The CIO shuffle continues at two agencies. The Federal Aviation Administration and the Office of the Inspector General at the Department of Health and Human Services are looking for new chief information officers. Kristen Baldwin left the FAA to be the CIO for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. She had been FAA CIO since February 2020. Meanwhile, Gerry Caron left the HHS OIG's office to join the Commerce Department's International Trade Administration as its CIO. Caron had been with the HHS OIG since May 2021. Caron and Baldwin start today in their new roles.
The American Federation of Government Employees is urging lawmakers to reject proposed cuts to the Defense civilian workforce. The call from AFGE came after House leaders on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee suggested cutting DoD's civilian workforce by not filling vacant positions. Subcommittee Chairman Ken Calvert (R-Calif.) said civilian staff cuts could save DoD $125 billion over five years. But AFGE argued that the staff cuts are arbitrary, and a lack of civilian employees would harm military readiness and increase stress for the remaining workforce.
A Defense Department memo released on Friday offers guidance on how to remove the military's COVID-19 vaccination requirements. The 2023 National Defense Authorization Act directed the Pentagon to rescind any policies or directives related to the vaccine mandate. DoD component heads must certify in writing by March 17 that they put new policies in place that remove the mandate.
An independent review board released its recommendations on preventing military suicide. A report by the Suicide Prevention and Response Independent Review Committee focused on several areas. It advocates restructuring suicide prevention training and providing resources to help service members get access to mental health care. The report also said DoD should reduce the frequency of reassignments and extend command assignments.
The National Science Foundation is rolling out a new talent acquisition system. The updated system is designed to provide more transparency into the hiring process. It is also meant to create candidate assessments that more clearly show their qualifications for an open position. The rollout of NSF’s talent acquisition system aligns with a 2020 executive order on modernizing and reforming the federal hiring process. NSF Chief Human Capital Officer Bill Malyszka says there is also an internal team working to assess candidates' skills and create a list of highly qualified candidates for hiring managers.
(Drew Friedman - Federal News Network)
A watchdog report has found that the Department of Veterans Affairs lacks reliable onboarding data for new hires. The VA’s Veterans Health Administration does not always have reliable data on which onboarding steps new hires have completed. That is according to the Government Accountability Office. New VHA hires are supposed to go through fingerprinting, drug testing and background investigation checks. But GAO found the VHA system that keeps track of these onboarding steps has incomplete, inaccurate and untimely data for some hires. Part of the reason is that VHA modified or deferred certain onboarding steps earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic to bring in new hires more quickly.
The Transportation Security Administration looks to technology to help solve staffing challenges. TSA is increasingly turning to technology solutions to help speed up security screening and reduce burdens on transportation security officers. “How we can really enable their activities through technology, I think is a primary mission space for our administrator at the moment," said Dan Daly, the Deputy Director of the Information Assurance and Cybersecurity Division at TSA. “There’s a lot of effort underway to really look at how we can create some efficiencies in what we’re doing at the checkpoint so that you don’t have to see 100 TSOs standing there, and maybe we can reduce that number down by a factor of 20%, 30%, 40%," Daly said at the Feb. 22 Digital Transformation Summit hosted by ACT-IAC and Meritalk. TSA is already piloting facial recognition at 16 major airports. And a recent report from the Homeland Security Advisory Council called on the agency to continue exploring the use of biometric technologies.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has undergone a makeover, as it launched a new website last week. The revamped site is designed to be easier to search and consolidates many of CISA’s resources, including cybersecurity alerts and advisories. It also includes a big red button leading to a portal where anyone can report a cyber incident to CISA. The agency is also developing new cyber incident reporting regulations for the 16 U.S. critical infrastructure sectors.
Grant making agencies, vendors and other recipients will have a chance to weigh in on what future technology and business processes could look like. The Grants Quality Service Management Office (QSMO) will hold an industry day on March 17 seeking feedback across several areas. QSMO will update attendees on the current state of the federal grants environment, its commercial market research journey and its upcoming request for information for new technology providers.
Veterans can now view their disability benefit claim decisions from the Department of Veterans Affairs online. More than 280,000 veterans to-date have downloaded their notice letters from VA.gov. Before this feature was available online, veterans had to wait for a paper copy of their decision notice to arrive in the mail. The VA expects the new electronic option will reduce calls coming into its National Call Centers, giving employees more time to answer incoming calls about other VA benefits.