OPM deadline nears for agencies to hand over list of their politically appointed positions

Once agencies hand in their information, OPM will pass it along to both the Republican and Democratic parties for their review ahead of the November election.

  • The Office of Personnel Management is ramping up preparations ahead of the presidential election this fall. Agencies have until July 1 to give OPM a list of all their politically appointed positions, and who is currently serving in those roles. They will also have to provide a list of any vacancies for political roles at their agency. Once agencies hand in their information, OPM will pass it along to both the Republican and Democratic parties for their review ahead of the election.
  • Civilian employees may be a step closer to a more modest pay raise next year. Both Senate and House lawmakers have advanced legislation that aligns with President Biden’s 2% federal pay raise request for 2025. The Senate Armed Services Committee’s fiscal 2025 defense policy bill, advanced last week, also showed support for a 4.5% raise for military members. President Biden’s request of a 2% pay raise for the General Schedule, if enacted, would be the smallest annual raise for feds since he took office. But nothing is set in stone until Biden signs an executive order enacting the raise, which usually happens in December.
  • The Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit has a new plan for the nearly one billion dollars Congress allocated to the organization in this year’s spending bill. DIU said about half the funding will go toward speeding up programs it is already playing a major role in, like DoD’s Joint Fires Network and contested logistics. Another quarter of the money will go toward new projects. The rest is aimed at expanding DIU’s original mission: building new bridges between commercial companies and the military.
  • The National Guard’s ongoing support of the Department of Homeland Security’s missions on the southern border is viewed by some military leaders as preventing the Guard from building its warfighting readiness. National Guard Bureau Chief Gen. Daniel Hokanson said sending Guardsmen to the U.S.-Mexico border does little to contribute to their military training, adds stress to their families and impacts the Defense Department’s long-term goals of building a “combat capable National Guard.” The National Guard has provided logistical support to DHS for the last seven years. There are currently 2,500 troops deployed at the Southwest border. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the Defense Department uses its operating budget to fund the deployment of National Guard troops to the border to support DHS’ operations.
  • NASA is doing a better job of keeping the costs and schedules of its biggest programs under control, according to the Government Accountability Office. GAO said NASA’s overall cost overruns came down from $7.6 billion last year to $4.4 billion in 2024. The biggest cost drivers are also the agency’s most ambitious ones – a return to the moon for long periods of time, and human exploration of Mars.
    (NASA: Assessments of Major Projects - Government Accountability Office)
  • The IRS has tens of thousands of pages on its website — but a small fraction of those make up nearly all online traffic. The IRS maintains about 37,000 web pages on its site. But only 2% make up nearly all of its web traffic. IRS.gov chief Angela Render said those less-explored sites are still valuable to the public. “We have to serve everyone. We can’t pick our verticals like a business would,” Render said. More than half of the IRS’ online audience reads at a sixth-grade level or lower. The IRS is holding focus groups with certain demographics, such as first-time filers, to understand their challenges navigating the website.
  • The Marine Corps is cutting time for DoD SkillBridge, a transition program that connects service members with civilian employers. The program, for which potential participants are required to get their commander’s approval, is a chance for service members to gain civilian work experience in the last six months of service. The Marine Corps is cutting that time in half for officers and warrant officers. Service members with the rank of sergeant or below can be granted up to four months to focus on industry training or internships at the end of their service. These changes will go into effect on August 31.
  • A top official tasked with improving customer service across the federal government has stepped down. Amira Boland served as the federal customer experience lead at the Office of Management and Budget for more than five years. But she has announced that she has left government service for a job in the private sector. Boland said public satisfaction with government services improved over the past five years, and that agencies are staffing up with customer experience experts. President Joe Biden signed an executive order in 2021 calling on agencies to step-up their level of customer service.

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