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House Republicans are urging the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to bring employees fully back to the office. Ranking members for the Education and Labor Committee, and the Civil Rights and Human Services Subcommittee, have raised concerns that the commission’s new strategic plan does not include a return to regular, in-person work. In a letter to the commission’s chairwoman, the lawmakers said virtual work during the pandemic delayed the agency’s ability to serve the public. The letter came just after EEOC settled a complaint with its union and negotiated a short-term policy to expand telework.
The Defense Department will join the National Wildfire Coordinating Group Executive Board as the newest member of the group to help coordinate wildfire response. The group provides national leadership among federal, state, local, tribal and territorial partners to support the goals of the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy. The Defense Department identifies wildfires as a significant threat to military readiness.
A new study has found that reaching out to Thrift Savings Plan participants can affect how much they contribute to their plans. The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board learned that directly emailing lower-salaried federal employees led about 15% of them to increase their contributions. The roughly 3,000 participants in the board’s study bumped up their contributions from 3% to 5% to get the full matching rate.
GSA has picked a new technology lead in the Federal Acquisition Service. Ann Lewis is the new director of the Technology Transformation Service at the General Services Administration. Lewis takes over for Dave Zvenyach, who left in early September. This is Lewis’s second stint in government during the Biden administration. She served as a senior adviser for technology and delivery at the Small Business Administration for 16 months, starting in February 2021. Since leaving SBA in May, she served as the chief technology officer at NextStreet, an IT services company focused on helping small businesses. She has also held various roles in software engineering and technical leadership over the last 20 years. She holds a degree in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University.
It’s official: Defense enterprise email is over and done with. The Army transitioned the last of its users to Office 365 and Google Workspace last week, enabling the Defense Information Systems Agency to decommission the 10-year-old service. Army Chief Information Officer Raj Iyer said moving away from enterprise email was one of several modernization efforts. The Army also sunset the Army Knowledge Online portal earlier this year. It will also turn off hundreds of SharePoint sites by migrating to SharePoint Online. Iyer said the Army additionally, in 2023, will entirely eliminated unclassified video teleconference worldwide by moving to Microsoft Teams and will do the same for its Secret Secure Video Teleconferencing.
U.S. Cyber Command got a chance to test its defenses earlier this year, when Russia attacked Ukraine. The command sent a 10-man team to help the Ukrainians, and that team quickly expanded to 39 people. During the Reagan National Defense Forum in California, U.S. Army Gen. Paul Nakasone, commander of CYBERCOM, said the team’s efforts paid off, as Ukraine managed to repel the brunt of Russia’s cyber attacks. The command works with the FBI, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and other partners to develop a secure cyber defense.
Agencies have received the latest dose of cybersecurity guidance from the White House. The White House wants agencies to spend less time reporting cybersecurity data and more time focusing on security outcomes. So fiscal 2023 cybersecurity guidance from the Office of Management and Budget directs agencies to use automation to the maximum extent possible when reporting cyber data. It also directs agencies, by next September, to report 80% of their IT systems through the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation program, run by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
Agencies must now do more to make federal buildings more resilient to natural disasters. President Joe Biden signed into law the Disaster Resiliency Planning Act. It requires the Office of Management and Budget to give agencies guidance on making natural disaster resilience part of their asset management decision-making. OMB would also work with the Government Accountability Office and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help agencies identify potential gaps in their disaster resilience prevention efforts. The legislation stems from a 2021 GAO report that showed agencies spent billions of dollars over the past five years repairing federal buildings after disasters.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has a plan for meeting diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility goals. CISA released its DEIA strategic plan for the next five years on Monday. The agency’s objectives include increasing recruitment and outreach to under-served communities, ensuring pay and compensation equity, and increasing professional development opportunities for all CISA employees, including those with disabilities.