secret, including Outlook, OneDrive, SharePoint and Teams. The agency began deploying its classified cloud environment in 2023. Initially, DISA moved about 11,000 users to its classified cloud environment. In February, the agency announced it moved 200,000 DoD employees to DoD 365-Secret.
  • Agencies have until October 29 to place an order against the CIO-SP3 governmentwide acquisition contracts. The National Institutes of Health IT Acquisition Assistance Center (NITAAC) said it has received approval to extend the contract's period of performance another six months. This means agencies can place orders against the contract that can go out through 2029. NITAAC needs an extension because of continued protests over the follow-on contract CIO-SP4. This latest extension pushes the expiration date of CIO-SP3 more than two years past the original sunset date of May 2022.
  • A federal employee stipend to purchase uniforms is not keeping up with higher costs. That is what the Federal-Postal Coalition is telling the Office of Personnel Management. Right now, OPM caps the current uniform allowance for federal employees at $800 a year. The group is asking the agency to raise that maximum to nearly $2,500 a year. It also supports a change in the law that would require all agencies to review their uniform allowances every two years. The coalition represents five million current and former federal and postal employees.
    (Federal-Postal Coalition seeks increase in uniform allowance for feds - American Federation of Government Employees )
  • The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is finalizing a list of critical software products. In response to a new Government Accountability Office report, CISA said it will issue the list to agencies by the end of September. The identification of critical software is a key piece of President Joe Biden’s May 2021 cybersecurity executive order. Once finalized, agencies will use the list to hold software vendors accountable for meeting security requirements.


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

Related Stories