This edition of the Weekly Debrief covers a number of interesting topics, such as Congress reaching a deal "in principle" to avoid a shutdown, a new Defense Civilian Training Corps, the U.S. Space Force, JEDI news, and the SBA finalizing several major contracting regulations.
"Congressional leaders said on Thursday they reached an agreement with the White House to fund all federal agencies through September, giving them a week to draft and pass bills before a government shutdown at the end of next week. Top appropriators and party leaders huddled with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin this week to iron out line-by-line spending levels across government and resolve outstanding policy issues. The apparent deal comes after two stopgap continuing resolutions that have funded agencies at fiscal 2019 levels since Oct. 1."
"Congress has just over a week to pass funding legislation for the entire federal government, or repeat many of the circumstances from December 2018 that led to the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. Despite early White House and congressional agreements on the contents of some appropriations bills, there are federal employees that have started anxiously eyeing their checkbooks, as a repeat of last year’s holiday shutdown could have significant consequences on their finances, according to a survey released by the National Treasury Employees Union."
"The newly released compromise version of the annual defense policy bill will establish a civilian training corps to address skills gaps at the Defense Department. One priority of the $738 billion fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act that House and Senate negotiators agreed to on Monday is making the Pentagon more efficient and accountable. The authorization act will establish the Defense Civilian Training Corps as one way to accomplish that, and outlines a plan to expand the corps from now until August 2023."
"A compromise defense policy bill released Dec. 9 makes some progress toward unifying military space acquisitions, but ultimately delays big decisions on creating one authority to oversee every aspect of purchasing military satellites and their related terminals and ground stations."
"It’s really happening. A bipartisan budget agreement for 2020 will see the creation of a new branch of the military specifically oriented towards space. The United States Space Force will be the first new service branch in more than 60 years, tasked to ensure America’s freedom to operate in outer space—or take space away from somebody else. According to a draft of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Agreement, also known as the 2020 U.S. defense budget, the Pentagon will redesignate the U.S. Air Force’s Space Command the U.S. Space Force, spinning it off from an arm of the Air Force into a separate service."
"Senior Microsoft leaders, including CEO Satya Nadella, are scheduled to meet with the Department of Defense this week to discuss preparations for work on the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud contract. Nadella and members of the Microsoft Azure and public sector teams will meet with DOD CIO Dana Deasy and other senior defense IT leaders Dec. 11-13 as part of “requisite activities to prepare the cloud environment,” the department confirmed to FedScoop."
"Pity the 24 lawyers and their squads of go-fers tied up in the Great Cloud Computing Protest shadowing the Defense Department. While you’re plucking sandwich-making scraps off the carcass of your Christmas goose and sipping eggnog, they’ll be stuck in fluorescent-lit offices, running copiers, punching holes, and assembling loose-leaf notebooks. Two hundred thousand pages worth of notebooks, maybe more."
"In November 2018, Federal News Network and procurement expert Larry Allen set some odds about whether certain acquisition regulations would be completed sometime in 2019. For the most part, the odds makers were not optimistic, given the fact that during 2017 and 2018, the number of FAR rules that were either proposed or finalized were scarce. So here we are a year later, and it’s nice to be able to report that the Small Business Administration, at least, may just have beaten the odds on several important procurement provisions."