Federal Times Blogs
On March 7 22-year-old Taylor Blake Martin and Seth Andrew Stephenson pleaded guilty in court to harassing an endangered species by luring an adult manatee and its calf to a dock and then “cannonballing” on top of them.
Martin and Stephenson then posted a video of the incident on Facebook, which brought it to the attention of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Martin and Stephenson face a year in prison and a maximum $50,000 fine.
After the video was posted on Facebook, several people commented on it. In response to a post that expressed displeasure with Martin’s actions, Martin responded, “hahaha…in my debue [sic] as tayla the manatee slaya…im f—- ready to cannonball on every manatee living yewwww.”
The video shows Stephenson luring the manatees to the dock with a hose before Martin jumped on the adult manatee and tried to ride it.
“This case demonstrates our resolve to address the illegal harassment of Manatees, as well as the enforcement of speed zones, and other more serious forms of take which result in the death or injury of Florida’s Endangered Manatees,” said Special Agent in Charge Luis Santiago, Southeast Region, Office of Law Enforcement, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
As the Washington, D.C. area gets another dusting of snow this morning, federal offices in the region will be open, but employees have the option of unscheduled leave or telework, the Office of Personnel Management said in web posting. You can read the announcement here.
The American Council for Technology and Industry Advisory Council (ACT-IAC), a public-private IT partnership, announced the 31 finalists for its annual Excellence.gov Awards. The program, which recognizes the best practices in the government’s management and use of information technology, will announce the winners on March 24, 2014 at the Arena Stage in Washington DC.
“The Excellence.Gov Awards recognizes government programs that use IT to fuel efficiency, collaboration and cost savings,” said Kimberly Hancher, Government Chair for Excellence.Gov 2014. “This year’s finalists demonstrate creativity in the public sector and serve as a model for innovation across government.”
The following are the finalists for the 2014 Excellence.gov Awards:
Finalists for Excellence in Enhancing the Customer Experience:
- U.S. Census Bureau – America’s Economy Mobile App
- U.S. Department of Commerce and the Small Business Administration – BusinessUSA
- Department of Education – MAX Authentication
- Internal Revenue Service – Virtual Service Delivery
- Department of Homeland Security, Office of The Chief Readiness Officer, Office of Chief Information Officer – Parking and Transit Subsidy Application Tool (PTSAT)
- Internal Revenue Service, Information Technology, User & Network Services – Convergence Unified Communications
Finalists for Excellence in Intergovernmental Collaboration:
- Collaboration Branch, PEO, ES, Defense Information Systems Agency – Defense Connect Online (DCO)
- Department of Labor, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management -Benefits.gov
- Department of Commerce, Office of Project Management and Information Technology – Modernization of Performance Payout System (PPS)
- National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Office of the Chief Engineer – NASA Engineering Network
- Department of the Interior, Office of the Chief Information Officer – eMail Enterprise Records and Document Management System (eERDMS)
Finalists in Excellence in Enterprise Efficiency:
- United State Department of Agriculture, Risk Management Agency (RMA) – Crop Insurance Program Compliance and Integrity Data Warehouse
- Department of Justice, Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys – Enterprise Voice over IP (EVoIP)
- National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Office of the CIO – NASA IT Labs
- U.S. Army – Network Enterprise Center Fort Bragg (NEC-FB)
- U.S. Army – Product Director Enterprise Email (PD EE) / Department of Defense Enterprise Email (DEE) Service
Finalists in Excellence in Innovation: Digital Government:
- Federal Emergency Management Agency, Office of the CIO – Web Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS)
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission – Federal Sector Enterprise Portal (FedSEP)
- U.S. Army – Global Combat Support System – Army (GCSS-Army)
- US Army, Office of The Judge Advocate General – JAGConnect
- NASA Office of the CIO – Web Enterprises Services and Technology (WESTPRIME)
Finalists in Excellence in Innovation: Pilots and Start-up Projects:
- Defense Information Systems Agency, Directorate of Network Services – ADNET Advanced Analytics (A3) EPICLink Pilot (A3/E)
- U.S. Army CECOM – CECOM Equipment Diagnostic Analysis Tool (CEDAT) Virtual Logistic Assistance Representative (VLAR)
- National Institutes of Health – eVIP – Electronic Vendor Invoicing Program
- Department of Defense, Defense Manpower Data Center – Identity Management Enterprise Services Architecture (IMESA) and Continuous Evaluation
- Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration – Program Integrity Tools (PIT)
Finalists in Excellence in Health IT
- Department of Defense/Veterans Affairs – Defense and Veterans Eye Injury and Vision Registry (DVEIVR)
- Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Resources, Commonwealth of Virginia – Electronic Health and Human Services (eHHR): Innovating Human Services in Virginia
- U.S. Army, PEO EIS – Medical Communications for Combat Casualty Care (MC4)
- Department of Veterans Affairs – Mobile Applications for Mental and Behavioral Health
- Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health – Parkinson’s Disease Biomarkers Program Data Management Resource (PDBP DMR)
How badly do you want to catch some fish? Or do you just want to cruise the waters in style?
Well either way you might want to consider bidding on a Navy special operations craft, currently on sale through the General Services Administration auction program. The initial bid is $100,000 but that won’t meet the reserve.
The 82-foot Mark V special operations craft weighs about 57 tons and can carry about 6,500 pounds with a range of 500 nautical miles. It can fit you and up to 15 of your closest friends/military Special Forces crew seated in relative comfort.
