Federal Times Blogs

DoD launches mobile device management training

Bookmark and Share

The Defense Department is rolling out training for end users and systems administrators on how to operate its new mobile-device management software.

Enterprise mobile security firm PaRaBaL is designing, building and delivering the training for all of DoD, said CEO Peter Coddington. “On this contract, our task is to make sure that all the DISA or DoD employees that will use the solution are fully versed and trained,” he said.

The small-business firm is a subcontractor to Bethesda, Md., technology company DMI, which was awarded a potential $16 million, three-year contract in June for mobile application store services and an MDM solution to centrally manage DoD smartphones and tablet computers.

Coddington couldn’t say how many users have been or will be trained other than noting, “we are well along in the process.” A performance work statement on fbo.gov, said the MDM software will be designed to support at least 162,500 devices, with the potential of 262,500 mobile devices by the end of the contract.

For DoD components that use DISA’s mobile services, users will learn how to activate the management solution on their devices and how to safely operate devices according to security guidelines, said Coddington, who declined to provide further details on the contract. Systems administrators will learn how to use the MDM solution.

The four-year-old company is also working with one of the military services to test software code used for developing mobile apps.

Tags: , , , ,

DoD awards $750 million intelligence training contract

Bookmark and Share

Nine companies have been awarded spots on an intelligence training contract worth $750 million over five years, the Defense Department announced today.

Out of 24 proposals submitted, nine awards were made on Oct. 26 to:
BAE of McLean,Va.
Battelle Memorial Institute of Columbus,Ohio
Booz Allen Hamilton of McLean,Va.
Cyberspace Solutions LLC of Reston,Va.
Intrepid Solutions Services Inc. of Falls Church,Va.
Prescient Edge Corp. of Falls Church,Va.
SAIC of McLean,Va.
Six 3 Intelligence Solutions of McLean,Va.
SRA of Fairfax,Va.

The indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract will expire Nov. 30, 2017, according to the announcement. Work will be performed in Washington DC; Quantico, Va.; Norfolk, Va.; Ft. Huachuca, Ariz.; Ft. Jackson, SC; Willow Grove, Pa.; Oak Ridge, Tenn.; West Davis Monthan AFB, Ariz.; and elsewhere as required.  The Defense Intelligence Agency’s Virginia Contracting Activity is managing the contract.

Tags: , , , ,

Combat trauma training practices under scrutiny

Bookmark and Share

Members of Congress are calling for a federal investigators to look into a defense contractor’s use of animals in training exercises.

The group asked the Government Accountability Office to investigate Tier 1 Group for “live tissue training,” which uses animals to train service members on the treatment of combat-related injuries.

The Agriculture Department issued a warning to Tier 1 last month after previously citing the company for violating the federal Animal Welfare Act during training exercises in May and last August. The company did not use the right type of anesthesia on live animals during a training exercise and did not properly monitor animals to ensure that the drugs did not wear off during the exercise, according to USDA documents.

One of the citations was prompted by a fairly graphic video released by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), an animal rights advocacy group, showing training participants cutting limbs off goats with tree trimmers and stabbing them with scalpels under the direction of Tier 1, members said in the Sept. 11 letter.

During the training, goats are seen moving or moaning, and participants ask for more anesthetic. While participants are not wearing military uniforms, PETA says it received the video from a whistleblower within the Coast Guard.

Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif. and one of the 11 members who signed the letter, sponsored a bill that would phase out the military’s use of live animals in trauma training and require the use of human-based simulation models. A similar bill has been introduced in the Senate.

Given Tier 1’s past violations, the company may have violated the terms of previous military contracts, members said.  They also believe there may be enough evidence to terminate a $1.7 million Navy training contract awarded to the company in May and permanently debar the company.

Tags: , , , , , ,

CHCOs, OPM launch HR University website

Bookmark and Share

The Chief Human Capital Officers Council and the Office of Personnel Management today launched the first phase of the government’s new online human resources training website, HR University. OPM said the site aims to make it easier for HR professionals to learn about federal HR laws, technical and analytical skills, and strategic thinking and partnering skills.

HRU features a catalog of OPM-approved classroom and online courses offered by various federal agencies and vendors.

Now that the site’s basic framework is up and phase one is complete, OPM plans to focus on building relationships with vendors interested in developing and offering more HR-related courses in the second phase of this project. Phase three aims to use the courses offered through HRU to create a new certification program for federal HR professionals.

