Pentagon continues to face challenges responding to cyber attacks on military networks

In today's Federal Newscast: The Pentagon continues to face challenges in responding to cyber-attacks on military networks. Agencies may get some help with trai...

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  • The Pentagon continues to face challenges in responding to cyber attacks on military networks. The Defense Department experienced more than 12,000 cyber incidents between 2015 and 2021. The Government Accountability Office reported that the bulk of those incidents occurred in 2015 and 2016, and have steadily declined due to improving cyber defenses. But GAO said weaknesses still exist in DoD’s system for reporting cyber incidents. Namely, incident reports often lack critical information like the date of discovery or the method of infiltration. DoD officials concurred with GAO’s recommendations to fix those gaps.
  • Agencies may get some help with training for human resources specialists. The Office of Personnel Management is offering four training sessions for human capital framework evaluators during fiscal 2023. Each free, five-day course will focus on the planning, implementing and reporting phases of the HR evaluation process. The training is meant for any feds involved in their agency’s human capital framework evaluation system. OPM said space is limited to about 25 participants per course, and those who are interested must submit an assessment form to sign up.
  • Gen X and Gen Z feds both want more job flexibility, but for different reasons. Gen Z workers look for agencies with more telework options, while older Gen X workers want better work-life balance to support family needs. That’s according to a new report from the Partnership for Public Service. The Partnership said looking at details on federal employee retention is especially important now, as Gen X is overrepresented and Gen Z is underrepresented in the federal sector, compared with the private sector. (Feds in Gen X and Gen Z both want more work flexibility, but often for different reasons – Federal News Network)
  • With billions of dollars a year to spend on military aircraft, the Defense Department still can’t make its goals for keeping its planes mission ready. A new report from the Government Accountability Office showed a decline in mission readiness from 2011 to 2021. The report looked at 49 types of fixed-wing and rotary aircraft. Of those, only four types met their readiness goals. The problems included aging aircraft, maintenance challenges, and issues with getting parts and supplies.
  • The Labor Department is ready to jump into the deep part of the digital signature pool. Within six months, the Labor Department went from never letting citizens use digital signatures to sign forms to becoming a big believer in the technology. The Office of Workers’ Compensation Program decided in early 2022 to take the plunge into digital signatures after requiring citizens to print out forms and sign them using a pen. Now Labor’s CIO’s office is seeing a surge in interest from other compensation programs, including for the Black Lung and Federal Employee Programs. Labor said the technology is easy to implement at low costs and saves hours of work among claims processors. (After dipping toe in digital signature pool, Labor now ready to jump right in – Federal News Network)
  • The State Department’s domestic workforce hit record-high levels under a new modernization effort. Deputy secretary of state for management and resources Brian McKeon said the department’s workforce has almost fully recovered from an agency-wide hiring freeze implemented in 2017 under the Trump administration. McKeon said the department added 500 Foreign Service positions in fiscal 2022 and is on track to fill another 500 Foreign Service positions in fiscal 2023. “We’re meeting a concern from the workforce that they’re overburdened and asking for help,” McKeon said. The department is also staffing up in response to emerging challenges in American diplomacy, including cybersecurity and emerging technologies, global health and climate change. (State Dept domestic workforce hits ‘record-high levels’ under modernization effort – Federal News Network)
  • The federal technology community is mourning the loss of two long-time executives. Dan Matthews, the former Transportation Department chief information officer, died on November 3. He was 69. Jim Russo,, the former General Services Administration executive leading telecommunications and cybersecurity initiatives, died on October 31. He was 65. Russo retired from GSA in August 2021 after working at the agency for 17 years. Matthews served as DoT’s CIO from 2003 to 2006 and was the vice chairman of the federal CIO council. He later worked in industry before retiring to Florida.
  • The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is looking to make big changes in how organizations manage cyber vulnerabilities. Flaws in software are ubiquitous. CISA said standardizing the use of automation in vulnerability management will help address those bugs. The agency is also pushing organizations to use the Vulnerability Exploitability eXchange to share information when a product is affected by a security flaw. And CISA is recommending the adoption of a vulnerability management framework, like the agency’s Known Exploited Vulnerabilities catalog.
  • An independent agency meant to fast-track the sale of federal real estate is one step closer to a quorum. President Joe Biden is expect to nominate former Congressman Michael Capuano to serve on the Public Buildings Reform Board. Capuano, a Democrat from Massachusetts, served on the Financial Services and Transportation and Infrastructure Committees up until 2019. This summer, Biden nominated New York real estate developer Jeffrey Gural to serve as chairman of the board. The board currently has three members and needs five to create a quorum.


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