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Federal employees and contractors with security clearances saw their pay increase by 2% on average in 2020 over 2019. A new survey by ClearanceJobs.com and the DHI Group found the average salary among people with security clearances, no matter the level, was over $103,000. Those who work in the intelligence community have the largest salary of over $129,000 on average. Meanwhile, a strong majority of employees with clearances say they are at least somewhat likely to change jobs in 2021, which was a 4% increase over the previous year’s survey.
Federal employees may face especially long retirement delays. A few agencies have warned employees they may wait longer than normal for their initial and full annuity payments during their first year of retirement. Customs and Border Protection warned its employees it could take as long as a year. CBP and a few other agencies said the delays are due to processing lags at the National Finance Center. It’s responsible for processing and submitting retirement paperwork to the Office of Personnel Management. NFC said delays should ease by the end of the month. (Federal News Network)
The Department of Veterans Affairs said the recently-approved $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package will help resolve some nagging challenges that persist during the pandemic. It got $262 million to help cut the backlog of compensation and pension claims. The inventory grew from 76,000 last March to 212,000 today. The department said the extra funding should help bring the backlog down to 100,000 claims by September. VA also received another $100 million to accelerate its transition to the Defense Department’s supply chain system.
The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence warned AI talent in government is underutilized. “There’s this huge talent deficit in the government.” That’s the bad news from Commission Chairman Eric Schmidt, the former CEO and chairman of Google. But the good news is many current defense and civilian agency employees might be good candidates to reskill for jobs working with AI. But Schmidt said agencies also need to develop career paths for senior AI talent to keep them from leaving government. (Federal News Network)
The Federal RPA Community of Practice is working on version two of its Robotics Process Automation Playbook. The playbook offers federal agencies guidance for starting or scaling RPA programs. It covers best practices and common pitfalls agencies have encountered in their RPA journeys. James Gregory, Robotic Process Automation Program Director at the General Services Administration, said the updated version will include a wider range of lessons learned from across government.
The Biden Administration plans to use the recent Microsoft and SolarWinds incidents to refocus agencies on cybersecurity. Saying they saw significant gaps in modernization and in technology of cybersecurity across the federal government, the White House is developing a new approach to ensure agencies are buying secure software. The administration said Friday it will borrow a page from the New York City department of sanitation and require some sort of rating so agencies know what the security is of hardware and software that they are buying. The White House said the goal is to have better visibility in the technology they are buying so they can have more trust in their networks. The White House is prepping a new executive order that will address these and other needed cybersecurity actions.
The Postal Service’s next-generation vehicle contract draws scrutiny from the House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) is asking USPS to turn over documents that support its decision to award the 10-year contract to Oshkosh Defense. Competitors proposed a fleet of electric vehicles, but the Oshkosh Defense deal includes a mix of electric vehicles and trucks that run on fossil fuels. Postmaster General DeJoy tells lawmakers USPS will make up to half of its first-round purchases of electric vehicles if Congress puts up billions of dollars to support the purchase.
Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks is creating an action group focused on management issues. The group will be the Defense Department’s principal governing body for actions affecting defense enterprise, resource management, planning and budgeting. Smaller groups based on innovation, defense strategy and acquisition will report to the larger management group. Hicks is also creating a workforce council, which will focus on talent management, personnel policy and total force requirements.
The National Guard has been stationed at the Capitol for more than two months, but many are saying it’s time for their presence to evaporate. The nation’s largest body representing the National Guard is calling for the military to leave the Capitol grounds. The National Guard Association of the United States said it’s time for local law enforcement to take over. The association is one of many in recent days to support a drawdown. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith and other lawmakers said a military presence at the Capitol is not a good look. The Pentagon recently extended the Guard’s mission at the Capitol for another two months. Troops have been stationed on the grounds since the Jan. 6 attack by supporters of President Trump.