Senior Executives Association releases plan to empower present, future government leaders

  • The Senior Executives Association rolled out a new initiative to strengthen the Senior Executive Service and create a path for the federal leaders of the future. The plan says SEA will push for legislation to reform the civil service and improve government functionality. It also wants to increase training and partnerships with academic institutions to help contribute to the government’s leadership pipeline. (Senior Executive Association)
  • The General Services Administration wants to streamline some regulations and alleviate the burden on contractors. This is to begin translating President Donald Trump’s contracting priorities into policy. The agency is making the transactional data reporting requirement voluntary, rather than mandatory. It’s streamlining the 167-page professional services solicitation. It’s also reopening schedule 75, a contract vehicle that allows agencies to buy office supplies.
  • There will be a new position at the Agriculture Department. Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the creation of an undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs at USDA. This is part of the agency’s reorganization efforts. The new post includes overseeing the agency’s Foreign Agricultural Service. Purdue is also scrapping the position of undersecretary for rural development. (U.S. Department of Agriculture)
  • Two Republican lawmakers expressed their displeasure with a new Health and Human Services employee policy. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) say HHS’ new policy instructing employees to inform the agency before communicating independently with Congress is potentially illegal and unconstitutional. They say the policy will hinder whistleblower protections. (Sen. Chuck Grassley)
  • Agencies should no longer be on an island when it comes to cybersecurity. The White House is requiring agencies to take an enterprise approach to cyber risk assessment and mitigation and stop protecting their networks and data as if their efforts don’t impact their fellow departments. President Donald Trump signed the much anticipated and long-waited executive order refocusing federal cybersecurity efforts around three broad categories: protecting federal networks; protecting critical infrastructure; and securing the nation through deterrence, international cooperation and the workforce. The President also is strongly encouraging agencies to move to shared services and the cloud to improve their cyber postures. (Federal News Radio)
  • NASA is turning to crowdsouring and a contest to deal with ancient computer code. NASA wants to update 30-year-old Fortran code so it runs faster on a supercomputer. Not just a little faster, but 10,000 times faster. So it’s turning to a crowdsource contest. The High Performance-Fast Computing Challenge seeks smart cookies to download the code, analyze it and tweak the bottlenecks. Top-gun coders can win prizes totaling $55,000. (NASA)
  • Inspectors general from 24 agencies say President Donald Trump’s hiring freeze, combined with budget cuts, could put their oversight missions at risk. A survey from the Democratic staff of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee found inspectors general fear inadequate staffing would make it harder to find and prevent waste, fraud and abuse. Democrats say reducing funding for IG offices is counterproductive. (Federal News Radio)
  • A bipartisan group of senators are looking to update accountability procedures for employees and senior executives at the Veterans Affairs Department. They introduced a bill to eliminate the Merit Systems Protection Board as avenue for senior executives to appeal removals. It also shortened the grievance process to 21 days for SES and VA employees. VA Secretary David Shulkin said he approves of the legislation. (Federal News Radio)
  • Marines may now be separated from the service for sharing nude photos without consent. The Marine Corps is embroiled in a scandal involving current and former Marines sharing naked photos of female Marines. The new policy explicitly bans distributing or broadcasting intimate images for personal gain, harm, harassment or humiliation. The Marine Corps and the FBI are still investigating instances of photo sharing to intimidate and humiliate female service members. The scandal began on a Marines United Facebook group and has since spread to other parts of the military. (Federal News Radio)