Feds convicted of sex crimes might lose their pensions

Current law only allows for feds to lose their pensions for conviction on national security charges.

  • Federal employees convicted of sex crimes would lose their government pensions if a bipartisan bill makes it through Congress. Under current law, feds can only lose their pensions if found guilty on national security charges such as treason, espionage or giving false testimony to a U.S. court. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) are leading the bill, called the No Taxpayer-Funded Pensions for Sex Criminals Act.
    (Ernst, Gillibrand cut off sex offenders’ pensions - Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa))
  • Legislation designed to paint a clearer picture of telework in government is on the agenda this morning for senators on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. On a list of bills slated for mark-up today, the Telework Reform Act is one that would set new standards for data on telework, and require feds to work in person at least once a week. Another bill, the Telework Transparency Act, would require agencies to more specifically report on how telework affects productivity, office space and recruitment. If the committee advances the bills, they will go to the full Senate for consideration.
    (May 15 business meeting - Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee)
  • The federal chief information security officer is leaving after two years. Chris DeRusha, the federal CISO since January 2021, is moving on from federal service. DeRusha has led many of the administration's key cybersecurity initiatives over the past few years including the creation and implementation of a zero trust strategy. Federal News Network has also learned that Mike Duffy, the associate director for capacity building in the cyber division at CISA, will take over on an acting basis starting next week. Duffy has been with the Homeland Security Department for 15 years. DeRusha joined the Office of Management and Budget after coming over from the Biden presidential campaign. He also worked as CISO for the state of Michigan and spent five years at the Homeland Security Department and two years as a senior cyber adviser for the White House.
    (Federal CISO DeRusha leaving - Federal News Network)
  • A bipartisan bill is seeking more pay flexibilities for the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Senator Elizabeth Dole 21st Century Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act would allow the VA to waive pay limitations for up to 300 personnel, in order to recruit or retain critical health care employees. The legislative package also requires each VA physician, podiatrist, optometrist and dentist to receive an annual pay evaluation. VA would have to give Congress an annual report on the outcome of these pay evaluations and all resulting market pay adjustments. The sweeping bill includes pay and workforce legislation that lawmakers introduced during this session of Congress.
  • The National Institute of Standards and Technology is looking to keep the needle moving to boost the cyber workforce. NIST has already made recent updates to how it defines the skills needed for cyber positions. But those changes are only the start. The agency is now planning to expand the total number of cyber occupations in its workforce framework. They are also planning to continue updating the definitions of current ones. The idea is to help agencies stay ahead of the curve, said Karen Wetzel, a manager at NIST. “This is not a field that stays the same, and in a lot of these work roles, even though the content underneath them has been updated, we have not reviewed them in that context since 2017,” Wetzel said. As NIST makes those updates, the agency is also planning to incorporate more specific AI skills.
  • House lawmakers want the Defense Innovation Unit to set up a test-and-evaluation cell. A draft version of the House defense policy bill would require the DIU to establish a cell to implement alternative testing and evaluation pathways. The new cell would be responsible for testing commercial dual use technologies, software-based technologies and technologies that are not integrated into an established program of record. The DIU would have to work with the Joint Staff, the combatant commands, research labs within the DoD, and the under secretary of Defense for acquisition and sustainment.
  • The House Committee on Oversight and Accountability is demanding more details about how the White House is addressing ongoing problems at the FDIC. Top committee Republicans wrote to President Joe Biden, asking him to make good on his vow to hold senior leaders accountable for their behavior. The letter comes after a May 7 independent review of the FDIC, revealing what was identified as "a toxic work environment" under the leadership of Chairman Martin Gruenberg. The committee is requesting documents and details by May 22.
  • The Army kicks off the first phase of what is called Global Commercial Solutions for Classified, which is the National Security Agency’s program that provides commercial security technologies to the Defense Department to protect classified information. It is expected to reach initial operational capability by next summer. The effort will allow soldiers to access classified networks securely from anywhere in the world. For the last four years, the Army has been working toward a unified network plan, in order to collapse its networks into one greater Army network by 2027.
  • The Defense Department is struggling to recruit and retain child care workers for the four military branches, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office. The DoD, which operates the largest employer-sponsored child care system in the U.S., reported turnover rates ranging from 34% to 50% in 2022. The GAO report has seven recommendations for how the services can assess and track recruitment and retention efforts. The DoD concurred with the recommendations that included establishing workforce plans, developing competency and staffing requirements, conducting continuous recruiting, and providing financial incentives.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs may face new requirements to get the rollout of its next Electronic Health Record system back on track. The Senator Elizabeth Dole 21st Century Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act would keep the VA from rolling the Oracle-Cerner EHR out to new facilities, until sites already using it return to normal productivity levels. If those sites do not recover within two years, the legislation would require the VA to pull the plug on the EHR Modernization Program. The new EHR is running at six VA sites.

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