The Federal Headlines is a daily compilation of the stories you hear discussed on Federal Drive with Tom Temin.
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly is wasting no time in operationalizing President Donald Trump’s latest executive order on immigration. The updated order means updated procedures. And unlike last time, the department won’t be left unprepared, if Kelly has his way. Kelly ordered the end of so-called catch-and-release, where illegal border crossers are let go pending a court date. The order reiterates the hiring of 5,000 more officers and expands the potential people for deportation with local police help. (Homeland Security Department)
A new analysis shows big disparities in employee engagement among agencies when ranked by mission. The Partnership for Public Service’s 2016 Best Places to Work rankings found the Coast Guard at the top of the list for agencies with law enforcement missions. It’s almost 40 points above the last place Secret Service which has the lowest employee engagement. (Federal News Radio)
The Defense Department is creating teams of diverse experts to find waste in the Pentagon. They are required by the 2017 defense authorization act. Defense Secretary James Mattis signed out a memo directing the deputy defense secretary to set up the teams and delivering the results for the 2019 program cycle. (Federal News Radio)
Another aspect of the 2017 Defense Authorization bill is on the Army’s mind. Army Times reports the branch has a new recruiting plan to fulfill growth requirements in the NDAA. The plan calls for offering bonuses worth up to $40,000 and two year enlistment contracts. The Army needs to add 16,000 active duty soldiers by Sept. 30. (Army Times)
The Pentagon wants to know more about those in their workforce who have already served. The Defense Department is taking a big look into veterans preference and its impact on the Pentagon’s workforce. DoD tasked the Institute for Defense Analysis to conduct a veterans-centric study of workforce demographics, quality of hires and promotion opportunities. DoD is using information from the Office of Personnel Management and from the Defense Manpower Data Center to establish a baseline of the current status of veterans in the DoD workforce. A Pentagon spokesman said the study will be done in the next month or two.
The owner of a construction company admitted to paying bribes and kickbacks in order to receive contracts at two military bases in New Jersey. The Justice Department said George Grassie pleaded guilty to paying thousands of dollars to an Army Contracting Command employee receive and keep contracts at Picatinny Arsenal and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. (Department of Justice)
Two Democratic senators worry that newly appointed Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price is trying to sabotage the HealthCare.gov website. Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) asked Price in a letter, why pages detailing consumer protections and benefits have been replaced with links to the ACA legislation text. Last month, the administration also cancelled promotion of the final week of the open enrollment period. (Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions)
Auditors blasted the General Services Administration’s digital services group for a second time in the last four months. The GSA’s Inspector General takes agency leadership to task for a host of management and policy failures at the 18F organization. This second investigation of the 2 1/2 year existence of the digital services group found unapproved software, applications on the network without the proper authorizations and an overall lack of management oversight or involvement that let 18F staff members basically do what they want. The IG says it found during its review 86 percent of the software on 18F’s network was not authorized and 18 systems didn’t have the required authorization to operate. (Federal News Radio)
One day left in the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s search for a new Chief Information Officer slash Assistant Director. The agency is looking for someone to oversee its IT capabilities and coordination with other intelligence agencies. They’ll also be responsible for implementing Presidential Decision Directive-63 on protecting critical infrastructure. (USAJobs)