Another court rules in favor of Navy sailors who reject the COVID-19 vaccine

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  • A federal judge in Texas has blocked the Navy from enforcing its COVID vaccination mandate against nearly 4,000 sailors who have requested religious exemptions. the new decision Significantly expands on a previous court order that affected just a few dozen seafarers and upholds the case as a class action. In accordance with a recent Supreme Court ruling, the Navy can use the vaccination status of these sailors to make deployment and assignment decisions, but cannot take other disciplinary action against them for refusing the vaccine.
  • Republican House lawmakers are asking more questions about plans for returning to office for federal employees. Two senior members of the Committee on Oversight and Reform want a clearer picture of whether these workers will have personal or hybrid working hours. Representatives Jody Hice (R-Ga.) and James Comer (R-Ky.) wrote to the heads of the Office of Personnel Management and the General Services Administration. They ask for a date when most federal employees will come back in person. GSA and OPM must respond by April 13th.
  • The Commerce Department is asking all of its employees to return to the office by the end of April. The department expects all of its employees to return to the office starting April 25, and generally expects employees to be able to telecommute up to two days a week. However, some employees may be able to telecommute more. The agency said it is working with its offices to expand telecommuting options beyond its base of two days a week. Commerce cited President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address as impetus for his re-entry plans. Commerce informed employees that there would be more information on the return to the office over the next few weeks. (federal news network)
  • The Ministry of Housing and Urban Development is planning a phased re-entry for its staff from April 25. At this time, HUD is rescinding its maximum telecommuting policy that has been in place since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. HUD required employees to report to their official offices at least twice per pay period for two pay periods. HUD expects to complete the first phase of its plans for re-entering offices the week of May 23. The agency is telling staff they will receive further guidance on phase two in the coming weeks. (federal news network)
  • The Coast Guard is often forgotten in the shadow of the Department of Defense’s much larger budget. But this year the service is asking for a little boost. The Coast Guard is asking for $13.8 billion and plans to use $125 million to procure a commercial icebreaker. It hopes to deploy this ship in polar regions until the first of six new icebreakers is completed in the 2025 timeframe. The service sees more activity in these areas as the ice caps continue to melt. Other budget items include $650 million for offshore patrol boats and $100 million to keep ships in good working order. (federal news network)
  • Lawmakers are giving the Department of Defense ideas on how to use its new basic services agency. The Defense Authorization Act of 2022 allows the Pentagon to provide low-income military members with a stipend for food and other needs. Legislators in several committees suggest giving service members an opt-out option if they do not wish to participate in the program. Another suggestion is to exclude basic housing allowance as an income consideration when deciding whether a military family needs a basic-income stipend.
  • The GSA’s Technology Transformation Service and the Air Force’s Kessel Run office provide a glimpse of what the future of federal websites and customer experience could look like. TTS and Kessel Run have collaborated to develop a proof of concept to enable the cloud dot government platform to host 100 million concurrent users. Kessel Run’s Bowcaster team provided “chaos engineering” services to help TTS’ platform scale capacity. Bowcaster provided stress testing, penetration testing, and other services to ensure the cloud dot government platform can meet the availability and resiliency requirements that high-traffic applications require.
  • Another federal agency CIO is on the way. Lytwaive Hutchinson, CIO of FEMA since 2019, is leaving the company to go into the private sector. Hutchinson confirmed to Federal News Network that she plans to end her 41-year career in federal service. During her time at FEMA, Hutchinson focused on the goals of IT modernization, including moving more applications and systems to the cloud, addressing customer experience challenges, and of course, cybersecurity. Hutchinson came to FEMA after spending her entire federal career in the Department of Defense. She served in the Army for 21 years and then worked in various civilian positions in the Office of the DoD CIO. (federal news network)
  • IRS appoints new executives for some key roles. The IRS hired Todd Anthony as chief procurement officer. Previously, Anthony served as Associate Director of Corporate Procurement Initiatives in the Education Division and as Senior Procurement Director in the Office of Human Resource Management. The IRS has also appointed Mark Pursley as its new Chief Risk Officer. Pursley previously served as Director of Servicewide Operations for IRS.
  • Congressional auditors said the US Cyber ​​Command needed a better way to measure progress for a key acquisition initiative. CYBERCOM oversees the development and deployment of the Joint Cyber ​​Warfighting Architecture. But the Government Accounting Office said the command lacks good metrics to evaluate the performance of the new cyber warfare systems. CYBERCOM told GAO that it plans to refine the metrics through a series of assessments this year.
  • A new White House cyber office is taking shape. National Cyber ​​Director Chris Inglis said his new office now employs about 30 people with a goal of reaching 90 one day. The office was established just last summer to strengthen cyber resilience in the public and private sectors. It received $21 million from Congress in last year’s infrastructure bill, and the Biden administration is asking for another $22 million next year. Inglis said the office’s efforts are just beginning. “I am pleased to say that now, after about eight months of my tenure and probably two and a half months into the funding, we are at a point where we have very significant efforts underway,” he said. (federal news network)
  • the Haus’s SECURE Act is one step closer to the law. The House of Representatives on Tuesday night passed legislation that would make it easier for federal employees to save more as they near retirement. As part of the bill, Savings Plan participants will see an increase in the required start date for TSP payouts. The House of Representatives is urging the Senate to act quickly so that the Ensuring a Strong Retirement Act can go before the President for signature.

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