Network based systems

Pentagon creates new group to investigate UFOs

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  • The Department of Defense is setting up a new organization to track and study what most people would call UFOs, and what the Pentagon calls unexplained aerial phenomena. Assistant Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks on Tuesday ordered the creation of the Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group. The DoD said the new group will work closely with the intelligence community. New guidelines on how the organization will be funded and structured are expected in the coming weeks.
  • A small, bipartisan group of House members has new legislation designed to strengthen and empower the Office of Personnel Management. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) And two of his colleagues introduced the Strengthen OPM Act. The bill would implement some of the recommendations the National Academy of Public Administration made to Congress about the agency earlier this year. The legislation would redefine the mission and responsibilities of the OPM and codify the roles of the director of the OPM and the career director general. It would also create a new advisory council of human capital experts. (Federal Information Network)
  • The federal government has a new strategic plan on diversity and inclusion, its first in 10 years. The Biden administration said agencies will work to better understand the experiences of federal employees. It will enhance the role of diversity leaders within each agency, collect more demographic data from federal employees, and intensify training on diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility. Each agency will publish its own DEIA strategic plans by mid-March. The administration said agencies should set up dedicated teams to focus on achieving these new goals.
  • The State Department honors the volunteer work of foreign service families overseas. The department joined with the Associates of the American Foreign Service Worldwide in recognizing the recipients of this year’s Secretary of State’s Award for Outstanding Volunteerism Abroad. This year’s winners donated reusable hygiene kits to young women in India and Kenya, fought human trafficking in the Middle East, and accelerated the vaccination of U.S. diplomatic personnel in Jordan. The SOSA Awards generally recognize the spouses or children of those who work in the foreign service and accompany them on official trips. (Federal Information Network)
  • Agencies have more details on how to apply and deal with Made in America waivers. The Federal Procurement Policy Office Language agencies of published samples can add to their acquisition regulations to continue implementing its rating from the end of October. The Federal Acquisition Regulations Council created the deviation which tells contracting officers how they can improve the transparency of Made in America waivers. Agencies can also develop their own language to be part of their internal procurement regulations based on the FAR Board sample.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs has undertaken several reviews of its supply chain management modernization initiative. VA is trying to implement Defense Logistics Agency Defense Medical Logistics Standard Support as a new supply chain system. But the effort to deploy the system to an initial site this year revealed some issues. The VA inspector general says the DMLSS has failed to meet nearly half of the department’s business needs. VA says he’s developing a new supply chain strategy that should light the way forward. (Federal Information Network)
  • The Aviation cracking down on toddlers. The service requires all air passengers two years of age or older traveling to Air Mobility Command terminals to have a negative COVID test. The test should be administered 72 hours before travel. Children who have not been vaccinated must have a COVID test taken within one day of travel.
  • Another record year for the FedRAMP Cloud Security Program. Agencies reused more cloud authorization packages in fiscal 2020 than ever before. The Federal Risk Authorization Management Program or FedRAMP indicates that agencies have leveraged nearly nine hundred existing cloud security packages, which is a 22% increase from 2020. FedRAMP says it has set new records in almost every statistical categories last year. 45 new products also entered the market, bringing the total number of approved cloud services to 240. In 2022, FedRAMP announced plans to increase the use of automation and continue to improve its business processes.
  • Another stumbling block for the DoD’s efforts to restructure the military’s household goods movement system. One of the losing bidders in the multi-billion dollar contract for global household goods filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office yesterday. American Roll-on Roll-off Carrier Group says it still believes its bid should have won the multibillion-dollar contract. The DoD initially awarded the GHC contract to this same company a year and a half ago, but changed its mind after an earlier protest against an offer. The latest contract awarded to HomeSafe Alliance is worth $ 20 billion over nine years. (Federal Information Network)
  • The Army is reducing its cyber and space capabilities to their lowest levels. He uses new experiments to see how soldiers can use non-lethal cybernetic and electromagnetic weapons. The Army’s Combat Maneuver Lab brings simulations that were once done for senior leaders down to squad level. This is because the military may have to rely on these small groups in a fight against a close competitor like China or Russia. The military conducted two experiments this summer using groups as small as 21 soldiers. The objective is to see how the injection of cyber and space operations into regular units will affect these groups. (Federal Information Network)
  • A watchdog said the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency needs to update its plan to secure the communications sector. The Government Accountability Office reports that the CISA has not updated the plan since 2015. This means that the plan likely lacks information on new dangers to the communications infrastructure, such as security risks in the supply chain. The CISA endorsed the GAO recommendations. The agency is currently updating the sector plan, but it will likely not be completed until next September.
  • Some good news for cybersecurity at the National Science Foundation. The National Science Foundation has put in place an effective information security program over the past year. This is according to a detailed performance audit by the NSF Inspector General’s Office. The auditors also determined that the NSF had implemented corrective actions to address all or part of eight findings from last year’s assessment. The research agency has received high marks on its compliance with the Federal Information Security Modernization Act in recent years after some initial difficulties six years ago.
  • Another COVID relief program falls victim to waste, fraud and abuse. This time, one to extend broadband access to low-income households. A new report from the Federal Communications Commission Inspector General says vendors and their sales representatives wrongly enrolled households in the $ 3.2 billion broadband emergency benefits program. Providers enrolled households in the program, whether or not they have a child who attended a school or school district due to high poverty. In fact, the FCC IG finds that the number of students enrolled far exceeds the number of students actually enrolled in these schools.
  • The Postal service signs another sneaker license agreement. USPS partners with Vans to sell a line of clothing and sneakers featuring its logo. USPS-themed merchandise will be available starting next week. Earlier this year, the USPS also struck a deal with Nike to sell agency-inspired Air Force 1 sneakers. A USPS spokeswoman said the Postal Service ensures licensing agreements protect its intellectual property, promote its brand and generate revenue.
  • The Postal regulation commission is experiencing a temporary reshuffle of its senior executives. PRC Vice-President Ashley Poling has now assumed administrative responsibilities for the agency. That’s because President Michael Kubayanda’s term expired on Monday. President Joe Biden has reappointed Kubayanda for a full term. The Senate Committee on Internal Security and Government Affairs held its hearing for Kubayanda’s appointment last week.

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