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The Marine Corps met its retention goals for the first time in a decade. The Marine Corps said the first year of the commander’s retention program doubled the number of high-level service members it wanted to retain compared to last year. The initiative offers a streamlined retention process and gives incentives for returning Marines. The…
The best listening experience is on Chrome, Firefox or Safari. Subscribe to Federal Drive’s daily audio interviews at Apple podcast or Podcast One.
- The Marine Corps met its retention goals for the first time in a decade. The Marine Corps said the first year of the commander’s retention program doubled the number of high-level service members it wanted to retain compared to last year. The initiative offers a streamlined retention process and gives incentives for returning Marines. The service said it had seen about half of the 2,500 Marines it had selected to remain in the Corps. The Marine Corps is currently undergoing an overhaul to make it a leaner, more agile force with more skilled and experienced personnel. The service said increased retention helps achieve this goal.
- Military formulas for calculating housing allowances have increased these reimbursements a little, but not enough to keep up with actual increases in housing costs. A new analysis from The Associated Press looked at five of the nation’s largest military housing areas and found that average allocations have risen nearly 19% since 2018. But rental prices in those same areas have risen on average nearly 44%. (Federal Information Network)
- The Coast Guard is getting closer to having its own national museum. On Friday, officials broke ground for the future site in New London, Connecticut. A $50 million appropriation in Budget 2022 helped launch the project, an 80,000-square-foot facility slated to open in 2024. (Federal Information Network)
- The Department of Homeland Security is improving how it shares cyber threat information with agencies and the private sector. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency upgraded the Automated Information Sharing Program, or AIS, in June with the latest standards for capturing and reporting cyber threat intelligence. It was one of many changes to the 7-year program highlighted in a new report from the Inspector General. CISA said it also released a news submission guide. This will help both public and private sector participants make the most of cyber threat indicators to help decision makers take action. Finally, CISA has also added more contractors to help address short- and long-term strategic and operational challenges. All three were IG recommendations.
- The Federal Acquisition Regulations Council has more than three dozen rules in development. Of the 39 changes to the FAR, 21 are at the Proposed Rule stage, including the definition of controlled unclassified information and small business task order protests. The FAR Council stated in its semi-regulatory program that there were 15 endgame rules. These include one from 2015 on how to use Acquisition 360 notices and another from 2018 that would address whistleblower protections for contractors.
- The Department of Defense, General Services Administration, and NASA are proposing to amend the FARs to implement President Biden’s executive order on federal construction projects. The EO in question requires agencies to use project work agreements for large-scale federal construction projects that cost the government at least $35 million with exceptions. The rule change increases the cost threshold by $25 million and adds mandatory language. The proposal indicates that project labor agreements are a means of providing union-management stability and ensuring compliance with laws and regulations.
- The Department of Veterans Affairs has made a change to improve both inclusion and the customer experience. The VA Office of Information and Technology has worked with the Veterans Health Administration’s LGBTQ+ Health Program to give veterans more options on their individual profiles. Veterans can now designate their preferred names and gender identity on VA.gov. The VA chief information officer said more updates are on the way.
- Amtrak’s Inspector General discovered that the railroad’s electronic procurement system was not functioning as a centralized, automated repository for contracts, meaning Amtrak procurement officers are distributing files not only on the intended Ariba on Demand system, but also on SharePoint and personal drives. Auditors were unable to determine Amtrak’s total number of contracts, vendors and change orders, posing legal and financial risks. The audit came as Amtrak is set to receive funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which was signed into law nine months ago.
- Federal agencies are called upon to recruit more leaders for a federal charity campaign. The Office of People Management asks agencies to hire leaders to run internal employee engagement campaigns. Campaigns aim to increase a department’s or agency’s level of support for charities. Last year’s “Combined Federal Campaign” raised $80 million for charity. The federal government provided an additional $670,000 to meet needs arising from the war in Ukraine.
- The GSA appointed Chuck Hardy as chief architect. In his new role, the stalwart of the GSA for 31 years will advise the agency on all matters relating to Federal Architecture and Design for the GSA’s capital construction program. Public Buildings Service Commissioner Nina Albert described Hardy’s new job as one of the most influential architectural roles in government.
- NASA and GSA have opened a new flight dynamics research facility at the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. Scheduled to open in September 2024, the new facility consolidates and replaces two aging wind tunnels with a new one.
- The largest union of federal employees has released its suggestions for the 2023 defense authorization bill. The American Federation of Government Employees is challenging a section of the bill that will extend the probationary period for some employees of the Ministry of Defense for two years. AFGE said the provision is counterproductive to retention.