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Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson introduced two separate amendments to the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act regulating official time. One would require agencies to tell Congress how much official time their employees use each year. Another would prevent official time hours from counting toward an employee’s retirement annuity or benefits. (Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee)
Officials with the State Department said the agency is working to improve its diversity. State will work with recruiters to expand its hiring pool, and include more minority candidates for ambassador-level positions. Sec. Rex Tillerson said he wants to see a redoubling of efforts to increase diversity at the highest levels of the department. (Federal News Radio)
As White House staff explain how their reorganization of federal agencies is going down, there’s a call for politicians to take more responsibility for workforce management. That call came from the Volcker Alliance, which together with the Partnership for Public Service, issued a suggested gameplan for civil service reform. The bipartisan panel provided a long list of suggested reforms to revive the appeal of federal employment Among them: Hold political appointees accountable for talent management. and creating separate promotion pathways for technical career staff. (Volcker Alliance)
Veterans made up a slightly higher portion of the federal workforce in fiscal 2016. 31.1 percent of feds were veterans last year, an increase from 30.9 percent in 2015. But agencies hired fewer new veterans to federal jobs though, making about 500 fewer new veteran hires in 2016 compared to the previous year. But agencies overall hired more in general. The federal workforce added nearly 8,000 new employees in 2016. (Federal News Radio)
The Homeland Security Department hired Leidos to modernize its Homeland Secure Data Network and its Classified Local Area Network. Under a 5-year, $684 million deal, DHS is expecting the vendor to improve the network that shares data with intelligence and law enforcement communities. As part of the modernization effort, Leidos will provide DHS with Continual Service Improvements across a host of areas including security, engineering, architecture, integration and expansion. (Leidos)
The move to an open standard for identifying companies is gaining momentum. The Commodities and Futures Trading Commission is the first U.S. regulator to mandate use of the Legal Entity Identifier or LEI standard. LEI is an open, non-proprietary approach that some in the open government community want agencies to use to replace the Dun and Bradstreet and 17 other standard identifiers. A new report from the Data Foundation and LexisNexis stated that the federal government should adopt LEI to make procurement and financial data more valuable and easy to use by auditors and others.
Defense Sec. James Mattis said the three month continuing resolution will have effects on the military’s personnel, training, readiness and contracting. Mattis said the Army will have to hold off on starting 18 new programs. The CR will also cause DoD to freeze hiring in certain areas and to curtail military changes of station. (Federal News Radio)
The Senate may be poised to finally revisit the law that’s served as the legal basis for most of the military’s overseas interventions for the past decade-and-a-half. An amendment teed-up as part of this week’s debate over the annual Defense authorization bill that would fully repeal the authorization for the use of military force Congress passed just a few days after the September 11 attacks – the one the Bush and Obama administrations have used as the foundation for a host of military operations since then. The measure, sponsored by Sen. Rand Paul, would give lawmakers six months to come up with a new law that specifically authorizes operations the military’s currently waging. (Federal News Radio)
The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board revealed more details about how the new blended retirement system for military members will work. Service members who join the military on or after Jan. 1 will be automatically enrolled in a new retirement system. Military members who joined before that date can also opt in. The new plan will reduce the current defined benefit pension plan but will add more employer contributions to the Thrift Savings Plan. (Federal News Radio)