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FCW Insider: Dec. 3

Federal CIO Suzette Kent announced a new program to fill high-demand, skills-gap positions in cybersecurity by retraining employees already working within agencies without a cyber or IT background. Chase Gunter reports.

A memo from a civil service protection office warns feds about possible Hatch Act violations arising from impeachment chatter or mentions of "resistance" while on the job. Get more from Chase.

A change of party control and a wave of retirements are changing the makeup of Republican representation on key committees of Congress for the session kicking off in January 2019. Derek B. Johnson reports on some familiar faces being elevated on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee and elsewhere.

The Department of Justice isn't giving up on its quest to prod industry to figure out some way to let law enforcement listen in on encrypted communications . Derek reports on a speech from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Quick Hits

*** The federal government will be closed Wednesday, Dec. 5, as part of the national day of mourning to mark the passing of President George H.W. Bush. The Office of Personnel Management on Dec. 2 issued guidance to clarify what President Donald Trump's Dec. 1 declaration means for agency operations and federal employees' paid time off.

"[T]o allow Federal employees to join their fellow citizens in remembering our forty-first President," OPM Director Margaret Weichert wrote, all feds are excused from duty unless their agency head determines that "reasons of national security, defense, or other essential public business" require them to be at work. Employees who already were scheduled to take leave on Dec. 5 will not be charged for those hours, the memo notes.

Bush's death also appears to have pushed off a possible government shutdown for a week or two. Funding for several major agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, runs out on Dec. 7, and Trump has threatened to veto any bill that does not include $5 billion in border security funding. But with Bush's funeral taking place this week, congressional leaders are discussing a short-term funding bill. The president told reporters over the weekend that he expects to agree to a two-week extension.

***The White House's telecommunications policy office wants federal agencies to assess their spectrum needs for the next 15 years to help it optimize use of the limited resource.

In a Nov. 28 memo, National Telecommunications and Information Administration chief David Redl, told federal agencies to submit initial reports on their spectrum requirements for the next decade and a half by Feb. 21. Final reports, he said, are due by April 23.

The assessment, according to Redl, backs the White House's October memorandum on "Developing a Sustainable Spectrum Strategy for America's Future," which calls for the development of a comprehensive, long-term national spectrum strategy by July 22, 2019.

As part of the effort, Redl said NTIA will give agencies separate guidance for reviewing and quantifying their spectrum use. He said NTIA would set up long-term processes for continued reporting of current usage and future requirements to better track the resource and technologies going forward.

*** Casey Kelley, currently a director in the General Services Administration's Information Technology Category in the agency's acquisition service, has been named regional commissioner for Pacific Rim Region 9 operations, according to a Nov. 27 internal agency memo.

Kelley stepped into his new position as a member of the Senior Executive Service, according to a memo from GSA's Federal Acquisition Service Commissioner Alan Thomas obtained by FCW. Region 9 serves federal customers in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada and U.S. Pacific territories as well as operations in Asia, including Japan and South Korea.

Kelley began his new job on Nov. 25, a GSA spokesperson told FCW in an email. Most recently, he served as the director of the customer engagement division in FAS' Office of Information Category, Thomas said. In that position, Kelley had been responsible for planning and implementing customer development strategies for ITC, including governmentwide acquisition contracts.

A replacement for Kelley as acting director of customer engagement in FAS ITC has not yet been named, the spokesperson said.

The long-time GSA manager has also served as acting director of Information Technology Services, where he has been a key shepherd of Alliant, one of GSA's top GWACs.

He has also been a vital leader for Alliant 2, GSA's 15-year $50 billion IT services successor to Alliant, which began accepting task orders last summer.

The sprawling Alliant 2 contract stipulates more flexibility for emerging technologies, allows supplementary non-IT support for federal customers when it is integral to the vendor solution, as well as on- and off-ramp provisions to allow quicker inclusion on newer technologies.

Kelley won a Federal 100 award in 2018 for his work on Alliant 2.

Posted on Dec 03, 2018 at 12:31 AM


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