A defense contractor is facing heavy fines and probation for admitting to a bribery scheme with a former Naval Information Warfare Center employee. The Justice Department said Cambridge International Systems, Inc., headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, pleaded guilty to giving everything from a ticket to the 2018 Major League Baseball all-star game in Washington, D.C. to funneling $2,000 a month to James Soriano, a contracting officer with the Naval Information Warfare Center. In return, Soriano helped steer contracts of more than $132 million to Cambridge International. The company will be sentenced on July 3 and faces up to five years corporate probation and $500,000 in fines.

The tug of war is intensifying over what to do with the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO), as bipartisan lawmakers are doubling down on efforts to get their Social Security Fairness Act passed. The bill aims to give public sector workers a full Social Security amount by repealing both WEP and GPO. The two provisions reduce Social Security payments for certain federal annuitants. In a letter to the House Ways and Means Committee, Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) and Garret Graves (R-La.) pointed to the bill’s 316 co-sponsors, making it one of the most broadly supported bills in the House. But lawmakers appear undecided on whether they will move forward with that full repeal, or instead keep the provisions and simply alter the benefit calculations.

A bipartisan bill will put the Postal Service’s network modernization plans on hold, if the bill makes it through Congress. The Protect Postal Performance Act would bar USPS from shaking up its delivery network in areas where the agency is not meeting standards for on-time mail delivery. That means ensuring at least 90% of first-class three-to-five-day mail arrives on time. If it does not meet that standard, the legislation would prohibit USPS from opening Regional Processing and Distribution Centers. These large facilities serve as hubs for long-distance transportation where employees sort mail and packages going to other regions. Reps. Nikki Budzinski (D-Ill.) and Jack Bergman (R-Mich.) introduced the bill. USPS is seeing a major drop in on-time delivery in areas where it has already opened these large facilities.

The Army is on track to meet its 2024 recruitment goals. The service wants to bring in 55,000 recruits by the end of the fiscal year, a number it has a shot at hitting, said Army Secretary Christine Wormuth, who credits the success of its Future Soldier prep course. It should be noted that the service lowered its recruitment goal this year. In 2023, the Army wanted to bring in 65,000 new soldiers, but this year the service decided to shrink its authorized troop levels as it transitions from counterinsurgency missions to large-scale combat operations. The service has missed its annual recruitment targets for nearly a decade.

Are prices under the multiple-award schedule contracts fair and reasonable? The General Services Administration is asking industry 15 questions about how to better align schedule pricing with commercial practices. The questions in GSA’s request for information included whether using the same labor-category names and descriptions — across schedule special item numbers as a standard practice — would reduce administrative costs and burdens. GSA is using the RFI as part of its review of agency practices to streamline how it determines “fair and reasonable” prices on schedule contracts. Responses to the RFI are due by May 8.

The State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service is setting a goal to have women make up at least 30% of its incoming recruits by 2030. Diplomatic Security is making that commitment as part of the 30×30 Initiative that 240 other law enforcement agencies have already signed onto. Operating in over 170 countries, Diplomatic Security is also looking to ensure its policies and culture allow it to recruit and retain women as law enforcement officers.

Investing in federal retirement services is top of mind for NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association. The organization is calling on Congress to give more resources to the Office of Personnel Management in fiscal 2025. OPM is the long-time overseer of retirement processing for federal employees. The agency has been starting to chip away at modernizing the largely paper-based system, but without proper investments and oversight, NARFE said it is concerned that widespread delays on retirement claims and processing will continue.

The Army will begin conducting cognitive assessments of all soldiers before they attend basic training. The goal of the test is to establish a baseline before soldiers are exposed to repeated blasts in training and combat. The Army also wants to use wearable devices to continuously track and monitor blast exposures. The service has yet to find the ideal gauges to track exposure to blasts for soldiers, but plans to assess various wearable devices, which the Special Operations Command will eventually purchase.