Ohio political briefs – June 18


PORTMAN AND TESTER INTRODUCE COMPETITIVE SERVICE ACT – U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) introduced legislation to allow federal agencies to streamline the hiring process by cutting duplicative services and saving taxpayer money. The bill is also sponsored by Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.)

The senators’ Competitive Service Act would allow federal agencies to review and select job candidates from other federal agencies’ “best qualified list” of applicants, cutting down on duplication for applicants who have already undergone a competitive assessment process and are certified as eligible for selection. Currently, agencies that have similar hiring needs cannot share such applicant information with one another.

“It’s critical that the federal government has world-class, highly-trained individuals able to deal with sensitive national security issues like cybersecurity and information technology,” Portman stated. “Our bill will streamline the hiring process — enabling agencies to share applicant pools so that qualified individuals will not have to undergo an already slow hiring process time and time again for similar positions across the federal government. This is a commonsense bill to help agencies get the right people in the right jobs in a more efficient manner.”

PORTMAN AND BENNET INTRODUCE AMENDMENT TO STRENGTHEN CYBERSECURITY WORKFORCE – U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2016 to bolster the federal government’s cybersecurity workforce and strengthen our nation’s cyber defense. The Bennet-Portman amendment implements a uniform framework to identify and address cybersecurity personnel shortages and expedite the recruitment of highly-qualified cybersecurity personnel.

“The federal government is responsible for securing a vast array of sensitive information and recent hacks highlight the need to improve our ability to protect this critical information,” Portman said. “This demands world-class, highly-trained cybersecurity employees in the right places in the federal workforce. This amendment is an important step toward accomplishing that goal.”

“Cybersecurity is a serious national security concern, and we must take significant steps to strengthen our ability to combat attempts by our enemies to infiltrate and attack our IT infrastructure,” Bennet said. “The recent hacks of the federal government, U.S. banking institutions, and American corporations remind us that our government needs to be better prepared against cyber threats. This amendment will create a consistent framework for identifying and filling critical cybersecurity positions and is a vital step toward ensuring federal agencies can recruit top cybersecurity talent to help defend against foreign hackers and terrorists.”

BROWN PRESSES FOR WRIGHT PATTERSON PRIORITIES IN SENATE DEFENSE BILL – As the Senate considers the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2016, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is working on several priorities for Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

“Wright-Patterson is an economic anchor in the region and it is critical to our nation’s security.” Brown said. “I will continue to work so that the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is fully utilized and the men and women working at the base have the resources they have earned.”


The Senate Armed Services Committee has included a Brown provision in the base text of the NDAA that would enhance “entrepreneurial sabbaticals,” where U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) scientists from defense laboratories, including the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), have the opportunity to spend time working in the private sector. This opportunity creates connections between the work done at AFRL and the work done by scientists and engineers in the greater Dayton region, enabling transfer of lab-generated technology to small businesses and industry.

Brown also introduced an amendment to enhance education partnerships between defense laboratories and business or law schools. This will increase defense laboratories’ ability to process patents for their research and determine its commercial applicability. This provision would also expand the Department’s authority to provide sabbatical opportunities for faculty and internship opportunities for students that would further support technology transfer.


Following Brown’s urging, the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee authorized $6.6 million in federal funding to replace Wright-Patterson’s Kittyhawk satellite pharmacy. In April 2014, Wright-Patterson reported that a robotic prescription filling equipment error caused Tylenol to be found in Robaxin prescriptions, a muscle relaxant. In addition to updating the robotics equipment to reduce the potential for such errors, the new modern facility would include enough room to facilitate patient counseling.


Brown is cosponsoring an amendment that would require one of the two Air Force One aircraft currently flying to be displayed at Wright-Patterson’s National Museum of the U.S. Air Force once it’s retired in 2023.


Brown is cosponsoring an amendment that would provide the Air Force with greater authority to enroll non-detailed persons (non-government civilians) at Wright-Patterson’s Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) and receive reimbursement from the Department. This would lead to better integration between industry, government, and military professionals.