Senator investigates potential salary abuse at ATF

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  • The National Archives and Records Administration joins the ranks of agencies looking to hire a data manager. NARA’s data director will advise its chief information officer and chief technology officer on IT initiatives, as well as office managers and senior officials within the agency. NARA plans to hire its CDO at the GS-15 level or above, and will require top secret security clearance. NARA will accept applications until November 15.
  • The Treasury Department’s Tax Service Office is examining blockchain technology to streamline grant payments. The office assigns a task order for blockchain technology, to improve transparency, reduce reporting burdens and tackle inappropriate payments. The office work order is looking for answers on how to set up digital wallets and activate interagency authorities. This effort builds on the office’s recent development of a blockchain-based grant payment request prototype.
  • The Office of Personnel Management overcharged agencies by more than $ 5 million for the costs of maintaining electronic personnel records of federal employees. This is according to a recent analysis of the OPM Inspector General. The OPM is supposed to charge agencies a flat rate based on the number of employees with official personnel records under its management. The IG said OPM should reimburse its agency clients or adjust future billings to account for errors. OPM said it would correct errors in its prices and invoices.
  • Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) looks at wage abuse in a federal agency. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms incorrectly classified 94 administrative positions as law enforcement positions. These jobs were eligible for special remuneration which is traditionally reserved for government law enforcement officers. The Bureau of Personnel Management partially suspended the ATF’s job classification authority after a review revealed problems with those 94 positions. Grassley said some ATF employees earn more than they should. He learned of the problems from an agency whistleblower.
  • The Army’s 18th Airborne Corps prepares its soldiers for future weapons, especially those that use advanced technology. The corps is one of the largest groups of soldiers and its new strategy will encourage them to practice coding, artificial intelligence and software. The goal is to make sure soldiers are ready to use new weapons instead of having to go through a long training process once they get to unit level.
  • The army has set up a new organization to recruit and develop its civilian workforce. The Army Civilian Career Management activity reached full operational capability this month. One of its first tasks was to realign the 32 different specialties of the civilian workforce into 11 broader “career areas”. The aim is to enable employees to use their skills in a wider range of assignments. The office also plans to conduct a broad military approach to civilian recruitment, including marketing and portraying the military as a civilian employer, not just a military one.
  • The Army will soon take concrete steps to make its bases safer and more resilient. The military said it was working on an implementation plan to make its facilities more resilient to factors such as climate change and cyber attacks. The service came out with a new strategy to protect its bases late last year. Now it’s almost done forming over 30 steps to achieve this plan. Some of these include building a center of excellence based purely on foundations and using nature to deter the effects of climate change. The Army also wants to establish a timeline for improving the quality of life on base over the next five to 12 years.
  • A 63-year-old man will serve two years in prison for threatening workers at the Albany Veterans’ Medical Center. Robert Seifert made several phone calls and left voicemail messages for three VA employees. The Ministry of Justice and Office of the Inspector General of the VA said Seifert used language that made employees fear for their own safety. The VA inspector general and the police department at the county medical center in Albany investigated the case. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York continued the case.
  • A key regulator is urging electricity providers to improve their cybersecurity game. In a new report, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission these companies have generally met mandatory cybersecurity reliability standards over the past year. But FERC also recommended that they improve their oversight of critical digital systems and strengthen controls over who can access those systems. FERC said such improvements would increase the security of the country’s electricity grid. The report comes as the Biden administration sought close cooperation with the electricity industry on cybersecurity initiatives.
  • Finally, a survey of public sector IT managers that shows them optimistic about cybersecurity in the future. Security software provider Beyond Trust surveyed 200 federal, state and local IT and security officials about the prospects for cybersecurity. Almost all said they have sufficient funding to do the cyber work. And they say the executive decree on cybersecurity coupled with the outlook for 2022 credits means they will continue to fight threats. But IT people also say that the continued levels of remote workers are their biggest IT risk.
  • It’s phishing season, and the CIO Council has reminded employees that it’s not a good idea to get caught up in hackers. There is spear phishing, there is whale phishing, and there is vishing and smishing. Basically hackers try all approaches to trick you into clicking on a link or giving them your password. The Federal Council IOC warns federal employees to be aware of all of these tips. As part of Cyber ​​Security Awareness Month, Department of Energy’s Information Security Officer Greg Sisson details many of these attack vectors in a new blog post. Sisson said an organization’s first line of defense against phishing is training and awareness. Sisson reminds agencies to fight phishing.
  • Small businesses have only two days to decide on the General Service Administration Sections L and M Projects of the impending tender for Polaris, the government-wide small business acquisition contract. Section L contains instructions to Offerors and Section M details the evaluation factors for award. The GSA requested comments on the drafts of Polaris by October 15. Additionally, the GSA has said it hopes to issue an RFI for the GWAC later this month and issue a draft RFP in the coming months.
  • Commercial satellite companies have a new opportunity to win contracts with the intelligence community. The National recognition office yesterday released the premiere of what is expected to be a continuing wave of potential procurement opportunities for commercial enterprises. The NRO’s General Agency Announcement Framework for Strategic Business Improvements represents a great opening to the commercial industry for the covert spy agency. The BAA’s first area of ​​interest is commercial radar capabilities. This initial zone will be open to both domestic US industry and US companies with foreign capital.


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