The Department of Homeland Security is opening the doors to its customer experience directorate this month. DHS’ new CX directorate will report to the chief information officer. DHS CIO Eric Hysen explained what he sees as the outlook for the office. “What we’re thinking about doing, and we’re still working through these plans with our agencies, is focusing on building a culture and capacity for improving customer experience across DHS ensuring that each of our agencies are setting aggressive targets for improving their customer experience, and making sure that we are measuring that and reporting on it appropriately,” Hysen said. The new directorate will be led by Hysen’s former colleague at the U.S. Digital Service, Dana Chisnell.
The Department of Defense Inspector General said Army Sustainment Command needs to order a full investigation into how a huge swath of military equipment went missing in Kuwait. The IG said 21 shipping containers are unaccounted for at Camp Arifjan. The office discovered the discrepancy during a routine audit of the military’s prepositioned stocks in southwest Asia, but the IG said Army officials have known about the equipment shortage for at least four months. Exact details about the types of missing equipment were redacted from the management alert the IG published yesterday.
The Defense Department said it made a more than $6 billion accounting error. But in this case, officials said it is a good problem to have. The Pentagon announced yesterday it had overestimated the dollar value of the military equipment it has been sending to Ukraine over the past two years. Officials said the cost of those items should have been calculated using their book value, but instead DoD tallied up the total based on the equipment’s replacement cost. Re-calculating the value of the aid packages leaves DoD with $6.2 billion it can now use to send additional equipment to Ukraine.
The Department of the Air Force released a new strategic action plan to ensure women participate in national security decision making. The Women, Peace, and Security Plan offers a framework for operational planners to account for how military operations can have different effects based on gender differences. The plan includes training gender advisers and establishing gender focal points to promote principles across core DAF functions. The policy will be integrated into security activities with partner nations to support women’s meaningful participation in defense and security sectors.
The Department of Homeland Security’s number two is stepping down. Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security John Tien is retiring from DHS on July 20. Tien has served as deputy secretary since June 2021. Previously, he served in the Army for 24 years and deployed to three combat tours in Iraq before retiring as a colonel in 2011. He also worked at the National Security Council during both the Bush and Obama administrations. Tien said he is retiring to spend more time with his family in Atlanta.
The Justice Department is setting up a new unit to combat nation-state hackers and ransomware groups. DOJ announced the creation of a National Security Cyber Section within its National Security Division this week. The goal of the new section is to increase the scale-and-speed of disruption campaigns and prosecutions targeting foreign threat groups, state-sponsored cybercriminals and other cyber-enabled threats. The unit will work closely with DOJ’s Criminal Division’s Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property Section, as well as the FBI’s Cyber Division.
NASA and Microsoft have joined forces to develop high-impact initiatives and educational resources that promote STEM education. Early this week, they hosted a Space Education Day at the Microsoft Technology Center in Virginia. The day included student-led live demonstrations. Heidi Kobylski, general manager of Microsoft Federal said the Microsoft-NASA foundational partnership was created to inspire the next generation of space professionals. "Microsoft and NASA are committed to the future workforce of space and technology leaders and ensuring there's equity and access to learning and building-out the future of our nation," Kobylski said. She added, "On Tuesday we had middle school students from the DC area into our Arlington office and we infused the next generation of Artemis into Minecraft and enabled the students to tryout using Minecraft and launching space missions, and it was a great experience for the kids and we're excited about what this five-year partnership is going to unleash."
The Defense Information Systems Agency will change the way it recruits and manages its civilian and military employees to try and better match personnel to jobs. The new Workforce 2025 strategy involves hiring talent recruiters to find employees best matched to specific job descriptions. The plan also calls for offering employees more opportunities for education, including advanced degrees and certificate programs. The agency plans to improve workspaces both in the office and for remote workers, and offer laboratory settings for learning and experimentation.
If you're in the market for a lighthouse, the General Services Administration has good news for you. The National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000 allows for lighthouses to be transferred at no cost to federal agencies, state and local governments and nonprofit organizations. But lighthouses that don't get transferred can then be auctioned off to the general public. As of now, four lighthouses in New England are set for auction. Auctions for two Connecticut lighthouses began June 20, and lighthouses in Michigan and Ohio will be auctioned off starting Aug.1.