GSA’s chief information officer is on a hiring spree

The Chief Information Officer at GSA is seemingly in unrestrained hiring mode. Meanwhile, federal employees under 30 are resigning at higher rates than the over...

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  • The General Services Administration’s CIO is on a hiring spree. GSA has brought on 25 new employees in the Office of the Chief Information Officer and three dozen more are on their way. David Shive, GSA’s CIO, said another 40 hires are in the cue to help make up for several years of minimal staff changes. Shive said he’s targeting several specific technology skillsets. “DevSecOps engineers, designers, product managers and more traditional cyber engineers and infrastructure engineers, specifically cloud engineers. Those are some of the key areas,” Shive said, adding that GSA has had no challenges in finding enough quality candidates for these IT positions.
  • The EPA and the Agriculture Department are teaming up to launch a new initiative called, “Closing America’s Wastewater Access Gap Community Initiative,” to provide wastewater sanitation to underserved communities. The initiative will attempt to eliminate harmful exposure to backyard sewage, as well as provide technical assistance to help historically underserved communities identify and pursue federal funding initiatives.
  • Federal employees under the age of 30 are quitting the federal workforce 1.4 times as often as the governmentwide average. The Partnership for Public Service reports that 6.1% of agency employees left the federal workforce in fiscal 2021. But for those under 30, the attrition rate was at 8.5%. Conversely, employees in the cyber and STEM fields had an attrition rate of just 5%. Attrition rates for most agencies increased between 2020 and 2021, according to the report.
  • The Defense Department has been doubling down on future 5G in recent years. It’s now rolling out new projects. The Pentagon is kicking off three new initiatives as part of its Innovate Beyond 5G program, that collaborates with academia and industry. One new project is Open6G. The effort aims to ramp up 6G systems research on open radio access networks. Another project focuses of sharing spectrum bands as wireless networks become more popular. The effort will use blockchain to create a secure and distributed spectrum exchange. The final project works to increase resiliency for wireless tactical communications. Altogether DoD is investing about $6 million in the initiatives.
  • Senate appropriators want to ensure the Defense Department is prepared for price increases as inflation rates continue to stay high. The Senate Defense Appropriations bill allocates more than $50 billion for the Pentagon to offset inflationary pressures in acquisitions, goods and services, and higher compensation costs. The bill also adds $10 billion for price increases in fuel and to counter other supply chain cost issues. The bill has still yet to be called up for a vote before the full Senate. (Federal News Network)
  • Senate Democrats have a new bill to prevent federal workers from becoming at-will employees. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) introduced the Preventing a Patronage System Act, which if passed, would bar agencies from reclassifying federal positions outside a merit-based system. The bill would prevent any future administration from creating new federal employee classifications. Last week, former President Donald Trump called on lawmakers to revitalize Schedule F, a now-rescinded policy that made it easier to fire some federal workers. Kaine said his new bill would prevent 50,000 feds from losing job protections. (Federal New Network)
  • President Biden’s pick to be inspector general at the National Reconnaissance Office previewed potential challenges facing the agency. Terrence Edwards, the nominee for NRO inspector general, said maintaining oversight of the spy agency’s increasing use of commercial satellite services will be a key part of his job. Edwards testified on Tuesday before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. “As the NRO moves in a new direction and expands, buying additional capabilities, I think it’s critical for the IG’s office to fully understand what it’s doing and reviews those programs to ensure they’re effective and efficient and assist where they can in helping to determine whether it makes sense to buy more commercial versus building organic,” Edwards said.
  • A new bill in the Senate aims to ensure federal data centers can withstand everything from cyber attacks to wildfires. Lawmakers said the critical data hosted at these facilities cannot be vulnerable to theft or destruction. The Federal Data Center Enhancement Act would require the Office of Management and Budget to develop minimum requirements for data centers related to factors like cybersecurity, resilience against natural disasters and mission-critical uptime.
  • The IRS’ Chief Privacy Officer needs to update guidance on when third-party information should be redacted or released as public information. That’s according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration or TIGTA’s 2022 review of the IRS’ compliance with the Freedom of Information Act. Last year, the IRS changed the platform it uses to process FOIA requests. While the IRS mostly did a good job distributing information, the IG said it needs to improve how it handles third-party information. TIGTA said without more specific guidance from the CPO, disclosure caseworkers could inaccurately redact or release information, such as information from services not available to the general public.
  • It’s gleaning week for the Feds Feed Families annual drive. Gleaning means collecting and donating excess food from farms, gardens, grocers, restaurants and others to help combat waste. Gleaning time started July 31 and runs through Aug. 13. The Agriculture Department estimates that 31% of food is wasted at retail and consumer stores. The Feds Feeds Families program is encouraging employees to help reduce food waste by collecting unused food. Since June, the program has collected more than 3.3 million pounds of food to help those who are food insecure. Feds Feed Families is in its 13th year and employees can donate through Sept. 30.

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