Pentagon eases further COVID-19 restrictions inside the building

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  • Starting June 23, some new coronavirus restrictions will be lifted for those who work at the Pentagon. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the building will be moved to Bravo Health. According to the new rules, workplace occupancy can increase from 40% to 50%. Meetings in the building can be increased from 25 to 50 people. Those who are not fully vaccinated should continue to follow mask and social distancing guidelines.
  • The military on active duty has completed its mission to help operate mass vaccination sites. At the height of the Pentagon’s response, more than 5,100 active soldiers had occupied 48 separate federal vaccination centers in the continental United States, Guam and the US Virgin Islands. But the DoD said the last of those sites – in New Jersey – closed this week. But even if the need for active forces has diminished, the role of the military in managing gunfire does not end entirely. National Guardsmen across the country are still on duty under their state governors. In total, the military has administered around 17 million vaccines.
  • Stakeholders are pushing the Pentagon’s recent offer to hide unclassified information from the public. The DoD again urges Congress to extend its FOIA exemptions. The Pentagon said it must keep some unclassified details – like military tactics and rules for the use of force – secret to protect national security. But 45 open government groups are calling on the legislature to reject the application, as the law already provides sufficient exemptions for the military. They say the proposed changes are too broad, pointing out that the DoD’s FOIA backlog is at an 11-year high. It is the seventh time that the Pentagon has filed such a request since 2011.
  • An investigation by the Inspector General of the Pentagon finds that Defense Digital Service personnel improperly used the encrypted messaging app Signal for official government business. Several employees informed the IG that it was under the impression that DDS had used the app specifically for the purpose of hiding their messages from disclosure in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act. The results were part of a wider study by DDS Director Brett Goldstein. The IG said it received 30 complaints alleging mainly that it created a hostile work environment, but investigators say these allegations are unfounded.
  • Much of the solutions to the Defense Logistics Agency’s cybersecurity issues are delayed. The DLA failed to complete 69% of its corrective action plans within its one-year timeframe, the Government Accountability Office found. DLA also fully addressed only two of its six risk management steps. To address these shortcomings, GAO made five recommendations to the DLA director, including revising the approval process for the agency’s assessment plan and developing system-specific monitoring strategies.
  • Only five military bases are responsible for a third of all sexual assaults on women. Forts Hood, Bliss, Riley, Carson and Campbell account for a disproportionately high proportion of the Army’s sexual assaults against women. A new study by RAND Corporation found that the average female soldier had a 5.8% chance of being sexually assaulted in the army. However, this risk was significantly higher on this basis. The study also found that women who worked in field artillery or ammunition were at higher risk of being attacked. RAND hopes the army will use the data to better take measures to prevent sexual assault and harassment. (Federal news network)
  • Commercial space activities will follow new safety standards and regulations to build more oversight over space. The Federal Aviation Administration and Air Force agree to combine FAA regulations and licensing requirements with Air Force ground safety rules on the Space Force-operated firing ranges. The agreement applies in particular to launch and reentry activities on the Cape Canaveral space station in Florida and the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The procedures are intended to eliminate redundant processes in the commercial space sector and improve communication between the Air Force and the FAA.
  • NASA has a new deputy administrator. Pam Melroy was sworn in on Monday. She is only one of two women commanding a space shuttle and has spent more than 38 days in space on all three of her missions to help build the International Space Station. She also served in the Air Force for more than two decades.
  • A career manager in the postal service who led his pandemic response task force is due to retire this summer. USPS Chief Retail and Delivery Officer and Executive Vice President Kristin Seaver will leave the agency at the end of August. Last year, Seaver headed the agency’s COVID-19 Response Command, which oversaw employee contacts and the continuity of USPS operations in the early stages of the pandemic. Seaver served as the agency’s chief information officer for part of her nearly 30-year career and helped shape the agency’s 10-year reform plan, published in March. (Federal news network)
  • The House now supports a legal stipulation of an important provision in the Law on the Modernization of Government Technology. Congressman Gerry Connolly said he would enact legislation to ensure authorities can set up IT working capital funds. The 2017 law empowered agencies to withhold savings or use unspent money on IT modernization efforts. But several of the agency’s general counsel ruled that they were not empowered to set up such a working capital fund without the approval of Congress. Earlier this year, Senator Maggie Hassan (DN.H.) said that she, too, would introduce a law to fix the MGT law.
  • DHS ‘$ 50 billion small business deal faces a major challenge. Two vendors said the Homeland Security Department was inappropriately restricting competition and placing unnecessary limits on competition as part of its FirstSource 3 request. zSofTech Solutions and KPaul ​​Properties appealed to the Government Accountability Office, claiming that DHS requirements for two certifications are unfair. The companies said the DHS did not answer questions or provide any guidance to the industry as to why ISO 9001 and the Open Trusted Technology Provider Standards qualify for a 10-year contract bid. GAO has until September to decide on the protest. (Federal news network)
  • Contractors will soon have an important preview of one way the Biden government is looking to protect the government’s software supply chain. On July 11th, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration will publish a list of the minimum items for a “software bill of materials”. NTIA’s Allan Friedman said that just like the ingredient list on food packaging, the SBOM should detail what goes into a software product. NTIA received more than 80 comments on its request to contribute to the SBOM initiative prior to its July release.
  • Federal contract spending skyrocketed last year and will continue to rise this year. The latest analysis by the Bloomberg government shows that fiscal 2020 spending increased by $ 83 billion to a record $ 682 billion. If you add that fiscal year, which runs through September, it could reach nearly $ 700 billion. The response to a pandemic has fueled much of the growth. But military platforms such as warships and fighters also rose by double digits. Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Boeing and Northrop Grumman remained the federal five largest contract partners. Bloomberg’s Top 200 list had a new entry. Arizona-based Fisher Sand & Gravel ranked 32nd with federal contracts valued at $ 2.5 billion. (Federal news network)
  • The Biden government is launching a new website to help the IRS introduce a new form of household incentive this summer. ChildTaxCredit.gov allows households to submit eligibility information to the IRS if they have not yet filed tax returns for 2019 or 2020. The IRS will begin sending monthly payments of up to $ 300 per child to eligible families starting in July. That’s because in the last round of COVID-19 relief spending, Congress expanded the child tax break program.



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