The Defense Department will receive $18.7 billion for military construction and family housing initiatives for fiscal 2024. The six-bill spending package passed by the House yesterday, includes funding for 300 military construction and housing projects. The 2024 Military Construction-VA bill provides $662 million to build over a dozen barracks, with roughly $320 million going toward revitalizing five privatized housing projects. The legislation also includes $2.5 billion for shipyard infrastructure optimization plan projects.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the FBI and the Bureau of Tobacco, Alcohol, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) are among the agencies that will likely have to deal with less money for the rest of the fiscal year. In the House version of the minibus package of appropriations bills passed yesterday, the EPA is getting 10% less funding than last year, while the ATF will be down 7%. The FBI is facing a 6% reduction. The Senate is expected to take up the package of bills before the continuing resolution expires on Friday night.

Two agencies will be looking for new technology leaders in the coming months. The Education Department is in need of a new chief information officer. The Homeland Security Department will have to fill its chief information security officer role this spring. Federal News Network has confirmed Luis Lopez, the Education Department CIO since December 2022, is leaving on March 22. He will take a job in the private sector. Meanwhile, DHS CISO Ken Bible is retiring after 39 years of federal service. His last day is March 29. Bible has been with DHS since January 2021, coming over from the Marine Corps.

Pretty soon, there may be lots more apprenticeship opportunities in government. An executive order President Biden signed Wednesday tells federal agencies to take better advantage of the Labor Department’s registered apprenticeship program. Agencies have spent years trying to shift away from college degree requirements for federal jobs. Now the Biden administration said offering more federal apprenticeships should get those skills-based hiring efforts further off the ground. The order encourages agencies to eventually turn apprentices into full-time federal employees. As another new requirement from the order, agencies will now create labor-management forums, if they do not already have them. The forums are meant to help federal unions and agency managers address employee concerns more easily and before they escalate.

The Department of Veterans Affairs said it plans to hire-and-market jobs to military spouses. VA is leading a public-private partnership to adopt employment policies, such as telework and job transferability, that benefit military families. The VA said it is a leading employer of military spouses and offers jobs that travel with them, whenever their spouse has a change of station. The VA also allows military spouses to telework overseas and to hold federal jobs stationed in the US. The department is rolling out these efforts as part of an executive order President Joe Biden signed last summer to address a more than 20% unemployment rate among military spouses.

Do agencies need new hiring tools to address steep increases in Freedom of Information Act requests? Agencies are struggling to retain FOIA staff and hire new employees to deal with their increasing FOIA backlogs, according to a draft report from the FOIA Advisory Committee. The report found more than half of all FOIA professionals across government consider staffing to be their greatest need. The draft report would recommend that the Office of Personnel Management give agencies direct hire authority for FOIA positions. The committee is expected to vote on the final report in April.

The expert panel Congress chartered to give DoD’s Cold War-era budgeting system a tune-up has a lot of ideas. The Commission on Planning, Programming Budgeting and Execution (PPBE) delivered its final report yesterday, after two years of study and hundreds of interviews. All told, there are 28 recommendations that DoD and Congress will need to implement over the next three-to-five years, but the key idea is to replace the slow PPBE process with a more modern one called the “Defense Resourcing System.” Read more about the recommendations at

The Government Publishing Office (GPO) has a new senior leader to manage the agency’s workforce and human resources office. The agency announced on Wednesday that Beth Shearer will step in as GPO’s chief human capital officer (CHCO). Shearer has held various human capital roles over the last two decades, many of which were at GPO. As CHCO, Shearer will be in charge of agency employee policies and human capital initiatives.

(GPO director names chief human capital officer – Government Publishing Office)

A new report from the Congressional Budget Office finds that the basic allowance for housing (BAH) for military personnel is higher than what civilians pay for rent and utilities. On average, the BAH rate for E-5 personnel with dependents is about 47% higher than the median rents paid by civilians with similar age and education profiles. The difference narrows to about 20% for civilians with income similar to E-5 personnel. Those service members are usually between the ages of 23 and 28 and hold the rank of sergeant in the Army, Marine Corps and Air Force, and second-class petty officer in the Navy and Coast Guard.

Federal employees would have to disclose any royalty payments they receive in carrying out their official duties under a new bill advancing in the Senate. The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee voted 12 to 0 to approve the Royalty Transparency Act on Wednesday. The legislation would also require members of federal advisory committees to disclose potential financial conflicts of interest. And it also requires that public financial disclosure forms for federal employees are made available online.

The post DoD slated to receive over $18B for military construction initiatives first appeared on Federal News Network.