OPM wants to let agency leaders administer direct hire authorities

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  • The Office of Personnel Management is changing regulations on direct hire authority. A proposed rule would give agency heads the task of issuing direct hire authorities to address recruiting challenges rather than OPM. The president’s executive order on chief information officers required OPM to propose new regulations on direct-hire authority. (Federal Register)
  • Postal employees received thanks for working to help find a suspect charged with allegedly sending 14 explosive devices through the mail. Gary Barksdale, deputy chief inspector of the Postal Inspection Service, thanked postal employees for serving as the law enforcement agency’s “eyes and ears” last week. FBI Director Chris Wray said his agency identified the suspect through a fingerprint on an envelope addressed to Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.). The FBI also found DNA evidence on two additional packages containing explosives. (Federal News Network)
  • The Pentagon is creating one budget request for fiscal 2020 at $700 billion and another one at $733 billion. Deputy Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan said the Defense Department had been working on the larger budget proposal for much of the past year. But made the smaller one after President Donald Trump asked all agencies to cut their requests by 5 percent. Shanahan said to get to that smaller number, the Pentagon will have to make some touch decisions about which investments in the research and development and acquisition areas are most important.
  • IBM became the latest government contractor to jump head first into a mega acquisition. Big Blue announced Sunday it is buying Red Hat for $34 billion in an all-cash deal. Red Hat provides open source enterprise software. IBM and Red Hat have partnered over the past 20 years, including more recently on open source cloud software. IBM said it will remain committed to Red Hat’s open governance, open source contributions and participation in the open source community and development model. (IBM)
  • A former Veterans Affairs employee pleaded guilty to taking bribes from three for profit schools in exchange for encouraging disabled veterans to enroll in those schools. The Department of Justice said James King admitted to demanding and taking cash to steer veterans to the schools. At the time, King was working as a program counselor for VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program. DOJ said King facilitated almost $2.5 million in VA payments to the schools. Three people from the schools themselves also pleaded guilty to bribing King. (Department of Justice
  • The Office of Management and Budget set new cyber deadlines for agencies to reduce their risk profiles. Agencies have less than two years to move to a shared service for their security operations centers. In the 2019 Federal Information Security Management Act guidance released last week, OMB said agencies must develop and submit one enterprise-level cybersecurity operations maturation plan to OMB and DHS by April 2019. Then, by Sept. 30, 2020, they must migrate to a matured, consolidated and/or shared security operations center-as-a-service offering. Also in the FISMA guidance, OMB said agencies must implement a threat intelligence capability to identify deficiencies in their security defenses. (White House)
  • It’s going to take the Agriculture Department a little longer to transition to the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions telecommunications contract. USDA’s Director of Enterprise Network Services said it will miss the May 2020 deadline as there isn’t enough time to reduce 14 unique infrastructures down to one. Meanwhile, the Department of Housing and Urban Development said its timetable is too close to call. But both departments are pushing forward, and intend to release requests for proposals next month. (Federal News Network)
  • State Department embassy construction is way behind schedule. Auditors found the agency won’t meet even half of its goal of 180 new, more secure embassies by the end of 2018. It’s only got 77 so far. The effort started during the Clinton administration, when a series of bombings prompted a long-term effort to replace buildings throughout the world. But the Government Accountability Office found staff shortages have slowed the effort, as well as poor collaboration with contractors. (Government Accountability Office)
  • OPM and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission want to remind agencies of the resources they have to help employees self-identify disabilities and other conditions. Updates to the Rehabilitation Act require agencies to target a 12 percent participation rate for employees with disabilities. OPM acting Director Margaret Weichert and EEOC Commissioner Victoria Lipnic said agencies have several resources to help them meet those goals. (Chief Human Capital Officers Council)