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12:51 am, July 12, 2014

Jack Moore Reports

Jack Moore is a web editor and general assignment reporter for Federal News Radio.

House panel probes DoD's acquisition workforce

The size of DoD's civilian acquisition workforce has grown by some 20,000 employees over the past five years and now numbers about 135,000 personnel members, according to Stephanie Barna, acting assistant secretary of Defense for Readiness and Force Management. That's thanks to an effort by DoD begun in 2009 to recapitalize its acquisition workforce. But the department's focus on the acquisition workforce has been strained by a slew of competing priorities and congressionally-mandated belt-tightening, Barna said.

Thursday - 07/10/2014, 06:14pm EDT

GSA wants to add cloud category to IT Schedule 70

The General Services Administration announced Wednesday it's seeking to roll out a new category especially for cloud services under its massive IT Schedule 70 contracting vehicle. Maynard Crum, acting director of the Office of Strategic Programs in GSA's Office of Integrated Technology Services, announced the agency's pursuit of a new special-item number for cloud or cloud SIN during a panel discussion at the Federal Cloud Computing Summit in Washington, D.C.

Wednesday - 07/09/2014, 03:16pm EDT

Senate report: Billions of dollars at risk from shaky Pentagon IT programs

A new bipartisan report from the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations called the Air Force's now-canceled Expeditionary Combat Support System "one of the most egregious examples of mismanagement by the DoD in recent memory." But the failure of ECSS may not be an aberration, the report suggested. Other enterprise-resource planning programs in the department are at risk of falling victim to the same fate.

Wednesday - 07/09/2014, 08:27am EDT

Race to finish fiscal 2015 agency budgets hits snag

The appropriations process was supposed to be easier this year compared to last, because lawmakers had signed off on a bipartisan deal that set top-line spending levels for the next two years. But action in both the House and the Senate appears to have largely stalled.

Monday - 07/07/2014, 05:56pm EDT

Despite 50 years of progress, morale gap among LGBT workers persists

Despite a series of efforts to expand the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender federal workers by the Obama administration, LGBT feds, who comprise about 3 percent of the federal workforce, are less satisfied, feel less empowered on the job and are less likely to rate their agency's senior leaders and management as highly as their non-LGBT counterparts, according to a recent survey.

Sunday - 07/06/2014, 04:46pm EDT

TSP winning streak continues for second month

The Thrift Savings Plan continued a summer winning streak through June, with all funds in federal employees' 401(k)-style retirement accounts finishing out the month in positive territory, according to new data from the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board. It's the second month in a row all funds have finished in the black.

Tuesday - 07/01/2014, 01:01pm EDT

OMB aims to keep launch of digital A-Team on track

OMB has already deployed small teams to a few agencies to help with one-off digital projects, but the next step is standing up a more formal "Digital Service" within OMB. When fully operational, the office would be staffed with about 25 tech professionals from outside the government who would parachute into agencies on two-to-four-year rotations to help get new IT projects off the ground and help get wayward projects back on track.

Tuesday - 07/01/2014, 11:03am EDT

Agency blunders put spotlight on risk management

A series of management blunders and agency misbehavior in recent years ranging from the General Services Administration to the Veterans Affairs Department, haven't only put agency leaders in the hot seat and sometimes out of work. They've also highlighted the importance of better risk-management planning by agencies, current and former federal officials told Federal News Radio as part of a special discussion on risk management.

Thursday - 06/26/2014, 04:51pm EDT
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Obama gives feds right to request more flexible work options

Federal employees now have the right to request a more flexible work schedule and managers must "carefully" consider those requests, President Barack Obama told agency heads in a June 23 memo on expanding workplace flexibility in the federal government. The memo, which coincided with a White House conference on working families, also encourages agency heads to expand flexible workplace policies, such as telework, alternative work schedules and temporary part-time duty "to the maximum extent practicable."

Tuesday - 06/24/2014, 01:37pm EDT

As assets grow, TSP resists calls for change from Congress

Boosted by a recovering economy and a booming Wall Street, assets in the Thrift Savings Plan have continued to climb. Since reaching $400 billion in February the highest amount ever recorded assets under TSP management grew to more than $412 billion by the end of last month. But as total assets have increased, so have calls to tweak the program that's provided federal employees with 401(k)-style retirement accounts since 1987. Still, the TSP has consistently resisted calls to modify its simplified, tried-and-true structure.

