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The Army is creating a new Integrated Program Office to bring all of its Zero Trust activities together under one roof. Zero trust is a cybersecurity approach that continuously validates access to every step of a digital interaction. Officials say the goal is to ensure there is a single organization to keep tabs on how the military…
The best listening experience is on Chrome, Firefox or Safari. Subscribe to Federal Drive’s daily audio interviews at Apple podcasts or Podcast One.
- The Army is creating a new Integrated Program Office to bring all of its Zero Trust activities together under one roof. Zero trust is a cybersecurity approach that continuously validates access to every step of a digital interaction. Officials say the goal is to ensure there’s a single organization to keep tabs on how the military implements the 90 different capabilities in the DoD’s Zero Trust Reference Architecture. The new office will also help ensure that the military has adequate funding in each of the programs that contribute to its implementation of zero trust.
- A long-term vacancy in the Office of Management and Budget will remain vacant longer than expected. President Joe Biden is withdrawing his nomination of former Department of Housing and Urban Development Chief of Staff Laurel Blatchford as Comptroller of the OMB. The position sets financial management policy for the entire federal government and has been vacant for over five years. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee advanced Blatchford’s nomination last December, but she did not receive a Senate vote.
- The military can pretty much hire software developers and data engineers internally, but it still relies heavily on the private sector for one particular job title. Army data scientists still largely come from industry partners. But that may not be the case in the long term. “What I see happening over the course of several years is that the scale will eventually balance out to some degree,” said Jock Padgett, Army Forces Command data manager. Padgett added that the Army is looking to do more internal development, training and recruitment in the near future for data scientists, while working to maintain current partnerships with industry.
- The Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency said it has met the 2% hiring target for people with disabilities for two consecutive years. The target is set by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. DCSA said it is already on track to meet or exceed the goal again for fiscal year 2023. Target disabilities include blindness, deafness, significant mobility impairments and other identified disabilities by the EEOC for special consideration in federal recruiting and hiring.
- Homeland security agencies are moving forward with the use of facial recognition to verify the identity of travelers. The Transportation Security Administration is considering expanding its facial recognition pilot program. The TSA is currently testing a facial recognition database maintained by Customs and Border Protection at airports in Atlanta and Detroit. The agency is currently considering extending this system to other locations. It is currently limited to TSA PreCheck and GlobalEntry passengers who register. But the TSA and CBP want to expand the use of facial recognition and other technologies to advance what the agencies call a “contactless curb-to-door experience” at airports. (Federal News Network)
- A federal judge rules in one of the latest lawsuits over the Postal Service’s handling of 2020 election mail. A federal judge ruled last week that USPS policy changes, including a decision by the Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to limit late and extra truck trips between mail processing plants and post offices, was the “primary factor” that cut postal service before the 2020 election. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia concluded that USPS leaders were aware of the link between a decline in service performance and efforts to reduce delays and additional trips nationwide. USPS data showed that, on average, it delivered ballots to election commissions in 1.6 days. A recent USPS inspector general report said the agency is generally ready for its November election workload. (Federal News Network)
- The American Federation of Government Employees has filed an unfair labor practice lawsuit against the National Park Service. The union said the NPS violated federal labor law by failing to restrain a manager from trying to decertify the Blue Ridge Parkway local union. Typically, the Federal Labor Relations Authority has said that decertification cannot occur within one year of forming a new chapter, but this particular situation is unprecedented. The creation of the union branch in this case comes from a merger of two former local unions, rather than from a new branch.
- Ongoing accessibility challenges prompt a third letter from concerned senators. The General Services Administration is the latest agency to feel pressure from two powerful Senate committees around Section 508. The Senate Special Committee on Aging and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee wrote to the GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan for data and details on the agency’s efforts. monitor federal accessibility compliance. The Committee on Aging sent similar but more targeted letters to the Departments of Justice and Veterans Affairs earlier this summer. The GSA has until November 14 to respond.
- Small business vendors bidding on Phase 2 of the Department of Homeland Security’s IT Products contract have a new due date. DHS said companies that made it to the second round of bidding for the FirstSource III contract must receive their final best offers by Nov. 7. Entrepreneurs can also submit Phase 2 questions to DHS by October 19. DHS has now delayed final bids for Phase 2 of FirstSource III five times since August. The third version of FirstSource has a cap of $10 billion over 10 years for various IT products and related services.
- After receiving community feedback, the Environmental Protection Agency has added more information about U.S. territories to its environmental justice mapping tool known as EJScreen. The updated tool now includes environmental, demographic and index data for US territories like Guam and American Samoa. The tool will also feature a new dataset that will provide insights into community vulnerability based on factors such as low income and unemployment. The EPA said the improvements will allow EJScreen users to better identify sensitive populations facing “higher pollution loads.”
- With a longer-than-expected record of getting rid of unnecessary government assets, a Government Accountability Office report said the GSA needed to incorporate lessons learned from past sales to make the process more efficient. A 2016 law established a three-step process for the disposal of government real estate. But the 10 properties listed for sale in 2019 took nearly two years to sell. Proceeds from the first round are used to fund the next round of preparing buildings for sale. The lack of timely sales proceeds from the first round limited the reach of the second round.
- The Biden administration is seeking industry input on technologies to eliminate the carbon footprint of federal buildings. The General Services Administration and the Department of Energy have issued a request for information on how technology can make federal buildings more energy efficient, reduce emissions and support the charging of electric vehicle fleets. The administration seeks to achieve net zero carbon emissions across all federal operations by 2050. To support this goal, the Cut Inflation Act has allocated more than $3 billion in low-carbon materials. carbon for federal construction projects.