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- Members of Marine Corps law enforcement are now allowed to carry their own firearms for personal protection while on base. A Marine Corps memo announced the change after two shootings occurred at two military bases in December. Though the officers can carry them for protection, they may not use them while performing their regular duties. (Marines)
- In the past eight years almost a million service members and veterans have been fleeced out of $405 million by scammers. A new report from Comparitech, a consumer information organization, finds veterans made up the largest chunk of those hit by scammers. Almost 428,000 veterans were taken for $218 million since 2012. In that same time period more than 152,000 active duty military members were scammed out of $124 million. The report said 2018 was the worst year for scams. Nearly 400,000 veterans and service members reported being scammed. (Federal News Network)
- An independent arbitrator said the Department of Health and Human Services committed an unfair labor practice against the National Treasury Employees Union. The arbitrator ruled it was premature of HHS to implement the terms of a Federal Service Impasses Panel decision before reaching a new collective bargaining agreement with NTEU. The ruling gives HHS and NTEU 90 days to agree on a remedy to the unfair labor practice. (Federal News Network)
- A military ban on a mobile app, popular with young troops, spreads. The Army joined the Navy in banning the use of TikTok. Stars and Stripes reported Army officials followed Defense Department guidance, which stems from concerns about security risks from the app. TikTok, featuring short, user-generated videos, is owned by the Chinese company Byte-Dance. DoD guidance calls for removal of the app from government-issued devices. Two senators have called for the intelligence community to assess risks from Chinese social media companies.
- An unnamed employee of the Bureau of Land Management is accused of using their government computer to view pornography while in the office. The Interior Department’s Inspector General said it was investigating a claim he or she was watching child pornography, but found no evidence of that. The employee retired during the investigation. (Department of Interior Office of Inspector General)
- An Army colonel is filing a federal lawsuit against the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for allegations of sexual assault while Gen. John Hyten was in charge of U.S. Strategic Command. The colonel is asking for $5 million in damages. Hyten faced the allegations during his confirmation hearing this summer. An Air Force investigation into the matter was unable to find indications of an unprofessional relationship. However, the claims of assault happened when the colonel and Hyten were alone.
- The Department of Homeland Security’s cyber branch extends the deadline to comment on an upcoming, government-wide policy. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is giving the public until Jan. 10 to comment on its draft directive requiring all agencies to set up vulnerability disclosure policies. Those policies will allow outside experts who have “seen something” that looks like a cyber weakness to “say something” to those who can fix it. CISA released the draft directive in November, and originally set the deadline for comments for Dec. 27.
- The Defense Security Cooperation Agency has officially launched its Workforce Certification Program for civilian and military members of the its workforce. The workforce development program was mandated in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act. The agency is involved in helping develop foreign militaries respond to shared challenges. (Department of Defense)
- The Pentagon has started its promised rollout of a new series of acquisition policies. Yesterday, DoD issued new instructions on urgent capability acquisition and “middle tier” acquisition – a legal authority that allows for a streamlined process when the military services can prototype or field a system in five years or less. The documents are part of a rewrite of DoD’s so-called “5000 series” of acquisition instructions. More of those revamped instructions — including for major military systems and for software programs — are still awaiting release.
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