Browsing: Defense Department

11 things you probably didn't know were in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015

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On May 8, the House Armed Services Committee voted on the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015 – about 15 minutes after midnight. The committee voted on hundreds of amendments and debated the legislation for more than 12 hours before finally passing it. You have probably heard some of the highlights of whats in the bill, but here is a longer list of stuff that made it in that you might not have heard about. Now remember, the bill still needs to be voted on by the full House and then by the Senate, so there are still changes that…

Defense civilians get TSP Roth option today

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The Thrift Savings Plan’s new Roth option opened up to civilian Defense Department employees today, the Air Force said. Defense civilians can now elect to contribute all or parts of their TSP savings to the Roth option on an after-tax basis. The Air Force said that elections made on or before June 30 will be effective July 1, and will be reflected on employees’ July 20 leave and earnings statement. Under the Roth option, participants pay taxes when they make contributions into the TSP. Those contributions then grow over time, and are not taxed when they are withdrawn years later.…

Were you demoted during NSPS transition?

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Are you a Defense Department employee who was transferred into, and then out of, the now-defunct National Security Personnel System? Were you placed into a General Schedule grade that was lower than your original grade, or did your new GS grade not take into account a promotion you received under NSPS? Federal Times would like to hear from you. E-mail me at slosey@federaltimes.com to talk. If you’d like to talk anonymously, that’s fine.

Taps for the National Security Personnel System

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As of this Sunday, the National Security Personnel System is officially defunct. In a Federal Register notice published today, the Office of Personnel Management and the Defense Department report that they are repealing the regulations accompanying the controversial pay-for-performance system effective Jan. 1. The repeal is basically just housekeeping; the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act ended the legal authority for the NSPS and declared that any existing regs would be toast by the beginning of 2012. Should anyone need a refresher on what the very long-running flap was about, incidentally, this Federal Times article offers a good recap.

DoD launches IT exchange program

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The Defense Department has launched its Information Technology Exchange Program to share IT civilian employees with the private sector. The personnel assignments will range from three months to a year and focus on sharing best practices and expertise on cloud and mobile computing, infrastructure management and cybersecurity, according to a July 1 announcement. Private sector participants will work with the chief information officer, Joint Staff, U.S. Cyber Command, the National Security Agency and other departments. Workers must be US citizens, be equivalent to a grade level 11, and lending organizations will pay the salaries of their workers. Secrete clearance is required,…

DoD cancels plans to move DISA to U.S. Cyber Command

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The Defense Information Systems Agency will not move to U.S. Cyber Command, following concerns of major policy, operational and practical challenges, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in an undated memo. After reviewing the Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation Gates said he recognizes that shifting DISA to U.S. Cyber Command is no longer “a viable approach.” As part of Gates’ push to eliminate billions in spending, he directed Chief Information Officer Teri Takai to shutter the Pentagon’s Networks and Information Integration by Sept. 30. The portion of NII responsible for major automated information system acquisition oversight and command and control…

Contract confusion

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A little fuzzy on the distinctions between various types of federal contracts? Don’t feel bad, because some federal contracting officers are, too, according to a Federal Register notice published today. In a jointly filed proposed rule, the Defense Department, NASA and the General Services Administration indicate that they are trying to correct the mistaken impression among contracting officers “governmentwide” that the fixed labor rates in time-and-materials/labor-hour contracts make them “fixed-price type contracts.” In fact, as the Government Accountability Office reported last year, time and materials contracts are considered high-risk because the contractor’s profit hinges on the number of hours worked.

Bulk of BTA workforce comes from contractors

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Almost two-thirds of the workforce at the Business Transformation Agency, a Pentagon shop slated for the chopping block, is made up of contract employees, according to figures obtained by Federal Times under the Freedom of Information Act. Of 1,124 workers, 725 are contractors, 375 are civilian and 24 are military personnel, the figures show. In announcing his decision to close BTA within the next year, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said last month that the agency employed “approximately 360 people.” Gates was apparently referring only to government civilian employees. Federal Times filed the FOIA request after repeated attempts to obtain the…

The Washington Post's 'Top Secret America'

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The Washington Post this morning has a must-read story illustrating how massive, unwieldy and redundant the federal government’s post-9/11 security mission has become — and questioning whether it’s actually made us safer. Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Dana Priest and writer William Arkin’s three-part, two year investigation found that “after nine years of unprecedented spending and growth”: Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence at about 10,000 locations nationwide. About 854,000 people hold top secret security clearances. In the Washington area, 33 complexes for top secret intelligence work — the equivalent of three Pentagons…

Booz Allen cashing in — what else is new?

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Wired Magazine’s Danger Room blog has an interesting post today about the McLean, Va.-based consulting behemoth Booz Allen Hamilton. Danger Room’s editor, Noah Shachtman, essentially accuses Booz Allen executive vice president Mike McConnell of over-hyping cybersecurity threats so his firm can win government contracts to combat the dangers that he invented. Shachtman calls Booz “cyberwar Cassandras.” Now, I can’t speak to the motivations of Mr. McConnell or anyone else at the firm. However, the evidence Shachtman presents on Booz Allen’s supposed recent windfall in government contract spending seems a little thin. Booz Allen has raked in $400 million in deals…

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