In OPM’s statement announcing HRU, OPM Director John Berry said:

The roles and responsibilities of the HR profession are emerging and growing and the HR University is the first step at creating a single source for consistent human resources training. This training resource will save taxpayer money and improve the quality of our HR services. It will pool resources between agencies and reduce duplicative courses across the government. And it will identify the best HR training across the government and spread these resources to HR professionals at every federal agency.

Tags: , ,

Army wants war video game to train soldiers

Bookmark and Share
Will "Halo"-like games be the future of Army training?

Will "Halo"-like games be the future of Army training?

Call it “Halo: Kandahar.”

The Army is looking for ideas from the private sector on how to build a “virtual world” for training soldiers. But the requirements the Army’s Research, Development and Engineering Command outlined in its June 2 request for information don’t sound that different from many popular Playstation or Xbox video games.

The Army wants the game to contain highly complex, interactive environments that precisely recreate real-world terrain “on a 1:1 scale,” changing weather conditions, basic physics and collision detection, and realistic vehicles and weapons. And the virtual world should be able to handle 10,000 players and in-game characters at a time in a Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) environment. MMO games allow thousands of players from all over the world to play against each other over the Internet.

The game would allow players to talk to each other via voice or instant message, similar to the way the online Xbox Live network lets gamers plot out strategy or trash talk one another. Some of the planned first- and third-person gameplay features sound a lot like those found in war or action games like “Halo” and “Grand Theft Auto.” For example, when a player aims a scoped weapon such as a sniper rifle, the Army said the camera view should zoom in through the scope on the target. And when a player dies, he will “re-spawn,” or resurrect, so he can keep playing.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , ,

FLRA launches partnership training program

Bookmark and Share

Still a little fuzzy on how these labor-management partnerships are supposed to work? You might want to sign up for new training courses that will be offered in May and June by the Federal Labor Relations Authority and the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.

FLRA and FMCS said yesterday that the two-day training programs are meant to teach federal managers and labor representatives about bargaining rights and obligations. Day One of each session will cover bargaining rights and obligations, including pre-decisional discussions and so-called permissive subjects.

Day Two will teach you how to set up and maintain an effective labor-management forum. That includes designing the forum, setting agendas, making decisions agreeable to both parties, and other techniques.

Washington will get two training sessions in this first round — one May 25 and 26, and another June 2 and 3. Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver and Oakland will each get one session this time — dates and a registration form can be found here.

FLRA and FMCS plan to hold another round of training between July and September, but have not settled on the dates.

Training sessions will be free, but act fast — each session will be limited to 18 two-person teams (one manager and one labor representative). FLRA said it’s important for both parties to attend so they have a common understanding of what will be required of them.

Tags: , ,

Getting the 411 on cutting energy use

Bookmark and Share

The Energy Department’s Federal Energy Management Program is offering free online training sessions to help federal energy and environmental professionals learn the basics about cutting energy consumption in their facilities and operations.

The sessions, held the first Thursday of each month, will discuss requirements to report greenhouse gas emissions, install advanced electrical meters on facilities, cut water consumption and make existing buildings more energy efficient, among others.

The 90-minute sessions will be offered live via satellite or through streaming video at your desktop. Registrations are now being accepted online.

The first session was an overview of the executive order President Obama issued in October on greening the government’s operations. It’s already occured, but an archive of the webcast is available here.

Tags: , ,

Training program award nominations due Friday

Bookmark and Share

Does your department have an innovative and successful training program? Has it measurably improved your department’s performance? Then your department might have a shot at a Deming Award. But you’ll have to move fast — the nomination period closes this Friday.

The Agriculture Department’s Graduate School awards the W. Edwards Deming Award annually to a federal government organization or a civilian or uniformed branch of the military that has a great training and workforce development program. To qualify, a program must:

  • Have begun no earlier than Feb. 19, 2007 — three years prior to the nomination deadline.
  • Be based on outcomes and results and not be based solely on activities participants must complete.
  • Result in a verifiable improvement in some aspect of the organization’s performance.

All nominations must be received by the Graduate School by 5 p.m. Central time on Friday. This nomination form, plus a one-page summary of the initiative, can be e-mailed to chicago@graduateschool.edu.

Tags: , , ,