It also has enough room to fit four motor-propelled inflatable boats.
And it can all be yours! Just be careful, it does not come with a warranty and you will need to haul it from its current location in Norfolk, Va. The auction starts on Feb. 20 at 5 p.m.
When the military dog Rex II came home to Fort Myer after serving in Afghanistan he was unable to be placed into a home right away because of behavioral issues. But two federal employees believed the dog had earned a second chance for helping to protect service members and save lives while overseas.
So GSA’s Mid-Atlantic Area Property Officer Robert Kitsock worked with Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Property Disposal Technician Angela Sakyrd to help find him a home at the Panama City Beach Police Department.
Read more about it on the GSA blog.
The General Services Administration wants input from contractors and businesses about how to build sustainability into procurements.
In the Federal Acquisition Service, we have been piloting the introduction of sustainability considerations into our procurements, particularly into the Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative solutions. In addition to green product requirements, we’ve been looking at distribution networks, product takeback, and packaging reduction. Keeping in mind that more than 75% of our vendors are small businesses and that we want to be consistent with commercial practices, what else do you think we should be specifying to make a purchase “sustainable”? Should we look at vendor practices and if so, which ones?
Those interested in giving feedback can go here.
It was a busy week. Congress finally passed a budget for fiscal 2014 that includes a slew of new provisions and changes in funding levels across the government. The NSA has been under fire for the collection of phone records, metadata and even text messages. The governor of New Jersey is under continuing investigation because of the closure of a bridge that snarled traffic for four days.
So if you missed a few things that is certainly understandable. Which is why we have compiled a list of stories that are interesting or important that may have flown under your radar.
Budgets cuts, contracting reforms and the military drawdown in Afghanistan have pushed government contract spending to its lowest level in more than seven years.
Government spending on contracts plunged almost $58 billion – 11 percent – to about $460 billion in fiscal 2013, according to the Office of Management and Budget and preliminary estimates from the Government Accountability Office.
The Office of Personnel Management is evaluating expanding its federal employee health coverage to include transgender care. Other agencies such as Health and Human Services – which governs Medicare and Medicaid – are also taking steps to re-evaluate their positions excluding the coverage.
Agencies and companies are in a state of high anticipation over cybersecurity guidelines NIST plans to release next month that create voluntary standards for how companies involved with critical infrastructure should protect themselves.
“I think it’s very highly anticipated,” said Scott Montgomery, vice president and chief technology officer for the public sector at McAfee, an information security firm.
Until recently, each of the military services had their own health information technology organizations, complete with separate data centers, contracting practices, infrastructure and applications.
But all that is going to change, according to David Bowen, the chief information officer at the Defense Health Agency.
The Defense Information Systems Agency will begin deploying initial capabilities this month to support thousands of Apple and Android devices across the military.
The initial roll out, or version 1.0 of the mobile device management solution is set for Jan. 31 and will focus on managing unclassified devices, DISA announced Thursday.
Federal employees may be one step closer to being able to access transgender care through their federal health insurance coverage.
The Office of Personnel Management is currently evaluating the exclusion of transgender care in the federal employee health benefit program, according to the agency.
But the agency said that no decision has been made yet and that when it does come to a decision it will be reflected in the coverage options for future health care plans.
While some company and local government health plans cover care for transgender policy-holders, the Federal government does not and specifically excludes transition-related care from coverage.
Transition-related care may include hormone replacement therapy, mental health services, and sexual reassignment surgery (SRS). The costs of this care can easily reach into the tens of thousands of dollars, putting it beyond the reach of many who need it.
While OPM is evaluating the issue, HHS is considering whether the current policy of refusing to cover transition-related care is even legal.
In August the Health and Human Services Department issued a request for information regarding section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act – which prohibits discrimination on the bases of “race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in certain health programs and activities.
The agency wanted “information on a variety of issues to better understand individuals’ experiences with discrimination in health programs or activities and covered entities’ experiences in complying with Federal civil rights laws.”
The agency specifically requested examples of covered discrimination on the basis of sex, ‘including discrimination on the basis of gender identity, sex stereotyping, or pregnancy.”
They received 162 comments before the comment period closed.
Read previous related post: Is the administration moving to include transgender care in federal health insurance coverage?
The Navy has proposed new rules that would strengthen the protections of sunken Navy ships by establishing a streamlined permitting process for approved activities at sunken ships and by establishing a $100,000 fine for violations, according to a notice published Monday in the federal register.
“With stricter enforcement provisions acting as a deterrent and a management policy based on the principle of in situ preservation, the proposed rule makes the protection of war-related and other maritime graves, the preservation of historical resources, the proper handling of safety and environmental hazards, and the safeguarding national security interests more effective, efficient, and affordable,” the Navy said in the notice.
Read more details at the Federal Register notice.
Attention, Thrift Savings Plan participants: You can now check your online account information at tsp.gov more easily via smartphone.
Although the site was previously available via phone, the mobile version is designed to work with Android and iOS operating systems to provide an “optimal viewing experience,” the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board said in a news release today. (And there’s no need to download an app.)
The board actually launched the mobile version Sept. 30, but held off from an announcement because of the partial government shutdown that began the next day, spokeswoman Kim Weaver said. The word is apparently getting around, though. Just in the last week, there have been more than 60,000 smartphone log-ons to the mobile version of tsp.gov, according to the release.