Pandemic could give chance to modernize federal workforce

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  • Is the pandemic finally a forcing factor for civil service modernization? The Senior Executives Association hopes so. It’s urging the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to take action this year on hiring reforms and other recommendations to modernize the federal workforce. Many of the recommendations came from the National Commission on Military, National and Public Service. SEA says the government is losing ground on its efforts to compete with the private sector for talent. And Congress hasn’t helped. SEA says Congress consistently fails to take action on the recommendations it and other good government groups suggest to modernize the federal workforce.
  • The Office of Management and Budget seeks help standing up its Federal Data Strategy. OMB is looking for agency detailees to help meet the rest of the Federal Data Strategy’s year-one action items for 2020. They’d also assist in drafting another action plan for next year. Detailees will also work with agency chief data officers and develop case studies of how agencies are making the most of their data. OMB encourages career employees who are GS-12 and above to apply. The application closes July 17, or OMB will onboard finalists by September.
  • A bipartisan group of 14 senators want to drastically increase national service opportunities during the pandemic. The coalition introduced the Cultivating Opportunity and Response to the Pandemic through Service, or CORPS Act. The bill would allow the Corporation for National and Community Service to support anywhere from 75,000-150,000 positions in the first year. The goal is to have 250,000 national service positions by year three.
  • The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency would gain a new advisory committee through a bill introduced in the Senate. The Cybersecurity Advisory Committee Authorization Act would stand up a board made up of state and local government official, as well as industry representatives. The committee would make recommendations to CISA’s director on cybersecurity policy. Sens. David Perdue (R-Ga.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) say their bill would give CISA critical feedback on top cyber threats, and how best to deter those threats.
  • The U.S. Election Assistance Commission reached out to help locals with training on how to button up elections. The has teamed up with the non-profit, corporate-backed Center for Tech and Civic Life. Through the center’s web site, Commission will offer free cybersecurity education to state and local election officials. The training consists of written and video material divided into three modules. The cybersecurity course, which cover everything from terminology to safeguarding data, will remain available until May of 2021.
  • The National Guard says it’s preparing for a bigger than normal hurricane season. The Guard says it is basing plans off weather models that are predicting 30% more hurricanes than the average season. That could mean up to 16 storms this year. The Guard is already stretching its force more than normal with response to coronavirus and protests along with regular overseas deployments.
  • A House subcommittee wants to put a hold on big changes coming to the military medical community. The House Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee wants to delay the Defense Department’s plans to restructure and remove some of their military treatment facilities. According to committee aides, lawmakers are concerned about the validity of the analysis DoD conducted on the matter. Under the Pentagon’s plan up to 50 military hospitals and health facilities would be closed or downsized. Military family members and retirees would be forced to get healthcare from the local community rather than DoD-run facilities. (Federal News Network)
  • We get an update on how Defense companies are faring during the pandemic. The Defense Department says only 33 of the nearly 22,000 companies it tracks are still closed. Ellen Lord, the Department’s top acquisition official told reporters a total of 928 companies have closed and opened back up again since the pandemic started. But Lord says the industrial base is still seeing major impacts. She says most of the department’s programs have seen inefficiencies because of supply chain disruptions and financial stress to individual companies.
  • By mid July, small businesses interested in bidding on the $50 billion 8(a) STARS 3 governmentwide contract will finally see what the final solicitation looks like. The General Services Administration said in a pre-solicitation notice that it will release the final request for proposals in the next two weeks. GSA says the final RFP is “significantly different” than the draft it released in August. The final solicitation will require bidders to have at least two projects worth more than $100,000 of relevant experience and submit a supply chain risk management assessment.
  • Details have finally emerged about what it take to assess contractors under the DoD’s new cyber supply chain program. Companies who want to be third-party assessment organizations under the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification or CMMC initiative will have to pay one thousand dollars and meet a specific set of eight requirements. The CMMC accreditation body yesterday released those details and others about the training, credentialing and accreditation ecosystem. To become a certified assessor, it will cost $200 and require a five or seven step process to earn one of two certifications. The training of assessors is expected to start in July.
  • Six new lifecycle funds are coming to the Thrift Savings Plan at the end of the month. The new L funds will come in five-year increments this time, rather than the usual 10, starting June 30. The TSP says the new L funds will allow participants to target their investments more closely to their actual retirement dates. The TSP will also retire the L 2020 fund. The TSP will automatically move participants currently enrolled in the L-2020 fund to the L income fund. Inter-fund transfers in and out of the L-2020 fund will also stop at the end of the month. All participants will be able to transfer assets into any of the new lifecycle funds starting July 1. (Federal News Network)