The latest news and analysis from FCW's reporters and editors.
With a $1 billion cash infusion, relaxed repayment guidelines and a surge in proposals from federal agencies, questions have been raised about whether the board overseeing the Technology Modernization Fund has been scaled to cope with its newfound popularity.
The office will implement a strategic modernization plan for unemployment insurance set to range from developing modular tech capabilities to identity verification.
A report from the General Services Administration's Office of the Inspector General says the agency's Public Buildings Services at times failed to follow CDC guidelines around reporting and cleaning procedures for COVID-19 incidents.
The first cohort of the new program, which launches in the fall, will focus on pandemic response, the economy, cybersecurity and streamlining government services.
*** GovExec has acquired the Public Sector 360 division of 1105 Media in a deal that was announced on Tuesday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Public Sector 360 publications FCW, Washington Technology, GCN, Defense Systems and Federal Soup are now part of GovExec, along with the government events business and the custom publishing and marketing services operations. Troy Schneider, who is general manager of Public Sector 360 and editor-in-chief of FCW and GCN, will become GovExec's general manager for government technology brands.
*** Defense Department hires could get a shorter probationary period in the 2022 defense policy bill, but the Federal Managers Association has urged against it. The House Armed Services Committee’s version of the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act is scheduled to be marked up Sept. 1 and carries a provision that would cut DOD’s probationary period for new hires in half, down to one year.
The FMA has urged Congress to take "no action on this issue" with its president, Craig Carter, saying that cutting the probationary period would be "irresponsible and irrational" before an independent study on the impacts has been completed and reviewed.
"The study ordered by Congress, and conducted by the RAND Corporation, has not been completed, finalized or analyzed," Carter said in an emailed statement. "It would therefore be irresponsible and irrational for Congress to take premature action related to the DOD probationary period until after the results of the study are released with evidence and data determining if the probationary period should be altered or not."
*** The White House hasn't yet given a timeline for the release of the President's Management Agenda. However, Dustin Brown, deputy assistant director for management at the Office of Management and Budget, said at the National Defense Industrial Association's 2021 iFest conference on Tuesday that the administration was planning to use the PMA to advance equity and climate change issues while using evidence-based data to help agencies achieve their missions.