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Federal employees spend an average of 13% of their week on work they consider to be low-value. That adds up to roughly 500-million hours each year on low-value work across the federal workforce. The General Services Administration and Office of Personnel Management surveyed 243,000 employees from 24 different agencies. The survey was part of the Trump administration’s work on the President’s Management Agenda. Agencies currently have over 50 process-improvement pilots and 30 robotics process automation pilots ongoing.
The Office of Personnel Management will allow agencies to hire certain temporary employees for longer terms. Agencies can currently hire term employees for a maximum of four years. But agencies will soon be able to hire temporary employees for up to 10-year terms. OPM says the changes apply to personnel in science, technology, engineering and math occupations. Or employees needed to complete congressionally-mandated projects or research. (Federal News Network)
Looking for answers about the payroll tax deferral? Keep looking. The Office of Management and Budget at last has some new guidance for federal employees about the upcoming payroll tax deferral. But it’s light on details. The Interior Business Center told its customers they’ll see Social Security taxes deferred from their next paycheck due September 18. The deferral runs through the last paycheck of 2020. Meantime, President Trump tweeted he’d forgive deferred taxes if re-elected. But only Congress has the authority to change the tax code. (Federal News Network)
The Small Business Administration is the latest agency to rethink Personal Identity Verification cards. With agency PIV card offices closed during mandatory telework, SBA launched a new tool called conditional access. That allows users on a trusted network using a trusted device to login using only a username and password. Those not on a trusted network or using a trusted device have to go through multi-factor authentication, and the type of authentication changes based on the level of risk assessed by the system. (Federal News Network)
The Pandemic Response Accountability Committee is overhauling its website used to track emergency coronavirus spending. The new beta site includes all funding data from USASpending.gov, as well as interactive charts, graphs and maps to visualize the data. The committee says future updates will include improvements to the spending maps, expanded search and featured stories to provide context around complex financial data. (Federal News Network)
The results of GSA’s 2020 customer satisfaction survey are out and changes are coming. The Federal Acquisition Service at GSA is making changes to its Advantage buying platform after customers highlighted some real barriers. Julie Dunne, the FAS Commissioner, says the top three concerns highlighted in their annual customer survey included missing or confusing product descriptions, out of stock items appearing in search results and missing or inaccurate product photos. GSA received more than 2,500 responses to its survey. Dunne says FAS will focus on improving product catalogs including offering consistent product descriptions and improved product photos.
There’s a new head of federal programs at one of the telecommunications contractors under the Enterprise Infrastructure Solution program. MetTel named Robert Dapkiewicz as its new general manager and senior vice president. He replaces Diana Gowen, who passed away earlier this year. Dapkiewicz comes to MetTel from AT&T and brings more than three decades of experience in civilian and military leadership roles.
The Pentagon announced picks for two of the most important jobs in its IT leadership cadre. Maj. Gen. Robert Skinner has been nominated to be the next director of the Defense Information Systems Agency. He’s currently the top IT official at U.S. Indo-Pacific Command. He’ll replace Vice Adm. Nancy Norton. Meanwhile, Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Michael Groen has been tapped to lead the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center. He would be the second director of the organization DoD created in 2018 to synchronize AI activities across the military services. He’d replace Lt. Gen. Jack Shanahan, who retired earlier this year. (Federal News Network)
The Army is looking for ways to hack the human brain. The xTechBOLT competition is offering up to $1 million to industry to develop and demonstrate tools that use neural pathways to capture emotions and empathy. The Army also wants technologies that can promote better retention and access memories. The goal of the competition is to help understand the effects of emotions and empathy on learning and memory. The Army hopes to revolutionize how it trains soldiers and teaches medical workers.