Monday - 06/23/2014, 04:07pm EDT

White House cyber czar's goal: 'Kill the password dead'

Michael Daniel, the Obama administration's cybersecurity coordinator, says he wants to dismantle the most common method of cyber protection: passwords. Even as cyber threats continue to grow more sophisticated and destructive, passwords are weakening and proving easier to crack than ever. The solution lies in the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC), which calls for a broad "identity ecosystem" to replace simple passwords.

Wednesday - 06/18/2014, 12:06pm EDT

Gridlock: And the winner is you?

The mid-term elections are upon us, and some people are complaining about political fatigue and gridlock. But for federal and postal workers and retirees these may be the good old days, Senior Correspondent Mike Causey says.

Tuesday - 06/17/2014, 02:00am EDT

Families wait for final rule granting flags for feds killed in line of duty

Congress unanimously passed the Civilian Service Recognition Act in late 2011, allowing agency heads to present an American flag to federal employees killed in the line of duty as the result of a crime, terrorism or natural disaster. But OPM has lagged in implementing regulations.

Monday - 06/16/2014, 04:00am EDT

New audit reveals OPM's weak oversight of background check reviews

A new audit from the OPM Inspector General's office reveals shortcomings in the steps taken by Office of Personnel Management and its contractors to make sure background investigations undergo quality reviews. The audit pointed to a lack of oversight on OPM's part in making sure contractors actually review cases and said some of the companies that employ case reviewers failed to keep track of records showing the contractors had undergone proper training.

Thursday - 06/12/2014, 02:02pm EDT

Don't miss your chance to tell your boss what you really think

The deadline for the annual Employee Viewpoint Survey is rapidly approaching. Federal employees selected to participate in the survey &dmash; gauging employee morale and views of agency management have until Friday to complete the survey. As of Tuesday morning, about 330,000 employees have completed the online survey, OPM officials said in a press call with reporters. Another 80,000 or so are still in the process of completing the survey.

Tuesday - 06/10/2014, 11:52am EDT

More problems with VA scheduling systems revealed

The electronic wait system for keeping track of and monitoring initial primary-care appointments for new patients at Veterans Affairs medical facilities is not the only scheduling system at VA that's now under scrutiny. A separate system for monitoring VA patients' access to outpatient specialty care -- such as cardiologists, gastroenterologists and physical therapists is also "unreliable," according to GAO's Debra Draper, who testified before the House Veterans Affairs Committee Monday evening.

Monday - 06/09/2014, 05:21pm EDT

Feds interested in phased retirement left playing waiting game

The Office of Personnel Management now says it hopes to have regulations governing phased retirement finalized by October. That can't come soon enough for many federal employees on the cusp of retirement who are caught in the regulatory limbo.

Monday - 06/09/2014, 02:00am EDT

'Significant' structural damage shutters NIH leased facility

A leased building that houses office space for the National Institutes of Health has been shuttered for the past three weeks following concerns over its structural integrity, forcing about 500 employees to work from home or at alternative work sites.

Friday - 06/06/2014, 02:00pm EDT

OPM slashes retirement backlog in first part of 2014

The Office of Personnel Management cut the longstanding backlog of pending retirement claims by more than a third in the first half of 2014. By the end of May, the inventory of claims had fallen to about 14,500, according to new OPM data released Thursday. That's down 38 percent from a peak of more than 23,500 claims in February.

Thursday - 06/05/2014, 05:21pm EDT

OSC investigating dozens of claims of whistleblower retaliation at VA

The Office of Special Counsel is investigating more than three dozen claims of whistleblower retaliation at the scandal-rocked Veterans Affairs Department. The 37 cases OSC is investigating span VA facilities in 19 states. They include VA employees who say they've been retaliated against for disclosing a range of misconduct, including improper scheduling practices, the misuse of agency funds and inappropriately restraining patients, according to OSC.

Thursday - 06/05/2014, 11:32am EDT
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