Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) is pushing for harder oversight of sexual harassment in government. A new bill from Ernst would terminate federal employees convicted of sexual assault. The legislation, if enacted, would also prohibit feds from receiving a raise, bonus or promotion for five years following any finding of sexual misconduct. Federal contractors would have to abide by the same rules. The bill comes in response to recent sexual harassment allegations at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

The IRS is shaking up the structure of its leadership team for the first time in decades. The agency is consolidating its two deputy commissioner roles into one position. It’s also creating four new “chief” roles that bear the brunt of modernization work under the Inflation Reduction Act. IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said the reorganization is the agency’s first major leadership reshuffle in 20 years. “We have wave after wave of change coming that will improve and update our agency operations,” Werfel said in a call Wednesday. “And we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the best way to approach these changes.”

The Homeland Security Department is turning off two key features of a major cybersecurity program. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is putting two Einstein 3A services out to pasture in the coming weeks. Specifically, CISA told agencies earlier this fall that as of December 22 it will be turning off email filtering capabilities and domain name service (DNS) sinkholing capabilities. In an email to agencies obtained by Federal News Network, CISA told agencies earlier this fall the cost and value of both services were no longer supportable. CISA replaced the DNS services with a shared service and the email filtering comes with cloud email services, which most agencies have adopted.

(CISA – Federal News Network)

Agencies have some reminders for onboarding new employees. A probationary period for feds for their first few months on the job can be highly effective, according to the Office of Personnel Management. And it’s not the same as putting an employee “on probation” in the traditional sense. During those first few months, OPM said a probationary period lets managers assess a candidate’s fit for the job. It is also an opportunity for employees to course correct, once managers set clear and frequent expectations. OPM is reminding agencies of the details on how probationary periods work in a new memo.

(Maximizing effective use of probationary periods – Office of Personnel Management)

The Defense Department is looking ahead to the next steps in its cloud computing journey. DoD will soon start looking at a follow-on contract to the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability contract, according to DoD CIO John Sherman. “No, I don’t have a date for the RFP or exactly when this is going to come out. But I will tell you we are firmly committed to multi-cloud, multi-vendor and this is what we’re going to be doing going forward,” Sherman said at the Defense Department Intelligence Information System Conference in Portland, Ore. DoD just awarded JWCC to four major cloud vendors last December. But Sherman said DoD has to start considering what comes next.

(DoD CIO looks ahead to ‘JWCC 2.0’ – Federal News Network)

The 2024 defense authorization bill made it over a key hurdle as the Senate passed the conference report 87 to 13 last night. The report now heads to the House for a vote, which could happen as early as today. Among the provisions in the bill is an update to the Small Business Act that requires prime contractors to pay small business subcontractors in 30 days instead of 90 days. The language also clarifies that contracting officers can change or enter the past performance information of a prime contractor to reflect delayed or reduced payment to small subcontractors, even after the contract has closed.

(Senate passes NDAA conference report – Federal News Network)

The Navy’s modernization journey is well under way. About 300,000 sailors are finally switching away from Microsoft Office 2016 to the subscription-based Microsoft Office 365 suite. The Navy said the shift will significantly improve user experience and productivity. Sailors will now have access to their files from anywhere just by logging into their Flank Speed accounts, freeing them from the limitations of individual computers. The goal of the shift is to enhance security measures for the Navy’s distributed workforce.

The House Small Business Committee wants to know how the Defense Department is working to increase the number of small businesses in the defense industrial base. In a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, committee leaders are sounding the alarm about the decline of small business participation. Lawmakers are seeking an update on the Defense Department’s actions to address the issues highlighted in its small business strategy, including bundling and consolidation of contracts, subcontracting-plan accountability, and size-standards revisions. While small businesses serve a vital role in this sector, the number of small businesses doing business with DoD has decreased by 40% over the last decade.

Federal employees and contractors now have more choices for where they can obtain or renew their government credentials. The General Services Administration is working with the Postal Service to issue Personal Identity Verification (PIV) cards at post offices across the country. New PIV card credentialing sites are in New York City, Chicago, and Rio Rancho, New Mexico. GSA said it picked the sites based on feedback and demand from federal employees.

Lawmakers are moving to save a Department of Homeland Security division from being eliminated. Leaders on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Wednesday introduced legislation that would extend the authority for DHS’s Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction office. The bill has already passed the House. The CWMD office helps defend against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats. But the authority for the office expires early next year unless lawmakers pass the extension.

The Small Business Administration tops a list of agencies with under-utilized office space. Now the top Republican on the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee is asking what SBA is doing to put that space to better use. Committee Ranking Member Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) is asking SBA about its return-to-office plans and whether it will sell off underutilized office space. Ernst released data from the Government Accountability Office last week, showing SBA had some the lowest office space utilization rates in government.