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FCW Insider: March 26

DOD official: 'Adversarial capital' threatens industrial base

The Defense Department is concerned that foreign investment will take advantage of small businesses experiencing severe financial consequences from the COVID-19 pandemic. Lauren C. Williams has the story.

Higher easy acquisition thresholds help the pivot to telework

OMB's expanded easy-acquisition procedures will be useful tool as pandemic response continues, said a trade group executive. Mark Rockwell reports.

Rigas to take on DDM role

Margaret Weichert is exiting government after a delay to help with COVID-19 workforce policy and will be replaced by the acting head of the Office of Personnel Management. Adam Mazmanian has more.

Quick Hits

*** The Department of Homeland Security's Science & Technology Directorate is harnessing the agency’s Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office and its biodefense countermeasures labs to help research how COVID-19 spreads. The agency's National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center laboratory will provide updates on the research findings to DHS and agencies responding to the crisis, particularly those finding that might immediately help limiting the spread of the coronavirus.

DHS said researchers can see how the virus reacts to a range of conditions, from humidity and temperature, to see how it survives in the air, respiratory fluids and on various types of surfaces. The NBACC, located at Ft. Detrick in Maryland, was established out of the investigation into the anthrax attacks in 2001. It provides bio-forensics research support for DHS, as well as law enforcement casework.

*** The Federal Labor Relations Authority is reconsidering whether unions can claim official time for lobbying efforts. In a memo published to the Federal Register on March 25, the agency said that it would solicit public comment on whether to amend a section of the labor law statute that allows unions to claim official time when lobbying members of Congress. The Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, a group that advocates against unions, asked the FLRA to clarify its stance on the matter.

One Republican FLRA member objected to soliciting comments on the issue because FLRA "precedent on the use of official time for lobbying activities rests upon interpretations of the Statute which can only be described as strained and contorted and which run counter to the plain language" of President Trump's workforce executive order and federal law covering lobbying with appropriated funds.

Posted by FCW Staff on Mar 26, 2020 at 2:33 AM


  • Workforce
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    OMB urges 'maximum telework flexibilities' for DC-area feds

    A Sunday evening memo ahead of a potentially chaotic commute urges agency heads to pivot to telework as much as possible.

  • Acquisition
    Shutterstock ID: 1993681 By Jurgen Ziewe

    Spinning up telework presents procurement challenges

    As concerns over the coronavirus outbreak drives more agencies towards expanding employee telework, federal acquisition contracts can help ease some of the pain.

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