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- Some members of Congress want a closer look at how the Defense Department allocates its troops. A bill has been introduced in the House and Senate that will require the DoD to report where and how it sends troops to meet operational needs each year. Representative Rob Wittman (R-Virg.), one of the bill’s sponsors, said the legislation is a way for Congress to ensure that the military prioritizes China as a threat.
- A military service gets rid of a classic exercise in its fitness test. the Marine Corps threw crunches as part of his fitness test and replaced them with the board. Boards were included as an option during testing in 2019, but will now be the only choice for Marines to show off their core strength. The change will take effect in 2023. The Marine Corps said it is making adjustments to reduce injuries because crunches are hard on the lower back. Crunches have been part of the fitness test since 1997.
- The future workforce of the Defense intelligence agency will focus on eight key factors. In a new strategic plan, the DIA said it needs to create a digital workforce based on retraining and development programs. DIA will focus on officer training, enhance diversity and inclusion, and increase both competition and speed of hiring. The workforce component is one of the four lines of effort described in the new strategic plan. Other areas of effort include creating an intelligence advantage, fostering a culture of innovation, and securing long-term partnerships and alliances with the private sector and other allied nations. .
- The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is recruiting a Human Resources Director. CISA director Jen Easterly said the new position will help the agency recruit and retain talented people amid a shortage of cybersecurity professionals across the country. Easterly said the United States must launch an ambitious effort to grow its cyber workforce. CISA is working with schools on cybersecurity education, as well as colleges on a “scholarship for service” exchange program to attract new talent to the agency. (Federal Information Network)
- New rules for federal employees and government contractors regarding their immunization status. Federal employees and government contractors must complete a form about their immunization status and attest to the accuracy of this information. New Frequently Asked Questions from the White House indicate that if an employee refuses to answer about the vaccination, they will be considered unvaccinated. If it turns out that the employee lied on the form about his vaccination, then he would be violating the government lying law. Contractors who refuse to respond or who have not been vaccinated must provide proof of a negative test within the last three days. Visitors to federal buildings must also show proof of their immunization status or a negative test within the past three days. (Federal Information Network)
- Most National Science Foundation grant recipients have maintained vital research during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to its Inspector General. The IG said these projects were continuing, although grantees generally followed Office of Management and Budget guidelines to pay researchers unable to work due to restrictions related to the pandemic. The IG also found that the winners donated excess masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment to hospitals across the country.
- The Department of Veterans Affairs reported more than $ 11 billion in irregular payments in fiscal year 2020. A report from the Office of the Inspector General found that VA was not in compliance with the Integrity of Payments Act due to an inappropriate gross payment rate greater than 10%. VA reported inappropriate payment rates ranging from twelve to ninety-five percent for five of its programs. VA also failed to meet inappropriate payment reduction targets for its retirement program and long-term medical care program. The IG made three recommendations for programs to meet their reduction targets.
- Mark your calendars. It may take a little longer for your mail to arrive on or after October 1st. The Postal Service decided to move to slower standards for almost 40% of first-class mail, taking four or five days to get to your mailbox. The USPS will proceed despite warnings from its regulator and inspector general that the plan could generate little or no savings. The plan also met with strong opposition within the agency. Former Deputy Postmaster General Ron Stroman, now a member of the USPS board of governors, said the plan would do nothing to ameliorate the agency’s longstanding financial woes. (Federal Information Network)