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- Space Force has started posting job openings. You can find them at USAJobs.gov, the government’s main place to list positions. Search space-force and you’ll come up with 39 jobs. And not clerks or mail room staff, either. Nine of the listing are for GS 15 level managers at nearly $143,000 in salary. For instance, Space Force is looking for three supervisory program analysts, and a supervisory management analyst. Also a supervisory human resources specialist. The others are GS 12-14.
- A bicameral pair of Democrats want to guarantee a pay raise for federal employees in 2021. Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) reintroduced the Federal Adjustment of Income Rates, or FAIR Act. The bill specifies a 3.5% adjustment in basic pay next year. It makes no mention of locality pay adjustments. This is the sixth year Connolly has introduced this legislation, though the raises themselves have varied throughout the years. (Federal News Network)
- Democrats on the House Oversight and Reform Committee are interested in developing new legislation to improve whistleblower protections for federal employees. Whistleblower advocates say members should reaffirm the rights whistleblowers already have to remain anonymous. They also suggest Congress give federal whistleblowers the option to take retaliation cases to court. Federal employees are the only major sector among state, local and some private sector employees who don’t have the right to take their cases to district court. (Federal News Network)
- The Bureau of Prisons has been warned that it must keep employees and contractors aware of their own whistleblower protection rights. The Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General says a BOP contractor attempted to retaliate against one of its employees after he or she made a protected disclosure directly to a BOP official, and was subsequently placed on a six-month probationary period. The employee wasn’t allowed to have any contact with the BOP official during that time. The Justice IG says the BOP contractor didn’t inform their employees of their whistleblower rights. The IG says BOP must ensure its contractors are complying with whistleblower law.
- President Trump is expected to appoint two new members to his panel of scientific advisors. Theresa Mayer, executive vice president for research at Purdue University, and Hussein Tawb, from the University of Texas’s cancer center, would serve on the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology. The council consists of 16 members, and is chaired by White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Director Kelvin Droegemeier. The council holds its first meeting this year on February 3.
- Renee Wynn, NASA’s chief information officer, is retiring on March 31. Wynn has been NASA’s CIO since 2015 and is one of the longest serving departmental IT executives across government. Wynn says she has no immediate plans for her post retirement career. It’s unclear who will replace Wynn even on an acting basis. Jeff Seaton has been NASA’s deputy CIO since 2018 and is a former CIO of the Langley Research Center. Wynn also worked at EPA for 24 years before coming to NASA. (Federal News Network)
- Protect Our Defenders, a prominent organization for survivors of military sexual assault, is calling on 2020 presidential candidates to sign a pledge for military justice reform. The pledge would remove prosecutorial authority from the chain of command for non-military crimes like rape and murder. Protect Our Defenders says the pledge empowers independent, trained prosecutors rather than commanders when it comes to those crimes. Candidates like Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Andrew Yang already have platforms that support the pledge.
- An internal review by U.S. Special Operations Command has found continuous combat conditions over the last 20 years are partly responsible for problems with misconduct in the ranks. The report, released yesterday, pointed to a culture that puts too much emphasis on fighting and not enough on leader development and discipline. (Federal News Network)
- A new audit found the Defense Department doesn’t have a clear picture of whether its sealift fleet is ready to carry troops and equipment into combat. The Pentagon’s inspector general reviewed data from 2017 and 2018, and found that both the Military Sealift Command and the U.S. Maritime Administration are producing inaccurate reports about whether ships are ready to be activated. In some cases, contractors reported ships as ready to deploy when they didn’t meet the military’s readiness standards. The IG says the faulty data could lead commanders to make bad assumptions about how quickly forces can be deployed around the world. (Department of Defense Office of Inspector General)
- The Army Research Office is finding ways to thwart adversaries from fooling the Army’s artificial intelligence object recognition. Currently, hackers can place a set of pixels in an image that throw off the artificial intelligence causing it to categorize images incorrectly. The Army is funding a team at Duke University to figure out those pixel patterns and eventually get computers to weed those images out. The service wants to use object recognition so computers can point out possible adversaries. (Federal News Network)
- The Defense Department is putting the final touches on a new cybersecurity standard for government contractors. DoD is expected to release version 1 of the cybersecurity maturity model certification or CMMC on Friday. The Pentagon has been working with industry for over a year to develop this new approach to securing vendor technology supply chains. DoD also expects to begin training third-party assessment organizations this spring to certify vendors meet the CMMC standards. (Federal News Network)
- The Navy Reserve launched a new application that allows reserve sailors to apply for opportunities in the force. The app, called ZipServe, allows reservists to apply for jobs, view enhanced details about positions and monitor the status of applications. ZipServe can be used for annual training, special work, active duty training and for definite recall. The app will replace the AdPortal and Mobilization Portal , which are currently in use by reserve sailors.
- With the Trump Hotel potentially up for sale, the General Services Administration once again finds itself in uncharted territory. If the Trump Organization finds a buyer for its 100-year lease of the Old Post Office, GSA will have just 45 days to approve the sale and transfer of the lease. GSA Administrator Emily Murphy said the agency would vet the buyer’s financials and their experience with maintaining historic properties. Last Thursday marked the deadline for vendors to submit initial bids for the Old Post Office lease. (Federal News Network)
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